Asking For A Friend: How to communicate your kinks to your partner

Asking For A Friend: How to communicate your kinks to your partner

November 20, 2022

Asking For A Friend is the series where we answer the questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

Looking at social media, it can feel like sex positivity is the norm. 

But in reality, discussions about sexual preferences, kinks and fantasies can be awkward and full of shame, even with a long-term partner you’re comfortable with. 

Whether it’s roleplay, outdoor sex or BDSM, it’s completely normal to have specific things that turn you on. 

But that doesn’t make sharing these kinks and fantasies with a partner any less nerve wracking. 

‘There can be a lot of anxiety and uncertainty associated with discussing kinks with a partner,’ Jessica Alderton, a dating expert and founder of dating app So Synced, tells

This, she says, usually stems from feeling like you’re exposing yourself and not knowing how your partner will react – what if they laugh? Or you scare them off?

Jessica blames this on society’s reluctance to talk about kinks and sex in general.

‘The shame that sometimes comes with disclosing our kinks originates from our innate need to be accepted by society,’ she says. 

‘We have a deep desire to be seen as good people, and this often goes hand in hand with acting in a socially acceptable manner. 

‘Sexual kinks aren’t usually discussed openly, so when it comes to us talking about them with our partners, we can feel like we’re different and that whatever we’re desiring isn’t socially acceptable.’

Obviously, you can be a good person while still having specific kinks, and it’s actually important to lay them out on the table as soon as you feel comfortable. 

‘Being upfront about your kinks allows you and your partner to have an open dialogue about what you’re both interested in, which can help to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises down the road,’ Jessica explains.

‘If it turns out that your kinks are a dealbreaker in any way, it’s much better to know earlier on.

‘[Plus], being upfront about your kinks can help you have a more enjoyable and fulfilling sex life, which is an important aspect of a relationship.’

How to communicate your kinks to a partner

Respect your partner’s boundaries

First and foremost, it’s vital that you respect your partner’s boundaries when discussing your kinks.

Some things aren’t for everyone and you need to be prepared for the fact that your partner might be uncertain or uncomfortable. 

‘Not only is it important to respect your partner’s boundaries, but you should also make it very clear that this is the case,’ says Jessica.

‘State it at the beginning of your conversation and let them know that you would never want them to do anything that they aren’t 100% comfortable with.’

You don’t want to inadvertently pressure your partner as this won’t be productive for you and will likely be hurtful for them.

Use examples

Next, Jessica recommends using clear examples to help them understand the specific acts that turn you on. 

‘It’s likely that you’ll have thought a lot about situations involving your kink, but it can be a completely new concept for other people,’ she says. 

‘This means that being specific when you’re describing your kinks is important so that your partner can understand how it would work in real life. 

‘Otherwise, it can be difficult for them to make a decision about whether they want to engage in them.’

Take it one step at a time

‘Depending on the kink, it can be a good idea to take one step at a time when it comes to trying new sexual experiences with your partner,’ says Jessica.

Start by asking your partner if they’re open to trying something on the ‘lighter side of the spectrum’ to see if you both enjoy it.

If they do enjoy it, you can progress from there.

‘Some people are cautious when it comes to trying new things and this can be a great way of enabling you both to explore kinks in a way that doesn’t feel scary or overwhelming,’ she adds.

What if your partner doesn’t want to engage with your kinks?

As we mentioned earlier, you need to be prepared for the possibility that your partner isn’t into the same kinks as you and simply doesn’t want to give them a go.

This is fine – no one should have to do anything they don’t feel comfortable with, especially in the context of sex.

That being said, it can be a dealbreaker. 

‘When this happens, you have to ask yourself what’s more important: being with your partner or acting on your kinks,’ says Jessica.

‘It’s sometimes a very easy decision and it’s sometimes a very hard one: If you choose your partner, you have to be prepared for potentially never acting on your kinks again, but if you choose your kinks, you have to be prepared for a life without your partner.’

If you decide to stay with your partner, Jessica recommends finding alternative ways to get your kinks met such as through porn or fantasising, as long as both parties are happy with this set up.

‘There is a range of solutions, some of which involve compromises,’ she says.

‘Through open and honest communication, you can work out together what you think will be best for you both as individuals and as a couple.’

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