Getting a little kinkier in bed doesn’t have to involve anything too outlandish. Kink, sex therapists say, exists on a spectrum: You don’t need to invest in super pricey sex toys or go to sex parties to have a good time (though if either of those things tickles your fancy, go for it!).
Below, sex therapists and other sexperts from across the country share seven tips to try if you want to get a little more adventurous in the bedroom this year.
1. Go beyond the binary
“Gender liberation is for us all ― if there is something you have always held back from exploring or expressing, now is the time to begin thinking about giving yourself permission. That might be as simple as a baking class or auto mechanics, or maybe you are ready to explore butt play or spanking! What does your body really want that people ‘like you’ aren’t ‘supposed’ to do? Explore that, enjoy the thrill of the taboo and know the future is fluid!” ―Chris Maxwell Rose, a sex educator and the creator of the Pleasure Mechanics online courses
2. Tap into your unspoken sexual fantasies
“Many articles will tell you to spice things up by adding variety. This makes sense; over time, what we find most familiar in sex can get boring, and boring sex isn’t very fun sex. Before adding variety, ask yourself what you currently find lacking and what you think might make it more exciting. This could look like incorporating new toys (there’s a reason that the sex toy industry is a multibillion-dollar industry), spanking, role playing, sex parties, swinging, dirty talk, sexting, talking about your sexual fantasies, having sex in different locations (such as a car, your kitchen, the shower), trying new positions, or attending a sex-specific class together.” ―Jesse Kahn, director and sex therapist at the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Collective in New York City
3. Take it slow and forbid yourselves from orgasming
“I know this doesn’t sound immediately enticing, but there are some really good reasons to take orgasm off the table temporarily. It forces the two of you to get creative and see how much pleasure you can experience throughout your interaction, instead of just focusing on the end. You’ll probably end up being intimate for longer. If you usually feel pressured to orgasm, this will obviously take that off the table. Plus, it can be wildly thrilling to have something feel forbidden!” ―Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and online sex therapy course creator
4. Focus on breath
“Everyone needs to breathe more during sex. Of all the mindful sex techniques I teach, learning how to breathe to both relax and energize your body is the game-changer for so many. Start by taking a few deep breaths while you are getting aroused and notice what happens.” ―Rose
5. Bring hot oil into the mix
“There’s nothing like the warmth of a hot oil massage, especially when you add a blindfold to the mix to build the anticipation. Once the oil is hot, I can blindfold my lover and lead them to wherever I’ll be doing the massage. I slowly drip oil onto my partner’s body. The blindfold lends the oil drops an added edge of mystery, not knowing when or where the first (or next) drop will land, and the warmth creates a very arousing sensation with your massage. The incredible part of this experience and sex hack is that you’re combining different senses to create something new ― in this case, temperature, touch, and taking away sight.” ―Kenneth Play, a sex coach in Brooklyn, New York
6. Masturbate more often — and together
“Consider including your partner/s when you masturbate. Self-pleasure can help you reconnect and learn your own body and what you like. It can help create comfort and connection to one’s own body. Masturbation is also a safe place to explore new sex toys. Not only that, but we increase connection with our partners by speaking openly about our own self-pleasure. Mutual masturbation is a great way to watch someone you desire self-pleasure, which can be very sexy and an informative way to learn how they like to be touched. Side tip: Everyone can use lube, even when alone. And lube is a great addition for both self-lubricating and non-self-lubricating body parts.” ―Kahn
7. Imagine you’re single and about to have sex with someone new for the first time
“The exercise is not about being with another person per se (although that’s certainly another way for some couples to spice things up!), it’s about revisiting what you like sexually and erasing any negative (or lackluster) sexual patterns you and your partner may have developed over time. Many couples, especially those in longer-term relationships, tend to fall into routines in which they find something that worked early on and they just keep doing it. I’ve also heard from more than a few folks that they wanted to give constructive criticism earlier on in their relationship but never said it because they didn’t feel comfortable yet. When they do become more comfortable giving feedback to their partner, they worry that it’s too late and their partner would be offended that they didn’t say anything sooner. So imagine starting all over again and think about what you would want a new partner to know about how you like to be touched, when you’re most likely to be in the mood, your preferred position or something new you want to try. And then share that with your partner.” ―Sarah Hunter Murray, sex researcher and author of the forthcoming book Not Always in the Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, and Relationships