There are two fundamental parts to expanding your sexual play:
- it’s got to be REAL, that is, it has to be what you truly want, and
- it’s got to be CONSENSUAL, you both have to want it.
I say, as long as it’s between adults who both (or all) agree to it, then it’s fine.
There is a separate issue of when sex or particular aspects of sex become compulsive and interfere with life, that’s not good. If you’re confused, the barometer is: is this life-enhancing, does this make me feel good and empowered and add to the quality of my life (and the same for your partner)? If the answer is yes, then go for it.
Now, as we’ve seen in my last article, there is a veritable smorgasbord of sexual delights out there. You don’t have to try them all. You don’t even have to try any of them if celibacy is your thing. It’s like food, we’ve all got our own tastes. Personally, I hate peanut butter. Most of the western world loves peanut butter, but I loathe it, just the smell turns me off. Does that make me weird? Does it make me a 'peanut butter prude'? No. Should I try peanut butter even though I know it turns my stomach? No. Conversely, I love raw sea urchin. Yum yum, that little mound of orange squidge, gets my salivary glands streaming in delight. Most people would find that really weird, even kinky. Does that make me a 'raw sea urchin pervert'? No! But should I try to force my culinary perversions on other people? Absolutely not. However, if someone shares my love of sea urchin, and has no expectation of me eating peanut butter, then we’re a good match.
That’s the second key point. Solo sex aside, there’s always someone else involved, so it’s absolutely essential that they share your taste and want to play with you. If they don’t, you can’t make them.
The analogy with food only goes so far. While an inquisitive expedition into a Japanese restaurant to try obscure raw seafoods might end with a queasy stomach and a decision never to try that weirdness again, an exploration into new sexual areas that doesn’t go well can be damaging to yourself and to the relationship.
So, how do you proceed?
The first thing is to find out what you both like. If you’re not in the habit of talking about sex then this conversation can be awkward. I always encourage couples to create a nice atmosphere for themselves, say after dinner one night, just chilling out together on the back verandah with a glass of wine and box of chocolates. Or it could be over a romantic dinner out. The important point is that it’s at a time when you’re enjoying each other's company and feeling connected. Then you might broach the topic by asking questions like:
what’s the best thing we’ve ever done?
what else could we do?
what’s the naughtiest thing you wish you were brave enough to do?
what’s something you’d do if you had no inhibitions?
what do you fantasize about?
what’s your greatest turn-on?
Remember, particularly if you’re the more keen of the couple, don’t appear too eager or to pushy, allow time for your partner and yourself to open up slowly. There’s no rush, there’s all the time in the world.
Another idea is to read erotica aloud (which in itself is very erotic). There are plenty of books of short stories available, and then talk about which story was a turn on and why. A good book of short erotic stories will have a wide range of themes and you’ll find yourselves responding to some and not others.
Once you’ve got an idea of what you’d like to try, you have to make it safe. You both have to feel secure enough with each other that you have the confidence to go further. This means that you have to feel sure that if either of you says ‘enough, no more’ then the other will honour that. It’s when you go past that point that the trouble starts.
The best way is to have a safe word. That word will have nothing to do with sex. Something like ‘buttercup’ or ‘tarragon’. When the safe word is uttered, you stop what you’re doing and have a good cuddle and check in that you’re feeling ok. If you then decide to continue, that's fine, but there must not be any pressure to do so. The person who uses the safe word doesn’t want to feel that they’ve let the other person down, or feel inadequate in any way.
Alternatively, you can use the traffic light system. Yellow means slow down, and red means stop. The same approach follows as above. No blame, no resentment, just mutual support and respect.
You can practice your safe words in relatively tame situations, like inappropriate snogging in public. You need to test it. This applies even if your sexual exploration is relatively tame, it’s not just for hardcore S&M or swinging. Even sensual play can be challenging for some people and it’s important that you have a way to communicate well.
Once you’ve started your exploration you need to talk about it, have a bit of a debrief (in a soft and sexy manner) and talk about what was good or not so good for you, what else you might like to try, how to vary the experience in future. Be loving and gentle and you’ll find the opportunities keep expanding.
The key is communication and respect. With that as your basis, you’ll find: Oh! The Places You’ll Go!