Ask the Intimacy Advisor: New Horizons

Ask the Intimacy Advisor: New Horizons

April is Couples Appreciation Month, so what better topic to explore than couples who are on the verge of trying new things to spice up their sex lives? The idea of having new intimate adventures is exciting, but can leave some folks a little uneasy, or at least with lots of questions. The Intimacy Advisor has the answers to YOUR real inquiries about exploring tantalizing new territories with your lover...or for yourself. Come see if this information can help you broaden your romantic horizons, too!

Question: I have recently been wanting to try new things with my husband. Particularly him spanking me and rougher foreplay. Besides talking him through what I want to try, is there a way I can present it to him without him being uncomfortable about my new curiosities? ~ Liz

Great question, Liz! So many people have curiosities about trying kinkier foreplay, BDSM, different positions, role play...anything that will help spice up their sex life and make sex more pleasurable for them...but it can be a difficult topic to broach if you're not sure your partner is on the same page. As natural and common as it is, there is unfortunately still a great deal of stigma surrounding these types of bedroom interests, so some people may have a stronger negative reaction to the concept than you may hope for.

"Talking him through" what you want to try as you suggested is the best and most straightforward approach, but do it during a completely neutral conversational time rather than during sex. Springing this topic on him in the heat of the moment would add the element of surprise, but it may also backfire, kill the mood, and simply ruin the otherwise decent sex you were about to have. Instead, bring it up over the dinner table (if kids aren't present, of course) or start chatting with him before you sit down to watch a show together. It can be as casual a conversation as it would be if you were talking to him about trying a new restaurant. You can start with a simple "hey, you know what I've been thinking about?", and then just start discussing your fantasies and curiosities. Gauge his reactions, offer clarification when needed, and give him think time when it's his turn to respond. It feel a little awkward, but just be clear and open with him and answer any questions he has honestly, and this conversation should move things in the right direction! 

Once he's (hopefully) on board, encourage him to try what you want through dirty talk as you start to engage in foreplay and sex. You can whisper what you want him to do to you, or full-on give orders if that's how you both decide you prefer it. Take it slow and be forgiving if he doesn't do everything exactly how you want it the first several times. Communicate with him gently and tell him exactly what sensations you prefer ("you can spank me a little harder", "I love it when you pinch me there!"). Being clear and explicit with your instructions will help him feel more confident as he begins to please you effortlessly. Plus. the talking dirty is just a huge turn-on for most people.

If you're interested in using any bondage gear or props as you explore, like floggers or paddles for spanking, go shopping together with your husband or just browse online together; this offers a good opportunity for him to think about and communicate what interests him and what he would absolutely not be willing to do with you. Have those conversations about consent, hard limits, and establish a safe word, even if you don't plan on things getting too wild, and then just have fun with all the new pleasurable places your bedroom adventures can take you!

Question: Me and my partner just got a vaginal tightener and a vaginal sensitizer, but we are hesitant to use them because we don’t know if they are safe. I see some pretty mixed opinions about them and we wanted to ask an expert about them before we use them. ~ Nick

Good on you, Nick, for doing your due diligence before jumping into the world of topical sexual enhancements. There are tons of these on the market today, for everything from enhancing sensitivity to stimulation or vaginal tightness like those you mentioned, to temporarily increasing erection size or desensitizing to help a man last longer. Generally speaking, if you've purchased these products from a reputable seller of adult sexual products (think SexDrive.com, not Wish.com ;) ) and they appear new, sealed, a proper texture (not gooey or separated), and are within their shelf life, they should be perfectly safe for most individuals.

I emphasize 'most', because there are always exceptions. If you or your partner have any food, plant, or medication allergies, read the ingredients statement carefully for anything that may cause you to have an allergic reaction. These products are usually heavily tested and formulated to be medically safe for even your most sensitive parts, and they are often free from common allergens so more people can use them, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Read the ingredients carefully and look up anything that you don't know what it is. Even barring any known allergens, some people may just have sensitive skin and react badly to a product, so it's always a good idea to test a tiny bit of the product on soft, thin skin like in the crook of your elbow before putting it on your genitals. If you're still unsure, it's always best to ask your doctor...we promise they won't judge you!

Also read the description of the product and what it claims to do or what sensations it says it will create. Reading online reviews like it sounds like you may already be doing is a good place to start, and will give you an idea of the experiences of real people trying those products. While reactions and enjoyment of a product will vary widely from person to person, if more people report that a product feels like fire ants in their crotch than a pleasant warming sensation as advertised, it's probably best to steer clear! Happy experimenting!

Question: My husband wants to have a threesome. We have discussed it many times, and I want to as well. He wants me to ask a friend, but I’m not sure I can do this. How do we go about this? ~ Michelle

If you've discussed the option of a threesome multiple times and you're both on board, congrats, Michelle! You've passed the first hurdle most couples encounter when introducing this option. If you both have the desire, now you just need a plan. As common as threesomes are, including among happy, healthy, married couples (they are way more common than most people think), there is still enough of a stigma surrounding them that can make asking for your third participant feel really awkward.

If your husband wants you to ask a friend, does he have a specific friend in mind? If so, is she the type of person who might be open to this possibility? Or, if he doesn't have a specific friend in mind, think about who your most sex-positive, open-minded friend is, and consider asking her. The easiest way is to start a casual conversation about your husband, your sex life, her and her partner's sex life if applicable, and then ask her if she would be open to the option of being part of a threesome with you and your husband. If she says yes, fabulous...set a date! If she says no, respect that and move on. It's either just not her thing, or possibly not an option because of her current relationship structure not being open to ethical non-monogamy.

If asking a friend is off the table, or if the friends you do ask turn it down, the next best place to try is local poly munches or meet-ups or location-specific personal ads, such as on Craigslist. You can also try dating sites, particularly open relationship friendly ones like OKCupid, #Open, or SwapFinder. Remember to discuss what you're looking for with your husband...is this going to be a one-time thing or once a month? Establish those desires and boundaries, and be very clear about them in your meet site profiles. Just like any dating site, there's a level of caution to be applied and some vetting involved, since you don't know this person you're about to invite into your bedroom, but chances are, there are people on there looking for the exact scenario you want. You can all go on a date together, discuss things, and then if you hit it off and it seems like a good fit, make it happen! You can read more and get some other great options here. Enjoy your unicorn hunt!

Question: I'm looking for 2 new toys to please my man. One, something I can use on his penis. The second, a not so girthy strap-on that also provides clitoral stimulation when I use it. Any suggestions? ~ Addy

It's so awesome that you want to incorporate toys for his pleasure in your bedroom play, Addy! We often talk about couples introducing toys in the bedroom, but all too often that thought process stops at clitoral vibes, couple's vibes, wands....toys that are predominantly for the woman's pleasure. There are plenty of amazing options for toys for men out there; here are just a couple examples of what it sounds like you're looking for.

For penis pleasing toys, the most common type is a stroker. Don't worry - they don't all look like pussies if that weirds you out. These are often used solo by men for masturbation, but there's nothing on the books that says you can't jack him off with one! Find a nice grippable one and see how he likes it. There are also shorter stroking rings that you can use in combination with your mouth for a very memorable blowjob. For the ultimate penis pleasing session, a luxury toy like the Arcwave Ion Pleasure Air Stroker will provide a smooth squeeze and gentle air stimulation to his most sensitive parts, or the versatile Manta Men's Vibrator is perfect for extra pleasure while you do whatever else you want to do with his penis!

As for strap-ons, beginner's sets like the New Comers Strap-On Set from Sportsheets are a good option to fulfill the not-so-girthy requirement. This one doesn't check the clitoral stimulation box, though, without adding your own wearable vibe (which is totally an option!). A strapless strap-on like the Shi Shi Midnight Rider is a great option with vibration and stimulating ridges for you, and a first-time friendly size for him. If direct clitoral stimulation is more your thing than vibration, another great option is to add a "grinder" to the base of your strap-on dildo. These come in different shapes and textures, from ridges to roses, and attach to the base of your dildo to stimulate your clitoris as you thrust and grind on your man. These are compatible with most basic dildos, and any strap-on harness which allows the dildo to touch your skin, like the Strap-On-Me Rebel Harness (fun because it looks more like a sexy garter belt) or the super-adjustable (so it hits just the right spot) Lux Fetish Patent Leather Strap-On harness. Just remember to pick up plenty of toy friendly water-based lube before your pegging play, and have fun!