Celebrities. Threesomes. Or how about spanking?
Plenty of people have sexual fantasies.
In fact, 97% of us do—that’s according to researcher and author Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller, who conducted one of the largest surveys of people’s sexual fantasies ever and published the results in his book Tell Me What You Want.
But as common as fantasies might be, they can also come with some concerns and uncertainties. Like, should we tell our partner about what we’re into? How do we bring it up with them? And will they think it’s weird? (Spoiler alert: probably not!).
According to sex coach Georgia Grace, sometimes the toughest part of trying something new in the bedroom can be simply talking about it. So we’re going to help you through that tough part—we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about telling your partner what your sexual fantasies are.
Relax—you’re not alone!
When Dr. Lehmiller was writing his book, he found that there were seven major themes that regularly came up when he asked people what they fantasised about. They were:
- Multi-partner sex, like orgies and threesomes
- BDSM, or bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism
- Novelty, adventure, and variety, or doing something that’s brand new for you
- Taboo acts, or things that have a sense of the forbidden or illicit
- Passion, romance, and intimacy, or feeling really connected with and desired by your partner
- Experimenting with non-monogamy, like at a swinger’s club or in an open relationship
- Experimenting with gender and sexuality, like hooking up with someone of a gender you’re not primarily attracted to
Even if your fantasy doesn’t fit into one of those categories, don’t sweat it. There are endless configurations of sexual fantasies out there—these are just seven of the more common ones. We mention them to show you that you’re very rarely alone in having a fantasy, and to help reassure you that there’s nothing weird or deviant about yours!
Get a handle on what you’d like to do
If you want to try something new with your partner, it’s good to have an idea of exactly what that new thing will look like. This will help you think about your fantasy in a real, concrete way; and it will also help your partner understand exactly what it is that you want to try. “I like the idea of BDSM,” is pretty vague, but, “I’m into the thought of being tied up and spanked,” is much more precise and allows your partner to get a picture of what you’d like to do. Giving your partner a precise idea of what you want allows them to articulate any questions they have about it too, like, “I’ve never tried spanking before, how will I know if I hurt you?” or, “That sounds really hot, should we shop for some restraints together?”.
“Sharing curiosities and new sexual ideas with each other can actually be a huge turn-on,” says Georgia. “And it’s rewarding in more ways than just getting to do what you want to do.” A big sense of intimacy and trust can be created by sharing your desires with a partner—feeling heard, respected, and seen by another person can add a whole new layer to your relationship.
Start a conversation
Telling your partner about a fantasy can be a bit intimidating, says Georgia. “But that being said, there are a few basic things you can do to make this sometimes scary situation a bit more chill.”
- Finding the right moment. “Find a time that feels comfortable, safe, and free from other distractions,” she suggests. “You may even need to book it in.” So if you’re both super busy, ask your partner when the best moment is to have a chat with them.
- Speak to the positives of the relationship. Remind your partner of what you love about them, and what’s currently working in your relationship. Don’t turn your request into a complaint: “You never do this for me…” will start everyone off on the wrong foot.
- Suggest what will make it even better. “It really turns me on when we try new things together, and I love how you’re always so focused on making me come when we have sex. I was wondering if you’d like to try using a sex toy together? I think it would help me have even stronger orgasms.”
- Give your partner as much information as possible. “This is so they can make an informed decision,” says Georgia. “Share your curiosity about this new thing, and what makes it so intriguing for you. You might need to pause after this so your partner can have some time to think about it.”
- Answer some questions. Your partner might have some questions for you about why you like this particular fantasy, what their role in it is, or how you’d like it to play out. Likewise, you might want to ask your partner some things! Keep the conversation open and accepting so you can both feel heard.
- Set some boundaries. Together with your partner, talk about a scenario in which you try your fantasy, and what it would look like. Where will you be? Who will be there? What happens afterwards, and what will you do if someone wants to stop?
- Try it! If you’re both on board, give it a go. And remember that it might not be perfect the first time: “When you try new things, it’s likely you’ll be at your ‘learning edge’,” Georgia says. “It’s like learning any new skill—remember when you were learning to ride a bike? Or speak a new language? Or play a new sport? Or learn a dance? It’s rare you’ll get it right and it’ll feel natural the first time you try it. I invite you to approach anything new with the same curiosity and patience.”
Don’t forget to check in afterwards
After all is said and done, find some time to check in with your partner and talk with them about the experience. Ask them if they were happy with how everything went, if they felt fulfilled and satisfied, and if there’s anything they’d like to do differently if you try it again. Share your thoughts with them, as well: how did you feel? What did you enjoy, and what didn’t you like so much? Is the fantasy something you’d like to try again, or was it a ‘one night only’ deal?
Don’t forget to thank your partner, either—sometimes it can be tricky and intimidating stepping out of your sexual comfort zone and trying something unfamiliar! Remind them of how important they are to you and how grateful you are that they heard you out and tried something you wanted.
And then, of course, you can always ask them what their fantasy is...