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Admit it: You and your partner swap coworker gossip instead of pillow talk, you haven’t donned one of your lacy teddies in years and you stopped using your code word ages ago. (For the record, it was “pomegranate.”) We get it, and we’re not placing blame. Sometimes the romance does, in fact, fizzle. That’s why we tapped sex expert Cassandra Corrado, an independent sex educator trained at the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health and now a Pleasure Professional at San Francisco-based sex-ed platform O.School, for ways to talk to your partner about reinvigorating your love life. Here are her three tips for opening up to your S.O. about upping your sex game.

spice things up couple holding hands
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1. Bring the Conversation Outside the Bedroom

Corrado’s number one tip: Don’t bring your dissatisfaction into the bedroom. “Talking about wanting new things sexually can be an exciting conversation, but it can also be a vulnerable conversation,” Corrado shares. “Having it while already undressed doesn't give people the time or space to figure out how they feel about things.” Yep, as tempting as it may be to bring a sexual convo into the location where you’re most likely having sex, it’s a big no no. Instead, Corrado recommends find a neutral zone where both parties feel comfortable (not to mention, are fully clothed). Whether that’s going for a walk around the neighborhood together or hunkering down in a quiet corner of your favorite coffee shop, just make sure you’re not under the covers when you voice your frustration with the current state of affairs.

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2. Narrow Down What You Want

And on that note, be prepared to discuss what your goals are and what you really want from the conversation and your love life. Are there new experiences or positions you’re interested in? Or new gadgets you’d like to bring into the bedroom—like trying out a plusOne mini massager and lubricant together? Corrado recommends both you and your partner separately take online sex quizzes to hone in on what you’d like to accomplish with the convo. “They let you think about a large range of different things you might be interested in, and then you'll only find out about the things that you and your partner matched positively on,” Corrado writes. That way, you and your S.O. are starting from an informed place, instead of going into the convo not knowing what the other person desires. (FYI: She pointed out, however, that most quizzes tend to make assumptions about partners’ genitals and are therefore not very trans-inclusive.)

spice things up couple watching tv
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3. Try Asking Both Directly and Indirectly

Finally, Corrado reveals that there are two ways to bring up the topic: directly (like “hey, would you be interested in experimenting with bondage during sex? I'd like to try using some wrist restraints.") versus indirectly (sending an article about a sexy position you’d be interested in trying and then asking what your partner thinks about it). You could also try hinting at spicing things up during a steamy movie scene. While neither way is wrong, Corrado feels that asking indirectly might be a good approach to start: “It lets you open up the conversation and figure out how your partner might feel before you open yourself up to them completely,” she writes. And if that doesn’t work, your fail-safe option is approaching the topic head-on. “I feel like we should be having flamin’ hot, hair-raising, oh-my-god-good sex, and we’re not. I think we should change that, so let’s talk about it,” is a good place to start.

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