Signaling for Sex

You want to have sex. You’re not sure if she’s in the mood. What do you do? Turn out the lights and put on Marvin Gaye? Haul out the leather and lace? Switch off John Stewart and gaze at her longingly?

One thing economists might recommend is using clear signals to indicate that you’re in the mood. Here are a few effective signals couples told us they use:

“She gets naked and ditches my college track t-shirt”
“He’s quiet. He usually talks a lot.”
“I put a condom on. That seems to give her the idea I want a little more than good conversation.”

Signals promote transparency, which is a good thing. They also avoid coordination failures. That’s when people make decisions based on incorrect assumptions about how other people will behave. Four drivers arrive at a four-way stop sign at exactly the same moment and all go at once; two outfielders run to catch the ball, slam into each other and miss the ball altogether; you start ravaging your spouse and she yells at you for interrupting her Stieg Larsson book right when the dragon tattoo girl is about to catch the bad guy.

To avoid such coordination failures, use good signals. Good, being the operative word. Relationship guru  John Gottman told us he once suggested to his wife that it was a “little cold” in the room, thinking that might make her see that he wanted to have sex. She told him to turn up the heat.

Posted in sex, strategy

2 Responses to Signaling for Sex

  1. That is an awfully astounding column you’ve posted.Thanks a lot for that a fantastically amazing post!
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  2. r dupree says:

    Old Geezer here. I was not going to make a comment but I can’t resist. Jenny wrote: “two outfielders run to catch the ball, slam into each other and miss the ball altogether; you start ravaging your spouse and she yells at you for…”
    Rightly so. Ravage means, “To lay waste; plunder. To commit destructive actions.” Synonyms are “devastate, waste, sack, pillage, and despoil”. Not only do the words have nothing to do with sex, they all refer to property damage and theft. No woman wants “destructive actions” committed on her body during sex. Sorry Jenny, but what women desire is to be “ravished” not ravaged. my definition of ravish is this.
    RAVISH: “An IDEALIZED scenario in which she carried away by a man, by force if necessary, and have sexual things to her without her permission, but not against her will.” “Will” here means “desire, want, inclination on her part.” Will is the key word in seduction. Back to jenny’s post.
    “….interrupting her Stieg Larsson(I just read all of them in a week) book right when the dragon tattoo girl is about to catch the bad guy.”
    To avoid such coordination failures, use good signals. Good, being the operative word. Relationship guru John Gottman told us he once suggested to his wife that it was a “little cold” in the room, thinking that might make her see that he wanted to have sex. She told him to turn up the heat.” An approprite response. Here is what a man should do if he wants some [good] sex. He should put some effort into it show his lust for her and SEDUCE HER! Sex, especially for marrieds, should be the result of seduction. It make the woman feel desired, which is [almost] better than sex. In my 44 years of having sex with a married woman, signaling for sex usually results in rejection because she has no idea what you want. Turn up the heat indeed!

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