Ask Dr. Tracy

Spicing Up Your Sex Life

Keeping sex exciting can mean the difference between a good relationship and a mediocre one. But even if you're daring enough to have a late-night quickie on your in-law's kitchen table while they're sleeping, there are only so many ways to have intercourse. That is, unless you get a little kinky.

Many times, clients come to me who've been together a long time. They've slipped into a rut of only having sex at the same time of day, in the same place, and in the same position. They're bored and want to know what to do about it.

Sometimes a change of venue works. But usually, no matter where they go, they wind up in the same lovemaking routine.

If you and your lover are open-minded and a bit adventurous, kinky sex can can be the ultimate answer for your sexual blahs. The problem is, everyone talks about it, but hardly anyone knows how to do it.

"I got Hank to read `The Story of O' with me one night," my client Elaine, a 31-year-old accountant, told me. "But then, when we got into bed all turned on, we wound up having the same old missionary sex we've been having for the past six years."

Elaine's experience is common. Kinky sex is exciting but bewildering. It's a world of primal fantasies, bizarre costumes, and scary-sounding terms like "B&D" (Bondage and Discipline) and "S&M" (Sadism and Masochism). `The Story of O' doesn't come with a Surgeon General's warning, and no one tells you how far to go or where to begin. Even sophisti- cated lovers find themselves lost.

Here's a short primer on exploring kinky sex.

First of all, it doesn't hurt to look. With your lover, read "More Joy," by Alex Comfort, "My Secret Garden" by Nancy Friday, or one of Anne Rice's "Sleeping Beauty" novellas. Or just peruse a catalogue of sexual paraphenalia together. If you both get turned on, you're probably ready to try a little kinky sex.

Whatever you try first, remember this: kinky sex is the opposite of normal sex, where you try to be spontaneous and close to your mate "in the moment." In successful kinky sex, you escape the here and now; you fly away on a fantasy or touch a deeply buried desire. Accomplishing this takes a little imagination, a bit of knowhow, and real planning. There's no such thing as spontaneous kinky sex. Without preparations, you can expect a failure, if not a real disaster, the first time you try kinky sex.

Rita, another of my clients, decided with her boyfriend on the spur of the moment to try a little lusty dominance and submission as a change to their usual sex. Trying to improvise, they spent 20 minutes looking for something to tie her up with so he could ravish her helpless body -- their agreed-upon fantasy.

They looked in the laundry and the yard and the garage for clothesline or rope and finally settled on some old belts in the closet. Finally, they got in bed. Playing the role of pirate/abductor, he growled, "Now, I'm going to tie you up and make love to you until you scream for mercy."

Unfortunately, as he was saying his opening line, he was busily wrapping a belt around her ankles. Rita cracked up. "How are you going to ravish me with my feet tied together?" she giggled, which made him feel criticized and turned off.

"I thought I was going to get to live out my rape fantasy in a safe way," she told me later. "Instead, we wound up having a half-hearted quickie just to get to sleep."

Rita's first attempt was a mild failure. Michael's was a disaster. He broke off the key in a pair of cheap handcuffs he had on his fiance and wasn't able to get her out of them until the next morning, when took her half-dressed to an amused locksmith.

Michael's experience is more than an example of what can go wrong in kinky sex without fully-tested props. It also illustrates that the people selling you sex toys can know less about kinky sex than you do.

A real expert at kinky sex would never use metal handcuffs. The whole turn-on in a "bondage" scene is being able to tug at your restraints and feel like you can't get away. No "B&D master" wants to leave his "slave" with bruised or cut wrists; he wants her happy and intact for another session.

The experts use soft leather cuffs which are snugged to your wrists with straps and snapped together with a metal clip, like at the end of a dog's leash. They're totally safe, totally fool-proof, and very professional -- the hallmark of all good kinky sex equipment.

Naturally, you won't want to invest in custom-made leather cuffs just to try a little bondage, so you can experiment very inexpensively by using small leather collars sold in pet stores, plus chrome clips sold in hardware stores.

If you want to try a dildo, you'll need to find a sex shop or order from a catalog such as "Xandria." For everything else, if you don't have a sex store nearby or feel uncomfortable in one, you can get started in a big department store like Sears. You can buy leashes and collars in the pet department, masks in the beauty department, vibrators in small appliances, and ropes and pulleys and hooks and chains in the hardware department.

Deciding what fantasy you want to act out, getting the equipment, and planning the scene together, as a couple, is part of the turn-on of kinky sex. Exotic sex experiments are two-person operations. The "getting ready" leads to anticipation and excitement and breaks through the barriers that keep both of you from imagining and then acting out beyond your usual sexual limits. Exotic sex is never a quickie, which is part of its allure.

Many couples' kinky sex play starts without any equipment at all. Even conservative lovers indulge in light scratching or even biting during orgasm. Light hand-spanking during sex, the mildest form of Sado-masochistic sex play, has been used since antiquity to heighten orgasm.

One of my clients is a prostitute with a regular client who is turned on by spanking. "He has to have two women and all he wants to do is spank us," she told me. "It's a little silly, but he gives us each $150 three mornings a week. He puts us over his knee and spanks like crazy. Sometimes it really stings, and I cry, but I always show up next time at 6 a.m. sharp. Maybe it's more than the money," she finally admitted.

Many people enjoy mild pain as a regular part of sex. "I always like my nipples pinched when I come," Gail, a client, told me. "And then that wasn't enough. Charlie and I bought S&M magazines and he began to get more ideas. I discovered I liked to be spanked, tied up, even humiliated. Once, Charlie tied me up, led me around the house on a leash, and made me eat off a plate on the floor.

The kind of things Gail and Charlie do aren't for everyone. They take a special kind of understanding and trust, a sense of adventure and a mutuality of sexual desires.

For almost anything beyond light spanking, it's important to discuss who will be in charge. One of you should be the leader and one the follower, or you can take turns. If you both have different fantasies, decide who gets to act out their fantasy first.

Next, comes actually living your fantasy. Make sure the two of you are alone and won't be disturbed (or disturb others). It's best if you can find privacy at home. If not, think about going away for the experience.

Before you start, tell your partner exactly what you're going to do. This gives your partner a chance to object, and also to anticipate.

For example, tell your partner, "I'm going to tie your hands up high and then I'm going to spank you with my hand until your bottom turns pink. Then I'm going to tickle you all over with feathers while you're helpless." Or, "I'm going to tie you spread-eagled on the bed, blindfold you, and use the vibrator on your body until you beg for mercy."

Then you have to prepare ahead of time for whatever you've promised. Test ahead of time to see if the vibrator cord reaches the wall socket, the wrist cuffs and clips work, and the feathers are within reach. In a bondage and disciple fantasy, the master or mistress must be truly dominant; if he or she has to go searching for an extension cord or fumbling for the feathers, the spell is broken.

Once they get started, most couples find that exotic sex play is so exciting they automatically begin to think of new more exotic improvements for next time.

There's nothing perverted or wrong about experimenting with sex in a loving manner, no matter what you do -- so long as both partners are willing, over 21, and no serious pain is involved or injury of any kind is inflicted. Mild pain is okay, as long as it's during intense sexual arousal when it's experienced as pleasure. That's why "Joy of Sex" recommends immediate release from bondage following orgasm. Since the excited state has ended, bondage could then be experienced as pain.

In almost any kind of kinky sex, but especially in S&M and B&D fantasies, there is one essential step of planning which must never be forgotten: the "code word." For the submissive partner to have his or her fantasy take wing, he or she must be able to shout, "Oh, please no. Stop!" -- and still be unable to escape the delights of their sexual torment. Yet they must be able to instantly communicate if they're feeling real pain or actually need to stop for any reason. That's what a "code word" is for. Discuss this with your partner, pick a word which is unlikely to come up in the planned fantasy, memorize it, and stop immediately if you hear it.

One of the less-obvious dangers of exotic sex is that you get used to having a more exciting, different, fantasy type of sex and find regular romantic sex somehow lacking. For that reason, some couples become involved in kinky sex as a way of life, making a lifestyle of swinging, cross-dressing, S&M and even piercing.

To avoid becoming fixated or needing kinkier and kinkier sex, occasionally devote the same effort you'd invest in an exotic fantasy into an evening of old-fashioned romantic sex. Include flowers, candlelight and sexy foods, forget your fantasies for the evening and concentrate on being close with your real lover.

Since the trickiest part of kinky sex is getting started, here are some guidelines which will help.

Safe And Sane Kinky Sex Rules

  1. Talk about what you're going to do ahead of time, and be sure that it turns you both on.

  2. Plan ahead, even deciding on special music. Try out your equipment ahead of time. Test everything, and make sure it's in an easy-to-reach place so you don't fumble around in the dark.

  3. Don't spend a lot of money trying kinky sex. In the beginning, thick yarn is just as good as ropes or chains, is less scary, and can be just as exciting. Keep a scissors handy to cut the yarn quickly instead of trying to undo stuck knots.

  4. Try different roles and different kinds of kinky sex like silks, leathers, feathers, spanking. You don't want to get fixated at one level and never be able to enjoy sex any other way.

  5. Never indulge in sado-masochistic or bondage sex play when you're angry with each other or when your relationship is having other problems which could run over into your erotic games.

  6. Never leave a bound or gagged person alone, and never block a person's breathing passages.

  7. Never cross the line into real pain or hurting. Be sure to agree on a "code word" that means STOP, and always stop instantly when you hear it.

Related Keywords: Love Strategies, Making Love Grow, Sexual Attraction, Keeping Love Alive

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