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The following LoveTool is designed to open intimate communication by helping you share your sexual preferences. There are no right or wrong answers. Many couples feel uncomfortable revealing some of their personal preferences to their partner. That's not unusual. Talking in this way will help you become more comfortable and be more honest when discussing sex-related topics. Start with the questions that are easier for you. Take turns answering each question. Try not to be critical of each other's responses and listen attentively.


  1. Complete the following items individually, not as a couple.
  2. Don't feel pushed to finish the entire inventory at one time.
  3. After you're finished, allow enough time to share your responses with your lover using the Stop, Look, and Listen LoveTool Guidelines.

A. Setting the Mood

  1. For me, it's important that sex (is/is not) part of a general feeling of closeness outside the bedroom.
  2. When I feel angry, I (do/do not) usually feel like making love.
  3. Doing something enjoyable (but non-sexual) together first (does/does not) put me in the mood for sex.
  4. Going out to dinner (does/does not) increase my romantic mood.
  5. Taking a shower with my partner (does/does not) relax me.
  6. I prefer (candle light / daylight / or no light) as the most romantic for me.
  7. Reading erotica or watching explicit video tapes (does/does not) turn me on.
  8. Starting with a sensual but not explicitly sexual body massage (is/is not) pleasant for me.
  9. What puts me in a loving mood most is ________.

B. Touching and Being Touched

  1. I prefer (spontaneous/scheduled) lovemaking times.
  2. I am more comfortable (giving/receiving) touch.
  3. When I'm being touched I (do/do not) usually let my partner know if something is uncomfortable.
  4. When I'm being touched I (do/do not) let you my partner know if something is especially erotic.
  5. Although this varies, I generally like sex to (begin slowly and then get passionate / like it slow all the way through / or like it passionate from the outset.)
  6. The parts of my body that I typically like having touched are my ______.
  7. The parts of my body that I typically don't like being touched are my _______________.
  8. The parts of your body that I love to touch are your ___.
  9. I like having my breasts/genitals touched (early/later) in lovemaking.
  10. I feel (comfortable / less comfortable) when my naked body is seen during lovemaking.

C. Feelings about Masturbation

  1. I am (comfortable/uncomfortable) masturbating.
  2. If I knew you masturbated, (it would/would not) bother me.
  3. I (would/ would not) feel comfortable masturbating in front of you.
  4. I (would/would not) like to see you masturbate in front of me.
  5. Using sex toys for sexual variety is a (turn-off/turn-on) for me.

D. Sexual Response

  1. I (do/do not) worry about sustaining an erection
  2. I (do/do not) feel pressure to keep my erection longer.
  3. I (sometimes/always/never) have pain with penetration
  4. I (sometimes/always/never) have problems getting as wet as I'd like to be.
  5. If I have a problem with my erection, I (do/do not) try to hide it from you.
  6. If I have a problem getting wet, I (do/do not) try to hide it from you.
  7. If I have a problem with my erection what I would like you to do is __________________.
  8. If I have a problem with wetness and getting aroused what I would like you to do is _________________.
  9. Having an orgasm each time we make love (is/is not) important to me.
  10. Having an ejaculation each time we make love (is/is not) important to me.
  11. When it comes to sexual positions for intercourse I (would/would not) like more variety.
  12. I would like sexual intercourse (more/less) often or the same frequency.
  13. When it comes to initiating lovemaking, I'd like you to be (more/less assertive).
  14. When it comes to making love, I'd like you to be (more active/more passive).
  15. Hearing sexy talk during lovemaking is a (turn on/turn off) for me.

E. Sexual Fears/Obstacles/ and Secret Wishes

  1. The things that block me from feeling more sexy are ________________.
  2. Sometimes I'm afraid that you might ____________________.
  3. One thing I'd love to try that you might not know is _____________.
  4. One thing that you/we used to do that I'd like to do again is _______.

Now that you've identified some of your preferences, try something new. Anything different can stimulate renewed excitement. Select something from the "mood" or "touching" section and change your usual behavior. If you're accustomed to making love in daylight, touch by candlelight or moonlight. If your lover enjoys sunrise sex, forget breakfast one day and indulge in some early moments of pleasure before going to the office.

A change in setting can jump-start romance. Touching on a blanket on the family room rug (once the kids are safely in bed) can re-ignite your passion. Make love to music or to the natural sounds of the ocean or rain. Some couples find the rhythm of music can trigger erotic response - remember Ravel's Bolero in the movie "Ten?" Use your responses to the sexual viewpoints LoveTool to construct your own personal program for stretching past your old security zones. Remember, there isn't one path to exquisite sexual arousal. Experiment and let the spirit move you.

(Excerpted from Dr. Scantling's Extraordinary Sex Now: A Couple's Guide to Intimacy, Doubleday, 1998).

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