How To Tell Your Partner About Your Kink

Whether it’s a new lover or a long-term relationship, sharing one’s kink can be a daunting task. What if your partner isn’t interested into your kink?? What if they judge you? The list of concerns can go on and on. However, communication, which means vocalizing your sexual needs, is a crucial step to experiencing them! 

So first, kinks are a normal and healthy part of sexuality! One survey suggests that 75 percent of people have at least one, the most common being BDSM. We can make fun of and critique Fifty Shades of Grey all day long, but there’s no denying the film’s impact in bringing kink into mainstream media, giving it some well-deserved recognition. However, because kink and sex can still be taboo and filled with shame, it’s possible that your kinks are more widely practiced than you may know. It’s possible your partner has kinks, shares yours, is familiar or was already interested in trying!

So, how do you even start to engage with your kink? First, ask yourself: are you comfortable with what turns you on? If you’re nervous that your partner is going to judge you for wanting to try a role-playing scenario, such as a doctor/patient scene, or a form of bondage, check in with yourself first. If you’re comfortable with the fact that you want to be called dirty names in the bedroom, it’s more likely that you’ll express that desire in a calm and relaxed tone. On the other hand, if you’re still struggling internally,  it might be helpful to process your feelings with a kink competent and affirming therapist before sharing your kink with a partner. If you have internalized sexual shame acting as an obstacle to having fun and feeling good with your kinks, it may be helpful and important to work through emotions and the beliefs you’ve internalized. If your sexual needs involve exploring something with another consenting adult, take a deep breath knowing (or possibly reminding yourself) that there’s nothing wrong with you. 

Once you’ve explored and better understand your internal obstacles to sharing your kink - be it a desire to dominate and consensually inflict pain on a partner, or perhaps to be humiliated and called names -it may be time to share that with your partner(s)! Remember: difficulties often  begin when we try to repress desires, rather than express them healthily

So: how do you bring it up? Mentioning mainstream media is always an easy conversation starter. Whether that be Fifty Shades of Grey, the many magazines you can find with a sex and sexuality section, an article or a film can be a great icebreaker. Perhaps email your partner(s) a link to an article about BDSM asking what they think about it. 

While some people prefer to discuss sexual interests prior to getting into bed, arousal can be a powerful tool. One of the easiest ways to tell your partner about your kink is through dirty talk. Let’s say that you really want to spank your partner: during a makeout session, consider vocalizing how attracted you are to them and your desire to spank them, and ask if you can spank them. This presents your kink in an intimate setting, and, by phrasing it as a question, you’re practicing consent. And consent is an important part to any sexual relationship, from kinky to vanilla. You certainly don’t have to bring up your kink over dinner or coffee, but if that setting feels good to you, go for it!. Always do what feels best for your relationship. 

If disclosing a kink in the bedroom feels right, but you like the idea of a visual aid to do the talking for you, ask your partner if they’d like to watch some porn with you and pick a film that showcases your kink. Watching pornography together can be an incredibly intimate experience. 

Prefer games over watching porn? Ask your partner to write down their kinks, what they desire, their soft limits (what they are pretty sure they don’t want to do, but may be somewhat curious about) and hard limits (sexual acts they know are not for them). You can both complete this exercise and then exchange papers. For a guide, check out this yes/no/maybe list. 

Another wonderful way to tell your partner about your kink is by asking them about their desires. Focus less on testing your partner for their response, and more on introducing the topic of sex, inviting conversations about desire, and partaking in those conversations.Whether it’s on the couch after a night of Netflix, while out to dinner, or in bed, just ask them what turns them on. Not only is this an excellent way to learn about their needs and desires but it will open the doors of communication for you to talk about yours. When everyone is talking about what they desire, this conversation can feel more comfortable. From disclosing kinks to asking someone how their day was, communication is a pillar of relationships. Along with first becoming comfortable with your kink yourself, , make sure you have a solid communication foundation to ensure such subjects are approachable. 

Once you’re feeling sure of yourself, sharing kinks tends to be much less scary than we might assume. Additionally, some people find sharing their kinks easier over time. The more you practice openness the more comfortable it feels, especially when once you’ve experience acceptance. 

Remember, you don’t have to jump in headfirst. For instance, if group sex turns you on, but you’re only sleeping with one partner at the moment, before sexually opening up your relationship, you can test the waters through dirty talk about group scenarios, or by watching group sex porn together. Taking baby steps, especially if it’s a new experience, can help you healthily gauge where you’re at. 

It’s highly possible that if your partner is open-minded, caring, and understanding, they’ll be excited to hear you talk about your desire. Even if they don’t share them, there are always ways to safely and responsibly have a rewarding and fulfilling sex life, through various relationship formats, visiting professionals such as a dominatrix, compromise, or seeking support in the context of psychotherapy with a sex therapist. 

Additionally, it’s important to know and be honest with yourself with how important your kink is to you and your satisfaction with your sex life. Worst case scenario, this isn’t the most compatible sexual partner for you, and that’s okay! People are allowed to have differing sexual desires and just because someone doesn’t share your kink doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or anything to be ashamed of. Your sexual pleasure is important, and you deserve to fulfill it!

Blog authors all hold positions at the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Collective (G&STC). For more information about our therapists and services please contact us.