Expressing Desires by Andie Cross

SPICE GIRLS Promotional photo of UK pop girl group about 1996. Image shot 1996. Exact date unknown.

So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

As most people who’ve been alive for the last twenty years can tell you, the next line to the Spice Girls’ most recognizable song “Wannabe” is “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.” In 1996, the British girl group sang an entire song about the importance of expressing desires, including sexual desires, without anyone realizing it, as the catchiest parts of the song were a sweet refrain on friendship and the funny sounds of “zig-a-zig-ah.”


The rap from “Wannabe” details the sexual preferences of some of the Spice Girls:


So, here’s a story from A to Z

You wanna get with me, you gotta listen carefully

We got Em in the place who likes it in your face

You got G like MC who likes it on an

Easy V doesn’t come for free, she’s a real lady

And as for me, ha you’ll see


As Cosmo reported in 2015, the line about G and MC refers to Geri and Mel C. preferring sex while on ecstasy, but the more important line is about Emma. This was a chart-topping pop single that has a woman (Em) explaining exactly what she wants from sex (in your face).


Everyone in the English-speaking world has listened to, sung, or been tormented by this song in their heads on repeat at one point or another. This song is about what a woman wants from her partner – to forget her past, to get his act together, to be friends with her friends – then she goes on to ask if he can handle that. She gives her desires a voice in order to make sure she’s satisfied with the relationship.


While it might be a silly pop song, it has a good point. In order for anyone to embark on a serious relationship with a partner, the couple needs to discuss what each one wants from the relationship, sexual or otherwise. Without discussing desires, there is a rut that a couple can fall into, resulting from three innocuous words: “I don’t know.”


This is the classic dinner conversation, at least in my house. “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” And in the end, we always end up going to Applebee’s. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Applebee’s, and usually we both enjoy it, but sometimes I want something else and nothing on that menu satisfies my cravings. In the context of sex, this is a habit a couple might fall into if both individuals are afraid to discuss their needs and desires, settling for the same routine. With this, there’s a risk that one or both partners will end the evening feeling unsatisfied, which can lead to discontent with the entire relationship.


The cause of the “I don’t know” problem can stem from either the fear of expressing oneself or the desire to keep one’s partner happy. If one partner stays silent and bends to the desires of the other, burying his or her feelings in favor of their partner’s, the relationship will become one-sided and the power dynamic will become unbalanced. If both partners fail to express their desires and simply stick with the same old routine, the relationship will fall flat, with neither partner truly getting what they want, but believing they’re doing what the other needs.


In the same way that you would broach the subject of a new cut at your hairstylist’s, tell your partner what you want. While it may take some courage to express your desires, it can have astounding results. If you want to try a new position, a new toy, or even experiment with something entirely new, speak up. Be bold. You’ll never have the chance to get what you want if you don’t ask for it. Without speaking up, you’ll end up across the table from your partner at Applebee’s every Saturday night for the next twenty years. You may not be unhappy, but you probably won’t be satisfied.


Think about things in your relationship you’ve always wanted but have been too afraid to ask for. Then tell your partner what you want, what you really, really want.

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