How do I tell my partner I want to try something new in the bedroom?
Like many aspects of day to day life, our sex life and desires will change and develop over time. Not only do we have new experiences or learn new information that may influence how we feel about certain aspects of our lives, but our brain and body often get used to what we know and have grown accustomed to. For some that may be reassuring, especially when it feels fulfilling. However, it is common for new desires to arise which may be hard to communicate with a partner.
Perhaps you saw a steamy scene in a movie or tv show which peaked an interest you didn't know you had? Or you decided to try a new porn genre and found it ticked some boxes for you? Exploring those new fantasies by yourself is often a great way to find out if they work for you. After all, there isn't any pressure to like those things during solo play time. But what if these fantasies involve another person? Do they involve someone doing something specific to you? Or you to them? Or someone else entirely? If you decide that you want to move these fantasies into the real world, how do you approach these with your partner?
First things first, have the conversation with your partner outside of the bedroom. While it may be tempting to bring up a fantasy while you're already getting into play, it is also potentially a very vulnerable time for both you and your partner. If you are already feeling nervous or apprehensive about how they may react, bringing this conversation up in the bedroom may kill the mood at best, or place unnecessary pressure on your partner in the moment. Not to mention if their initial reaction is negative, it may have lasting effects on how comfortable you feel sharing your needs or desires with your partner.
How you broach the conversation with your partner will depend on how your partner typically receives feedback or criticism. While your intention may not be to criticize, be prepared for your partner to feel as though what you are experiencing at the moment isn't enough. Their initial reaction may be defensive, but explaining your wants or needs in a way that encourages them to explore these new things with you may help move past their initial defensive reaction. If your partner usually responds well to direct conversations, then that may be the best way to approach this topic.
However, if you're unsure how your partner will react, or you know they won't take kindly to the conversation, you can approach it subtly. Perhaps ask them to watch the movie or tv show that first peaked your interest with you, and afterwards ask them what they thought of that particular scene. This can help you get a feel for their initial reaction, and voice your own opinion on the scene as well, without necessarily taking a clear stance on wanting to try that particular act in your own sex life. If the act you are wanting to try isn't inspired by a tv show or movie, you could introduce the topic by way of a 'friend of a friend' conversation. Such as; a friend of yours knows someone who is into X, and to gauge what their initial reaction is.
While I highly recommend open and honest communication with your partner, I also recognize that certain topics can be incredibly difficult to navigate. If you do opt to feel out the conversation using one of the previously mentioned suggestions, I'd recommend being firm on how you feel about the topic. While your partner may not be interested initially in the act mentioned, you should be able to express your own interest or opinion. You aren't necessarily asking them to try that with you in this moment, but expressing your interest is a big step in openly communicating your desires with your partner.
Encouraging your partner to express their own desires can also be a great way to explore this topic together. Unless you communicate openly often, couples can get stuck where they assume that the other person is content unless they state otherwise. However, someone also has to make the first move to open up the conversation and allow both parties to express how they are truly feeling. When deciding to share your new interests with your partner, be open to them sharing as well, and be mindful to respond in a way that doesn't hurt their feelings if you are not interested in their suggestion. Responding respectfully helps to ensure that they still feel comfortable sharing how they are feeling with you, and helps to keep those lines of communication open.
If your partner does show an interest in trying something new with you, start with small steps. For example; if you decide you want to try anal play, perhaps look into purchasing a small butt plug or an anal training kit, rather than jumping straight into anal sex. Building up your levels of comfort is important when trying something new, especially in the bedroom where you are often in a vulnerable position. You may even want to suggest to your partner that you start off playing by yourself first, so that you can test the waters and understand how you feel before bringing your partner into the scenario. Sharing how your solo experience felt with your partner can even build anticipation with them before they join in on the fun.
However, once your partner does join in, it may not always live up to expectations and they may decide that type of play isn't for them. This is a completely valid response and you must respect your partner's boundaries here. What really works for you, may not work for them and that is perfectly fine. Whether that is a deal breaker for you is very much a personal decision. However, your partner's boundaries should always be respected.
If the type of play you were wanting to try involves a partner, then it may be worth asking if they could think on it, and potentially revisit the topic with them at a later date. If you do this, be very clear that there is no pressure from you, and ask if they could look into the topic by themselves or look at any resources you may have so they have more tools to understand what it is you are wanting to try. It is still possible that your partner won't be interested in that type of play at all, in which case their boundaries should be respected. Just as you want to feel comfortable with your partner and have them respect your boundaries, you need to offer them the same.
It may be the case that your partner is not at all interested in trying the play your suggesting, so you may want to set boundaries in place with them surrounding your ability to explore that side of things by yourself. Self-exploration is a great way to learn more about your desires, and it is important that your partner respect that.
If the shoe is on the other foot, and you are the partner of someone who has broached the topic of a new sexual desire, please try to keep an open mind. Your partner has taken a huge step in sharing this new information with you and they are trusting that you'll be open to talking about this with them, and potentially exploring this new idea together. Just because they are wanting to try something new, it doesn't mean that they are unfulfilled currently or that your sex life is lacking. Our desires and interests develop and change over time, and being open to change can be really fun when communicated and explored in the right way.