Let’s talk about “Turn On Triggers”
I recently read The Game of Desire by Shan Boodram. This is not a recommendation; it is a secular book with secular values, written for single women navigating the dating scene. After sifting out the chaff, there was one concept that I found intriguing: “Turn On Triggers.” It is kind of the sexual equivalent of Chapman’s Love Languages and subsequent Apology Languages.
(ETA, this is not a book about Turn-On Triggers, it is a book for single women about dating. This was only one concept of many in the preliminary section about understanding yourself and what you want and need before you date, so you have a better understanding of what you’re looking for and therefore a better chance at success.. Being a book about dating, there is still a lot of other discussion about being seductive, although not as much in the context of an established relationship.)
p. 38-39 Turn-on triggers is a method I developed to help people understand what, beyond instinctual biological norms, gets them hot and bothered. I’ve used this method in my counseling to help some understand why they lack desire in their loving relationships….Knowing your and your partner’s turn-on triggers can lift the veil of fog when it comes to finding and maintaining an intimate mood.
Desire: skip the filters, you need to be told directly that you’re desired.
Mental: if you’re not connected mentally first, physical is hardly an option.
Environmental: You need the mood to be set before you set it off in the bedroom.
Cat and mouse: You enjoy the chase as much as the experience.
Transactional: There needs to be something more than the physical act to entice you.
There is a quiz on her website thegameofdesire.com that includes 6, not 5, triggers – (there is the addition of visual, when your S.O. looks hot) and also helps to flesh out the concepts, but there is a photo of a woman’s butt in a thong so I won’t post a link. The quiz highlighted for me that our triggers also influence our turn-offs, (i.e. maybe your turn-on trigger is visual and your spouse comes on to you unkempt in ratty clothes)
Do you identify with one or more of these triggers? What are your reactions to and thoughts about this concept?
I’ll rank the triggers for me/us. High to Low.
1. Mental – my emotional connection to Mrs. Oldbear and her to me is a perpetual turn-on.
2. Desire – yes, this is a two-way street for us. I can trigger her by being desirable (acts of service turn her on – being busy around the house on projects). She turns me on by flashing and flirting which takes us to . . .
3. Visual – just this morning, Mrs. Oldbear gave me a wonderful view of her body in the shower. I sprang to life!
. . . and
4. Cat and Mouse – sexual innuendos can build us up for each other.
5. Transactional – this would be a ‘quickie’ for me.
6. Environmental – bring a romantic, a candlelight dinner across from my elegant, sexy lady is a turn-on.
I took the quiz and my result was Mental. It mentioned intelligence as being the major turn-on, which is spot on. However, the quiz was difficult, as I felt some of the questions had 3-4 (out of 6) answers that I would give equal weight to. And one question that I didn’t agree with any of the answers.
I like the concept. And FYI, you can choose to ‘skip this step’ at the end, where they ask for your email address. The result still comes up afterwards.
@Seeking Change re: “Desire”. …. which seems to be more about direct talk, and “dirty talk”. I know I am one who struggles with verbalizing things, especially if I feel it’s repetitive.
For me, I relate to the Desire trigger, but in a non-verbal way. I don’t relate to dirty talk at all.
It stirs me sexually when sexual energy is conveyed through action and behavior, such as when a guy can’t take his eyes off me, when he goes in for a passionate kiss and starts some frottage, or when he can’t keep his hands off me. (But NOT in the groping way, when a guy shows no sexual energy toward me and starts grabbing a boob or a crotch out of mere horniness when there’s no chemistry going on. That is a huge turn OFF!) Stephen Snyder (Love Worth Making) describes the lack of sexual energy from the male being a common problem in female desire.
In other words, the desire trigger for me is similar to what Paul Byerly was talking about in this post: https://thexycode.com/2017/04/14/want-some-ravished-sex-youre-not-alone/ which also indicates that it is a very common turn-on trigger for women.
“What was really interesting is how being ravished changed women sexually. Forty-five percent said it made them want sex more, and 41% said it caused them to enjoy sex more. Forty-four percent said it made them see themselves as more sexual, and 48% said it made them see their husband as more sexual. Fewer than 5% of women expressed any negative effect from being ravished.
A majority of the women said they wanted to be ravished or ravished again. Fifty-four percent said “Yes, please!” and another 18% were willing to try. However, men were less given to wanting to try it. Forty percent said they would love to try it, and 17% said they were willing. Nearly a quarter were concerned about how their wife would take it.”
I like the concept, and also wonder if it needs some further development. Maybe there are more triggers, and/or maybe they could be defined differently or expanded.
Desire: Multiple sources I have read have defined “responsive desire” as a woman needing a man to make her feel hot and desirable by his raw display of passion in order to really get turned on. It’s something I identify with. It’s why the book “Sex Worth Having” and the website “HighTMarriage” really resonate with me. It’s why the idea of a bit of dominance appeals to me. It’s why I tend to go for the bad boys and find the nice guys a little boring. ETA: this turn-on trigger also means that a soft, weak initiation is a huge turn-OFF.
So here, it’s only one of 5 or 6 different “languages” and I can see that being valid. This one might get written about more as missing for a woman, since many people lose that display of passion as the relationship grows more comfortable, and men in particular sometimes worry about coming on too strong.
Men can also desire this from women, and I see this expressed frequently. Men are more likely to have more of the “instinctual biological norms” so I wonder if it would be easier for more men than women to supply this trigger. Since I am much lower in the “instinctual biological norms” I cannot authentically provide this without receiving it first. Hypothetically, I can fake it to get things started or to bless my spouse, and then enjoy the positive feedback loop and have it become authentic as things progress, but if that was the norm it would cease to work for me. Catch-22? Both partners need the other one to provide the initial spark? Would it be enough for a man to start things off based on his own instinctual, biological norms as long as her passion kicked in and she was able to reciprocate? What do you guys think?
Mental: It seems like emotional would also be involved with this, and for some might be the primary component with mental being secondary. Or perhaps emotional connection needs to be introduced a 7th trigger. Emotional connection is extremely important to me in the context of sex, and it makes sex much more enjoyable and meaningful, but for me it does not actually turn me on, so I wouldn’t call this one of my turn-on triggers.
Environmental: I don’t relate to this, but it makes sense that it would be true for others.
Cat and Mouse: I can relate to this too. Desire is more like intense, raw passion, and this is more like simmering and flirting. Both can really get me going, if there is a solid base of attraction and connection in the relationship.
Transactional: Wow, my knee-jerk reaction is that this looks like prostitution to me. But when I reflect on it, there is a difference. Prostitutes don’t necessarily get turned on, it’s ONLY a transaction. Maybe it’s about feeling loved, like if your love language is acts of service – when your spouse offers to do something for you that they know you would appreciate, it helps you feel loved and helps you want to express that sexually. I don’t know. This one seems the most foreign to me, like “Gifts” is a foreign love language to me.
Visual: Not high up on my own list, but understand that it is extremely important particularly for many men.
Just reading your original post, and you asking identifying with any of these triggers…. the one I thought I might identify with most, is “Cat and Mouse”, but I really had no clue…. I also had to go outside of my marriage and think of how I am in other relationships as well (not sexually, but in general.) I did go and take the quiz, and it came out “Cat and Mouse”.
ETA: One of the things that I have always enjoyed is taking my husband by surprise. I like the “shock value” I can cause. If he expects it or asks for it, it is not near as thrilling. It may be one reason him just “showing up naked” has bothered me. It takes away a thrill and there’s no “chase” it’s just an expectation on his part.
I just cornered my husband 🙂 and made him take it…. his was “Desire”. …. which seems to be more about direct talk, and “dirty talk”. I know I am one who struggles with verbalizing things, especially if I feel it’s repetitive. I would guess that there are other areas that would be high….but I wonder if area that one is lacking (such as this verbal area versus visually) makes the area lacking rise to the top????
The quiz has me at Transactional… There has to be something more for me to have sex. But the quiz has serious flaws. First, it’s too short to allow certain outcomes to be ruled out. Second, a couple of questions have answers that are too similar in nature. Last, 1 question did not have an answer that I identified with. “None of the above” wasn’t an option.
I mainly identify with Mental. I have to have some kind of mental connection, or it just isn’t going to happen for me. If Dh and I have not had enough time together, I just can’t get built up to sex. I feel like I’m having sex with a stranger, and it honestly feels immoral and wrong.
ShadowSpirit, I find what you wrote about desire and the ravishing quiz to be interesting. I, too, respond to this approach. I believe many women are, or books like 50 Shades of Stupid wouldn’t be so popular.
There are so many interpretations of Genesis 3:16, but I have frequently thought that this desire for our husbands we are meant to have, despite his rule over us, is linked to this commonality so many women have on the ravishing question. Perhaps many of us desire our husbands because he has that ability, not in spite of it. It’s just a thought I’m tossing out there, and I’m not suggesting abuse is ok. But it might explain the results of that survey. A loving male leader is hot. He just is.
Interesting quiz…I’m a little surprised by my result though…MENTAL. I would have thought desire was more true for me…but quizzes on the internet NEVER LIE! But I agree with DoveGrey…I think more questions would be better to give a more accurate result.
In the long run, I don’t think mental is way off for me…I have come to learn over time that if DW isn’t into being intimate, it’s a waste of time…I used to know (not so sure at present) when she was faking her romance just for my sake. If I got a sense of any of that, I’d kill the engines and back off. Sex to me is the icing on the cake, and if the cake itself isn’t cooked already, there’s no point in icing it…Don’t judge me for my analogy, I decorate cakes!
@SeekingChange…I have an interesting question for you…You said that his turn-on, may be your turn-off…if i’m mis-stating, please correct me…He’s gives it to you direct, and you like the chase…as in you want the chase…the challenge? You said during the QOD on the 18th that you have “playfully” used sex as a bargaining chip to get his hands off you while you finish a task…I wonder if taking the bargaining chip to the next level (still playfully of course) could add to the cat and mouse game a little bit? I”m not sure how that would look…but just a thought. That brings up a whole new question though…
If I recall correctly, MENTAL was actually the #1 “trigger” out of the 20,000 people who had taken it. DESIRE was #2.
@ALL_IN, that’s an interesting thought. I was talking about this all with my husband, and it still leaves me confused. I still am unsure on how to find a balance between us. All I know is that being “too available” is definitely a turn off… I don’t like feeling smothered. But there is a surety (when he’s healthy) that if I initiate sexually, I will be successful.