It wasn’t until 10 years into our relationship that I felt comfortable getting horizontal (or not) with my hubby, largely due to finding the kink side of TikTok.
I grew up in a Catholic family where sex was off-limits until I was married. Then by the time I got married, I felt shame over my desires and carnal needs. After I had both of my children, I felt like I shouldn’t want to have sex because of some idea that if you are a mom, you are not supposed to be sexy anymore or even talk about having sex for any reason other than making babies. Somewhere in my upbringing, I absorbed that moms are supposed to be beautiful homemakers, more concerned about cooking a homemade meal than shimmying into a sexy red negligee or *gasp* shopping in a sex toy shop.
My husband always put forth a valiant effort to combat my hesitancy in the bedroom. He encouraged me to try watching porn or exploring self-pleasure, but each time I always felt worse after the glow of an orgasm faded. I tried talking about it with my therapist. She said a low libido was normal postpartum and suggested saying yes more often might lead to more desire.
I thought I was doomed to stay in this seesaw of pleasure and guilt until I somehow scrolled upon #kinktok. All of a sudden, I was engaged in a community that talked about sex without shame but also encouraged strong boundaries that emphasized consent.
All of a sudden, I was engaged in a community that talked about sex without shame but also encouraged strong boundaries that emphasized consent.
Now, let’s be honest: the kink community often gets a bad rep; think Fifty Shades of Grey and 365 Days. I wonder how many other people thought differently about their own sex lives after watching or reading? Why were these risqué scenes making some of our hearts pump a little harder and blood rush south? Was it because they were hot and heavy, or was it because they were opening our eyes to the multitude of ways to have an intimate relationship?
The most important things I learned from #kinktok actually weren’t new positions or spicy adult toys, but rather how to use certain communication principles to elevate our sex life. Here are a few ways exploring #kinktok helped me improve my relationship with my partner.
1. Consent is everything
One of my favorite things about the kink community is that consent is key. Some of the tenets of kink is that sexual and intimate connects are safe, sane, and consensual. Now I bet you’re wondering what that means, so let me break it down a little more.
When it comes to relationships that are into BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Submission and Sadism, and Masochism), there is a standard of rules that healthy relationships adhere to. And what Christian Grey got wrong is that there should never be any coercion or dangerous activities. Subs (subordinates) or bottoms (person on the receiving end) always have an out if they are no longer comfortable, and, yes, this includes if one initially agreed to be tied up and gagged.
2. Have a safe word
Speaking of an out, in healthy kink or vanilla (conventional) relationships, partners can have a safe word that they can use when they want things to stop. This can also be a color system where partners use red, yellow, and green. Red typically means to stop immediately and end a scene; yellow means to slow down and check in; and green means things are really good and to continue.
Each person or couple can have different safe words, so it is essential to discuss and learn each other’s words before getting intimate. If a scene ever calls for a person’s mouth to be covered, for instance, partners typically come up with hand signs that offer the same protection.
Another important aspect is ensuring whoever is using the safe word feels supported and is not made to feel bad for needing to slow down or stop completely. By incorporating a safe word in our sex lives, it allowed me to feel comfortable trying new positions, and getting even more adventurous.
3. Communication is key
Communicating your desires, your fears, and your triggers is so important in any relationship. And in order to have the best possible sexual experience, partners need to be very open with one another so there is no miscommunication.
In order to have the best possible scene and/or relationship, partners need to be very open with one another so there is no miscommunication.
We all have different desires: some people like foreplay, some have foot fetishes, or are into watersports. Remember to do your research first and keep things safe, sane, and consensual. And it’s important not to shame your partner for bringing up something they may want to try, but it’s also OK to set some hard personal limits. You may find that with time, you’re open to more than you initially thought—or not.
By communicating openly with my husband, we had some surprise discoveries like enjoying anal play (for him) and being tied up (for me). Since we started experimenting more, we’ve achieved levels of pleasure we never would have known we were missing.
Remember, you don’t have to be into kink to use some of these principles to improve your relationship. Just have fun, be safe, and always ask for consent.
Read More: How to Take Control of Your Sex Life