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Asking Your Partner To Experiment During Sex Doesn’t Have To Be Awkward

No matter how hot and heavy your sex life is, there will likely be times when it gets, well, a bit boring. Chances are you've figured out a routine that works so the sex is enjoyable; the problem, however, is that it's routine. If that sounds familiar, it may be time to consider asking your partner to experiment during sex, so you can get out of your rut and back to that passionate connection you know you share.

What exactly does experimentation mean in the bedroom? According to sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr, the answer to that question's entirely up to you and your partner. "Experimentation in sex has many flavors. It doesn't have to include twisting your body into new forms of a pretzel or hanging off ceilings from ropes. It can include varying up the routine and exploring kissing or touching more, or slowing down during penetration. Experimenting in sex can be learning to not go after orgasm and building up ecstatic energy," she tells Elite Daily. "It can also include trying out different things for what happens after sex, such as cuddling together. And, of course, it can include things such as kink and bondage." So, in essence, it just comes down to trying new things, whatever they are, depending on what intrigues and satisfies you.

As great as that all sounds, actually broaching the subject can be a bit nerve-wracking, as it requires vulnerability and there are also your partner's feelings to consider. But Fehr says it's worth it, as letting your sex life stagnate can be detrimental to your relationship. "As scary as it might feel, it’s important to talk to your partner about it if you’re noticing you want to experience new things in sex. Without the conversation, sex is most likely to get more and more unfulfilling for you (and for your partner), which will likely have you pull away from each other. This can then spiral into having less and less sex and connection."

Experimentation is healthy for your sex life.

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If being afraid to be open about your sexuality is holding you back from speaking about your desire to try something new, Allana Pratt, intimacy expert and author of Finding 'The One' Is Bullsh*t BECOMING 'The One' is Brilliant & Beautiful, tells Elite Daily to rest assured this kind of dialog with your partner is healthy and relationship-affirming. “Sex is a beautiful and healthy place to express your authentic nature. As we grow and evolve, so do our desires to experiment and explore,” she says. According to Pratt, it’s all about communicating and getting on the same team in bed. “If you don't talk about your desires to experiment with your partner, they can often be blindsided, turned off, or even afraid. However, if you speak about it ahead of time, you can set yourself up to win by agreeing on what you'd like to experiment with,” she explains. These conversations can help you to become closer and feel safer with one another as you open up and try new things.

It’s also a lot of fun, adds Fehr. “Experimentation is what makes sex exciting and like nothing else that we do in the rest of our lives. Sex is a space where adults play, let go, and surrender into the unknown space of connection with another human being. Naturally, that requires experimentation — or, in other words, sex requires our imagination, our attention, and responding to what shows up. And that’s how passion enters the picture — when we take emotional and physical risks, we introduce newness and variety to the relationship and build excitement,” she says. And while there are clear benefits to shaking things up and trying new things, it also requires stepping out of your comfort zone, which can be intimidating for some people. “Defaulting to the same moves or sequence of moves is safe and reliable, and many couples find it challenging to leave that safety behind. Experimentation naturally threatens that safety because it requires exploring something new, and it might feel confronting for one or both partners to even bring it up,” Fehr adds. This is why it’s important to know how to talk to your partner in a way that takes their feelings and concerns into consideration.

How to talk to your partner about it.

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When you’re ready to bring up experimentation in bed with your partner, the first step is to pick your timing wisely. Fehr says to avoid discussing the subject while you’re getting it on. “During sex, both people are aroused and charged up, which means that it might feel extra vulnerable to bring up a topic that has never been broached. It might also surprise the other person and corner them when they’re most vulnerable,” Fehr explains. Instead, opt for a time when you're both relaxed and feeling connected, and when you do talk about it, do so in a positive way. “The key to the conversation is to avoid criticism and focusing on what’s missing; instead bring up what desire and what it provides for you. Talk about what excited you about experimenting, what you’d appreciate from it, how it would provide fun, joy, pleasure, or fill in the blank for you,” says Fehr. Not only will this help your partner to feel open to what you're suggesting ,but it will make the proposition more exciting for you both.

It also doesn’t hurt to create a little romantic vibe when having the conversation, as sex and relationship therapist Cate Mackenzie tells Elite Daily. “Build a great atmosphere where you both feel good, run a bath, relax together and talk about different things you would like to try,” she suggests. "Most of this is about being warm, skillful, and flirtatious. No one wants to feel that they are forced or pushed into anything (unless that is what they want and have requested that).”

Be prepared for how they may react.

Choosing the right time to have the conversation can help set you up for success, but that doesn’t always guarantee how your partner will respond. They may also have some questions about what it means to you and why you want to try new things. As a result, giving some thought to how they might react can help prepare you to respond to their concerns. For instance, this may feel like it's coming out of the blue for your partner, in which case they might need a little time to ease into the discussion. “Be prepared that this might be hard for your partner to talk about, and that you had likely thought through what you want for longer than they have (since they might be thinking about this topic for the first time as they hear it from you). It’s important to be sensitive here: Offer the option for them to consider this and get back to you,” suggests Fehr.

It's also helpful to have some ideas about what you would like to try or incorporate into your sex play ready, along with being able to explain why they would enhance your experience, says Fehr. “Like relaxation, pleasure, arousal, learning new things, and growing. And equally, ask your partner about what’s important to them to learn and experience,” she suggests.

If your partner's concerned at first, it's important to allow space for their fears. “Both you and your partner might have your own fears about stepping out of the routine. Equally, there might be fears about staying in the old patterns that might be already unsatisfying. Be proactive in naming your fears, opening up about what scares you, and welcoming your partner’s fears too. Sharing fears allows each of you to learn to be sensitive to each other and take care of each other’s needs,” says Fehr.

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You don’t have to come up with a definite plan of action after one conversation; consider this just the breaking of the ice and the first of many discussions as you forge new territory in bed. “Explore dreams and desires first, then see what solutions or actions emerge. Too often, we force a decision or solution without the requisite communication that would have each person be on board with the concept or dream itself,” Fehr says.

Lastly, it's a good idea to prepare for the chance that your partner might not be ready to hear what you’re saying. “But it doesn’t mean it's the end of the road,” assures Mackenzie. “It might be that you need to really explore what they might like. You might be surprised. You might need to build slowly, since most people need to feel safe before they will try things out.”

If your partner needs to take some time to get comfortable with the conversation, that's OK says Pratt. What matters is how you work through these issues together. “Partners come together to grow, heal, wake up, and evolve into our best selves. That doesn't necessarily mean you get along every day. That doesn't necessarily mean you start on the same page sexually,” she explains. “It's normal and healthy to have conflict, insecurities, and wobbles. Lean into the discomfort and do the inner work so that your partner can be the catalyst for your best self. Do the brave work so that your sexuality can be a hot nourishing sacred expression of you! Choose for your sexuality to be a place of life-giving delicious connection that feeds every aspect of your life.”

The experts ultimately all agree that, when you’re ready to experiment a bit and try something new in the bedroom, don’t feel as though you have to hold back. Choose your timing wisely and then approach your partner openly and honestly. Then get ready for things to get spicy, and maybe a little awkward, but also a lot of fun. Your new routine is no routine.

Experts cited:

Irene Fehr, a sex and intimacy coach

Cate Mackenzie, a sex and relationship therapist

Allana Pratt, intimacy expert and author of Finding ‘The One ‘Is Bullsh*t BECOMING ‘The One’ is Brilliant & Beautiful