Nervous about bringing up and exploring kink with a partner? Clinical Sexologist Dr. Stacy Friedman shares how to explore kink with a partner – what to do and what to avoid.
In a world that puts shame around sex and anything outside of what is considered “vanilla sex”, we have been conditioned into thinking that anything kinky is wrong or weird. This makes exploring your sexual kinks with your partner feel uncomfortable or even downright scary!
Dr. Stacy Friedman, a Clinical Sexologist with a Doctorate degree in Human Sexuality and also a Certified Sex Coach, shares why some women struggle talking about their kinks, especially with a new partner.
The idea of sex is taboo
“The idea of sex in general is such a taboo in our society still, which is why adding a kink discussion on top of a conversation about sex can be very intimidating for many women,” says Dr. Stacy.
Learning about someone else’s sexual choices can sometimes cause a partner to pull back, if the kink is not something they understand fully or is accepting of.
“There can be a fear of being judged by our partner, or having them think we are weird or abnormal when our desires or fantasies are more creative or “out there”.
Many think of 50 Shades Of Grey when they think of sexual kinks, yet the movie is not a full portrayal of what kink is and can be. In fact, what many would consider as a kink is actually very common, according to this research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
So what exactly is kink?
What is kink?
According to Dr. Stacy, kink is basically any consensual sexual activity that may be considered more non-traditional intimate behaviors, or something that is not “vanilla”.
For example, a sexual kink can be things like BDSM, fantasies and fetish, role-playing scenes, consensual exhibitionism, or even power exchanges where one of you take on a more dominant role and the other take on a more submissive role during sex.
Yes, sometimes a kink might involve pain, humiliation and other things that sounds unpleasant to many. Yet it is important to remember that any kink can be very pleasurable when all parties have consented and there is proper care during the sexual activity.
How to explore kink with a partner
Bring it up at the right time
Pick the right moment to have a conversation about your kinks. Dr. Stacy advises that you don’t bring up the topic when you are in the middle of being intimate and already in a vulnerable state.
Instead, a good time to bring up the conversation would be during an evening dinner date or while relaxing together and having a conversation about your relationship.
If you and your partner are in a new relationship and you both are still learning about each other, you can approach the topic by asking your partner this question, “What are your thought about different kinks or sexual activities?”
Take online sex quizzes with your partner
A more subtle way of approaching the conversation is to use one of the many sex quizzes you can find online. Take one of these online sex quizzes with your partner, and it will suggest activities only if both of you chose the same option.
Share how you are feeling
Worried about your partner’s reaction? Start by letting your partner know that you are being vulnerable by sharing your desires. Encourage them to listen before being quick to judge. It is also very important to be a good communicator and be specific about what you want and what your limits are.
Take your time, ask questions, and have a safe word
If your partner is agreeable in exploring a kink, you would want to make sure that the first time goes smoothly and the experience isn’t overwhelming for them.
Dr. Stacy says it is important to take your time, ask questions about their boundaries or limits, ask for consent, and have a safe word. Having a safe word is very important especially when more intense kinks are involved.
“A safe word is a word that you or your partner can use when you or them have had enough or do not want to continue,” says Dr. Stacy.
Choose a word that you or them would never use during sex and can be easily understood, for example the word “pineapple”. “No” is not recommended as a good safe word option to use as it is also often used during dominance play or struggle play.
What to do if your partner isn’t keen to explore a kink
If your partner is not receptive to trying out a kink, there may be a different way to explore your kink in a way that they would be open to.
Dr. Stacy recommends asking if there is something else that they would feel comfortable with. “Ask your partner what their sexual desires are, and you may find that there is something that they enjoy which could be great for the both of you,” says Dr. Stacy.
Use a “yes-maybe-no” list and see what they would be open to trying. If they are not completely closed off to the idea of a particular kink but is feeling unsure how they would feel about it, be willing to try and go slow during the first time to see how they feel.
If they do not feel comfortable with a certain kink, remember that consent is key and to not make them feel bad or guilty for not wanting to explore that kink further.
After all, with so many fun things that you can do sexually, there has to be something that your partner would be open to!