Deleted browser histories. Hidden erotica on the Kindle. Secret Facebook groups. You've been exploring your interest in kink for a while – and you've hidden it well. There's a social stigma about all things kink and fetish, and the last thing you want is to be labeled a deviant or damaged. I get it. I promise.

If you've kept your kinky interests private because of the fear of how to talk to your partner, stop. Consider the level of intimacy you have with your partner. Can you talk to them about other personal or difficult topics? Is this someone you love and want to build a future with? Or are you simply tired of hiding who you are? Either way, a conversation about your kinks is an important one to have.

It may still be the hardest conversation of your relationship, but with a few helpful hints and step-by-step instructions, you'll both survive it.

Steps to Initiate the Conversation

These are steps I use when I want to introduce something new with my own Dominant partner. Yes, we're already very accepting of kink and open to trying new things, but the principles are the same. Talking about something like kinky sex for the first time is nerve-wracking. Going in with a plan of action can give you a much needed confidence boost to get your point across and say what's on your mind.

  1. Set Aside Some Time
    This is a big conversation. Make sure you're both focused on it and not on cooking dinner, paying bills, or avoiding phone calls from your mother.

  2. Do Your Research
    Share reliable, credible information. Unless your partner really responds to porn, show them different pages here on Kinkly or in books you've read that provide an accurate portrayal of the kinky acts that interest you. The kink you're suggesting could be a completely new concept to your partner. Arm them with good information.

  3. Start Small
    Maybe you dream of being suspended from the ceiling by your ankles while your partner flogs you or beats you with a bull whip. Well, OK then. Good for you. Just don't start there unless you're both cowboys or rigging experts. Start with light bondage and spankings, or some equivalent, and work up to the harder stuff. People who are new to kink are often put off by the hard start, so give your partner a gentle introduction. So, think silk scarves before you think of heavy chains. (Get some tips on getting started in our BDSM 101 Tutorial.)

  4. Be Prepared for Concern or Disinterest
    If you've been reading and researching your kink for weeks and you're excited to share what you know and want, it can be hard if your partner doesn't share your enthusiasm. Don't be surprised if your partner is hesitant. They have their own fears, insecurities and lack of knowledge to overcome. Give them time and space to adjust to the idea.

  5. Don't Make Demands
    The easiest way to get someone to tune you out is to start issuing ultimatums for compliance. Suggest. Educate. Share your enthusiasm. However, you must remember that the decision to participate is ultimately your partner's.

What Happens Next

In a perfect world, your partner nods their head, smiles, immediately consumes all the information you've shared, and is ready to get naked and start trying a new kink. If that happens for you, right on!

For others, the reaction may be less exuberant. Give your partner time to process all this new information. Let them read or investigate on their own. Respect their need to think about it. Follow up, but don't hound them for a decision.

In the worst scenario, they reject your desires and refuse to consider kink at all. Only you know what you need in your relationship. This is a moment to decide if you can live without the kink or not. I'm not advocating that you dump your partner or immediately find someone who can be your kinky partner on the side. I am saying that you do need to consider your needs too.

Open and honest communication is good for any relationship, kinky or not. If you and your partner are already willing to discuss most topics with each other, this probably won't be as difficult as you think. Many of my friends who approached their partner about kink were shocked to discover they weren't alone in their thinking. Until you say something, the answer is always no. Once you open the door to kink, the answer might be a resounding, “Hell yeah!” or at least an, “I'm willing to try.” To know, you have to have the conversation first.