Learning what we like, what we don’t like and what we are curious about sexually is a really healthy and fun part of sex and relationships. The more curious, communicative, and open-minded we are, the more pleasure and fantasies we can discover!
Plus - novelty and newness are HUGE aphrodisiacs for most people, meaning trying new things is great for keeping passion, arousal, desire and libido alive. Couples who are able to talk openly about sexual fantasies and who prioritise trying new things in the bedroom are more likely to have ongoing sexual happiness.
But I get it - talking about sex is hard! Exploring our sexual fantasies (either alone or with partners) can feel really intimidating, awkward and vulnerable. Here is some advice for how to keep exploring!
Normalise erotic fantasies
Sometimes you might have a fantasy that really surprises you or makes you feel a lot of shame. It might feel really different to what you usually enjoy or desire, or might even feel counter to your values. For example, I hear this a lot from feminist women who struggle with their desire to be sexually dominated by a man, and from people struggling with a specific kink.
But this is exactly what erotism allows us to do; step outside of our day-to-day roles and into the infinite possibility of our erotic playground! Relationship therapist Esther Perell says in her incredible book Mating in Captivity that “the erotic imagination has the force to override reason, convention and social barriers”, and it is a space where we can safely and joyfully experience our taboos”. As long as it is done between consenting adults there is no harm done.
Also remember that having a fantasy about something does not necessarily mean you want to do it IRL. Just because you have a fantasy about a particular person/thing/situation, doesn’t mean you’d enjoy it if it actually happened. The THOUGHT of being kidnapped by a boat full of sexy pirates is a LOT hotter than the reality!
That’s part of the joy of fantasy - it lets you explore the taboo, the unfamiliar, or the downright strange in the safety of your own erotic brain.
Explore the fantasy solo
Before bringing it up with a partner, I recommend getting a better sense of what you’re curious to try through solo exploration. Afterall, how will you know what to ask for if you haven’t explored it alone first?
Let your mind wander during masturbation or self pleasure instead of relying on visual stimulation eg porn. Turn yourself on with your own erotic mind and body. Some people like to write it down with erotic storytelling.
Afterwards, reflect. What was the fantasy? What was happening? What specifically was exciting about it for you? Do you think you want that fantasy (or elements of it) in real life? Which elements are you curious to try? What would you need in order to feel safe/comfortable giving it a try? Do you need more information about this kink/area of sexuality first?
It’s also a great idea to look up different sex positive educational resources. This helps you remove any of the shame you may be feeling about your desires, but also gives you invaluable advice. For example, if you are curious about bringing toys into the bedroom, take time to do your research and find a toy that you think best suits your body, relationship and needs.
You might also realize there are some safety considerations that you might have overlooked. For example, a lot of people try choking during sex for the first time because they saw it on porn without knowing the risks or how to do it safely. Or try a threesome for the first time without properly talking about desires/boundaries beforehand. A recipe for disaster!
Depending on the fantasy you want to explore, it might be that you don’t know how to start bringing it to life (or even whether you want to!). You might like to follow Sexologists on instagram, listen to relevant podcasts, or book in a session for more tailored support.
Do your yes/no/maybe list
Whether you’re in a relationship or single, a great way to uncover and reflect on new fantasies is by creating a “yes no maybe” list. - aka your sexual bucket list!
On a piece of paper, create three columns: Yes, No and Maybe.
- Yes: Write down all the things you know you love during sex and things that turn you on- think about things such as tried and tested fantasies, positions, dirty talk, kinks and desires. These are your green lights.
- No: Write down all the things you know you don’t like during sex and the things that turn you off - think about things you never want to try, or have tried and didn’t like. These are your boundaries/ red lights.
- Maybe: Write down all of the things that you’re curious about when it comes to sex - what might you be interested in trying if you felt really safe? What are your fantasies?
If you want my full yes/no/maybe free PDF worksheet, get in contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I have a whole list of different ideas that you simply tick or cross out!
Do these lists in pencil - because they are always changing! Something that is a maybe today might become a yes or a no in the future. This is part of the fun of sexual exploration and discovery!
Chat about your fantasies with curiosity and zero judgment or pressure
If you’re in a relationship, it’s a great idea to have a time that feels comfortable, safe, and free from other distractions (you may need to book it in) to compare your lists and have a chat. The idea of these chats is pleasure, fun and connection, so remove any judgment or pressure from either side.
Remember some things on their list might surprise you - and that’s all part of the process! Create a safe place for sharing these things with each other. Just because they/you have a fantasy does not mean you /they have to do it. Consent is always the number one priority for sexual happiness and exploration.
Some things you might chat about:
- What is currently working well in your sex life? What do you love?
- What are you craving more of?
- What are your boundaries? Things you don’t want to try?
- Each share a ‘maybe’ that you are interested in trying. What is the fantasy? What is it that is intriguing for you? Why is it hot? Give your partner as much information as possible so they can really understand. You may need to pause here so they can have some time to think about it or ask some questions. Give them as much time as they need to decide if they are open to it or not. Pick something else to chat about if they are not sure.
Communicate and feel a part of the same team
Once you’ve found something you are both excited about, it’s time to give it a try! Even if it was your / their fantasy first, never think about it as ‘doing this for the other person’ - that is NOT a sexy mindset, and will only add pressure/resentment if it doesn’t work. You’re a team - and you’re trying this new thing together.
For example, you might decide it’s fun to go shopping for that first sex toy together. Or you might book a couples session with a sexologist to talk about how to have your first threesome!
If needed, create structures / boundaries for bringing this fantasy to life. For example, I’m willing to try a blindfold if we agree to keep the conversation open, honest and constant throughout so that we are both really clear on how we’re feeling.
It can also be helpful to establish a safe word or use the traffic light system for your communication - red means stop, orange mean pause or slow down, and green means this is great
Whenever you give a new fantasy or kink a go, ALWAYS make sure you do a debrief afterwards. This is how we learn more about our eroticism and how to make it even better next time!
- What was hot? What was the highlight?
- What didn’t work so well for you?
- What did we learn?
- Will we do this again? If so, what are we curious about next time?