For many men, women are a conundrum of mixed messages when it comes to life and sex. In their business and personal lives, women are empowered and ambitious—they’re pushing for what they want and they’re getting it. They are masters of multi-tasking—juggling work, family and more—and control their destinies through careful planning.

In relationships, many women say they are looking for someone who will listen to them, talk with them, support their emotions, needs and ambitions, and be a best friend. They want someone who will acknowledge their power in a positive way and encourage them. But in bed, they want to let go of their power and feel a man’s confidence and strength. They don’t want a friend in the bedroom; they want a lover—someone who will seduce and delight them. They want instinct and undeniable attraction to take over, and they don’t want to give a whole lot of instruction.

Women’s desire to have a soul mate-friend at one moment and a bodice-ripping lover the next has left many men feeling unsure about what to do… and when. The truth is, most men aren’t hard-wired to give women the verbal intimacy they crave. And when they try to answer this need, it’s even more difficult to gauge when they should switch it off and dial up their power and strength. As a result, many men are confused and don’t know how to talk about it, and many women want more from sex, but don’t know how to ask for it.

I will dispel the confusion with one word: seduction. Women want to be seduced—they want to be carried away from their busy, hectic lives and taken to another place. Perhaps that’s why women are such big consumers of romantic literature. (Romance Writers of America found that in 2013, women made up 84% of the buying audience in a $1.08 billion romance novel market.)

Here are a few reasons behind women’s deep-seated desire for seduction and romance:

  • Women are socially and culturally conditioned to want to be desirable to men. There is something innately special and important about having the power to ignite a man’s passion and virility.
  • Women are conditioned to suppress their desire for sex. For centuries, women were encouraged to hold back their sexual longing and they were chastised if they expressed themselves in a sexual manner. While this cultural norm has dwindled over time, some women still do not feel comfortable telling a man what to do in the bedroom.

The problem is, Western culture doesn’t embrace seduction the way other world cultures do.

Many of us are too pragmatic, even when we’re intimate. Still, women want romance and they want to be swept off their feet. Here’s the good news: Seduction is easier than many men realize. Here are some strategies that men can try. (Let me know how it goes!)

  • Attention is sexy – Remember those first days and weeks after you met your partner? Remember how fantastic and hot they were? At the beginning of a relationship, we’re paying attention to everything from how our partner looks, to how they smell, to how they talk. Attention is the most seductive tool a man can use. That means looking at her when she’s speaking (put the phone, tablet and other electronics away). Engage her in conversation. Sincere compliments also go a long way.
  • Plan for the moment—Many of my clients dismiss this idea when I suggest it. They say they want to reclaim the spontaneity that they had at the beginning. If you reflect on the early days of your relationship before you shared your lives, getting together required planning. Going to a movie and dinner meant selecting a place and time, making reservations, and painstakingly selecting what you would wear. It meant straightening up the bachelor pad in case she came over afterwards. Spontaneity is great when it happens, but don’t wait for it. Take the initiative and make time for great sex.
  • Don’t touch just for sex – Many women complain that their mates only touch them when they want something. This can be a turn-off. Try incorporating touch into those mundane moments when sex is off the table and see how this can become part of the way you enjoy your mate’s company. Give her shoulder a quick caress when you’re in line at the grocery store. Dance your finger across her knee under the table when you’re out with friends. Touch is a powerful aphrodisiac; it confirms the connection between two people and it makes her feel special and desirable. Use it early and often, and surprise! It might just lead to sex.

Through attention, planning and easy intimacy, men can infuse a sense of sex into their relationship and build sexual tension that women can’t resist.

Once you get that tension going, confusion turns to clarity and there’s no denying what to do next.

Stay tuned for 50 Shades of Confusion, parts 2 and 3 where I’ll share more seduction tips and sexy bedroom techniques.