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For some, sex can be intimidating, especially when we want to start exploring darker aspects and themes of sex, but we shouldn’t be intimidated by exploring ourselves, bodies, and what we as individuals or our partners will like in the bedroom (or out of the bedroom). The act of having sex with your partner, regardless of how it's done, should be to connect with someone you deem important, not intimidating. You’re sharing the most vulnerable parts of yourself, with someone you care for deeply--while that in and of itself is intimidating for some of us, it’s also amazing.
In order to give the best advice and information about trying out new and darker things like kinks in the bedroom I have reached out to someone who wishes to remain anonymous about exploring kinks and has many years of experience with this topic and life. Some things will be quoted directly from the information they have provided, while others will be paraphrased. All of this is to ensure you and your partner(s) are being smart, healthy and safe in exploring your relationship.
Here are some ways to bring up introducing darker sexual aspects into your relationship:
Always remember: please make sure to take care of yourself and your mental health first. That also goes in regard to reading this article, if something becomes too much for you, take a step back.
Consent is the first and foremost important thing to any relationship, but it becomes even more imperative to give and receive consent when exploring kinks which can be extremely difficult at times. Before bringing up anything, always bring up the issue and topic of consent and how it is important and must remain important when exploring new things in your relationship. A great way to do this is to lead with: “Hey I really like when we do “this”, can we try out “this” and see how we feel about it?” Because, if you cannot be open and honest in your communication about what pleases you and what you like with your partner, then how can you communicate when you would like to try new things? To be able to do this it is best to be sure to know your own body--when exploring kinks you are opening yourself up and laying yourself bare for another person(s) and it is important that you are comfortable with that.
What is consent?
While this seems like a silly question, it is important to go over it before anything else.
Consent is about respecting someone’s needs and boundaries; about caring for another person and what they do and do not want. No always means no, but it can also come in non-verbal forms.
A way to look at consent is the word FRIES, which stands for Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, Specific.
If there is no room for you or your partner to say no when a new topic is brought up, then that needs to be addressed first and foremost because the question becomes “Why do I/they not feel comfortable saying no?”
Tied with consent is the issue of power imbalance--is anyone being pressured or coerced? Will there be consequences if someone says no? Is there intoxication? All of this can be addressed later in another piece, but it is something to keep in mind. When a power imbalance is in place, consent isn’t always given consent, but rather forced out by the person with more power or influence. Assumed consent is NOT consent. This means that it doesn’t matter if you have been with your partner for years, have sex often, or if “they hinted at” something in the past that you both might try, without definitive interest of something from both parties to engage in a sexual act, new or not, it is not consensual.
Why is this all so important? - Understanding basic consent means that when something makes us uncomfortable we know that we have our rights to stand up and say something.
Research together/Have a Discussion
If you’re curious and want to try something new, ask your partner to sit and do research about things one or both of you might be interested in trying out. By doing this together you’re learning, not only about yourself and each other, but just other aspects of sex together. Making it a joint activity of looking into things, you’re getting each other’s reactions to something first hand, and are able to discuss why or why not you--or they--may not want to try something right away, and if it could be something to look at again at a later date.
This allows for a lot of open honesty and just learning together, which is a core aspect of being in a relationship, new or old. Sometimes the best method to take that step into something new is to be frank and honest with your partner. Talking may seem like the easy answer to all of it, but oftentimes it’s the hardest hurdle we need to cross when it comes to new aspects of a relationship.
Make lists of things to try
Often, having a list that is physical and concrete can help you and your partner(s) find things that you’d both be interested in trying together. It’s good to just start off with lists for each of you that contain things you’d be interested in trying then comparing the two lists. After that, if you have things that you both like the idea of, you can put that into one category, for example “Definite things to explore” and if there are things that one of you is interested in but the other not so much, you can then rate them on a scale. Colors could possibly work best for this, or numbers. Colors being red for absolutely not, yellow for maybe or slight interest, and green for willing to try. Things that fall in the red and yellow sections can be revisited later to see if opinions have changed after time and possible research on them. A number scale would work in a similar fashion, 1 being a big no and 10 being a definite yes.
The purpose of this is to just find out where you and your partner stand with different kinks and what ones are ok to try and explore together versus things that may need more time and research or that are just a definite no.
Another option is to fill out the BDSM test found here. It’s another way to give you guys an idea of what you’re interested in and where to go from there.
Taking things slow
Start off light when, and if you and your partner want to introduce aspects like kinks into the relationship. Like anything that is related to a relationship, or even anything in life, easing into something is always the smarter choice than diving in head first before you’re ready. Do things that you’re both comfortable doing first, rather than things that one of you may be uneasy about. And try it multiple times, while it may be good the first time, you may not like it the second or third, so repetition and experimentation are key to things like this.
Written by: S. Benjamin-Nolan