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What's the Line Between Sexy-Assertive and Unpleasantly Aggressive?

Our sex expert clues you in.

What's the Line Between Sexy-Assertive and Unpleasantly Aggressive?

I want to be assertive and take control in the bedroom, but what's the line between sexy assertive and unpleasantly aggressive? —Tyler A., Vincennes, IN

The first rule of bedroom assertiveness: There’s good scary (being on a roller coaster) and bad scary (getting mugged). The former is exhilarating because deep down, you know you’re safe. So your goal is to take charge while making sure she never feels the least bit threatened (physically unsafe) or objectified (emotionally unsafe).

The best way to accomplish this feat is to choose positions where you can maintain eye contact and continue to kiss her. This shows her that you’re tuned in to her experience, and it maintains a sense of intimacy. Don’t turn her around and bend her over a piece of furniture. Instead, lift her and set her on top of it. Also avoid positions that immobilize her as that could trigger a fear response, and that’s not sexy at all. (It’s fine to play around with pinning her down, but don’t put her in any positions she actually can’t get out of.)

Remember: If you are directing the action in an in-charge way, stay clued in to her experience. Your goal is to give her the illusion that she’s not in control—but the knowledge that she actually is.

Amber Madison is a New York–based therapist, author, and sex columnist. Send your questions to askamber@mensfitness.com

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