There’s something to be said for enjoying kink in practice, as opposed to only in your fantasies. However, thinking about kinking things up when it comes to your personal repertoire is one thing. Knowing where to start for best results is another issue altogether. Here’s a closer look at how you can know whether bringing your BDSM fantasies to life in your actual bedroom is really the right fit for you, as well as how to approach things should you decide that it is.

Is It Time to Get Kinky?

Sex is incredible for a lot of reasons, especially when it comes the sheer variety it can bring to the table. You can use it to connect to yourself or to another person in all sorts of exciting ways. You can use it to explore a multitude of different sensations, including pain and elevated stimulation. Kink can be a really exciting way to experiment with different power dynamics as well. However, some people are happier simply fantasizing about kink, and that’s Okay too.

Is kink something you and your partner have discussed? Is this something you both would like to explore together, as opposed to something only one of you really wants? Have you each done your homework regarding what you’d like to try, verified that you understand what’s involved, and decided you still want to proceed? If so, you’re definitely in the right head space to take things up a notch or two.

If you’re still not completely sure how to bring the topic up with a partner who may or may not be on board, start by testing the waters. Watch a sexy movie together that involves kink (like Secretary or Fifty Shades of Grey), use it as a conversation starter, and see how your partner reacts to the idea of kink in general. Alternatively, you can simply look for ways to work kink into your everyday conversations to get a read on where they stand. Then talk things out further when you’re ready.

Laying the Groundwork

Getting on the same page with your partner is a good start, but it’s still important to really prepare for your experience if you’re serious about getting the most out of it. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

Get specific.

Kink play covers a wide range of different sensations, experiences, and activities, so it’s important to really hash out what each of you wants to try before you just dive in. What are your exact, specific desires? What are theirs? If you’re not sure, you’ll want to find out, which you can do together if you like. (Watching porn, reading erotica, or even exploring a sex manual on kink together can help.)

Get super comfortable talking about it.

Open, comfortable dialogue is an absolute must when you’re engaging in kink play of any kind. For instance, consent is very important, but it’s hard to know whether you really have it if you’re not comfortable with frank, clear communication. It’s Okay if you’re shy. Practice makes perfect, so just get in the habit of communicating in more detail regarding sex, both in and out of the bedroom. Dirty talk is a great way to do this, as is talking casually about sex on an everyday basis.

Start tame and work your way up.

Even if you and your partner think you’re 100 percent comfortable dressing each other up in full BDSM gear and going straight for the heavy kink right away, it’s better to start light and go from there. Role play is a good place for most couples to start. Creative play that involves different kinds of sex toys is another. Light spanking, restraint, and sight deprivation are still more relatively approachable ways to introduce yourselves to the world of kink and discover what you both like.

Have a safe word.

Any time you’re experimenting in the bedroom, you should have a safe word picked out – something either of you can say at any time to immediately shut down whatever’s happening, no questions asked. To avoid confusion, it should be something that’s extremely unlikely to be said in a sexual context – “paprikash” as opposed to “pussy”, for example.

Communicate during and after.

Communication is just as important during and after kink play as it is before. While you’re playing, actively let your partner know if something does or doesn’t feel good. Then discuss your experience together after you’re done. Did both of you get what you wanted? Was it what you expected it to be? Do you both want to try it again sometime (or something similar)? What would you do differently?

The key to kink play that satisfies truly is communication, honesty, and plenty of both. Start exploring the possibilities today, and see where your play takes you.