Hey VE,

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a few months now and I think things are going well. It’s just that our sex life is so vanilla. I want to explore with him and use toys but I don’t think he’d be into it (he seems very shy).

How do I introduce this idea to him without making him think I don’t like him or our sex life? I don’t know if I should just keep things casual with him and see other people that are more into exploring because I’m not really into confrontation.

What should I do?

Tamed Kitten

Hi Tamed Kitten,

From my teen years into my early twenties, I had this habit of avoiding confrontation at all costs. People used to tell me all the time how laid back and easygoing I was, and man, did I ever want to keep being those things.

I’d happily let you pick the movie, decide on the restaurant, or date the guy I was secretly in love with. Because, like you, I was really not into confrontation.

Of course, I didn’t feel very fulfilled in most of my relationships. In some of them, there’d come a point where I was so unhappy I’d either have to speak up or end things.

And in those situations, do you think I risked confrontation to put my needs out there and ask for what I really wanted?

Hell no. Before ghosting was even a verb, I ghosted.

The obvious moral of this story is that I was avoiding confrontation because I was afraid that it would lead to my relationships ending. But avoiding confrontation led to my relationships ending anyways.

Ironic, no?

Tamed Kitten, I’m telling you this little coming-of-age story because you’re about to do the same thing with your boyfriend.

Sure, different people might be naturally more adventurous or easier to talk to. But if you want to have hot, kinky, transcendent sex with anyone, you will eventually have to talk about it.

I could tell you that communication is the key to hot sex.  But you already know that, I know you already know that, and probably everyone reading this column knows that.

People don’t avoid talking about sex because no one’s told them that communication is important. They avoid it because they’re afraid of being rejected. Or they feel shame about wanting something different. Or they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Or a million possible reasons that boil down to this: confrontation is really hard.

And here’s the bad news: the only way I know of to make hard things easy is to do them and do them, again and again.

So enlist some support, figure out why you’re avoiding confrontation, and find some strategies to work through those blocks.

Follow your desire like a trail of breadcrumbs. Let it lead you out of this forest of self-sacrifice and mediocre sex.

To answer your question directly, I think you should talk to your boyfriend. Tell him that you enjoy having sex with him and you’d love to try some new things together. Offer a few suggestions of things you’d like to try, and ask him for a few suggestions as well.

If you need an opening line, you can bring up something sexy you’ve seen or read lately. “I ended up watching Fifty Shades of Gray and it was a terrible movie… but I was pretty turned on by that spanking scene. Would you be in to trying that?” That sort of thing.

Keep in the back of your mind that you’re really not criticizing him, you’re just sharing what you want. Many people appreciate hearing this! Knowing what a partner likes makes it much easier to be feel confident and secure when having sex.

If you do all this and he’s not into switching anything up, well… then at least you have your answer and can make a decision from there. And if it turns out that he’s the kinky babe of your dreams, then you get to enjoy a relationship full of exploration, play, and sex toys.

Sam Whittle, sex educator and owner of Venus Envy.

Send questions you want answered to editors.the.leveller@gmail.com, or direct to Sam at education@venusenvy.ca.

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