Finding Our Voice

Walker Thornton

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There are lots of ways we add that extra bit of oomph to our relationships, and one of the best ways is through communication. For me, flirting and seduction involve words.

Let me share a little story about finding our voices. It was a day of playful distractions as I emailed back and forth with a former lover. It started with my comment that he rarely used endearments unless he had consumed a beer or two.

The next morning, stone cold sober, as he noted, he began sending text messages on his way to the airport, starting at 5:45 am.

Doll. Babe. Cutie Pie. Sugarplum.

I replied to each email with my own term until I hit a creative block and wrote “pukkie-bear”. Laughing, I broke down and googled Endearments for Men. It was a fun day with a light spontaneity that felt easy and sexy.

We forget the power of words in our day-to-day conversations. Most of us don’t use words often enough to convey our desires or communicate fully with our partners. And when we fail to use our voices we shortchange ourselves and the people we are with—friend, family member, co-worker, boss, lover.

It’s not easy to admit that here, where I write about sex and sexuality and often tout communication as a necessary tool for intimate relationships that I don’t always follow my own advice.

I have challenges in speaking up about what I really need and that gets in the way of my feeling good about a relationship, and can lead to unsatisfying intimacy.

There are several levels of communication you can employ during your intimate moments. (I love words and wordplay so the man who uses his words well already has an advantage!) Sweet, silly words of endearment are fun for breaking the ice, sharing your affection in a light-hearted way. A smile and a ‘sweetie pie’ convey warmth and affection.

Hot and sexy words—some of us don’t like to use explicit language while others find it a huge turn-on. Do you want a partner to murmur sexy words to you as part of your intimate play? Does it add an erotic charge?

Typically men are more comfortable with talking during sex than women are—but it’s important to test the waters carefully. You want to find the right tone. Men do seem to like it when you tell them what you like about their actions.

Serious communication–a must in any relationship, regardless of the level of connection. I have found that midlife women aren’t always comfortable expressing their sexual needs. It can feel awkward asking for what we want—particularly if we have the mindset that a ‘good’ lover should know.

Our partners aren’t mind readers. And if you’re in a relationship with a traditional older person they may also feel some discomfort when it comes to talking about matters of intimacy. It’s not something we learned to do nor do we have role models for that kind of communication. And yet there is something incredibly sexy and powerful about stating what you need and want.

Most importantly, when you give voice to what you’re expecting or hoping for, you avoid misunderstandings by communicating clearly. You know your body, your desires, and your comfort level better than anybody. The burden is on us to state our needs.

We forget that sometimes.

If giving voice to your intimate needs feels hard, then start small. Tell him/her why you liked the kiss you got earlier in the day. Talk about what you think would be fun to try—do it in a nonsexual setting so it feels less vulnerable. Ask for what you want. Directly.

“I would love it if you would rub my feet as we get into bed.”

“Could we spend some time _____________ tonight?"

Finding and using one’s voice is the ideal way to nurture and sustain your relationships. It requires a certain amount of trust in your partner and a willingness to be a little vulnerable.

Suppose they say no, or ignores your wishes? It might hurt, but it’s a good judge of character and useful information. Chances are your partner will appreciate the trust you’ve placed in him or her and respond in kind.

The possible benefit of giving voice to your aspirations, your needs, your comforts and discomforts far outweighs the possible negatives.

So, Sweet Cheeks…start practicing!

Benjamin Hotel
Benjamin Hotel


Walker Thornton

Walker Thornton is an author and public speaker advocating the idea of Aging Unapologetically™.

She helps women embrace the next stage of life with joy and abandon and a touch of practicality. Her approach to talking about sex and aging is refreshingly positive.

Her book, Inviting Desire, a Guide for Women Who Want to Enhance Their Sex Life, can be found at Amazon, and other online booksellers.