How one simple game can change your sex life
It’s hard to get out of your head and into your body. And it certainly doesn’t help that the pressure to have sex makes it hard to even know where to start! Luckily, there’s literally THE SIMPLEST game ever that can slow down your monkey brain, make it easy to try new things, and allow you to completely and utterly relax (mmm). Meet: the 3-Minute Game.
What is the 3-Minute Game?
Designed by renowned sex educators Betty Martin and Harry Faddis, the game's goal is to create a short, three minute window of directed exploration. The prompt format below takes off the pressure and removes the guessing game, allowing for full enjoyment of the experience. Three minutes goes by fast!
While it’s called the three minute game, it actually lasts for as many three minute rounds as you’d like.
How to play the 3-Minute Game
Settle into a comfortable, distraction-free environment where both of you can relax. Then…
- Person 1: “How would you like me to touch you for three minutes?”
- Person 2: Respond with specifics (ex: touch X area, with Y pressure, etc)
- Person 1: Set a timer for three minutes and follow the above request exactly
- After three minutes, switch!
One person receives. One person gives. Then switch. It couldn't be easier. And! It couldn’t be more liberating. Check it out:
As the person receiving, there’s no pressure to perform or even let your partner know they’re doing a good job during the three minutes (as they are, in fact, doing the thing you asked them to do). You can silently rejoice in the experience. And if you change your mind (which is fine!) just say “Can you make X adjustment?” Let your partner know what you want—these three minutes are proudly about you. Also! And importantly: your request does not have to be sexual. The rounds can get progressively more sexual if you want, but this game can also be a space to deep dive into pure relaxation with your partner’s touch.
“[The 3-Minute Game is] a really easy way of getting into the mindset of being intimate and being together with my partner.” -John
“Sometimes it’s really hard to initiate or jump into sex brain, so the script makes it much easier to get there.” -Emily
As the person giving, there’s no need to guess what to do! And there’s no doubting how to do it. Adjustments may be requested midway (which is great!) and you’re also welcome to ask “Can I change anything?” If your partner does request a change, it doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. In fact, it demonstrates that they’re comfortable enough with you to say what they want, which is really hard to do. To show your support, respond openly with, “Thanks for letting me know.” And rest assured that you’re doing great, too.
Benefits of the 3-Minute Game
The 3-Minute Game offers a delightful opportunity to refresh your relationship with touch and to truly practice the blissful joy of giving and receiving without the pressure to reciprocate at the same time. What are some other surprising benefits? I’m so glad you asked.
- Taking the reins: With such a short window of time, the low stakes make it easier to really take control of what’s going to happen and be unapologetically assertive. You ask for what you want (or don’t want)—and you get it!
- Discovering new sensations: By requesting specific types of touch, you can explore new sensations and experiences that you might not otherwise have tried. Or even new areas! Forearm? Side body? Lower-butt crease? Who knows what feels good?!
- Good ol’ bonding: Life moves fast, and it's easy to get caught in routine or pattern, or even ignore when something isn’t going quite right. Taking even 3 minutes to share thoughtful touch with one another helps to release those feel-good hormones and remind you both that you’ve got good thing going.
- Trust building: Taking turns as the giver and receiver helps establish trust. As each of you focuses on your partner's pleasure and comfort, you demonstrate your commitment to the other's well-being, which can be especially important when complications arise (which they inevitably do!).
- Mindfulness and relaxation: Focusing on the outcome or end goal of an experience (ie. performance, orgasm, etc) can launch us out of a present moment. But these 3 minute windows have no distant goal, no ambiguity. (Woo!) With much less to focus on, cultivating mindfulness becomes wonderfully easier to practice.
What does intimacy look like when we’re not worried? Not distracted? When we’re given the space to appreciate ourselves? Our partner? (Think about it. It’s pretty great.) Granted, this doesn’t mean that we’re going about our days as carefree teenage lovebirds with no responsibility or consequence. No, no. We humans have gobs of feelings, and our lives and bodies can be frustratingly complex. But we also have the power to slow down and carve out a little space for connection, even when we’re dealing with the challenges. You might even be surprised that a newfound closeness becomes possible. “How would you like me to touch you for 3 minutes?” (Maybe that was too forward, but it felt good, right?? Now go ask your partner.)