One of my twenty-something mentees and I were chatting about pleasure when she asked about a situation in the bedroom between her and her current beau.  Boo thang seems to be all over the place in the bedroom, leaving her unsatisfied- but she likes him and doesn’t want to call it quits because of his not so great “skills”.

I pondered, “How many women face this problem from their teens through menopause, and why does it appear that the pleasure of women is not nearly as important as that of men?”  I’ve generally had good, gratifying sex because I don’t date people who aren’t interested in pleasing me inside or outside of the boom-boom room. Or, maybe I just pick ‘em good.  Either way, I wanted her to know that her pleasure is even more her responsibility than his. “Closed mouths don’t get fed, figuratively or literally”, I announced.  So she’d better quickly figure out how to communicate her needs to her lover and give him an opportunity to get it right.

I talked to my honeypot about the situation. He offered that most men are concerned (and even light-weight obsessed) with pleasing women.  The problem is many women don’t effectively communicate their needs, and many men are left in the dark because they aren’t socialized not to ask. Oh? In 2012 grown folk are really leaving anything that gives them joy (including sex) up to chance and other people?  Well I guess they are because my mentee is obviously doing such things and much older, and seemingly wiser women I know are doing the same.  I also considered that many Black men, in particular, have issues with not being perfect, Mandingo sex gods in bed.  In understanding that on both sides, hyper-sexualization guides how we sex.  Being thoughtful in our approach to speaking with our partners about the touchy subject is a must.

I decided to ask a few enlightened souls, both men and women, how women can successfully introduce wants in love making to new or old lovers.  Here’s what I got…

From the ladies:

“I tend to guide my husband while in moments of pleasure because I know in those moments he’s focused on satisfying me.  I give gentle directives and make sure that I respond vocally, with moans and such, when he does what I ask.  I’ve learned that innuendo doesn’t work. I give instruction and positive feedback so I don’t have to ask again in the future.”

“I use images for guidance.  Whether we are at the movies or watching adult films in private, I let him know that a certain scenario, kiss, touch, etc., excites me.  He usually makes a mental note and I can count on him trying whatever I’ve commented on liking the next time we are intimate.  I think in this way it’s more about what I like and not about what he’s not doing, so it doesn’t come off as me being too bossy.  Often it seems like we’ve all loss the art of finesse.  We need to get that back.”

“I send flirty texts and emails throughout the day telling my boyfriend what I plan to do to him and what I want him to do to me.  I think letting him know that I want to give as good as I get encourages him to give me what I want.  Feeling desired is as important for men as it is for women.  I notice that when I court him through the day he’s ready to please me in any and every way I want.  It works for us.”

And the gents say:

“I’ve had a lover call me and ask me if I had free time. She asked my entire week’s schedule (which you have to do with me). She then said, “Friday is mine. Yours and mine. I would like you to come over and I want you to just let me take care of things….”.  I was open to it although I wasn’t sure… so I followed with “what things?”  She said “I want you to go into my bathroom, shower with me, get to know me under the rinse and lay me down and let me lead a bit.” I was totally with it. Confidence is so very sexy to me.”

“It really doesn’t matter to me how my lady brings it up.  She could tell me what she likes during lovemaking or send an email.  Most of all, I’d like her to do it with courage and confidence in our relationship, in a way that suggests we are good with  talking about anything.  I’d want her to tell me exactly what she wants me to do, or not do, very directly.”

“I’m going to be honest, a few years ago, if a woman brought up issues with sex I might have automatically become defensive- not because I didn’t want to please her, but because men are taught early that not being good in bed means you’re not a real man.  I’ve grown up and realized that better sex for my partner means better sex for me.  When women are highly stimulated they are usually more comfortable and open in bed.  It’s a lesson that I try to impart on the young brothers I know, well that and the fact that each woman you have sex with is different and will enjoy sex differently.  Pay attention to her and she’ll pay attention to you.”

Realizing that we are all individuals with singular wiring, thoughts on pleasure, erogenous zones, and more, is the key to not only communicating about the lovemaking we want, but good lovemaking period.  We have to learn our partners and how to meet their needs wholly.  Being both transparent, vulnerable and empathetic in the ways we approach sex the direct course towards joy and fulfillment.

How would you tell a lover, or like for a lover to tell you about pleasure? How do YOU want it?

Josie Pickens is a writer, activist and social commentator who blogs at  Follow her musings on twitter at @jonubian