By "beginning of a relationship", I mean anywhere from the first night to the first two years. For one thing, we're hopelessly romantic. We imagine that the right guy will instinctively grant us every sexual favour we've ever fantasised about, without our having to say anything. Ridiculous, sure, but a girl can dream.
Also – trust me here – we dread being perceived as high maintenance. We see how put out you guys are by the idea of phoning us once a day or escorting us to a cousin's wedding. So asking for 45 uninterrupted minutes of cunnilingus seems outrageous.
The good news is that we are fantasising about sex. (Wow – you too?) And we will get around to requesting our favours just as soon as we feel comfortable and confident enough. If your partner isn't there yet, let me give you an idea of what those favours might be – maybe you can encourage her to share them. Speaking on behalf of my gender, I wish you'd . . .
1. Shower before bed.
Seeing you emerge from a steamy bathroom with droplets of water clinging to your biceps makes me want to dry you off with my tongue. That includes all those soft, warm sensitive places – but only when they're zestfully clean.
2. Talk dirtier.
Much dirtier. Trot out a variety of sexy words one night, and if I grunt and moan in agreement, kick it up a notch. When I respond with total silence, dial it back down.
3. Mow the lawn in jeans and no shirt so I can play desperate housewife from the window.
Then come inside smelling of fresh-cut grass, sweat and pheromones, and make love to me on the dining-room table.
4. Ask me to perform yoga poses naked.
I've been preparing for it every week while bent over and staring through my legs at the mirror on the yoga-studio wall. This is not a performance I'll volunteer for. I need a little encouragement, goading even, but I may very well give in. And you'll especially like the views when I'm in camel pose and standing bow.
5. Confess your latest sexual fantasy.
But say that you did this with/to me in a dream. That'll allow me to maintain the illusion that it isn't something you used to do with an ex-hookup, or an idea you picked up from porn. I might not agree to reenact it, but hearing about it will make me feel like your naughty little confidante, which is very hot. Bonus: it'll give me the courage to tell you mine.
6. Read up on sex.
There are books on boinking that are worth the embarrassment of buying them. Like Ian Kerner's She Comes First, for example. It's a guide to giving oral sex so well that your partner will insist on cooking you blueberry pancakes the next morning. Yes, you're an amazing lover already, but Kerner has a PhD for a reason.
7. Suprise me in the shower and direct a strong stream of warm water precisely at my clitoris.
Adjust your aim even as I giggle and squirm around the tub. I've done this by myself, plenty of times, but having you do it to me is way sexier and a hundred times more fun.
8. Make your move the second we walk in the door.
Or while we're still in the hallway. I don't know what, if anything, happened between Benicio Del Toro and Scarlett Johansson in that elevator, but if Del Toro acted as if having sex with her right then and there was the only reason he was put on this planet, I could understand if she obliged. When a guy lusts after me so urgently that he can't even wait the 90 seconds it takes to get to the bed, it makes me feel like a movie star.
9. Ask to take black-and-white photos of me naked.
I want you to, but I'm not so cocky as to suggest that my body could be a work of art. That's why I need you to do it for me. Bring it up after we've had sex. Tell me that the curve of my hips needs to be immortalised. Then, one rainy Saturday night, produce a bottle of wine and a camera.
10. Treat sex like a buffet.
Take breaks during intercourse to go back for appetisers. Too often, making out, manual stimulation and breast caressing get cast aside when the more serious stuff starts. But without generous amounts of all three from start to finish, the female orgasm is infinitely harder to achieve.
11. Sit back on your heels from the missionary position and caress my legs slowly, from ankle to thigh.
When you take the time to stroke my body thoughtfully during sex, it lets me know that you're savouring the experience as something meaningful to you.
12. Buy more of those snug, grey boxers with the buttons on the crotch.
I want to work them open with my teeth.
13. Kiss me in front of your friends or co-workers and slip me the tiniest bit of tongue. They'll think we have a smokin' sex life. Other women will wish they had a guy like you. That will make me feel very lucky, and very horny.
14. Watch me shave my legs.
Offer to help me shave other places.
15. Manoeuvre me into 69 at least once a month. Sometimes with me on top, sometimes you. Sometimes on our sides. And, at least once in our lives standing up with my thighs on top of your shoulders.