College of William and Mary Health Promotion Specialist Eric Garrison contributed to this column.
Imagine you are trying out a really great restaurant you have wanted to visit for a while. You order the most beautiful steak on the menu — and you order it well done. You’ve been thinking about this steak, dreaming about this steak, fantasizing about this steak. When it comes out, it is not the steak you ordered at all, but a rare piece of meat, practically still mooing on the plate in front of you. Some people like their steaks rare. It just doesn’t do it for you. You could complain, or ask for something else, but you don’t want to make a fuss. After all, someone worked on that steak. Do you send it back with specific instructions of how you like your steak, or do you grin and bear it, hoping the meal will be over soon?
It seems like a simple process of just sending the steak back along with explicit communication of what you look for in a steak — people do it all the time. It’s an important life skill to be able to recognize what you want and to ask for it in ways that ensure you receive it, and I’m not just talking about steak. When it comes to our preferences, it seems like our sexual ones are the ones expressed least often. I’m guilty of it as well; I’ve spent too much time just lying there hoping the meal would be over soon because I did not want to seem demanding or micromanaging, and I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
On the flip side of that, as a cook, I would want to know the patron who ordered that beautiful piece of meat is enjoying it. If he or she is not enjoying it, I would like to know what I could do to rectify the situation immediately. So maybe he doesn’t like having his balls cupped, or she doesn’t like having her nipples licked. It’s not a reflection of your cooking skills — it’s just what your partner prefers. Similarly, it’s not an insult or an inconvenience to tell someone where you do and do not like to be touched. Telling your partner what you do and do not like is mutually beneficial in the quest for pleasure. You get to make serious moves toward attaining the ever-attractive orgasm, and your partner knows his or her actions are helpful in the achievement of that goal.
Sounds are an excellent way to let the cook know that you are enjoying the meal; “I like that” or “please don’t stop” are quick ways to let your partner know their cooking is perfect. It would be a disservice to allow your partner to believe their cooking meets your expectations. It is also counterproductive to the search for this orgasm, or future ones. In that case, feel free to offer suggestions like, “I like to be touched here.”
Knowing what you like doesn’t make you bossy — it makes you a better partner. It’s important to be clear about what you like and want from your partner so you avoid leaving the restaurant disappointed. The more feedback the cook gets, the more he or she can improve his or her culinary genius. As important as it is to be able to express what you like, it is equally important to be able to listen to others when they express what they like. It is not a personal attack, nor is it a comment on your skill level — it is merely an explanation of preferences and should be received with enthusiasm and understanding. Everyone just wants to have the best meal possible.
Tyna Holland is a Behind Closed Doors columnist and is never afraid to send her compliments, and criticisms, to the chef.