Dear MKE SEX,

I’m a junior in college and I haven’t dated very much yet, just a couple of girls and this one guy. All of them were pretty nice, and one of the girls was super funny. We had a ton of fun together. But the sex wasn’t that great. I mean, it was fine but not like, whoa. Not with any of them. I have a lot of ideas about things I’d like to try during sex. Like sometimes my brain is like a View-Master, but with porny pictures. The problem is I have a really hard time saying anything when it’s time. How do I bring up new ideas with someone I’m dating?

Thanks,
Curiouser and Curiouser

Hello Curiouser,

A lot of people feel shy talking about their sexual desires. It can feel like we’re really opening ourselves up for judgement or even ridicule. A lot of people seem to have an idea that there are just a handful of ways to have “normal” sex, and anything else is perverse or deviant. The truth is that there are probably as many ways to have sex as there are people on the planet. Finding people whose likes and dislikes closely match yours can seem tricky, but I have a few ideas:

• Share some porn. Seriously. There is plenty of porn out there, and it’s not too hard to find. If you’ve got an interest in a particular sex act, but don’t know how to ask for it, try watching a clip featuring that act. Ask your partner what they think. Maybe they’re into it, or at least willing to try. If not, then you’ve got your answer without much exposure. (Just remember, porn is for titillation not education. While the visual depictions can get your creative juices flowing, a lot of the positions are very difficult, or even impossible, for us amateurs.)

• Read some naughty stories together. For people who get more stimulated by words than images, there is a lot of erotica out there. People have written about almost every kind of sex act for millennia. If you’re looking for free online reading, check literotica.com. Audible now has a decent selection of erotica in audiobook, and many titles are also available for e-readers. And of course, there are still old fashioned dirty books, printed on actual paper, too.

• Write a note. Whether you’re into printed longhand on personal stationery, notes scribbled on bar napkins, or sexts in 160 characters or less, it’s often easier to write it than say it out loud. Spill your deepest desires, and then let your partner respond when they’re ready. You can either read your missive out loud, or send it to be read when they’re away from you.

• Do it digitally. Check out mojoupgrade.com. I have no affiliation with this site—I just think it’s a great tool for couples to discover new mutual interests. Each of you takes a sexual interest survey, and all of your matching results are emailed to both of you. You get share the things that you have in common, without divulging things that are likely to be a turnoff for your partner.

Whether you use any of these tips, you owe it to yourself and any future partners to be open about what you want in bed (and out of it!). We have the ability to share a lot of pleasure with other people, and it all starts with open minds and good communication.

Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her an email at mkesex@gmail.com and she’ll get back to you with an answer.