How to Tell Your Partner About Your Desires
Because it's more fun to bite your lip in pleasure than bite your tongue in silence.
If you want to try something new with your partner in bed, it doesn't matter whether you've sexplored the vast seas of sexual experience or you're just dipping your toes into the water, talking about uncharted territory can make anyone nervous. In October 2017, Bustle conducted a survey of 500 readers* to see whether they were comfortable talking with their partner about their sexual desires. They compiled their findings into a helpful infographic:
Nearly 23% of respondents said they would most likely never discuss their fantasies with their partner, which in all honesty makes us sad! Sexual repression is no fun, and can lead to even more sexual anxieties, distraction, inability to achieve orgasm, and dissatisfaction with one's sex life. If you do have a fantasy you would like to share with your partner, but don't know where to get started, here are some DOs and DON'Ts to navigate that conversation with ease and get your kink on!
DO: Make a F*cket List
What is it that you want to try with your partner? Is it something more straightforward like spanking? Is it a new toy, like that spreader bar from 50 Shades of Grey?
Is it an elaborate cosplay of Sir Lancelot spanking one of his disobedient knights and then showing off his “lance” while said naughty knight is pinned to the Round Table with aforementioned spreader bar? Is it a whole smorgasboard of deliciously kinky desires?
Whatever it is, you go, Glen Coco. Write down what you want in a “fucket list” (it’s like a bucket list, but for sex). And yes, actually write them out (or type, whatever) -- the act of writing something down not only helps make it more intentional, like a contract with yourself, but it also helps you figure out what you want to ask for more clearly.
Note: Don’t break out your Ren Faire costume in the bedroom just yet, Sir Lancelot. If you do have a very detailed or elaborate fantasy, we recommend breaking it down into manageable parts so you and you partner don't end up overwhelmed. Pick 1 - 2 things on your f*cket list to start with. Now you’ve got a "f*cking" plan!
DO: Communicate with your partner.
This is usually where the weak flounder... only the stalwart get the orgasms they deserve! Just kidding, it’s not that big of a deal - don’t stress it! Let’s go over some DOs and DON’Ts for how to bring up your fantasies to your partner.
DO: Relax and be playful!
This is your lover you’re going to be talking to. It doesn’t need to be a “big talk”, it can be a casual conversation! Talking about your desires can even be a form of foreplay. Do whatever feels most natural to you, of course, but here are 2 suggestions that have worked for me:
The Naughty Whisper Approach: Text your lover and tell them you want to go out on a date. Get dressed up in whatever outfit makes you feel sexy and confident (it will show in how you carry yourself). When you're out, sit next to each other so you can get close. Then begin whispering your desires into your lover's ear, ex. "Wearing this makes me feel some kind of way... I was thinking maybe we could try something new tonight?" Then let the conversation flow as it may.
The Casual Conversation Approach: When sitting at home in a calm, neutral setting, turn to your lover and ask straight out. ex. "Hey.. I've been thinking of trying something with you that I think could be really sexy.. but I wanted to run it by you first." Guaranteed, they'll be curious.
ON "DIRTY" TALK: Stick within your comfort zone. You don't have to feel like you need to go NC-17 on your lover just because you have a kinky desire or fantasy. If you are embarrassed, you can use pictures, articles, or even videos on your phone to explain what you mean. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
DON'T: Bring up the new sexperiment immediately before, during, or after sex.
One might think the best place to bring up sexperimenting is in the bedroom, but it's actually the opposite. It's funny how the bedroom, even though it should be a safe space to discuss your most intimate desires, needs a lot of work on the part of both partners to become so. Even the hardest of egos can bruise like an overripe peach at the slightest hint of a partner's sexual dissatisfaction!
Therefore, it's best to bring up the idea of a new sexperiment outside of the bedroom (or wherever you like to get down). This is not to say that you shouldn't discuss your sexual romps afterwards (check-ins are a vital part of "aftercare" and making sure both partners are feeling happy and well-loved) - however, bringing up something new into the conversation is best saved for a more neutral setting.
Here are 3 reasons why it is better to bring up sexperimenting in a neutral space:
There is less pressure on your partner (the bedroom, though it is a safe space, is still seen as a place to "perform" for many, and that automatically puts on the pressure to be a great lover).
It lessens the chance of triggering any insecurities (ex. "Is what I'm doing not good enough for you?"/"Are you not satisfied?")
It gives you the chance to check in with your partner about their level of comfort with or knowledge about your kink - remember, you want your partner to have the chance to learn about your kink without pressure, so they are 100% consenting when it comes time to get down.
DO: Introduce the topic within sexy context.
An easy way to start is by bringing up a memory of another great sexperience... then mention your desire. This not only puts a positive association in your partner's mind, it's an easy segue into what you want to really talk about, and your partner will probably be able to visualize it!
Ex. "Remember how sexy it was when we did that costumed roleplay during Halloween? I'd love to do that again.. what if we tried it with a spreader bar this time?"
DON’T: Lubricate the conversation with alcohol.
We know, a glass (or three) of your favorite Chardonnay may help you gather up the courage to tell your boo you want to try dual blindfolded, naked Marco Polo from that scene in Blockers, but alcohol can hinder your ability to make judgements (and your partner’s, as well). When you talk about sexperimenting with your partner, you want the conversation to be clear, intentional, AND consensual -- ESPECIALLY if both parties are so excited they want to get right down to business afterwards.
Which brings us to our next point …
DON’T: Sexperiment with alcohol.
Alcohol hinders your ability to make rational decisions, which can get sticky even when both parties have consented beforehand (a reminder that consent can change at ANY point of a sexual encounter - which is both normal and okay!).
Even consensual sexperimentation can go wrong when alcohol is involved. Case in point: a close friend told me about the time she tried shibari (ropeplay) with her husband. They were both very excited, but had a little too much to drink before they got down and dirty. A little ways in, she started getting claustrophobic (a totally normal reaction to being tied up for the first time - or even the 20th!). Instead of saying her safeword to stop, she panicked, began hyperventilating, and burst out crying. Her husband, well-intentioned but drunk, had trouble untying the knots she had made unintentionally tighter by struggling. Long story short, the night ended with tears instead of orgasms.
Moral of the story, be naughty … but don’t actually get knotty unless you’re totally sober.
DO: Some naughty research.
Maybe you read about your fantasy in a book or an article online… or you saw it in a movie. Do some research online to learn some more about your kink and best practices. The reality of a fantasy is almost always different than the idea of it.. so be prepared!
BONUS: If you find a particularly good article or scene - use it as a segue into the conversation! Share it with your partner and ask if they would like to try it out with you.
DO: Be prepared for "no" - but don't take it as flat-out rejection.
While we definitely hope your partner will be on board to sex with you in ALL the ways, it is true that your S.O. may not warm to the idea of your sexperiment. Of course, this is disappointing - but it's definitely not a rejection of YOU, and it also doesn't mean you can't both compromise or find pleasure in other ways! There is also a chance that your partner is simply unfamiliar with the kink you want to try. We’ll talk about how to handle this situation in another article.
Good luck talking with your partner! I hope that you'll get this response:
And if you DO get that response, it's the perfect opportunity to share that F*cket List you made earlier.
Now, if you'll excuse me.. I need to go have a chat with my partner about a certain spreader bar..
*The sample size was comprised, as far as we can tell, of people who identified mainly as women - we do not have any data on male-identifying or non-binary individuals. The original article can be found here.