The Secret Ways You Say "I Love You"
Code makes asking for affection less scary.
It's little wonder that so many of us have a signal or password that means,
"Action, please!" "Sex makes us more vulnerable than almost
anything else," Love points out. After all, being turned down for sex can
make anyone feel inadequate, rejected, or undesirable. "But when you have a
code or cue," she continues, "it takes away that awkward negotiation
and paves the way for true intimacy. It provides an easy way for your partner
to say no without it seeming like a big deal."
And these cues do more than subtly get your point across - they help get
both parties in the proper frame of mind. It makes sense: If you consistently
associate a word or signal with sex - such as if your sex shorthand is
"Orlando," because that was the site of your first overnight together -
with time, that word or signal alone can actually get you both fired up. That's
the case with Christi Mann, 25, and her husband, Dave. "I have a shirt that
I put on when I want to get frisky - it's a gray tank top with a little bunny
on it," says Christi. "Now, every time I put it on, it drives him
You can use code to say "Truce!"
The first thing Wendy Alli ever said to her husband-to-be when she saw him
sitting three bar stools away was, "Want a chip?" She instantly felt
stupid, but it started a conversation that started a real-life love story. And
the phrase now saves the Spring Hill, FL, pair from letting silly fights get in
the way of their good thing. "When we get a little frustrated with each
other, one of us will say, 'Want a chip?' and it brings us back to that moment
when we first met," reports Wendy, 33. "It always makes us
No matter what your twist on "Want a chip?" is, having a
lighthearted white-flag phrase or signal breaks the tense mood, helping you
remember the big picture ("We're great together!") rather than the
little issue at hand ("He used up my $30 conditioner!"). "Humor and
teasing can be a powerful tool for defusing a charged interaction,"
explains Boxer. And it doesn't just help you in the moment: Research has shown
that couples who use humor to alleviate tension and conflict have
longer-lasting marriages than couples who don't.