If you’ve led a relatively vanilla lifestyle from a sexual standpoint but are curious how the other half lives, you’re far from alone. Fifty Shades of Grey may have had its issues, but it left lots of people interested in expanding their horizons in the bedroom. Knowing you’re interested in exploring your kinkier side is one thing though. Figuring out where and how to start is another matter entirely.

Just know that even the hottest, sexiest kinkster you know had to start somewhere. If you decide kink is for you, you can get there too with time and practice. Here are some must-know tips for getting started in the right direction.

1.      Educate yourself about different types of kink.

There are more sexual categories to consider than just “vanilla” and “kinky”. The wide, wonderful world of kink covers quite a bit of territory. Some parts of it may be very appealing to you while others aren’t at all. That’s why every journey into kink territory should start with an education session.

Learn about the different kink categories out there and consider what each one is all about. There’s voyeurism, role-playing, BDSM, group sex, swinging, and lots of other options to explore. Figure out which ones appeal to you most and then take it from there.

2.      Get curious. Then get comfortable.

Part of the fun of kink is the rawness that comes with it. This is your chance to be genuinely honest with yourself about what turns you on and what feels good to you, both physically and mentally. Permit yourself to get curious and to seek satisfaction for that curiosity. Join social media platforms that cater to the kink-curious, jump into forum discussions, and talk to friends you know are into kink.

It’s important to fully accept what you learn about yourself in the process as well. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being kinky or having fetishes. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or that you’re a pervert. It means you’re a curious person who’s genuinely interested in growing sexually.

3.      Talk things out with your partner (if you have one).

If you’re single, there’s likely not much holding you back from exploring your interest in kink to whatever extent you like. If you have a partner though, you’ll have to have a frank discussion about your interest in kink should you decide to move forward with exploring it. This goes double if anything you’d like to try in the future involves bringing other people into the equation.

You know your partner best, so you likely have some idea of what type of reaction to expect. Are they comfortable with the idea of getting a little kinkier? How do they feel about the specific activities you’re interested in? Do they have any deal breakers that need to be considered? Where are their boundaries? Where are your boundaries? Once you figure out where you both stand on these issues, you’re ready to move forward.

4.      Start small and simple.

If both you and your partner are brand new to kink, know that you don’t need to go from vanilla to full speed right away. Most couples start with small, approachable changes and move into the racier stuff when they feel ready. Start with some dirty talk, some new positions, or a simple location change. Then when you’re ready, add some sex toys, like the Pyra butt plug, or some light role-playing.

When you’re 100 percent ready to explore serious BDSM, have a threesome, or spend an evening at a sex club – if you ever are — you’ll know. No rush though! There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to kink. So long as everyone involved fully consents to what’s going on, it’s all good.

5.      Follow up with your partner.

If there’s one thing that far too many couples overlook when it comes to exploring kink, it’s the follow-up. Anytime you try something new in the bedroom, it’s a good idea to check in with one another and talk openly about how everything went. Did you like what you tried after all is said and done? Did they? In what ways was the experience different than you each expected? Are you both interested in doing it again? Does either of you have any ideas on what you’d like to do differently (if anything) next time?

Not only does communicating in this way ensure you’re both on the same page at all times, but it’s a bonding experience as well. Plus the ability to speak frankly and openly without shame is key when it comes to being a kinkster, both now and in the future.

At the end of the day, everyone has a kinky side whether or not they talk about it or decide to explore it. Where you take yours is ultimately up to you, but it’s sure to be a wonderful journey if you’re up to the challenge.