The Two-Minute Game: An easy way for couples to turn no sex into good sex, and good sex into great sex.Read Now
By Roger Butler from Curious Creatures.
Most relationships begin with relatively high quantities and quality of sexual activity. For a while – the ‘limerance’ phase – it’s so exciting to be in relationship with this new special person that sex tends to unfold pretty enthusiastically all by itself. But for almost all relationships, this phase passes as the relative mundanity of life kicks back in; somehow it gets harder to make high quality time for each other, the initial sense of never-ending attraction is replaced by the usual interpersonal frustrations, or life just gets busy. And all of those problems get exaggerated if you happen to have kids.
If this is you, don’t worry: You’re behaving perfectly normally, and the challenges you’re experiencing can be solved. What follows is a few general strategies you can employ, and one specific intervention that’s easy to implement and works for most people, most of the time: The Two-Minute Game.
The structure of this game is really simple: You take it in turns asking for what you want, and the other person gives that activity for two minutes. Then you swap (and repeat, for as few or as many rounds as you want). The simplicity of the structure wildly undersells just how far-reaching it can be.
When it’s your turn to ask for something, I recommend simply shutting your eyes, and trusting your intuition. What you come up with will often be very surprising and unusual. But that’s what intimacy is like; sex is often portrayed as only being about kissing, manual stimulation, oral, and penetration – and while these things can be loads of fun – our bodies and minds are often way more creative than that. Free yourself from expectations around things like orgasms, arousal, or anything that looks like sex is portrayed on television, and instead just see where your curiosities take you. Here are some of the favourite things I’ve asked for in over a decade of playing this game:
One of the things that busy people tend to be able to do without herculean effort is find a certain time of the week for each other, like Thursday nights, or Sunday mornings during the baby’s nap-time, or whatever works for you. It’s almost impossible to guarantee you’re going to be energised or aroused when ‘date day’ comes around, but you can commit to simply being there – which is all the Two-Minute Game asks of you. It will come to be a little moment of sanctuary in a schedule that is otherwise dedicated to things other than the relationship.
You will learn new things about yourself, and each other. Even after decades of being together, the simple act of being able to check in with your body and see what kind of attention it would like will reveal many delicious new things.
The short and simple structure of the game addresses something that stops many of us from asking for what we want: Fear of being perceived as selfish lovers. If we’re only going to be in receiving-mode for two minutes (and anyway then swap over and give back), you’re not leaving much scope for your internal critics to make a mess. Also, the game solves another problem: What do you do when you’ve asked your partner for something, and they give it to you, but then you tire of the activity or change your mind? How do you politely say “thank you, but no thank you” without appearing demanding or ungrateful? The answer is embedded in the structure: The buzzer goes off, and the activity ends. More often than not, you’ll be left with a sense of longing for more, which is absolutely perfect! It’s better to end an activity before it reaches its use-by date, and leave yourself hungry.
Pro-tip: You can simply give an activity for a period without a timer and then call ‘time’, but very few people are good at this. It’s much better if you just use a timer on your phone; no-one needs to be responsible for keeping track of time, or for interrupting a fun activity. Your phone does the hard work!
Another pro-tip: Sex is often portrayed in a way where your partner just somehow magically knows how to touch you, without you asking. That’s true for a very small percentage of the population; the rest of us benefit a lot from using our language skills and asking for what we want – the person that’s using communication in their sex-life is guaranteed to be having better sex than the person that isn’t. Once you’ve asked for something, your partner can respectfully negotiate anything that isn’t right for them – that’s part of the communication process. This game will help you to get much better at asking for what you want, and therefore it’s much more likely that you’ll get what you want.
There are other strategies you might want to put in place, depending on your circumstances. Some of them are quick and easy, some of them require some self-development and relationship work along the way – however, sex and intimacy is like anything else, in that it takes time and practice to get good at it. For some reason, we often think we should just be good at sex without putting any effort in, which is weird, because that’s true for no other skill. Some specific things you might want to consider:
Somewhere out there is a model of sex that is right for all of us; the best we can do is simply run a series of experiments and try and notice the results. Your unique expression exists, waiting for you to find it.
Roger Butler is the principal facilitator behind Curious Creatures, and runs a variety of workshops on sexuality and self-development. He doesn’t claim to be the first to have discovered the Two-Minute Game; it’s been around in various versions for a while.
If you like what’s being discussed above, you will probably like the workshop ‘Tantra for the rest of us: Fun Little Sex Games’. Versions are fun for couples, hetero singles, and gender-blender singles.
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Rog is the driving force behind Curious Creatures, and the main author of this sexuality blog in Melbourne. They were brought up white, middle-class, mostly heterosexual, and male. They now identify as kinky, tantric, polyamorous, queer, and very, very curious. Are you curious? Read more about Rog and Curious Creatures.