How to Guide: exploring kinks

Author Bio: Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer-inclusive, health-informed, pleasure-inclusive, sex-positive journalist and educator whose work reflects the intersections of LGBTQ+ issues, sexual health, wellness, and pleasure. She is also the co-host of Bad in Bed a queer sex education podcast featuring the queer sex education you never got, but always deserved.

Maybe you want to blindfold your boo or spank your spouse. Or maybe you want to get really heighten the kink quotient and mummify your mate or whip your wife. Whatever your specific desire(s), the space between the wanting and the trying can feel vast. After all, actually introducing kink into your relationship requires talking to your partner. Far less scary (and more fun!) than it sounds, here are 5 tips for introducing kink into your relationship. 

1. Make your relationship a place where you talk about sex. 

Do you and your partner discuss who’s going to buy more lube or barriers? Do you PGA the vacation sex you had last time you were away? Do you share the sex dreams you have? Great! You have established your relationship as a container where talking about sex, desire, and your bodies is both allowed and encouraged. If you don’t talk about these, and other sexy time things, introducing kink is going to be hard because you and your partner have never talked about anything sex-related before! 

Your move? Take a page from Salt-N-Pepa’s playbook and talk about sex, baby. Next time you and your partner have sex, wax poetic about how good it felt when they did [insert sex act here], or babely they looked while you  [insert sex act here]. You could also ask a question about how something felt, or what they wish you did more of, to bring them into the fraternizing fold. 

2. Set up a time to talk about kink. 

Now that talking about sex doesn’t feel like getting a root canal (painful), it’s time to talk about kink! There are a few ways to go about this—and ultimately which is best will depend on who you and your partner(s) are as individuals, and as a team—but this general formula works well.  

First, name how you’re feeling. If you’re nervous about having this convo, say that! If you feel excited to hear their thoughts, say that, too.  

Next, share something personal about yourself. That might be sharing that you recently read an article about kink on HelloCake.com, that you recently talked to a friend about their kinky sexcapades, or that you recently watched something steamy on Kink.com. The more vulnerable you get here, the more likely your partner will be willing to get vulnerable with you in return.  

Third, pose a question. This last element involves inviting your partner to participate in conversation with you and reveal something about themselves.  

Altogether, this might look like:  

  • “I feel a little nervous to bring this up, but last night I stumbled on some Kink.com porn while masturbating and I saw some things I think could be really fun to try together. Would you be open to watching the video and talking about it on Sunday?” 
  • “We haven’t talked about kinky props before so I’m a little nervous to bring this up, but I recently read an article about introducing kink into a relationship and it got me thinking! Would you be open to talking about kink during our next sex talk?”.  
  • “Babe, I’m so excited to hear your thoughts about this. My buddy Brad was just telling me that he and Bell recently went to their local sex shop and each picked out a sex toy to use together. Would you ever have an interest in doing that as a date? Say… Saturday?”. 

3. Do any additional research you may need.

Kink is not taught in sex ed, nor is it taught in any college classrooms. So it's very possible to know less about the specific kinks(s) you want to try than you need in order to implement them.  

Your move: Get learning! There are a variety of grade-A texts for learning about kink such as The Ultimate Guide To Kink, Role Play, and Erotic Edge by Tristan Taormino and Barbara Carrellas, The New Bottoming Book by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton, The New Topping Book by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton, and Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide To Discovering, Exploring, and Navigating Kink, Leather, and BDSM Communities by Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams.  

Other options are to listen to sex education podcasts like Why Are People Into That?!, Bad in Bed, and Savage Lovecast, attend a kink 101 class at your local sex shop, or online at KinkAcademy, or hire a sex worker to educate you on your specific interests. 

4. Get specific about what you’re going to—and not going to—try!

Cool, cool, so your boo is also on board to try some kinky shit! Well, before you take it to the bedroom you need to make sure you know what’s getting taken to the bedroom, exactly.  

If you’re going to be using rope, for example, you should probably discern who is doing the typing, and who is being tied. Likewise, if you’re going to be using nipple clamps, chat about what kind of nipple clamps you’ll be using, on whose nipples, and for how long.  

This is also a good time to talk about when the dynamic, prop, or activity is going to be implemented. As well as for how long, and to what degree. In other words, paint a very clear picture of what’s going to take place. 

5. Try it!

Could you chat-chat-chat and never actually get kinky? Sure! But if you’re reading this article odds are good you do want to get kinky! So once you and your partner are ready, take the leap.  

Remember: The goal here isn’t to have perfect kinky sex. The goal is to communicate, respect each other, and learn more about what does and does not bring you both pleasure!

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