Help! My boyfriend thinks our sex life is 'vanilla'
Sex therapist Amanda Robb comes to the rescue.
Q. My boyfriend and I have been together just over a year, are both in our early 30s, successful at work and have a great social life. Just when I thought our relationship couldn’t get any better, he dropped the bombshell the other night, he wants to ‘spruce up our sex life’. He says he wants us to be more ‘adventurous’, and even shared his concern our sex life was turning ‘vanilla.’ I’m happy to experiment but am nervous his request will only increase my performance anxiety and enable me from actually enjoying it. How do I lose the pressure to meet his needs?
– Anita, WA
Answer: Ah, just when you think all is smooth in the sea of love, your partner rocks the boat by suggesting a little adventure. Firstly, it’s totally normal to have a mild-panic attack when the words ‘vanilla sex’ are mentioned in the relationship. If you’re not familiar with the term, it basically describes a sex life without twists and kinks, or what some would name as ‘conventional’, ‘standard’ or ‘middle of the road’.
I’m guessing if your partner has raised his hope to mix things up, it’s likely because, one, he trusts that you can hear it; two, it’s his way of showing interest in all things spice, and three, he really wants to get your rocks off – as well as his!
I’d suggest having more of a conversation together to explore what he wants, to see if its sexual activity that interests you. This can actually turn into a really fun adventure for you both: grab a bottle of red and some paper and write down your sex fantasies – from role plays to that thing you’ve always wanted him to do but have never had the courage to ask.
If your partner suggests an activity you feel won’t work for you (if you pull a muscle at beginners’ yoga, you’re unlikely to enjoy the manoeuvres demanded by shower sex), see if you can compromise. If he really wanted shower sex you could see if you could maybe begin foreplay under warm water and move to the bedroom for the main event. The more you communicate, the less it will feel like pressure. The fringe benefit is that this candid sexual communication may itself boost your confidence in the bedroom.
Amanda Robb is a sex therapist at Sydney Sex Therapy.
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