How to figure out your dream sex life

There are so many books, articles and courses dedicated to helping you achieve your dream sex life. Sex-positive folk are always talking about pursuing the type of sex you want. But what if you’re not sure exactly what your dream sex life looks like? How do you go about figuring out what turns you on and what you don’t want in bed?

Coming up with an idea of your dream sex life can be difficult for so many reasons. If you’ve been raised in a culture that shames sexual expression, it can be challenging to divorce those feelings of shame from your desires. Similarly, if you’ve been brought up to think that certain types of sex (monogamous, heterosexual, vanilla) are acceptable but others (polyamorous, queer, kinky) are not, then you might feel ashamed and confused if your own desires step outside what your upbringing deems “normal”. You may also not have had a lot of exposure to different types of sexual expression, and it’s hard to desire what you don’t even know about. If you’re wading into waters that seems murky because of a sex-negative upbringing, you’re definitely not alone.

The first and most important thing you can do when you begin thinking about your dream sex life is to make a promise to be honest and kind with yourself. It’s very possible that feelings of shame, fear and even disgust might come up when you start delving into your desires. If they do, be gentle with yourself and take your time to work through them. Remember that even if you’ve been raised in a world that tells you these feelings are wrong, that doesn’t mean that it’s true. Giving yourself permission to honestly recognise the things that spark desire in you, and allowing yourself to turn towards any difficult feelings that come up with kindness and compassion is a huge gift to yourself. You might be able to process these feelings alone, or you might need to get help from a trusted friend or therapist to help you work through any overwhelming emotions that might come up.

Assuming that you’re ready to start exploring, here are a few things that you can do to begin teasing out the elements of your dream sex life:

  • Pay attention to your fantasies. When you have sexy daydreams, what themes are emerging? Does a particular person or role feature prominently? Is there a certain activity that pops up over and over? Do you daydream about people of just one gender, or more than one gender? Your fantasies will give valuable clues to the things that you find hot.
  • Think back to any scenes from books or films that you found titillating. Again, try to pinpoint what it was about the scene that got your motor revving. Was it the setting, or a particular act that got your heart racing? Maybe it was less about the specifics of what they were doing, and more about the energy of the scene. Was it romantic? Sensual? Primal? Secretive?
  • Think about your best sexual encounters from the past. Was there anything specific that they had in common? What was it that made each of them so fantastic? Were you in a special place, or doing something particularly exciting? Were you with someone you just met, or a partner you’d been with for a long time? Was the occasion special not necessarily because of the sex, but because of an emotional connection?
  • Watch porn and take note of anything that you find especially spicy. Watch a variety of different types of porn, some with couples, solo scenes, groups, vanilla, queer, heterosexual and kinky. Crashpad have a fantastic variety of ethically-produced porn to get you started. Remember that you don’t have to watch anything that you don’t want to. Don’t feel that you have to push yourself to watch porn if it makes you really uncomfortable. But if you’re feeling curious, watching other people have sex can give you ideas about the kind of sex that you’d like to have.
  • Learn all that you can about sex. Pick up a variety of books on the subject, listen to podcasts about sex, follow sex education blogs, attend events at local kink clubs or sex toy stores. The more you learn about sex, the less scary and intimidating sex will seem. Learning and researching opens your mind to new ideas, and helps you to figure out what interests you. If you don’t know a thing exists, or don’t fully understand what it entails, how will you know if you want to do it?

While you’re doing all this exploring and thinking, it can be a good idea to keep some kind of record of what you’ve found out. You might like to keep a physical journal, use an app on your phone or a word document to start teasing out these ideas and keeping track of patterns that emerge. Use your journal to take note of any common factors that start to come up. Take the time to answer some specific journalling prompts such as:

“Would I prefer to have sex with just one person, or explore with a variety of people?”

“Would I be happy with a sex life that doesn’t have a lot of variety (a handful of positions, only in bed, etc.) or do I feel like I need to change things up often?”

“Are there any kinks that I’d be interested in exploring? “

“How do I see my sex life changing as I get older?”

“Do I have any sexual goals?” (for example, to participate in a sex party, to experience rope bondage, to feel confident giving head).

As you start exploring and working through these ideas, you’ll notice that some patterns begin to emerge. It’s possible you might find that you’re interested in only a very limited number of sexual acts and scenarios. Or perhaps there is a huge variety of things that you feel drawn to. Or it might be something in between. There’s no right or wrong answers here. Be honest with yourself and allow yourself to be interested in anything that feels exciting to you. Don’t feel like you have to do All The Things if that’s not for you. If after a bit of exploring you conclude that your perfect sex life is monogamous vanilla sex with a long-term partner, then that’s 100% ok. If you decide that you’re not interested in sex at all then that’s also ok. And if your dream sex life is a smorgasbord of kinky group sex then that’s awesome too.

The most important thing here is to find what works for you, and to allow yourself an opportunity to consider alternative forms of sexual expression. Giving yourself permission to explore your sexuality and be honest about what you’re drawn to is a huge gift to yourself. When you’re open to new ideas and feel free to admit to yourself when you’re turned on by something, you enable yourself to start moving towards a sex life that feels like a dream. You allow yourself to pursue your needs and make those fantasies come true. You give yourself a chance to create a sex life that suits you and your needs, and fulfills your sexual dreams.

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