How to talk to your partner about wanting kinky sex

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How to talk to your partner about wanting kinky sex

How to talk to your partner about wanting kinky sex

Ever since I had internet access, I’ve known that I was submissive. I’ve always been a bit advanced when it came to my sexual interests and vocabulary (I guess that’s why I became a sex writer, huh?)—and I definitely asked my high school boyfriends to sexually experiment more than the average 18-year-old girl from the suburbs (you’re welcome, Colby).

In fact, that’s sort of been a theme in every one of my relationships ever. Me, explaining to my partner what kind of role play I want him to act out with me, or what kind of toy we need to get from the sketchy sex shop behind 7-11.

While I partly enjoy opening my partner’s eyes to new activities, sometimes I wish they would just “get it” on their own. Not only can it be embarrassing and awkward to explain to someone what you’re into sexually—especially if it can be considered taboo or degrading—but it can also sort of “kill” what makes it sexy in the first place. This is magnified when your partner doesn’t pick up on things quickly, and you have to fumble through a fantasy that was way hotter in your head (which, let’s be honest, happens more often than not).

But your partner is not a mind reader. And often, the person who makes a compatible partner for you in a relationship does not have the same qualities as the partner who is compatible for you sexually. Still, that doesn’t mean you should shift your sexual desires to the wayside for a partner who checks all of the other “important” boxes. Sex is a freaking important box! At least for me it is—it might not be for everyone.

BDSM neon sign
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“I think we fall into a trap of not prioritizing sexual compatibility,” says Stella Harris, educator, coach, and author of Tongue Tied: Untangling Communication in Sex, Kink, and Relationships. “We’re shamed for treating sexual pleasure as important, while at the same time cultural messages tell us that the sex piece will fall into place if we’re in a relationship. But I know this isn’t true because my coaching practice is full of people who like each other very much but have some fundamental incompatibilities when it comes to sex and sexuality.”

While sexual exploration has been important to me all my life, I’ve still lingered in relationships where I was unsatisfied sexually because I thought that, as a woman, sex wasn’t “supposed to” be my priority. I was supposed to be looking for a partner who could support me, treat me right, and stay loyal—not one that would spank me and call me a slut. There’s also the double-edged sword where, as women, we tend to feel like “a lot of work” if we don’t get off with plain old penetration and the boring “rounding through the bases” routine every time.

I understand feminism to be about choosing how you want to live your life. So for me, feminism means seeking out a relationship (perhaps not a monogamous one) where all my sexual needs are met.

If you’re struggling to talk to your partner about wanting kinkier sex—there’s no time like the present! I talked to Stella Harris and Damona Hoffman, host of the Dates & Mates Podcast, about how to talk to a partner about wanting kinky sex. Plus, I’ll of course be throwing in some info I’ve gleaned from times I brought up kinky sex with my previous partners the wrong way.

1. Start small

You probably don’t pull out all your sexual stops on the first date, right? Same theory goes for rolling out your toolkit of kinky fantasies.

“Start with mentioning something that turns you on and then ask him how he feels about it, and if it’s something he’d be up for trying,” suggests Hoffman. “You don’t want to bring all 50 shades out the first time you have sex.”

Instead of telling your partner you really want to go to a kink club and have a bunch of strangers watch you have sex, try mentioning how turned on you get when displaying PDA together—and how you want to push the boundaries next time you’re out on a date.

Also, try bringing up one kink at a time. If your partner is pretty vanilla, they may be overwhelmed by the idea of being “dominant” vs. “submissive.” Give them time (and space) to adjust and play with one concept before you start telling them about another. Hey, maybe you can role play as teacher and student and give them a whole seminar on each concept one at a time? It doesn’t sound like the worst way to talk to your partner about sex.

2. Bring your partner into the conversation with you

“Make sure you’re bringing your partner into the conversation with you,” says Hoffman.

And she’s right. While you may nervously want to word-vomit all about why you’re into pegging and why you need it for this relationship to work — you’ll probably leave them in shock.

You don’t want them to feel like you’re “demanding” them to comply with a certain sexual fantasy of yours, and you don’t want them to feel pressured either. Remember, consent is sexy! And that goes for every part of sexual play.

When bringing up what you’re into, ask how your partner feels about it each step of the way. And feel free to even ask what they think about you for being into it. It may make you feel good—or bad, but it’s at least a good sorting method to see where your partner is at and if the sex you want will ever be a possibility with them.

3. Come equipped with resources

Chances are that your partner isn’t going to hear about your kinks, then suddenly have a switch go off in their brain that allows them to play to that kink perfectly—they might not even know WTF you’re talking about.

Something I’ve struggled with in past relationships is explaining to my partner that I’m submissive and that I want them to be more dominant in bed. I think once I told my partner to “order me around”— and that shockingly did not go well. After that experience, my thinking was that if my partner wasn’t naturally dominant, it will never work. Stella Harris believes differently.

“I don’t necessarily believe in ‘naturally’ dominant or submissive,” she says. “While it’s absolutely true that some people feel one inclination or another strongly, or feel that some of these modes come easier to them, there are just as many people who learn these kinds of play.”

But for them to learn, they need a textbook. Or in this case, maybe some well-curated pornography (if you’re looking for a good porn resource, I recommend Bellesa—they also have good erotic stories). While there isn’t a one stop shop for great kink resources (at least none that I know of), the internet is full of good information once you do a little digging. This resource may be in the form of a tweet thread, an article, or a random Tumblr post—but if you search hard enough, you can find what you’re looking for.

“Many people are open to the idea of kink but simply don’t know where to start, or how to do it safely,” says Harris. “Particularly on the dominant or top side, it can be pretty scary to dive in without a road map. Maybe some of these partners would be willing if they had more guidance. Finding classes or a coach can be a great help to shake loose some of these fantasies, as well as teach practical tools.”

Before you ask—yes, there are kink coaches, and Stella Harris is one of them! There are also sex shops, like The Pleasure Chest, that have classes on everything from “advanced anal” to water sports. You can also take this BDSM test to see what you and your partner may already be into. It may even help you uncover some of your own sexual proclivities. At the very least, it’s a fun activity to do together rather than re-watching The Office for the third time.

Illustration of BDSM panel and note that says "we need to talk"
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4. Do your own research, too

Speaking of your own sexual exploration, chances are you probably have some work to do on your end before bringing this up with a partner, just like I did (and still do). I’ve always known that I was submissive, but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I discovered how, under the right circumstances, I can also have fun being dominant every once in a while. I also discovered my “core erotic feeling,” and that I love getting my feet played with.

Of course, I probably won’t bring all of this up to my future partner at once, but all of these things tie in to what constitutes “good” sex for me—and knowing more about myself makes it easier to address kink with a partner, or simply to ask for what I want.

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but just because you’re into a certain kink, that doesn’t mean you’ll be turned on in every situation that involves it. This is exactly why it’s not helpful to tell your partner you’re into pain if you can’t further explain what it is about pain that turns you on, what kind of aftercare you need, how you like to use safe words, etc.

Take time before and after your conversation with your partner to delve more into your own sexuality—and share your findings!

5. Be confident

I know it can be hard, but try not to be embarrassed about whatever it is your into. Everyone is into certain things—and you definitely don’t have the weirdest kink in the world, trust me (if you’re worried that you do, try reading this book). In fact, you should be proud that you’ve explored what you’re into and can honestly speak about it—that’s more than a lot of people can say!

“Be up front and matter of fact,” says Harris. “The tone of the conversation can be under your control. If you’re feeling awkward or embarrassed, that will be a very different conversation than if you’re feeling clear and confident about what you’re trying to express.”

6. Offer to reciprocate

While I’m all for putting you and your sexual needs first—especially because, as women, we tend to put ours last—the least you could do is reciprocate with an offer to explore something your partner is into. They may not be into anything other than the vanilla sex you’ve been having, or—if you’re dating a dude—he might just be like, “uhh…can we have a threesome with another girl?”

Remember that, just because you’re offering, it doesn’t mean you’re committed to doing anything, just like your partner isn’t obligated to try out anything you’re asking for. Still, relationships are about give and take, and hey, you might even discover a new kink that you’re surprisingly into!

“Many people are open to the idea of kink but simply don’t know where to start, or how to do it safely.”

At the end of the day, no matter how this conversation goes, it will be well worth it. Maybe your partner is super receptive, and you finally start having the kinky sex you’ve always dreamed of—with someone you love to boot! Maybe your partner tries to get into your fisting fantasy, but he just can’t enjoy it—and you have to reevaluate the relationship (which is healthy!). Maybe he thinks you’re a whore for having a gangbang fantasy, and you’ve saved yourself from continuing to date a misogynistic loser!

Whatever the outcome, remember that it’s okay to prioritize your sexual needs. Nobody else will do it for you.

The post How to talk to your partner about wanting kinky sex appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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