Something I hear a lot, particularly from people socialized as men, is the question of whether the expression of desire is "appropriate". My intention here is to address that question. I'd like to deshamify the expression of desire and share a recipe for empowering yourself to express affection and/or erotic desires in a magnetic way. While this recipe is designed with the intention of approaching new partners, it is also super useful for making moves with an existing partner or loved one.
I have a lot of strong feelings around this because I grew up with parents who rarely, if ever, expressed their desires clearly. This required a lot of guesswork for all of us, and resulting disconnections and misunderstandings. I want to live in a world where everyone is able to express their desires - that makes for more fun and hotness! I want this to be done in a "clean" way - with respect and dignity, and without the shadowy attachment or obligation that can kick in after the desire has been expressed. And I want folks to respond to these expressions with in-kind respect and dignity.
When it comes to how erotic and sexual desire is expressed, thanks to the "me too" movement, and the increased societal understanding of the practice of consent, there is now a lot more consciousness and awareness, particularly by people socialized as men. As someone who has been socialized as a woman, I appreciate and benefit from this increased awareness. Being the recipient of unwanted cat calls has made me feel less-than-safe at various times in my life. In my work, I am encouraging this sea change through education and coaching.
However, I also see that the impact this has had on men is that there is more trepidation and hesitation when it comes to making moves towards connection, especially with women. More than ever, men are worried about being perceived as "creepy", because no one wants to be cancelled due to an "inappropriate" advance.
Let's take a moment to examine the phenomenon of "creepiness". What makes an interaction creepy is that it has somehow invoked a feeling of unease. This unease may arise for many reasons. For some, it's simply because the interaction is unwanted. Other times, it's because the person expressing desire is unresponsive to social cues, or is unclear and ambiguous. If someone asks for one thing and there is a subtext that they actually want something else, this is creepy and shadowy.
Furthermore, this fear of not wanting to be creepy can unconsciously trigger a creepy vibe. This happens because when you mask your desire and use other strategies to gain closeness or connection, it comes off as... creepy.
It's important to note that due to sexual trauma and other reasons, sometimes people will perceive an expression of desire as "creepy", no matter how cleanly it is expressed. That is not your problem. In this piece, I'll share a recipe for expressing desire that if followed, will make your advances "creep proof". If you follow this process, and someone still perceives your advance as creepy, you can feel assured that this is their story, or baggage or trauma, not yours.
The general antidotes to creepiness are: self-awareness, respect, attunement, vulnerability, clarity and the practice of consent. If you infuse your expression of desire with at least two of these, you can feel confident that you have not behaved in a creepy way. And, even better, you will infuse your expression of desire with magnetism that will make it very likely to get a response or attention.
Here are the steps to work through:
Step 1: Self awareness
- What is it that you desire with this person?
- Are you taking 100% responsibility for your desires? Do not assume the other person has any responsibility to help you with your desires.
- Do you sense of your self worth in your body? Are you aware of the gifts and resources you bring to the connection?
Step 2: Respect
- What do you admire and respect about this other person, that goes beyond just their appearance?
- Can you express that specifically?
Step 3: Attunement
- Take time to attune to the other person. Is your request calibrated to the level of intimacy you have already shared with that person? (For example, asking a stranger to have sex with you is not an attuned request. Asking them to have a conversation via text or email is a better place to start.)
Step 4: Vulnerability
- Are you letting your heart be seen and felt?
- Are you making a clear request of what you desire?
- Are you willing to hear a "no" to your request, and can you take care of yourself in your own feelings about their response (and/or get the necessary support from others)?
Step 5: Clarity
- Own your agenda. If you're attracted to the person, romantically or erotically, name it. And then let them know that this is just information, you aren't attached to an outcome with them.
Step 6: Practice consent
- Make it just as easy for the person to say "yes" as it is to say "no".
- If you receive a lukewarm or ambiguous response, let the person know you are interpreting this as a "no", since consent is important to you.
- If the person says "no", accept it and move on. Resolve to keep practicing your asking - this is a skill that can be learned! You can do it!
- Before you objectify a person (and comment about their hotness), ask them.... "Is it OK with you if I objectify you for a moment?"
What does this look like in real life?
Here's some examples of expressions of desire that contain just about all of the elements described above.
I really enjoyed the way you listened to me when we talked the other day. I felt really seen and heard by you. I also loved your curly hair and warm eyes. I would like to have another conversation with you, and practice listening to you with similarly kind attention. I think I would really benefit from having a new friend like you - someone who seems comfortable with their own erotic energy. This is something I am really working on myself right now, that's why I have been attracted to Sarah's work. I am attracted to you, but please know I do not need for my feelings to be reciprocated in order to enjoy connecting with you. Would you be open to chatting with me on zoom or the phone sometime in the next couple of weeks?
Hi there. I have been following your posts and work for a while, and I feel attracted to you, but I am sure that is not news to you - you probably get that all the time. I am an "alpha male" in my day-to-day life. I have a lot of responsibilities at work. I have discovered, through play and experimentation with others, that I enjoy being a "sub" in my personal life. It's one way I get to really take a break from the leadership I provide at work. I would really get off on doing chores, errands or cooking for you, if you would be willing to provide me with clear direction, feedback and possibly some humiliation and spanking. Would that interest you? Would you be willing to have a conversation about playing together in this way? For me, sex is not even part of this scenario, it's more about just being of service to you and getting pleasure from the containment of that dynamic.
Hello there, divine being. I see and appreciate the work you are doing in this world. You are teaching people how to love one another more effectively. This is sacred work. I do not have the budget to participate in any of your paid classes, but please know I am respect and admire your work nonetheless. I am available for conversation if you happen to find my profile sufficiently interesting to you.
So please, connect with your desires, all day and every day! Stay in touch with what and who you want, and practice expressing yourself. I'm here to support you in working through these steps. When you feel more confident and skilled, your requests and invitations will become even more magnetic and irresistible.
At our next members gathering, we'll be talking about this topic. Hope you can join us!