This article was originally published on Your Tango
Being sexually rejected by your partner is harsh. For some of us, it can lead to a tornado of questions: Do they desire me? Have I gotten too old and fat? Are they cheating on me?
Partners fall into a tailspin when requests for sex are regularly rejected. This can cause a lot of anxiety and fear. The problem with relationships is that we never know what our partners are thinking.
Perhaps the more we get rejected, the more guarded we become. Or perhaps our past relationships have spread the virus of shame: asking our lover for sexy-time.
For most people, asking for sex is scary. It’s scary enough to cause them to stay away from each other, rather than pursue each other’s I-didn’t-even-know-you-had-that-side-of-you sexual prowess.
One way to reignite your sex life together is to create a sex ritual. Not only does it ensure that lovemaking remains a priority, it also clears up a lot of mixed feelings that can happen due to misunderstanding.
I once heard that men are like microwaves and women are like slow cookers: A man can go from aroused to done in seconds. Women, on the other hand, may take longer to become aroused.
In fact, therapist Michele Weiner-Davis said that a man’s desire starts the path towards touching and wanting sex, while for many women, desire comes after the touching starts. Regardless, the “yes or no” sex request doesn’t take into account that every individual feels different levels of arousal at the same time.
When we view sex as “yes or no,” it can lead to frustrated couples who have stop having sex.
The Sex Arousal Scale
Another sex therapist, Lonnie Barbach, came up with a brilliant solution for this: The Sex Arousal Scale. To combat the simple “yes or no” sex request, Lonnie suggests that couples tell each other their level of arousal with a scale from 1 to 9.
- 1 would be “No thanks, not tonight.”
- 5 would be “I might get a little wild tonight… convince me.”
- 9 would be “YES!!!!”
Here’s how this might look in your relationship:
As you and your partner are discussing work with each other, you might say, “I really like how that blue shirt brings out the blue in your eyes.”
“Oh, thank you. I like this shirt, too.”
“I’m feeling kind of wild right now. Maybe like an 8…”
She smiles and leans in as she responds. “Well, I’m at a 5. Want to start kissing and see where it goes?”
A little later their bodies are entangled into a cosmic explosion. They’re breathless. Their hearts are pounding.
Barbach’s scale takes the personal rejection out of refusal. It allows both partners to express themselves in a physical manner. The scale allows couples to have more room to breathe in terms of their sexuality. It opens up the door to slower foreplay and a deeper exploration of each other’s bodies and emotions.
Becoming attuned to each other’s arousal levels will guide couples on an inner journey to more sex — the kind of sex that makes you come alive. It’s time you take your relationship to the next level, and the arousal scale will help do that.