What's Your Sexual Style?
The three states of sex—and how they affect the state of your union.
Photo: Beatriz Vera/EyeEm/Getty Images
Ever wonder why your husband closes his eyes during sex or why your girlfriend insists on talking dirty? In 1980, University of Connecticut psychologist Donald Mosher proposed a now-classic model of human sexual response based on three modes of connection. No one falls exclusively into one category, explains David Schnarch, sex therapist and codirector of the Marriage & Family Health Center in Evergreen, Colorado: "You may have a preference, but it doesn't define your sexual style."
Trance-like: You focus inwardly during sex, even as you remain aware of your partner. You'd rather keep things quiet—talking can be a distraction.
Partner-engaged: You want to whisper sweet nothings and gaze into your partner's eyes.
Role-playing: You're into sharing fantasies and assuming specific identities with your partner.
Even if you and your loved one aren't always in perfect harmony, it's not evidence that you're sexually incompatible. "In reality, we're all capable of operating in all three of these dimensions, at profound depth," says Schnarch. Like everything else in the bedroom, it's about working together: The role-player can lovingly focus on the partner who longs to engage. And occasionally, she can put on the Swiss Miss outfit.