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The intimate encounter is a vulnerable time, where many of us are insecure, so any perceived criticism may land with a thud. For that reason, we could all use a little training in how to direct your lover away from what doesn’t feel good, and toward what does.

Usually, the best time to discuss this is not when you are having sex, when inarticulate communication can be hazardous. Better, pick a time and place away from the bedroom, so you can talk without risking side effects.

Take a moment to connect, then ask for what you want gently and objectively. “You know when we’re hugging, and you squeeze me really hard? I like when you’re more gentle. Can we try that next time?”

Lovingly asking your lover to do or not to do something is part of sexual wellness – the more you do it, the better it gets. It may start off uncomfortable, but the payoff is huge.