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Your sexual desires and turn-ons may not be as weird as you think they are, according to a new study from the University of Montreal, published in The Journal of Sex Research. (We reported on it here.)
In short, the study, which surveyed 1,040 men and women from Quebec, found that almost half (45.6%) of the sample subjects were interested in at least one type of sexual behavior that is considered anomalous (or ‘paraphilic’), and a third of the participants admitted to experiencing the behavior at least once. The most common ones included voyeurism, fetishism, and masochism.
Your interest in whips, chains, and sexual submission may be perfectly normal. Now, how can you introduce those elements into your relationship without, well, freaking her out? Click through the following slides to find out.
“There’s a lot of controversy surrounding fetishes and paraphilias,” says psychologist and human sexuality researcher Nicole Prause, Ph.D. “People are misinformed because of the way these sexual behaviors are portrayed in porn and other films.” In other words, if you say exhibitionism, her mind may go to an Eyes Wide Shut-style orgy in front of hundreds of strangers, when all you were thinking of was doing it in a slightly risky, semi-public place. Thanks to this kind of misinformation, Prause says you’ll need to be specific when you introduce your fetish—tell her exactly what it is that you’re interested in, don’t just throw out a blanket term like ‘bondage,’ which could mean anything from fuzzy pink handcuffs to Houdini-level restraints.
Being specific about your interests doesn’t necessarily mean you should lay it all out on the table, Prause says. If you are interested in something like bondage, start with those fluffy pink handcuffs—you want your partner to ease into this journey with you, not be swept out to sea without a life jacket.
Instead of simply telling your partner what you like, want, and desire, make it a two-way conversation, says psychologist and relationship expert Tracy Thomas, Ph.D. “You’re inviting your partner to learn something about you, so you should also be open to learning something about them,” Thomas explains. Who knows— she might have some hidden sexual desires of her own.
Exploring a fetish is often about getting in touch with yourself, and learning about who you are (and what you want). But that doesn’t mean your partner shouldn’t be part of the process, Thomas says, and your relationship is still a priority. Make sure your partner knows that even though you may be turned on by a particular behavior, you’re still incredibly turned on by her.