We’ve written a little about classical conditioning before (When My Wife Puts Her Hair Up, Husband’s Hands When Wife Is On Top) and readers have asked for a bit more detail, so here it goes. First, what is classical conditioning?

Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning) refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell). It also refers to the learning process that results from this pairing, through which the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response (e.g. salivation) that is usually similar to the one elicited by the potent stimulus.

For our purposes, we’re going to talk about how to train yourself and your spouse by pairing a sexual biologically potent stimulus with a neutral stimulus so that we can elicit sexual arousal by activating the neutral stimulus. A concrete example, from the link above:

Sexy Corte has Pavlov’ed me to get turned on whenever I see her put her hair up. When we’re getting into sexy time, especially Old Faithful, pulling her hair up is usually the final bit of preparation. No matter if we’re alone or in public it really gets me going, especially when she catches my eye in the process. It isn’t just seeing her hair up that does it, it’s seeing her in the act of putting her hair up that turns me on.

When her hair goes up, she goes down — the two events are linked in my brain so that I get turned on merely by watching her put up her hair. I know we’re not the only couple with this conditioning, because there’s an internet meme about it.

So what exactly is classical conditioning? Here’s some terminology to get started:

  • Unconditioned stimulus: Pavlov called the biological stimulus — the one that doesn’t need to be trained — the unconditioned stimulus. This is the stimulus that naturally, biologically, leads to the response you’re trying to elicit. For example, kissing, genital stimulation, and dirty talk naturally lead to arousal (the unconditioned response) because of human biology. These stimuli don’t need to be conditioned to get the right response, they just work.
  • Unconditioned response: The unconditioned response is an unlearned, biological, reflexive response to the unconditioned stimulus. This is the natural response to the unconditioned stimulus that you’re going to train yourself to pair with a neutral stimulus. For example, when your spouse kisses you (unconditioned stimulus) you get aroused (unconditioned response).
  • Conditioned stimulus: This is what you’re working to create! The conditioned stimulus isn’t naturally (biologically) paired with your desired response. This is a neutral stimulus that you want to link to the desired response by using classical conditioning. For our purposes, just about anything non-sexual can be a conditioned stimulus:  non-sexual touch, non-sexual speech, non-sexual clothing, a sound, a look, etc.
  • Conditioned response: The conditioned response is a replica of the unconditioned response, but excited by the conditioned stimulus.

The goal of classical conditioning is to pair the conditioned stimulus with the unconditioned response, so that when the subject experiences the conditioned stimulus he or she will reflexively exhibit a conditioned response that replicates the unconditioned response. For example:

  • Unconditioned stimulus: Sexy Corte (puts her hair in a ponytail and) performs oral sex on me. (The italic part is the conditioned stimulus embedded in the unconditioned stimulus for training purposes.)
  • Unconditioned response: I get an erection.
  • Conditioned stimulus: Sexy Corte puts her hair in a ponytail.
  • Conditioned response: I get an erection.

Classical conditioning is amazing for several reasons:

  • Classical conditioning works even if you know it’s being done to you. Classical conditioning doesn’t need to be done secretly or through trickery. You and your spouse can talk about conditioning each other and then make it happen. There’s some evidence that it works better if you know you’re being conditioned.
  • Classical conditioning works on everyone. Whether you have a high or low sex drive, varying love languages, or difficulty talking about sex, you can train yourselves with classical conditioning. You don’t have to believe in it for it to work. It’s biological, and it works on everyone.
  • You can condition yourself. By triggering unconditioned responses in yourself you can modify your own behavior — for example, to cultivate a taste for coffee, vegetables, or that sex act your spouse is always asking for.

(Note: operant conditioning is a bit different — it’s about training a subject by rewarding or punishing voluntary behavior, whereas classical conditioning is about linking biological involuntary responses to neutral stimuli.)

Let’s get to it: how can you condition yourself and your spouse to enhance your sexual experience?

  1. Pick an unconditioned response you want to trigger and the unconditioned stimulus that naturally elicits it. For discussion purposes here, we’re going to assume that you want to trigger sexual arousal. The unconditioned stimulus is anything that naturally leads to the desired unconditioned response — so anything sexual that naturally creates sexual arousal.
  2. Pick a conditioned stimulus you want to link to that unconditioned response. For Sexy Corte, I use a light touch on the upper-middle of her back as the conditioned stimulus. This stimulus isn’t sexual on its own, but I want it to arouse her (unconditioned response).
  3. Condition acquisition: Execute the conditioning by performing the unconditioned stimulus at the same time as the conditioned stimulus. It doesn’t matter too much which you do first, but you want to do them as close to the same time as possible. For Sexy Corte, I rub her upper back in a circular motion when she has an orgasm. All the sexual stimulation is the unconditioned stimulus, and the orgasm is the unconditioned response; by performing the conditioned stimulus (back rub) at the same time, I create a linkage between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned response (arousal and orgasm). The more frequently you execute the acquisition behavior, the stronger the conditioning will be.
  4. Conditioned stimulation: After the subject has acquired the conditioning, you can trigger the conditioned response by performing the conditioned stimulus. For Sexy Corte, she gets aroused and starts to purr when I rub her upper back, often without her even noticing. In addition, when she is close to orgasm I can often push her over the edge by rubbing a small circle on her upper back.
  5. Condition extinction: When the conditioned stimulus is used to excite the (un)conditioned response in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus the conditioning will eventually degrade and become extinct — the link between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned response breaks down. For Sexy Corte, if I rubbed her back all the time without direct sexual stimulation, eventually the conditioning would break and it wouldn’t turn her on anymore. This extinction process means that it’s important to repeat the acquisition behavior of the conditioning frequently, to keep the conditioned stimulus tightly linked to the unconditioned response. However, even when conditioning becomes extinct it is generally easy to reacquire or renew it simply by repeating the acquisition behavior again.

Here are some examples of unconditioned stimuli you could easily link to sex. Simply use one of these consistently before or during your sexual encounter, and your spouse will get aroused when you exhibit it again. They key is that while training you should only the selected stimulus when you’re going to quickly initiate sex — once the conditioning takes hold you can space things out a little more, but keep an eye out for signs of extinction. If you use the stimulus and then don’t follow through you will frustrate and upset your spouse, so don’t do that, it’s mean.

  • Sight: Wearing certain piece of jewelry; wearing no panties; putting your hair up in a ponytail; a special wink; bending over a certain way
  • Sound: A bell (that’s what Pavlov used!); a few special code words; a certain song or playlist; a growl or purr; a command (“go get in bed and take off your clothes”); a request (“please sir”)
  • Smell: A certain perfume or soap; incense you burn during sex
  • Taste: Have your spouse lick your neck or finger; a certain candy
  • Touch: A certain touch and movement on a certain part of the body; picking her up; grabbing her hips; wiggling on his lap

So what are some things you can do with your conditioned spouse?

  • Conditioned arousal. As described in the examples above, you can condition yourself or your spouse to become sexually aroused by non-sexual stimuli — a ponytail, a touch on the back, etc. However, conditioned arousal can be especially useful if you or your spouse struggle with being attracted to each other in general! We get lots of email from people who want to be more attracted to their spouse than they are, and we often suggest that they condition themselves to be aroused by their spouse. How? Link sexual stimulation and arousal to the presence and touch of your spouse. If you don’t allow yourself any sexual stimulation without your spouse’s participation your body and mind will quickly learn just how attractive your spouse is!
  • Conditioned enjoyment. Condition yourself to enjoy something your spouse likes, but maybe isn’t your favorite activity. For example, provide sexual stimulation to the spouse who is performing oral sex in order to link giving oral sex with pleasure for yourself.
  • Turn each other on in public. Neutral stimuli can be used in public to turn your spouse on without anyone else knowing.
  • Pre-foreplay. Use your conditioned stimulus to begin turning on your spouse long before sexy time begins.
  • Conditioned orgasm. You can link a stimulus specifically to orgasm and train your spouse to climax with it — e.g., a touch, a few words (“come for me”), or a spank on the butt.

Whew, that was a long post! I hope it makes sense. Please leave a comment if you need some clarification, or to share your own experiences with classical conditioning!

One of our most frequent sex positions is cowgirl, with Sexy Corte straddling me and facing forward while I lay on my back. This is the easiest position for her to reach orgasm, and in this position I’m able to hold off my orgasm until she’s ready. While riding cowgirl her arms and legs are pretty well occupied, but my hands are free to play and roam at will! So, what can the husband’s hands do while is wife is on top?

Here are a few ideas to drive your wife crazy and enjoy her body while her arousal builds.

  • Kiss! Who doesn’t love kissing? I find it extremely hot when my tongue is in Sexy Corte’s mouth during penetration.
  • Play with her breasts. Pretty obvious, and the topic deserves its own post. Your wife probably has a favorite way for her breasts to be touched, and when she’s on top it’s a great time to experiment and find out what she likes.
  • Suck on her nipples. I mean, they’re right there in front of your face! How can you not?
  • Touch her face. Trace your fingers over her ears, cheeks, and lips. Put your finger in her mouth to suck. Hold her cheek up against yours. Let her bury her face in your neck, or vice versa.
  • Rub her back. There are a million ways to rub her back, and usually I let my touch get firmer as she gets closer to orgasm. When we start I glide lightly over her skin with my fingertips, but as she gets close to orgasm I grab her firmly.
  • Play with her butt. I love Sexy Corte’s butt, and when she’s on top I can’t keep my hands off it. Rub it, grab it, pinch it, spank it, whatever you both enjoy. When a woman is aroused it’s common for her pain threshold to increase, which means that she may enjoy a little more roughness than she would otherwise. Make sure to communicate about what she does or doesn’t like.
  • Trace down the length of her body. She’s naked, and because she’s kneeling the full length of her body is within arms reach. Trace your fingertips from her fingers to her shoulders, then down her sides, over her hips, down her thighs and calves, and then to the tips of her toes. Then go back up!
  • Grab her hips. When the wife is on top, her hips are where the action’s at. Follow her movements with your hands, or take control and guide her hips the way you want. You probably can’t use your strength to make her move faster, but you can do one of two things: slow her down, or pull her deeper onto you. Slowing her down can help you hold off your own orgasm if necessary, and pulling her deeper can give her a burst of stimulation. I often use my thumbs to trace over Sexy Corte’s hip bones, which drives her nuts.
  • Rub her throat and upper chest. The breasts are obvious, but you can also get a lot of mileage from touching your wife’s throat and upper chest. Light touches here are definitely best! If she’s aroused and working hard, you might be able to feel her pulse in her neck with your fingertips, which I find to be pretty hot.
  • Tickle. Ok, Sexy Corte hates being tickled in any context, but when she’s on top and aroused it drives her crazy when I lightly touch under her arms. It doesn’t seem to tickle, but it definitely gets a strong positive reaction.

When she’s ready to explode, here are three tricks for helping her over the edge.

  • Classical conditioning. Pick a spot on her body to focus your touch on every time she orgasms — I use Sexy Corte’s upper back, right between her shoulder blades. When she climaxes, I rub my hand in a circle on this spot on her back (not exclusively, but frequently). As a result, her body is conditioned to orgasm in response to this touch. It’s not magic, but when she’s close to orgasm I can often push her over the edge just by tracing a circle on her upper back. A fun side effect is that the same touch often elicits a shiver and a purr from her even when we’re not in bed!
  • Hold the vibratorFor the most part our wireless vibrator will stay wedged between us against her clitoris without me holding it, but as she gets close to orgasm and moves more vigorously I often slip a hand down to hold the vibrator in place. If the vibrator slides out of position at a critical moment it can really disrupt the progression to orgasm.
  • Pull back her clitoral hood. If I’m holding the vibrator in place, sometimes it’s beneficial to use my other hand to pull upwards on the skin above her mons pubis. This skin is connected to her clitoral hood several inches below, and gently pulling it up will help expose her clitoris more directly to the vibrator, without risking dislodging the vibrator by shoving a (second) hand down there. This isn’t always necessary or good, but if she’s having trouble getting over the edge to orgasm this trick can make the difference.

Finally, how can you tell what she likes?

  • Words. Ask her to tell you what she likes! And wives, don’t be shy — your husband wants to know how to please you!
  • Moans, groans, and screams of pleasure. When she reacts positively to something, make a mental note to revisit it later. You don’t need to keep doing the same thing the whole time (unless she requests it), but make sure to revisit the touch that made her moan and see if it has the same effect again.
  • Vaginal tightening. Oftentimes your wife’s vagina will tighten on you in response to pleasurable stimulation. Sometimes it just means that she’s getting closer to orgasm, but a pulse of tightness can be an unconscious indication of intense pleasure.
  • Throwing her body backward or collapsing forward. If your wife is holding a body position and then suddenly surges forward or backward this can be an indication that she was momentarily overcome with intense stimulation and her body needed to reposition itself in response. Stimulation that’s too intense is uncomfortable, but as your wife gets more aroused her stimulation threshold will increase and you can revisit a touch that might have been too intense just a few minutes earlier.
  • Post-sex debriefing. After sex, talk with each other about what you each liked best. What do you want more of? Less of? None of? What was your favorite way to give pleasure? Receive pleasure? Don’t debate or challenge each other, there aren’t any wrong answers. Just talk openly and honestly.

Do you have any tips to share? Wives, what do you like your husbands to do with his hands when you’re on top? Leave a comment!

Wives, what’s the worst thing about going out in public? The answer is obvious: when you’re in public, you’re not having sex with your husband. (Unless you are.) So, in an effort to make boring public events a little more bearable, here are a few ideas for how to turn your husband on while you’re around other people.

  • Take off your panties. Excuse yourself for a moment, slip them off, and subtly stuff your panties into his hand when you come back. “I won’t be needing these anymore.” I guarantee he won’t be thinking of anything else for the rest of the night. This works especially well when you’re ready to leave and your husband isn’t taking the hint. Bonus points: secret message panties.
  • Flash some skin. Once those panties are off, give him a sneak peek. Or find a private corner and flash your boobs. Bonus points for letting him touch.
  • Talk dirty. Pull him aside as if you need to talk about the kids, and then whisper something sexy to him. “I need you inside me”, “I’m so wet right now”, “I can’t wait to suck you off”.
  • Text dirty. Even easier than talking! You can even send a sexy pic that you took earlier.
  • Remote vibrator. Give him the remote control for the vibrator you’re wearing.
  • Sit on his lap. This is pretty innocuous, but a little strategic wiggling can have a huge effect. Bonus points if your panties are already in his pocket.
  • Under the table. Rub high on his leg under the table, or pull his hand up your inner thigh. Drop something under the table and ask him to get it, then flash your panties (or lack thereof).
  • Put up your hair. This requires that you condition your husband to expect oral sex when he sees this. Wink.
  • Secret sex reminders. Wear or carry something that isn’t obviously a sex toy, but that your husband will recognize. For example, a bracelet made from your shibari rope. You can also mention mundane aspects of recent sexy time activities. I always know what she means when Sexy Corte mentions trivia night or poetry reading.
  • Meet me in two minutes. Scout out a place for a quickie. After you’ve got him turned on using one of the above methods, tell him to meet you there in two minutes.

Maybe it goes without saying, but don’t forget to deliver on your promises when you get home!

We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

Sexy Corte has Pavlov’ed me to get turned on whenever I see her put her hair up. When we’re getting into sexy time, especially Old Faithful, pulling her hair up is usually the final bit of preparation. No matter if we’re alone or in public it really gets me going, especially when she catches my eye in the process. It isn’t just seeing her hair up that does it, it’s seeing her in the act of putting her hair up that turns me on.

Are there any non-sexual things your spouse does that turn you on?