I'm always on the lookout for ways to add variety to your sex life. But my desires are pretty vanilla, so when I brainstorm possibilities, nothing really comes to mind. A lot of people are probably in this situation: They have a sense they might like to try something, but they're not really sure what that might be.
Even if there's nothing in particular you're itching for, adding something new has a lot of benefits. In a long-term relationship especially, sex can lose its novelty, so sometimes, you have to create the novelty yourself to bring back the excitement you once enjoyed. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to do that.
"Even if you try something that you find isn't that much fun in real life, congratulate yourself on trying something new," Sex, Kink, and Intimacy Coach Rebekah Beneteau tells Bustle "The information you gathered is a win, even if the thing you tried wasn't."
If you're concerned about how your partner will take you wanting to try something different in bed, start off by telling them how happy you are with your sex life, and then tell them you'd be even happier if you experimented a bit. Or just mention that you came across an article about new things to try in bed and something intrigued you.
If you're ready to have that conversation, here are a few things you can try.
1. Erotica Or Porn
Beneteau tells her clients to go "turn-on shopping": go through different practices together until you find something that turns you both on. You can just tell each other what comes to mind or share fantasies you already have, but if you don't know where to start, porn and erotica can be very helpful. Read stories together or browse your favorite porn site and see what you might like to act out yourselves. Agree in advance that you'll both express your desires without judgment, says Beneteau. "Fear of being judged is the number one obstacle to a spirit of experimentation."
"This is an energetic practice where you connect to your partner through eye gazing, sound, and breath to enhance sexual arousal," explains Beneteau. You can explore a variety of sexual practices through tantra, but the common thread is that you meditate on everything. Beneteau recommends flipping through books about tantric sex to learn more.
There's a reasons Fifty Shades of Grey is so popular. A lot of people get turned on by being in control or out of control. Ask yourself which idea turns you on most, and dip your toes in BDSM through spanking or light bondage. Just make sure you communicate clearly beforehand about what you plan to do and establish a code word so that you can stop immediately if someone's uncomfortable.
4. Taking Turns Being In Charge
To make sex extra romantic and exciting, take turns putting someone in charge of initiating sex and getting the room ready, suggests clinical sexologist Dawn Michael, PhD. That person gets to enjoy having all the control, and the other enjoys being taken care of. Then, the next week, each gets to enjoy the opposite role.
Couples, relationship, and family psychologist Dr. Fran Walfish recommends sexting and emailing throughout the day to help you fantasize about each other, share what turns you both on, and get you even more excited once you reach the bed.
6. A Candlelit Bath Or Shower
"The visual stimulation, as well as having your partner wash, soap, rub, message, and titillate you is excitatory stuff," says Walfish. You can even have sex in the shower, though being entirely submerged in water poses some technical difficulties.
7. Asking For What You Want — In Detail
A lot of people just assume their sexual needs won't be fulfilled without even asking for them, Walfish says. But if you're afraid your partner doesn't want to accommodate you, they just might surprise you. And just saying the words can turn you both on.
8. Try A Hotel
Literally getting out of your bedroom helps you leave your routine behind, says relationship expert April Masini. Go on vacation if you have the chance, but if you don't, you can get the same effect by checking into a hotel for a night.
"There’s nothing like a massage to relax you both and wash away the stress of the day — one of the biggest obstacles to romance," says Masini. You can give each other massages for a sensual couples' activity, go to a spa together, or hire masseuses to come to your place. Afterward, "slow things down with some chilled champagne and a roaring fire in the fire place," she suggests. "The rest will follow!"
Don't be afraid to talk to your partner if you want to try something different in bed. Communication will not only strengthen your sex life, but your relationship as a whole. And who doesn't want that?
Images: Ashley Batz for Bustle; Giphy