What Are Your Sexual Boundaries?

June 06,2012

In my sex therapy sessions, I try to encourage an air of openness, experimentation, and curiosity, particularly with couples. Many couples find themselves stuck in seemingly inescapable sexual ruts. After the excitement and exhilaration of the “honeymoon” phase of a new relationship, couples can settle into a sexual routine together. Having a routine can be comfortable, and can allow intimacy and trust to deepen, but it can also eventually lead to boredom. Couples start repeating the same sexual behaviors, in the same order of events, in the same contexts.

Sexual boundaries

One way to try to prevent boredom is to take some time to consider sexual acts, positions, toys, or fantasies that you don’t typically engage in. Maybe you used to be more creative and varied during those hot early days, or maybe you never even knew that some of these possibilities existed. I have written out a list of sexual behaviors below. It is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start. As a fun exercise, you may want to sit with your partner and consider each possibility. Take a moment to think about each option on your own. Notice what gets stirred up inside of you when you envision each possibility. When you feel ready, share with your partner whether you would be willing to try it out. See what it feels like to communicate your boundaries with your partner. Try to keep your mind as open as possible, and try not to judge your partner if their answers are different from your own. Allow for a variety of responses to each possibility. You may want to consider the following answers: “Yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “it doesn’t sound arousing, but I would be willing to try it”, “it sounds arousing, but I am too embarrassed/ashamed/grossed-out/etc” to try”, or “I’m not sure yet”. It’s also an opportunity to examine why something does not appeal to you. If you find yourself saying a quick and resounding “no” to something, take a moment to think about the specific reasons why it does not seem arousing. Does it bring up particular anxieties, fears, or beliefs? Also, notice if you feel any “should’s” around any of the behaviors, for example, “I should be open to receiving oral sex”. Allow yourself to feel into the difference between “I should do that” and “I want to do that”.

Please note that this is not meant to be a list of things you “should” try out, but simply a list of possibilities that will help you get a sense of where your boundaries are around sex.

Read erotic fiction
Watch pornography
Have sex in a public or semi-public place
Kiss a member of your same sex (if you are heterosexual), or of the opposite sex (if you are homosexual)
Use a vibrator privately
Use a vibrator with a partner
Have anal sex
Stimulate your partner’s anus with your fingers or mouth
Have your anus stimulated with fingers or mouth
Have a threesome
Engage in group sex
Talk dirty with a partner
Allow your partner to dominate you
Dominate your partner
Perform oral sex
Receive oral sex
Spank your partner
Receive a spanking
Record yourself having sex
Have phone sex
Masturbate
Masturbate in front of someone else
Watch someone else masturbating
Watch someone else having sex
Visit a strip club
Use restraints on a partner
Get tied up
Have a one-night stand
Use a blindfold
Incorporate food into a sexual encounter
Wear provocative lingerie or a costume
Have sex doggystyle
Use a strap-on
Have sex with the lights on
Have sex with the woman on top (if you are a woman or have sex with women)
Role-playing a fantasy
Have sex outside of a bed or bedroom
Have sex during the day
Come on your partner or allow your partner to come on you

Has your interest been piqued by any of the above possibilities? Are you having difficulties locating, allowing, or sharing your sexual boundaries? Are you noticing any “should’s” come up? Does it feel difficult to navigate the differences between your boundaries and your partner’s boundaries? Call (415) 658-5738 or visit my Appointments page to set up a consultation.

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HI THERE!

I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!

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