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How to Turn Yourself On

Why It's Your Own Responsibility to Keep Yourself Turned On, Not Your Partner's

"Sex is like pizza . . ." relationship expert Tara Caffelle told us. Now, you're speaking my language. She used this comparison to explain the role our partners have and don't have when it comes to our own sexual desires. Though significant others should be held to certain expectations, it's really up to you to carry them out. For example, he or she should be a loving partner, but it's not solely their job to make you happy — that begins and ends with yourself. They should be a supportive teammate, but it's not up to them to keep you motivated. Similarly, the same goes with sex.

"You see, it is not the responsibility of your partner, or anyone else for that matter, to turn you on, get you in the mood, or make you interested in having sex," Tara told us. "That responsibility is all yours."

To illustrate this, she referred to pizza. Imagine that it's Friday night and you and your SO have plans to grab pizza with friends. Sounds fun, but you just had pizza for lunch, cheese has been giving you heartburn, and you're honestly craving Thai food instead. Tara continued to set the scene by saying how your partner is trying to convince you with FOMO that it's a good idea: you're all going to a trendy new spot; everyone will be disappointed if you don't go; it's just pizza.

"You may change your mind, but to really, truly decide that pizza is a great idea, that will be up to you," she said. "You will have to decide that you want it and create your own desire for pizza. As much as your partner can argue the case for it and point out the social pressures, they are unlikely to place the desire in your heart that would have you really enjoy the pizza and actually want it."

Now, replace the word "pizza" with "sex" and you'll see an obvious parallel. His or her appearance or behavior can absolutely contribute to arousal, but it's up to you to take charge of your own bedroom satisfaction. "We can certainly invite our partner into any part of our experiences, but it's important to remember that they are at choice," Tara said. "If we can all agree to be responsible for our own turned-on-ness, our own bedroom satisfaction, and our own selves, we create empowered and sexy sex, and there is no pizza in the world as good as that."

Here are six ways you can turn yourself on so that you're ready to go, according to Tara.

  1. Grab some inspiration: Porn isn't for everyone, and that's OK. There are still other appealing options out there, whether they're erotic novels, sexy photos, or even your own imagination.
  2. Share your fantasies with your partner: You'd be surprised at how effective simply talking about what turns you on can be.
  3. Ask for what you need: Be clear with what you like and dislike. If slow kisses on your neck totally push you over the edge, ask your partner for them or else they won't know otherwise. Tara says, "Remember: invite your partner in."
  4. Touch yourself: There's nothing shameful in warming yourself up. Get started with your favorite toy or fantasy.
  5. Build anticipation: You don't have to wait until you both get to the bedroom to start the fun. Send your lover sexy texts throughout the day and think about what you'll do together in the meantime.
  6. Know yourself: Figuring out how to get yourself off will only make it easier to communicate to your partner exactly what you want and need. "Take ownership of your own O."
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