Hey guys, I know you sometimes feel mystified by what is desired from you. And it’s not like I can clear all that up in a few simple words. Hell, I’m pretty sure we’ve been working on this one since the dawn of time.

But I’m also pretty sure we’re starting to get somewhere with all this. Men and women have never before had quite the opportunity we have right now to build a whole new way of relating. A new way, based on some pretty old truths, mixed with some brand-spankin’-new ideas.  

I may be a dreamer, but I say there’s a chance we can get past the wounding you and I have both endured, and grow into shared desire, honesty, truth, and trust. Here are a few steps to start you on your journey down that sometimes challenging, always rewarding, path.

For the duration of this article, you may want to imagine your lover speaking these words to you. (If you want confirmation of the veracity of these claims, ask for her feedback.) Or if it’s more entertaining for you, you can pretend I’m your lover, and that we’re sitting somewhere comfortable and having a sweet conversation.

Ready? Here are ten secret turn-ons that may change your life forever.

Photo: Andrea Savall 

Photo: Andrea Savall 

Turn-On # 1: Presence is Everything

Get totally present. Allow this moment, right here, right now, to be the only thing happening in the whole of time and space. Just for now let the world fall away around us.

This state of grace only lasts a moment at a time, but that moment goes a long way towards filling a well that we both want to drink from. Take the time, and let’s let the levels rise together.

This focus is a great way to greet me when we haven’t seen each other all day. Or before we part ways in the morning. First thing when we wake up. Last thing before we fall asleep. Or all of the above.

Turn-On # 2: Noticing, or Paying Attention

When you notice what I like, it makes me feel seen and cared for. In or out of bed.

When you let me know that I’ve changed my hair, or that the pants I’m wearing look hot, or that I look like I could use a hug, it makes me feel proud, relieved, happy, grateful that I chose YOU.

When you notice how I like my coffee – and prepare it for me perfectly without even thinking twice – I feel worshipped. When you figure out that I don’t like soft, repetitive strokes on the hand, but I love strong hugs from behind, it makes me feel understood.

Big bonus points to you if I never have to whisper a word to you about it, and you figure it out on your own. After all, that’s what noticing is about.

Of course, you asking what I like is also super sexy, and makes me feel honored too.

Take the time and attention to notice me. I’ll do the same for you, and let’s see what happens.

Turn-On # 3: Showing me Gratitude

When you show me that you’re thankful I chose you, it makes my heart soar. When you tell me you’re grateful that you get to go to bed with me, and wake up next to me, I feel nourished. When you tell me you’re proud to be seen with me, I feel claimed by you. And as transgressive as it might be for a feminist to say, I kinda love it when you claim me.

When you tell me you’re grateful that I’m such a good mom to our kids, I feel touched and relieved. When you show your gratitude by fully parenting them with me, I feel like I won the partner lottery.

Remember to say thank you for the small things. Gratitude for those everyday, tiny, repetitive things we do a million times without thinking about it makes all the difference.

When I do the laundry, a thanks makes it less of a chore. When you do the laundry, I’ll do my best to always remember to thank you too.

Gratitude is one of the keys to sustained love, as well as being essential to health and wellbeing. Let’s cultivate it together, and feel the sweetness that comes.

Turn-On # 4: Confidence

Confidence is sexy. You’ve heard it a million times. I don’t mean the posturing that often stands in for true confidence; I mean things like willingness to try, adaptability, and reliability.

When I say I want you to take control, I mean it. When I tell you that I want you to make the choice, that’s really what I want. When you don’t believe me my trust in our relationship falters. If I can’t trust you to trust me, I know that there might be a deeper problem.

I know it’s a wound we’re working our way through as a culture. Fifteen years ago women weren’t supposed to ask for help, and men weren’t supposed to offer it.

Well, the times they are a-changing – again! Even as a woman who can still handle it all – if that’s required – I want to be taken care of sometimes. Sometimes I want you to drive. And sometimes I don’t want to have to say it at all. I just want you to take the wheel.

Photo: Andrea Savall 

Photo: Andrea Savall 

Turn-On # 5: Vulnerability

Vulnerability is not the opposite of confidence, as some men seem to assume. I see your willingness to be vulnerable with me as a huge statement of confidence.

And, it makes me want to support you, and take care of you. Not in some mommy/boy way, but in this, “Oh, wow, he trusts me!” way.

Not only that, it makes me trust you. If you’re willing to get vulnerable with me, I’m going to be less guarded with you. And you never know what fantastic places that could lead us to. Trust that I can support you in the moments where you need to be held, listened to, or even just to vent.

Trust that I’ll still be here when you’re through it. And as you trust more, so will I trust you.

Turn-On # 6: Honesty and Transparency

Scarier words are rarely spoken, right? But how are you going to get what you want, if you can’t, don’t, or won’t ask for it? Speaking our desires is the first step to getting them fulfilled. And, when you speak your truth, you allow me to do the same.

You never know; that fantasy you’ve been holding back on sharing might be just the one I’m dying to explore.

Let me tell you a secret; I like it dirty, and I like it rough. I also like it gentle, and loving, and sweet. If I trust you enough, there aren’t many topics that are point-blank off limits. Make it possible for me to trust you, and we’re very likely to go some amazing places.

Your honesty is what cements my trust.

And, it would be less than honest of me to leave this part out; there’s another part of transparency that’s really important to me. If I ask what you’re thinking, or feeling, or what’s wrong, please don’t say “Oh, nothing,” when it’s really something. I’ll be the first to admit that this kind of thing makes me, quite literally, crazy. If you don’t give me the low-down when something’s up, as you probably already know, I’m going to think up some kind of crazy story about what’s behind your silence.

Any story I make up is very likely to be much worse than whatever it is you’re not sharing. Whatever the truth is, it’s better than confusion or paranoia. So spit it out! We’ll both be in a better place for it.

This courageous act will save both of us a lot of misunderstanding and frustration. And it’ll save me a lot of hurt, wondering, and heart-ache. And you know what’s awesome about this more challenging part of honesty? Once the air is cleared, we can get back to the yummy stuff, which is where both of us really want to be anyway. Right?

Turn-On # 7: Face Fear Head-On

Always be willing to face any fears that come up, whether they’re mine, yours, or ours. Be willing to go deeper with me, and work through the fear. Maybe not all at once, but over time.

In bed or out, we all have fears that arise around letting each other in, trusting, independence versus intimacy, personal power versus shared experience.

When you get scared, remember that I get scared, too. One thing you can be sure about is that getting scared is common ground – we’ve all been there!

Bring it to me in a way that works for you, and I promise to do my best not to make you wrong, hurt you, or close you down.

Photo: Andrea Savall 

Photo: Andrea Savall 

Turn-On # 8: Responsiveness

In bed or out, paying attention becomes a worthwhile practice when you respond appropriately to the information you gather.

That doesn’t mean doing what you think is supposed to come next. It means actually paying attention as you respond, and honing your response to meet my desire. Sounds complicated, but it gets easier when you get present in the moment!

There’s no playbook for life, or for our interactions. No step 1, step 2, step 3 mentality is going to work in every situation. Instead of trying to commit some “play book” to memory, invest your time in learning to read me. And then do whatever comes naturally.

Look, listen, then walk, as we learn in crossing the street. Let’s both give our interactions as much thought as that and we’ll find our way.

Turn-On # 9: Sharing Responsibilities

In sex, that means doing your part regarding safety, birth control, and shared pleasure. In life it means parenting with me, housekeeping with me, making decisions with me; not around me, or to me. It means making goals and building dreams with me, and rooting that process in the nitty-gritty, day-to-day work of it.

Sharing responsibility sometimes means taking control of the situation. Sometimes it means allowing me to. And often, it means us coming together and working it out, in a way that makes sense to both of us.

And, Big Turn-On # 10! Be Willing to Cultivate and Invest in Love Through It All

When my ex-husband and I separated a number of years ago, I loved my way through it. It wasn’t always easy, but now that I know I can do that, I know I can love through anything.

Even when I’m angry at you, I can find the love I have for you within and around the anger. Even when I’m hurt, scared, and tired of the bullshit, I can still find, connect with, and foster that love.

(And if I can’t, then something might really be wrong.)

Practice may not make this one perfect, but it gets you there. Loving through the annoyance, anger, frustration, and pain is something that can become a natural response.

Remember, I’m loving you. Love me, too. If we can pull that off, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to make this thing work.


This article originally appeared at elephant journal and was republished in partnership with The Good Men Project.

About the Author 

Lasara Firefox Allen is an internationally published, best-selling author. She has offered workshops on topics from Mysticism, to relationships and intimacy, to sexuality, and has an active coaching practice. Lasara regularly offers workshops at festivals and other events on the west coast, and workshops and retreats in the northern California region.