Just as we each have our own specific love language, attachment style, and personality traits, we also have a specific style of sexual overtures that turns us on. Sexologist and certified sex educator Shan Boodram developed the concept of “turn-on triggers” to help people recognize what signals arousal for them as individuals. In this excerpt from her new book The Game of Desire: 5 Surprising Secrets to Dating With Dominance—and Getting What You Want, she walks us through a simple way to figure out your own turn-on trigger.
Turn-on triggers is a method I developed to help people understand what, beyond instinctual biological norms, gets them hot and bothered. I’ve used this method in my counseling to help some understand why they lack desire in their loving relationships. And I’ve also used it to help single people assess whether they’re being manipulated into sexual relationships that don’t serve them. Knowing your and your sexual partner’s turn-on triggers can lift the veil of fog when it comes to finding and maintaining an intimate mood.
In order to quickly assess what your primary turn-on trigger is, imagine that you just got home from a long day, and your partner greets you at the door ready to get freaky. What could they say or do to get you in the mood as well?
- “You look so good, and I want you so bad. Go to the bedroom and take your clothes off; I want every square inch of your body.”
- “I ordered dinner for us. Let’s chill, talk and connect. I wanna hear everything about your day and tell you everything about mine.”
- “I vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen, laid down some fresh sheets, and put on your favorite album. Take your time getting cleaned up, then meet me in the bedroom.”
- “Hey, you’re home early. I was going to take a shower and walk around naked for a bit, but now that you’re here, I guess I should change my plans, unless…”
- “I know you’ve had a long day, so if I take care of the house, handle dinner, and take your car to get some gas, do you think tonight we could…”
Based on which of the above appeals to you the most, here’s your turn-on trigger:
- Desire: Skip the filters; you need to be told directly that you’re desired.
- Mental: If you’re not connected mentally first, physical is hardly an option.
- Environmental: You need the mood to be set before you set it off in the bedroom.
- Cat and mouse: You enjoy the chase as much as the experience.
- Transactional: There needs to be something more than the physical act to entice you.
Now that you know your triggers, try to expand on it in a short paragraph as if you were explaining it to someone else.
Here is one of my clients’, Deshawn’s explanation of her trigger:
Subtle hints and riddles are just too much for me, I love someone who is straightforward. If you want me to know you’re into me, here’s the trick…JUST TELL ME. Desire is absolutely my turn-on trigger because my brain is always going a million miles a minute, so if someone plays coy, I’ll move on quickly, thinking there wasn’t much to the relationship.
Growing up, I was constantly teased and made fun of because of my looks. Let it be how uncool my clothes were, the style of my hair, my glasses I’ve worn since age 5 or just my features, like my nose and lips being too full for conventional attraction. It was extremely hurtful to hear those things from my peers, and they manifested into what I thought was my reality. As an adult, I’ve definitely grown into myself and have come to accept my beauty. I no longer believe the haunting memories of the kids from school, but I do still hear them from time to time in my head.
That is why it’s crucial for my lover’s voice to be even louder. Let me hear what makes me sexy, irresistible, and hot to you. Tell me all the ways I turn you on, and what that makes you wanna do to me. Nothing makes me feel sexier than just being simply told, “Deshawn—damn, you look sexy!”
Excerpt from The Game of Desire by Shan Boodram. Courtesy of Dey Street Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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