Reading erotica together, especially when one person is reading it out loud to the other, is one of my favourite ways to start negotiations about sex and kink. My introduction to really well negotiated sex came when my partner read a story to me and I noticed her breathing change when reading part of the kinky bits. The obvious desire in her voice turned me on and made me insatiably curious about what she liked and how we could incorporate it into our sex life. That relationship introduced me to munches, kink clubs, and safe, sane and consensual kink. It was hot, and it all started with reading erotica together.
Choose the book
First, find a book that you and your partner/s are interested in reading with each other. I’d suggest something like ‘First Timers’, ‘Bending’ or if you’re after something more kinky ‘Doing it for Daddy’. Which book you choose is less important than getting one that has a series of short stories.
Skim the book
Take your time flicking through the book. If you’re a person that skim-reads, go for it. Flick through the stories that aren’t really up your street. Slow down for the ones that you enjoy more. Let your imagination wander through the fantasies as they come off the page. Notice how your body is responding – and let yourself have moments of desire, repulsion and curiosity. It can be hard to know why something is a turn on. Sometimes it just is. Try not to judge what turns you on and turns you off.
Choose your story
Once you have read through a lot of the stories pick one out to share. Work out your comfort level with sharing your desires, and which desires you would most like to express. For some people this will be their erotic edge, others prefer to play it safe and express desires that they are already comfortable with. Go with your gut, you know your limits and your relationship.
Ask a partner to read the story they have chosen to you. Given that you have already read the book you will be somewhat familiar with the story they read. If it is one that has triggers in it for you then ask them to choose another. Explore how it feels to listen to them read the story. Is their intonation different? Is hearing it different to reading it? Does the context of their interest and desire change the story for you? Does it bring up new desire or other feelings in response?
Sometimes what is shared will reveal a sexual compatibility, other times it may reveal an erotic conflict or incompatibility. If you are feeling defensive about your partner’s desires, remember that just because they are into something doesn’t mean that you have to do it with them. It can be hard to be comfortable with your partner wanting something that gives you an ‘ick’ feeling. Try to accept that feeling means that it isn’t for you, but it doesn’t make their desire bad or wrong.
Talking about what in the stories turns you on and the things that you want to experiment with in your own sex life is a great start. It is also a great exercise to repeat, especially if you can find stories that are about overlapping sexual interests. You don’t have to look at books – there are lots of websites dedicated to erotica or fanfic. If nothing is quite what you are into then it might be time to start writing your own – but that is another post…