10 Ways To Tell Your Partner About Your Kink — So You Can Enjoy It Together

Telling your partner about your kink can be terrifying. While there is no shame in any sexual act between two (or more) consenting adults, kinks and fetishes* can still be stigmatized.

It's normal to feel scared about revealing your kinks — whether you're into role-playing as a doctor and patient, foot fetishes, or gang bangs — but kinks are often deep-rooted in our sexual needs. Failure to disclose yours with your partner can mean you're missing out on a lot of fun and pleasure, and may result in cheating, resentment, and/or breakups due to sexual dissatisfaction. While many of us have sexual fantasies that are fun to masturbate to without involving our partners, kinks demand attention.

"There are people for whom they need to have that fetish involved in their sex play, or they’re not going to enjoy it," says Michael Aaron, PhD, an NYC-based sex therapist and author of Modern Sexuality.

You deserve to get what you want sexually without shame. To help you through the nerves that can accompany telling your partner that the sex is great, but you really need double penetration (or spanking, or bondage, or role-playing) from time to time to truly feel fulfilled, we've compiled 10 tips on how to help you share your kink with your partner.

*The terms "kink" and "fetish" are often used interchangeably, although technically a "fetish" refers to sexual arousal to an inanimate object, while "kink" is umbrella term for pleasure beyond normative penetrative sex.

The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more
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Utilize dirty talk.

I love threesomes. I love them so much that if I got into a serious relationship with a partner who said "never" when the subject was broached, it would be a deal-breaker. My trick to bringing up the subject? Dirty talk.

"When people are aroused, they are much more suggestive, and they are much more open to things," Dr. Aaron says.

During sex with my partner, as just the two of us were making love, I tried whispering my threesome desires into his ear as he was inside of me: "You know what I'm imagining right now? Another woman going down on me as you penetrate her from behind."

Let's just say that, after sharing my threesome kink in such an erotic manner, he was totally on board.
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Communicate with your partner outside the bedroom.

The list of kinks is expansive. What is vanilla to one person may feel far out to another. While dirty talk may be second nature to some, for others, it can provoke feelings of embarrassment. So what do you do if your kink is being called names in bed, but your partner has displayed a shyness when it comes to talking dirty? Open up about your desires outside of the bedroom.

"It comes right back down to communication," explains Madeleine Castellanos, MD, an NYC-based sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep It Alive. "If you’d like to explore something, like dirty talk or anal play, and it’s not something that you already have in your relationship, then speak to your partner in a way that they will understand how you are feeling."

I wouldn't suggest broaching the topic as formally as a business meeting, but over dinner at home after a glass or two of wine may be a good time. When you're both feeling relaxed, just calmly bring up what you'd like to add to your sex life.
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Introduce your kink through porn.

Not only can porn be a wonderful way to discover what excites you, but it's also a safe way to introduce your kink to your partner. I personally do not have a foot fetish, but I once dated someone who did. After sharing with me that he was into feet (and throwing in some compliments about how sexy mine were — flattery goes a long way), he began emailing me links to some foot fetish porn videos, which we watched together.

While the videos didn't make me realize I too had a foot fetish, they did turn me on, and I agreed to try some of the things we watched together, from foot massages to toe sucking (including the difficult task of a foot job). Watching the videos together allowed me to gain an understanding of why feet were so erotic for him, and allowed him to feel less shameful about his kink.
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Reference mainstream media.

Despite the long list of what the Fifty Shades franchise gets wrong about kink, there's no denying that both the books and films helped normalize kink. If you're a submissive who, as fate would have it, fell in love with someone unfamiliar and experienced with BDSM, purchasing them a subscription to Kink.com's Sex and Submission (link NSFW) channel may scare them away, thus dampening your chances of getting them on board with starting a paddle collection.

Rather than go for the X-rated film introduction, ease them in with some R-rated content through a Fifty Shades of Grey Netflix and chill night, or suggest buying tickets to Fifty Shades Darker as a date idea. After the film, suss out how your partner felt about what they saw, and discuss the film over dinner as a chance to share that what you saw in the bondage scenes turned you on, and that you'd like to try them together.
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Play sex games.

For the playful and proudly nerdy couple, swapping out video games for sex games keeps the entertainment factor but adds orgasms. Another perk? Sex games can also help you disclose a kink.

In Dr. Aaron's book Modern Sexuality, he suggests a game based on menus, using the categories "green light," "yellow light," and "red light."

"Green lights are things you really want to do, yellow lights are things you might want to try but are a little anxious about, and red light is something that’s just off limits," he wrote.

After both writing out your kink menus, you exchange lists, and each partner picks one green and one yellow from the other's to try.
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Ask your partner about their kinks.

If you're the type that feels silly playing games, Dr. Aaron's menu suggestion may not be right for you. But the concept of compromise through asking your partner about their fetishes is crucial. Sure, some people may be vanilla to the core, but kinks are like secrets. Whether or not we've gone ahead and come out with them, most of us harbor a few.

"Try asking your partner, 'Are there some things you would like to do that you haven’t said? Are there some scenarios that you’ve never tried that you might find to be exciting?'" Dr. Aaron says.

When it comes to sharing kinks, the most important aspect might just be simply listening to your partner, Dr. Castellanos says.

With a former partner, I was ready to disclose my medical role play fetish. I was young and terrified, and worried they would think I was a total weirdo. So I asked them about their role-playing desires. As it turned out, they harbored a school girl/teacher fetish, and I agreed to try that first. After giving them what they wanted, they were more than willing to explore my own needs.
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Demonstrate acts of love.

Remember in kindergarten when your teacher taught you the importance of being nice to others and treating them with respect? Believe it or not, some of the lessons I learned as a kindergartener have proved fruitful in creating an open environment that feels safe to disclose kinks (sorry, Mrs. Barrows!).

If I get home from work, snap at my partner, and then lock myself in the other room without taking the time to ask how their day was, that sets a bad communication precedent. So when I begin feeling antsy and horny, and I want to enjoy my sex toy and double penetration kink, he'll be less open to trying something that demands such concentration.

However, if I get home and give him a big kiss, help cook dinner, and listen to him talk about his day, I've established intimacy by demonstrating acts of love. And aside from being happy to do that, kinks aside, he's much more likely to be in a giving mood and open to listening and exploring my kink if I'm a loving partner.
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Ease into it.

When it comes to kinks, you don't always have to jump right in — there are plenty of ways to dip your toe into kinky sex with your partner.

If you're into being submissive, when sharing your kink with a new or vanilla partner, asking them to try tying your arms behind your head during missionary sex is a lot less intimidating than asking to have them spit on your face or hogtie you. Be flexible and willing to start slow.

Especially if you're in a long-term relationship that you desire to maintain, understand that there's no need to rush. Before you ask about investing in a jail stand-up cage (link NSFW), start slowly with some handcuffs. See how that goes, and a year or two down the road, you two could have an entire dungeon installed.
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Stand up for yourself.

In an ideal world, you disclose your spanking kink to your partner and they say hell yeah, and you're enjoying impact play (spanking, paddling, hitting, flogging, etc.) mere moments after you talk about it. Sometimes, you may find yourself seeing someone who does not share your kinks, and gives a firm, but respectful, "no" when you disclose a fetish. In those instances, you must accept their limits, and reconsider your sexual compatibility. Yet, if you tell someone you have a fisting fetish, and they mock or shame you for it, stand up for yourself — even if it means ending the relationship.

"There’s a big difference between someone saying, 'You know what? I respect and honor your right to be into whatever you want, as long as it’s consensual, but I’m just not into it,'" Dr. Aaron says. "That is very different than being like, 'That’s disgusting.'"

Always remember that you are a beautiful sexual being worthy of the pleasure you desire, and never put up with assholes who shame you for a fetish.
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Be up front from the get-go.

Want to skip the build up before the kink disclosure conversation altogether? Be open and honest about your fetish from the get-go, and consider searching for partners who share that fetish.

"For the person who really has this exclusive fetish, they should probably seek out a partner in a more specific way, maybe a website like OkCupid or Fetlife," Dr. Aaron says.

Fetlife, a social media platform for kinksters, allows you to join groups and search for partners based on specific kinks. For those with truly hard-wired fetishes, it's a wonderful website to meet partners who share your lifestyle.

"You want to be clear about it right from the start, because if your partner isn't supportive of it, you’re really going to be unhappy in the relationship," Dr. Aaron says.
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