With nearly 25% of Americans admitting they’re interested in having an open relationship and 5.6% of U.S. adults identifying as LGBTQIA+, it’s clear there’s a tide shift coming to the dating world. Ethical sex-ploration is a trend that’s beginning to gain traction as a result, and it could just make dating and relationships a whole lot better. Here’s what you need to know about it.
What is ethical sex-ploration?
Dating trends come and go, but according to Bumble, ethical sex-ploration is here to stay. The COVID-19 pandemic forced most of us to rethink everything about our lives, including what we want and don’t want in our romantic relationships. As it turns out, a lot of us want more sex — but it needs to offer something new and exciting.
Bumble surveyed 14,000 of its users and found that 40% of respondents are ready to be more experimental in the bedroom. Additionally, 53% say it’s important to be able to talk openly and honestly about intimacy with a new partner early on. With such a huge and positive shift in attitudes, it’s no wonder ethical sex-ploration is becoming more and more appealing to singles everywhere.
In essence, this trend is all about open communication, setting and respecting boundaries, and trying new things in the bedroom. It means not being shy about expressing your desires and fantasies with partners and being willing to step out of your comfort zone to potentially reach new heights of pleasure. Most of all, it’s about making sure everyone involved feels cared for, respected, and supported throughout. This way, no one gets hurt.
How to try ethical sex-ploration in your own life
- Be open to trying new things. The term “sex-ploration” is obviously a play on “exploration,” so that’s what you should be doing. Now’s the time to discover things you may not have known you liked. It’s also time to indulge your fantasies and broaden your sexual horizons. While you may find some taboos don’t interest you or are major turn-offs, you just might discover something niche that really gets you going. You’ll never know if you don’t try!
- Communicate what you want and what you don’t with your partner. Ethical sex-ploration is all about communication. Instead of simply doing things you hate to satisfy your partner, speak up about why you’re not feeling a particular act. In the meantime, don’t shy away from honesty if they ask you what you’re into or if there’s something you want them to do. If you’re comfortable enough to get naked with someone, you should feel okay about voicing your desires.
- Experiment by yourself. Bumble’s poll also revealed that 30% of survey respondents aren’t actually having sex at the moment. However, you don’t need to have a sexual or romantic partner to try ethical sex-ploration. You can get in on the trend alone by trying out new and different toys in the bedroom, watching adult films, and taking sexy selfies or nudes for your eyes only. Learning new things about your body and the things that bring it pleasure is always a good thing.
- Be upfront about your intentions when sleeping with someone new. If you’re not interested in a committed relationship at the moment, say so. If you want someone to enjoy an occasional roll in the hay and that’s it, be honest about it. Ethical sex-ploration requires you to be on the same page as your partner at all times. Don’t lead them on or pretend to be okay with what they want if you don’t feel that way. Have uncomfortable conversations early on. This way, neither of you waste your time.
- Embrace the fact that sex doesn’t always have to lead to or be part of a committed relationship. If what you want is monogamy and commitment, that’s fair enough. However, trying this means being open to the idea that sex can be enjoyable and fulfilling even if it doesn’t lead to long-term love. Be in the moment and enjoy yourself. Don’t get caught up worrying about the future. It only keeps you from fully experiencing the present.
- Don’t feel bad about ending sexual relationships when they no longer serve you. While ethical sex-ploration can be fun, it may also come with an expiration date. There will likely come a time when the person or situation is no longer right for you. That’s okay! Because you were honest upfront, this shouldn’t be a problem. You both always knew this day would come. It’s all good.
- Seek consent and always respect people’s sexual boundaries. While it’s great to try new things and really let your freak flag fly, consent always matters. Finding a partner who you mesh with sexually will go a long way towards getting your needs and desires met. That being said, if there ever comes a time when they’re uncomfortable, stop. Do not push people into doing things they don’t want to do. Make sure the consent you get is enthusiastic. If you do these things, you can’t go wrong.
- Always practice safe sex. This should go without saying but always bears repeating. Use condoms and dental dams. Get tested for STDs and STIs regularly. Make sure you’re on birth control if you’re someone with a female reproductive system and you’re not ready for kids. Taking responsibility for your sexual health is sexy, after all.