We were sitting on our sex therapist’s couch when the words came tumbling out… “It’d be really hot if we made love on a beach.” I went on to explain to my husband that I felt a certain freedom and power when I was in nature and that having sex outside the bedroom had some allure to me. And then my face turned bright red.
Though Salt ‘N’ Pepa had been telling me for years to “talk about sex, baby”, it really wasn’t a conversation that I felt comfortable initiating. Not only did talking about sex make me feel embarrassed, but the mismatch in desire between us over the years had created so much tension that I couldn’t figure out how to start a conversation without sliding down the slippery slope to anger and resentment.
But something clicked after that discussion in our sex therapist’s office. What if instead of being worried about what could go wrong with the conversation, or whether my partner would be interested in doing any of the things that appeal to me, what if I could just give myself permission to think deeply about what I really wanted, and then actually say it out loud?
Later that week, I had a lively discussion with girlfriends who all confirmed they too had issues starting fun and perspective-changing discussions about sex with their partners. So we decided to brainstorm ways of making that happen and here are a few ideas we came up with:
- Swap Sex Stories. Ask this question to your partner: “Tell me about an exciting sexual encounter. What made it so memorable?” You can Mad-Libs the adjectives here to get different types of stories… what was your “hottest” or “fulfilling” or “dirtiest” encounter, etc.
- Erotica Inspiration. Grab a book of erotica short stories and a highlighter. Take turns reading and highlighting the scenes that get your motor running. Share with each other what specifically about each scene gets you all hot and bothered.
- Adult Toy Store Date. A new era of toy stores is upon us. These clean and brightly lit stores have amazing sex educators that can answer your most embarrassing questions with sex-positive, matter-of-fact information. So forgo the appetizers and head to an adult toy store before dinner to pick out something new to play with. Fair warning: dinner might be a little spicier than usual and you may not make it to dessert.
- Common Fantasies. A quick Google search will bring up lists of common fantasies including sex with in public places, domination and submission, role play, sex with multiple partners, voyeurism and exhibitionism, oral sex, anal sex and combinations of all of the above. Pick a list and individually place each fantasy into “would love to do that”, “would love to fantasize about that” and “not on my list” categories and share the results with your partner.
- Sexual Bucket List. Ask “If you could try anything new sexually, what would it be?” Don’t worry about making it a big request. Instead, focus on being creative and specific. For extra credit, create a whole list of things you want to try and share your answers. Throw judgment out the window and bring a lot of curiosity into the conversation… “I’d love to learn more about what turns you on about XYZ.”
Remember those late night conversations that mark the early stages of a new relationship? The ones that seem to mysteriously disappear over time? Well dear readers, I can tell you from experience that the ideas above sparked evenings of deep discussion with my husband. And in each conversation, we discovered something new, intriguing and/or surprising about each other, resulting in a level of intimacy and excitement we hadn’t felt since our original courtship decades ago.
Fast forward a few months, and we were celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary on a private beach. Suffice it to say, we solidly recreated the iconic "From Here to Eternity" scene and my fantasy is no longer just a fantasy. Amazing results for what started as such a simple statement to my partner, right?
New to this blog and want to start at the beginning? Check out this post about why I started a blog about sex.
This blog reflects my real-life experiences. I'd love to hear about your experiences, so let’s continue the conversation in the comments section below.
You can also check out these resources or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in classes or coaching to explore your own sexuality. I am a sex and relationship coach and if I can't personally help you, I'd be very happy to connect you with other wonderful sex educators, coaches and therapists.
© Pam Costa, 2015