All sex is good sex—in the beginning. When your relationship is fresh, new positions or novel settings are enough to keep you both interested and satisfied.
But as the years pass, it’s all too common to find yourself stuck with a sex life worn edgeless by routine and complacency.
Fortunately, things don’t have to stay that way.
Here, sex and relationships experts offer some sound advice for cranking up the kink and adding a little—or a lot—of spice to your flat-lined sex life.
“One person’s wet dream is another’s wet blanket,” says Tracey Cox, a U.K.-based sex expert and best-selling author. If you pull out your new moves in the moment, her startled reaction may frighten you both away from dirty sex for another few years.
Here’s a smarter idea: Discuss your ideas and turn-ons before you hit the lights, Cox stresses.
Start the conversation over a glass of wine at dinner—or in some other setting where you’re both comfortable and relaxed, suggests Sadie Allison, a doctor of human sexuality and author of The Mystery of the Undercover Clitoris.
It might be easier to begin this talk with relatively tame fantasies or role-playing ideas—stuff that will ease you both into the idea of new experiences, Allison says. It may also help to ask her what she’s into first. That way, you’re making it about her desires as well as your own, she adds.
When it’s your turn to share, be positive and confident about what you’re into, Cox stresses. If you make a big deal about asking or you look terrified once you make the request, that could freak your girl out or make her nervous, she says.
Also, be clear that you’re not expecting this every time you do it—only once in a while as a change of pace.
“Most people can cope with doing kinky things consistently but irregularly,” says Cox. “Few want to do it every single session.”
And, above all else, don’t force things, Cox warns. If you’ve told her you’re interested in something and she says it’s not for her, putting up a fight won’t change her mind. On the other hand, being cool with her refusal might lead her to rethink things and give it a shot.
Watching some porn or reading erotica together may help charge you both up and make it easier to discuss new ideas, Allison says. If that sounds weird, remember, Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t a blockbuster book because dudes were reading it.
Chances are good your partner’s interested in this stuff even if she’s never discussed it with you. And it’s a lot easier to say “I like that” while watching or reading about sex than it is to describe your fantasy in detail.
Once you’ve agreed on some new moves to try, do your homework, Allison advises. Whether you’re trying anal sex for the first time or introducing a new toy into your bedroom, there are right and wrong ways to go about things. Knowing the pitfalls ahead of time is the easiest way to avoid them.
And unless your fantasies perfectly align, it may help to split your new sex initiatives into “his” nights and “her” nights, Allison recommends. Starting with her desires may be a good way to show her this is about the both of you, and may make her more enthusiastic when it’s your turn.
Kids are a kink-killer, so dropping them with your parents or getting away to a hotel for a night can help you and your partner disconnect from your distractions, Allison says.
(A hotel is also a good idea because new settings can ease your transition into new experiences.)
It’s also smart to set ground rules—how far each of you is prepared to go—and to establish a safe word, Cox advises. (Make your safe word something you would never say by mistake.)
This way, you can be sure you’re both enjoying yourselves and having fun without having to stop every few minutes to ask, “Are you cool with this?”
In the end, remember that your relationship is more important than the experience you’re having in the moment, Cox says.
Give your girl a gentle hug and a kiss afterward, and tell her how much you enjoyed yourself.
And, sometime in the next few days, talk about what you both liked—and what you didn’t—to ensure you walk away from the new experience feeling satisfied and willing to try it again soon.