Discovering that you’re kinky can be an immense personal journey, full of vulnerability, excitement, uncertainty, and joy. But it becomes even more complicated when you have a partner already – especially if you’re not sure how they feel about kink.
Many people avoid telling their partner(s) about their newfound kink(s) for weeks, months, or even years, afraid of the judgment or rejection that could ensue. But we’ve all done things in our lives that were simultaneously terrifying and deeply rewarding, and discussing your sexual interests with your partner can be one of those things. Communication is the only reliable way to create the sex life you’ve dreamt of, so if your vanilla existence feels like it’s missing something crucial, it might be time for you to buck up and make your desires known.
Easier said than done, right? Here are some tips for broaching the subject of kink with a new partner, even if you’re nervous…
- Test the waters
Many people use a piece of media as a jumping-off point for kink conversations with partners. You could, for example, watch a movie together that has a kinky scene in it and ask, “Have you ever tried anything like that?” Or you could use an article or a book as an excuse to bring up your interests: “I was just reading about [insert kink here] and it sounded interesting – have you ever thought about doing something like that?”
Hell, if you want, you can even just make something up entirely – for instance, “I had a dream last night that you tied me up with bondage rope; do you think that’d be hot? I do.” Just get the ball rolling and see where the conversation goes.
- Keep things casual and light
Admitting you’re kinky does not have to be a big, heavy revelation. Don’t frame this conversation as if you’re telling your partner that you cheated on them or have been diagnosed with cancer! If you approach the convo full of shame and fear, your partner will pick up on that, and will be less likely to respond the way you want them to.
It would be disingenuous to say “The worst they can say is ‘no,’” because in truth, people can and sometimes do react worse than that to their partners’ kinky confessions. But if you trust your partner and believe them to be a kind, reasonable person who cares about you and wants you to be happy, it’s likely you can approach the topic in a breezy way without fretting that it could be a relationship-ending proposition.
- Emphasize what’s hot about it
Have you ever noticed yourself getting highly aroused by seeing your partner experience pleasure, even if you yourself weren’t also receiving direct physical pleasure from whatever was going on? Then you know that a partner’s turn-ons can be a huge motivator. By that same token, your partner is likelier to enjoy fulfilling your kinks if they understand which aspects you find hot, and why.
For example, maybe your partner lacks the confidence to whip you properly upon request – but if you explain that the pain, the disciplinary dynamic, and/or the sense of total surrender are what turn you on, they’ll be able to lean into the aspects that you find hot, and maybe discover their own turn-ons within that activity too.
- Avoid ultimatums
Before raising the topic of kink with a partner, think – really think – about whether it would be a dealbreaker for you if your partner was unwilling to explore these desires with you. But keep in mind that even if kink is a make-or-break factor in your decision to stay or go, it’s usually not productive to say so. A partner who feels their relationship is at stake may agree to do things they wouldn’t otherwise want to do, and that’s not fair to either of you. Coercive kink is abuse and manipulation, and the possibility that you might leave if they say no – however remote – can have coercive effects.
Make it clear to your partner that you won’t break up with them if they decline to participate in your kinks, if indeed that is true. If it’s not true, be prepared to discuss potential compromises, such as opening up the relationship or hiring a sex worker to satisfy your kinky desires so your partner doesn’t have to. Many couples can and do weather the storm of a sexual mismatch, but doing this requires work, dedication, and communication.
Have you ever brought up your kinks with a partner in the past? How did it go?