Ask Jay: Spicing things up safely

Bound to you asks: My boyfriend bought us some nylon rope for Valentine's Day. We were really excited to try it out, but turns out neither of us have any experience with rope and have no idea how to use it. Any advice or tips for first time tie-ups?

Jay answers: First, I want to commend you and your boyfriend for your approaches to rope. You're both open to trying new things while wanting to make sure you are being safe. That's a really good balance and kudos to both of you!

I do have a few rope-related tips. The first one is to make sure you have a pair of safety scissors. Beginner rope ties are usually pretty safe, but if you ever find yourself in a position where something doesn't feel right (your nerves feel pinched or a limb goes numb) don't wait to untie the rope, cut the rope with scissors.
Safety first! 

Start with simple, basic knots. They don't even need to be done on your body to begin with. Look up some basic knot tying tips on YouTube and practise on a piece of firewood, a mannequin, or the furniture. When my partner got started tying people up she really liked the tutorials on the Rory's Brainworks channel. Learn how to tie knots around stuff that isn't a person first, then work up to some basic knots on your limbs or your partner's limbs.

Always make sure, as you're learning to tie, to leave just a little space, about the width of a pinkie finger, between the body of the person being tied and the rope. This avoids cutting off blood flow to your limbs and insures the person being tied up can wiggle out if they need to. I'd recommend against doing any ropes around your neck.

I suggest if you're going to work up to more advanced tying, or bondage that immobilizes a person to the point they can't untie themselves, then have a third person in the room. If the person doing the tying falls or faints or otherwise is unable to untie you it's a good idea to have a third person who can help them and untie you.

These days it's not easy to get into a workshop to learn knots from more experienced people, but some places may be doing classes in limited numbers. Call or message your local adult toy store and ask them if they know of any rope workshops in the area. Once COVID restrictions relax it should be possible for the two of you to learn some ties from more experienced rope pros.

Finally, start simple. Looking at videos and pictures on-line of rope work you will see a lot of big, elaborate ties, chest harnesses, and suspensions. Those are often complex and take a lot of practise. Start small. Just tie your partner's hands together at first, or have them tie a pattern that loops around your leg. Bigger rope scenes or projects will come naturally once you feel comfortable with the basics. Take your time, try a few basic knots you pick up from workshops or YouTube videos, and gradually build up. I'm sure the two of you will have a lot of fun with it.


Stuck on you asks: I recently got a suction toy from your shop that I'm totally hooked on. Is it possible to get desensitized from too much use?!

Jay answers: Yay! I'm thrilled you love the new toy! Suction toys are amazing and I'm so happy you're enjoying it.
This toy is both cute and formal 

As to whether a person can get desensitized from too much toy use, I'd say it's unlikely that you will desensitize yourself, exactly. However, people do sometimes report getting conditioned by a favourite toy or approach to self-pleasuring.

Typically I hear this sort of thing from people, both men and women, who learned to pleasure themselves a certain way when they were young and sort of got into a predictable pattern with it. After a few years of a set pattern men report they have trouble getting off unless they are experiencing an intense hand job or ladies sometimes report having trouble reaching orgasm unless their favourite vibrator is involved.

I have two bits of good news in case these reports of conditioning alarm you. The first is that it's possible to avoid conditioning yourself by varying your routine. If you find yourself using the suction toy on a regular basis, switch things up and use another toy or get yourself off without a toy. For example, use the suction toy in half of your sessions and another toy (preferably one that gives a less intense sensation) the other half. Also consider varying your position or where you get off (switch between the bath tub and the bed, for instance). Just mix things up so your trips up Orgasm Mountain don't become predictable - take different routes so you don't create a rut.

The second piece of good news is it's usually possible to uncondition a person who has become stuck in a routine. Usually this involves putting aside whatever toy or method was being used for a couple of months and trying to reach orgasm via other means. After three to six months the body sort of forgets the old approach and becomes more open to finding new ways to orgasm.
Adding some sexy spices asks: My wife and I have been married for 15 years and our sex life has become really predicable - any advice on different ways to shake things up? I've tried to introduce toys and lingerie before and it didn't go over very well.

Jay answers: I'm happy to hear you've identified a problem (the sex has become predictable) and suggested some solutions (toys and lingerie). This seems to be positive thinking on your part. And you've already identified two things I'd usually suggest to help keep things fresh in the bedroom. You're off to a good start already.

You mentioned that when you tried to introduce new toys and lingerie before that it didn't go well. It's difficult for me to provide some new suggestions because I feel the key to this situation is why introducing new things did not go well. I mean if your wife got the impression you thought she was boring and predictable when you suggested getting new toys, then maybe trying new toys and lingerie again would work, just while presenting it as something extra you both could enjoy. On the other hand, if your wife sees any sort of change to your sex life as unsettling because she likes the routine or is worried you're bored and unhappy, then the two of you may need to address that first.

Put another way, I suspect one of two things is happening here. Maybe your wife likes your sex life as it is and hearing that you're unsatisfied or bored is making her feel unsettled. Alternatively, maybe she is also feeling like the two of you are in a rut, but didn't like having you jump straight to toys and lingerie as possible solution.

In either scenario, my suggestion is to view varied sex, lingerie, and new toys as the end goal rather than a solution in itself. Now, assuming you want to get to a place where you get to see your wife in sexy lingerie and use cool new toys with her, how do you get to that point? This is probably going to involve a number of conversations, possibly difficult ones, in which the two of you talk about how your sex life makes both of you feel now and what you both can do to make it even better, for both of you.
Communication is sexy 

Is she tired from work and dealing with kids and needs a weekend away to feel relaxed and in the mood for more sexy shenanigans? Is she bored too and would like some more romance, to be swept off her feet? Does she like the idea of wearing lingerie, but just felt the stuff you were interested in didn't suit her? Is she worried your interest in varied sex might lead you astray and is feeling insecure? The bottom line here is I feel you're going to need to ask your wife some open-ended questions and calmly listen to the answers she gives (which may be difficult to hear) without judgement. Then try to address her concerns so she will feel more comfortable incorporating some changes and variety into your existing routine.

The best advice I can offer you is to ask her about her feelings about your sex life and then try to address her concerns. Let her know you love her and find her sexy and that you want to add some new components to your sex life with her and with her input. Ask her what her fantasies are, what makes her feel sexy, find out if there is anything she wants to try that has been sitting unexplored in her mind for a while. Hopefully once the conversation starts flowing then the two of you can share some ideas and discover a few new things you both like, together.

One last thought: I find that predictable sex often flows from a predictable routine outside the bedroom. Marriages, especially ones strong enough to last 15 years, tend to fall into secure, stable patterns. You probably hang out with the same friends, eat the same set of meals, maybe watch the same TV shows in the evening? It's hard to shake things up during COVID, but try to incorporate some newness into your relationship. Suggest take an on-line class together or, when restrictions lift, see about meeting new people or joining a new group activity together. I recommend signing the two of you up for an activity that gets the blood pumping, like karate or kick-boxing. Exercise shakes things up and gets people interested in being more active, physically. When it becomes possible take a mini vacation to a new spot together. If possible, try some new meal ideas. Shake things up a little in the rest of your life and it may result in some new adventures in the bedroom.