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Letters

Venus Envy Advisory: Sexual Health and Pleasure Alert

Dear VE,

My partner and I have been together for quite a while now and we have a great sex life, though it is a tad vanilla. I’ve always had an interest in BDSM but I’m not quite sure how to broach the subject with my partner, especially since we’re already so happy in bed. How would you recommend I introduce some kink into the bedroom without either spoiling the possible surprise or scaring or turning off my partner?

Feeling Naughty in Nepean

 

Dear Feeling Naughty in Nepean,

Most of us talk about sex a lot less than we have sex. Even when we’re the kind of responsible, grown-ass adults who learn to ask “May I…?” and “Do you like…?” and “Should I stop or keep going?” when it comes to sex. Those kind of consent checking-in questions are great (and necessary!!), but they’re also the most basic of sexual communication.

I say this because the first rule of kink is that you have to talk about kink. Buying flowers, doing the dishes, getting a pizza delivered during an essay writing all-nighter – these are all nice surprises for your partner. Spanking, nipple clamps, commanding your partner… these are things you need to talk about first. Sure, pulling out handcuffs mid-session could be just the kind of surprise that someone’s been waiting for, but it could also be a disaster that ranges from mildly annoying to massively triggering. In this case, spoiling the surprise is the way to make sure you’re not scaring or turning off your partner.

I know that it can be really difficult to talk about sex. It’s vulnerable and scary, and usually no one teaches us how to do it well, if at all. Luckily, in 2017 you have a little bit of an advantage in bringing up this topic, because we now live in a world where 50 Shades of Gray is an actual cultural phenomenon. So let that be your opening if you want. You could try something like – “I know 50 Shades of Grey is a horribly misogynistic movie with a plotline that would annoy even the creators of Snakes on a Plane, but I did think that one spanking scene was pretty hot. What about you? Is that something you’ve ever tried/would be into trying?” If you can’t bring yourself to put 50 shades in the same sentence as your sex life, you can of course use a different movie or TV show and use that to bring it up. (Billions is my current favourite TV show for a great representation of kink).

And then if your partner is interested, you get to decide what things you actually want to do with each other. You could make a date to fill out a yes/no/maybe list together, where you both separately answer yes, no, or maybe to a list of possible kink activities, and then come together to discuss and decide what to try. You can find versions of these lists through google, or you can use Kindu, the app version of a such a list. You could also watch porn, read a book or visit a sex store together to see if anything sparks your imagination or gets you going.

Try to bring up new things when you’re not having sex, and not just about to have sex. It doesn’t have to be a serious, sit-down kind of conversation. Just bring it up as something that you’re excited about exploring with your partner, and make it clear that you love the sex you’re having and want to keep trying new things together.

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