By: Mary Grace Garis.
Even the most vanilla sex life deserves a sundae treatment. You know, adding some hot fudge, whipped cream, a cherry on top (metaphorically—unless that turns you on, then by all means go for it). No matter how much you love your sex routine, it’s fine to want to try something new in bed. Yes, even if it’s something you’re terrified to ask for.
Sex is such a personal thing, and even the most entry level kink could be stigmatized by a partner who doesn’t understand. We all have our passions, we all have our turn-ons. And we all have a concept of sex that’s based in cultural mixed messages and an upbringing that may-or-not be super progressive. But research reveals how talking about what you want in bed strengthens your relationships.
Below, Caitlin V, MPH, resident sexologist for sexual-health company Royal, shares the necessary ingredients for this conversation, and *exactly* what you can say.
How to start a conversation when you want to try something new in bed
1. Educate yourself about what you’re asking for
Believe it or not, porn is not always an incredible depiction of reality. Do your research to decide if you really want to try something new in bed before opening the conversation. “Before engaging your partner, know what you’re talking about and what you’re asking for before you bring it up,” V says. “This will prepare you to answer their questions, should they have any.”
2. Consider timing when it comes to this convo
If you didn’t intuitively know this, I’ll just be clear: during sex play is not the time to bring this up. In the heat of the moment there’s not a lot of room to think intricately, and humans can feel pressured into things they wouldn’t sign up for normally. Consent, consent, consent.
“When you’re ready to have the conversation, think about the right time to have it,” V says. “Is it after sex, after a glass of wine, over a romantic dinner? Ask for their consent to have the conversation, make sure it’s a good time for them. Check in with them to be sure if they have the bandwidth to discuss. “
3. Be really human about it
Remember, even in this “progressive” modern moment, most of us are brought up in a very sex negative culture. You never know how someone will react, which doesn’t mean you should panic! It just means that you should come from a really humble place.
“Start by clearing the air, share your vulnerability and nervousness about the subject by addressing it head on,” says V. “Acknowledging it will help the nervousness get out of the way—they will empathize with you.”
4. Do not expect an answer right away
“Let your partner take time to process information and allow them to do so on their own,” says V. “If you ask them to answer your request right on the spot then they may say no.”
Here’s exactly what you should say when you want to try something new in bed
“There’s something I want to talk to you about. It’s a new thing I want to try in bed, is now a good time? [If they say yes:] I’ve been nervous about bringing this up because_____ (I’m afraid what you’ll think/I don’t fully know how to make it happen/my last partner shamed me, etc). Okay, here it goes, I really want to try _____ (a threesome, bondage, prostate massage, sensation play, bringing a vibrator into bed, etc). Please don’t feel that you need to answer right away, I want you to take your time and process this, I’m here if you have any questions or want to talk it out. Let’s set a time to revisit the subject once you’ve had a chance to think about it.”
No matter the outcome, you should bring it up. YOLO and all that—we all have an expiration date, so you might as well throw some flavor into your sex life. “Let those desires out, get that need met,” says V. “The worst that can happen is they say no. Holding back breeds shame, prevents our partner from ever truly knowing us, and guarantees we will never get to try those new things.”
Caitlin V, MPH