A guide to less shame and more pleasure and play in the bedroom
Written for GFH by Luna Matatas
Does sex always have to be so serious? What would happen if we got silly, more relaxed, or curious?
A lot of mainstream porn and romance-focused media shows us sexiness that is performative and polished. We usually don’t see goofiness, awkwardness, and authentic playfulness as part of what’s considered 'sexy.'
The thing is, though: bringing more playfulness into the bedroom has many benefits including:
- Feeling more relaxed and present in the moment.
- Engaging your erotic imagination for creative and curious sex.
- Discovering new ways to connect with your partner during sex.
- Allowing space for your own playfulness and imagination.
- Letting go and getting out of your head.
- Finding new ways to get turned on.
- Worrying less about what sex looks like and engaging more with how it feels.
- Bringing more fun into the bedroom!
The question then becomes:
How can we embrace more playfulness?
Communication is a great place to start any time you’re interested in shifting things in the bedroom. Open communication means talking about things you’d like to try, fantasies you have, or sex toys you’re curious about. Open communication can also include talking about your insecurities and inviting your partner to talk about their desires and insecurities, too, without fear of judgement.
Setting a ‘sex n’ playfulness’ date night with your partner can help both of you be on the same page about the intentions of the evening. Let go of the goal of orgasms or getting to the ‘end’ of sex and get into the joy of erotic play to see where it takes you.
Here are some ways to bring more play into your bedroom:
Having prompts from dice or sexy card decks can take the pressure out of coming up with playful ideas. It also encourages both of you to equally participate by taking turns in the games. The mystery of chance during a sex game can also invite some spontaneity from partners who might get in their heads during sex, too!
Experiment with Role Play
Sexual roleplay is all about borrowing attributes—and behaviours, costumes, and props—of characters—such as doctor, teacher, kitten, etc.—and sexualizing the behaviours of these roles for pleasure. You don’t have to find your actual doctor sexy in order to roleplay a sexy doctor.
For some people, roleplay and its theatrics come easily and for others, it takes practice and time to build confidence. Getting started can feel intimidating and overwhelming, so go slow, start with a short scene, and be gentle with yourself and your partner—it’s doesn't have to be a perfect performance—and don’t give up right away. Explore erotica to get some inspiration for your imagination. Get more tips for role playing with confidence here.
Explore Dirty Talk
Dirty talk can be more fun if it’s playful because you aren’t worried about ‘sounding silly.' Dirty talk is definitely a skill, and while some people have a naturally vivid imagination, most people need to practice until they find the style of dirty talk that feels good for them. Here are some ways to get started with dirty talk:
- Try coming up with sexy pet names for each other that you both like.
- Try dirty talk in a non-sexual (but private) environment to start with—for example, be silly and dirty talk your dinner to each other.
- Use dirty talk as part of your role play. What would your character say? How would they say it?
- Explore sexting each other—use emojis to get more colourful and expressive.
- Write erotica for each other and then take turns reading it out while animating the words with your voice and expressions.
Words have boundaries too. Communicate with each other to talk about the words that make you feel sexiness and the words that are off the menu.
Tease with Sensation Play
Sensation play is all about stimulating our five senses in different ways. Sometimes sensation play involves temperature, textures, or hyperstimulation of one sense while under-stimulating another. Sensation play can help some bodies focus on what’s happening in the present moment because the body is acutely tuned into the focused stimulation.
You could explore sensation play in these fun ways:
- Warming or cooling lubes or balms: Use these on erogenous zones to create contrasting sensations for the skin
- Feather tickler: Use this on go-to hot spots like nipples and genitals, but also on under-serviced erogenous zones like necks, backs, stomachs, or inner thighs
- Blindfolds: Tone down the visual sense and keep your partner guessing with which part of the body is going to experience what next.
- Restraints: Restraints like cuffs can be a part of sensation play. The restriction of movement can be relaxing for some people making their body less tense and more receptive to sensation. Psychologically it might also help someone ‘let go.'
- Glass dildos or stainless steel sex toys are great for getting playful with temperature
- Wartenberg Pinwheels are a popular kinky tool for creating prickly sensations that pinpoint the skin without breaking it.
If you’re playing with restraints or blindfolds, just like with dirty talk, be sure to discuss boundaries, safe words, and what activities are on or off the menu.
When you’re trying out new things in the bedroom, it’s natural to feel shy or awkward about this. It’s okay to say to your partner, ‘I’m excited to get more playful but I’m also nervous I won’t be sexy!’
Go slow, set the expectation of play, and remember that learning more about your erotic self means you can always keep what you like and leave behind what you don’t!