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Asking The Right Questions To Get What You Want

I learned early on in childhood that you had to communicate the right questions to get the right answers from people.

The other day I went to Home Depot with my partner because she accidentally ran over my friend’s mailbox with my car. As we were looking for someone to help us find an imperative piece, my partner asks a customer service guy, “Do you have this part?” The guy answered with an energetic “Yes!” and then stood there. There was a giant, pregnant pause. I then asked, “Can you tell us where it is?” And he graciously said, “Yes! Follow me!”

This kind of response is not a new response for me. I learned early on in childhood that you had to communicate the right questions to get the right answers from people. Many women (and those who have been socialized as female growing up) make assumptions about what they say to their partner or other people in their lives thinking that someone will “interpret” what they are actually saying. My partner is no different. She automatically assumed that he would point her in the right direction; and on most days, this would probably happen because we are socialized to jump to conclusions about what a person wants without actually knowing.

"Yes" or "No" Just isn't Enough

In other words, he could have interpreted her words in a variety of ways. After she said: “Do you have this part?” he could have said these things:

  • “Yes, it’s on aisle 13.”
  • “Yes, it’s usually in stock.”
  • “Yes, but there’s a better way to fix your mailbox.”
  • “Yes, let me show you where it is.” (The usual response.)

But you get my point. There are so many answers and interpretations for questions that are simply “yes” or “no” and this can be especially problematic when you’re thinking about your sex life or your relationships, in general. For instance, if you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answers and not everyone is so forthcoming with the information they’re holding onto.

So, Ask the Right Questions

If the question is: “Do you like having sex with me?” I hope that most of the time, the answer will be “yes” but you might not get any more information from that point. You would have to ask questions like:

“What do you like about having sex with me?”

“What are the specific acts that please you the most when we’re having sex?” Or maybe even “How do you think we can better our sex lives?” Which would require more thinking power and possibly a robust conversation on bettering your sex life.

How to Ask the Right Questions

The point is, if you really want to get what you want out of a situation, whether it’s sexual or not, you really need to ask the right questions. They need to be DIRECT. They need to be with GOOD INTENT. They need to be asked with a LOVING ATTITUDE. Bitter questions will get you bitter answers. Better questions will get you better answers. People always match the energy of the folks who are approaching them, so the better attitude you have about the situation, the better the outcome of the situation (I would hope).

So the next time you want to know something specific, remember to ask questions that will get at specific details of the answers you want. Otherwise, you will have to deal with “truths” that are not as fully whole and robust as I’m sure you would like them to be. Cheers to your sexual success!

Marla Stewart

Marla Renee Stewart, MA is a professional sex, intimacy and relationship coach and sex educator. Not only is she a lecturer at Clayton State University, she is also the co-founder of the Sex Down South Conference and the Sexual Liberation Collective. Gaining her reputation for being "The Sex Architect", she created Velvet Lips to empower people of all ages to embrace, educate and enjoy their sexuality and their sexual lives. She has studied human sexuality for more than 16 years at San Francisco State University and Georgia State University, respectively, and has expert knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. She has published academic articles and continues to do sexuality research. She has conducted workshops at conferences, not-for-profit and private organizations, as well as universities in the Atlanta area. She has been featured on many radio shows, documentaries, books, magazines and has been invited to speak at Universities around the country. She also sits on the board for the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!
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