So you’ve got yourself a partner. You love them. Your sex life is great and you’ve been exploring BDSM together in a way that is supportive, adventurous and a little bit radical. You’ve got yourself into a nice routine of getting absolutely filthy on a Friday night and all through the weekend, and your cupboard of sex toys is growing as quickly as your bank account can manage it.

But something’s missing. You’re both feeling it. You want to talk about bringing another person into your relationship – but you don’t know where to start.

How can you open your relationship up without ruining what you’ve got?

The answer, of course, is communication. If both you and your partner are ready to consider opening up your relationship, sit down with a bottle of wine and talk frankly and honestly about what you both want. Are you looking for a casual play partner? A long-term sex partner? Something more serious?

What boundaries do you both want to set, and what desires are you looking to serve? Will your partner be male, or female, or somewhere else on the spectrum? Do you want just one play partner, or a few?

It’s important that you are both incredibly honest and incredibly understanding in this conversation. Listen to your partner and ensure that you’re being heard too.

Establish hard boundaries that won’t be crossed, but be willing to compromise where you can. If your partner says no to something, move on. Don’t push or cause arguments; instead, be diplomatic.

Explore each others fantasies and see where they intersect. Foster a space where radical honesty can flourish. Let yourselves get hot and bothered by the suggestion of playing with others then have hot sex. It always helps.

Don’t feel yourselves forced into any sort of pre-determined dynamic. As I always say, there is nothing new under the sun; what’s new is the way we do it. Don’t feel that you have to define what you’re doing in the eyes of others.

You don’t have to label yourselves as “poly” or “in an open relationship” if you don’t want to. Perhaps you have a friend that you’d like to have a casual sexual relationship with; good on you! Figure out a non-threatening way to approach them, and do it together. Perhaps you’d like to have a number of casual play partners with no emotional attachment; that’s great!

Find some BDSM gatherings near you and take your sexiest game faces. Perhaps you already know a person that you’d both like to add to your relationship in a more concrete sense; awesome! Talk about how best to approach that person, and invite them over for dinner!

Managing expectations and challenges can be difficult with one partner; when you open yourselves up to more, it can become even more so. The only thing that will help you to avoid this is great communication. Be honest, be open, be diplomatic.

Respect boundaries and always be cognizant of the feelings of everyone else involved. But most of all, keep it light, keep it fun, and keep it open. You might find that it’s everything that you wanted it to be – and more!

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