The erotic imagination lives in the brain, and you know what they say about the brain…
It’s a muscle. Stretch it. Exercise it. Keep it flexible.
It’s a channel for electricity. Throw out lots of synaptic points and see what connects.
It’s hungry. Give it lots of food for thought.
There are any number of excellent metaphors for what you need to do, but it all boils down to this: to expand your erotic imagination, you need to feed it, use it regularly, and push outside your known zone every now and then.
Feed it. Where you get the fuel for your particular machine isn’t that important, as long as it’s legal, ethical, and interesting for you. Porn can be a good source, if you’re visually inclined, but you can also read erotica, or have a partner read erotica to you. The good thing about written or audio erotica, versus visual, is your mind gets to fill in the blanks. Try reading a piece to yourself, and then having it read to you, just to see changes for your between the two different takes!
What you feed your erotic imagination doesn’t have to be straight-up depictions of sex or kink, either. You can get out there and experience activities that are aimed at the senses. Get a massage; play in water; carefully cook a dinner that requires more than one napkin. Hit a museum or sculpture garden, or visit a fabric store, where you can run your hands all over the silks and satins. (Don’t make groaning noises, that’ll just freak the sales people out.) Go dancing to different kinds of music to see how they feel in your body.
(PSST: go to a Smut Slam near you and hear about other people's sex adventures. You will definitely get some ideas, and possibly some good cautionary advice, too.)
Plain ol’ conversation helps keep your well full, too. Talk with your partner(s) about the things you already do together, as well as the things you might do. Take them with you on these fieldtrips, and talk about what happens there. But don’t just make these forays a one-time thing. You need to…
Use it regularly. That phrase “use it or lose it” is not just a nicely rhyming platitude. This is true of all skills or abilities: if you do not regularly do a thing, your ability to do it will eventually atrophy.
With the erotic imagination, this means both going out and getting your “source material,” as it were, AND THEN making space in your life for playing. Don’t worry about any direct correlation between what you are doing on your sensual dates and what you are doing in your sexy times. You don’t need to force the connection; your brain will do the alchemy on its own.
Push your boundaries. I don’t mean break through them like a randy rhinoceros, or ignore your own internal misgivings or pain warnings or actual hard limits. I just mean, if you discover something that makes you shiver a little, or if your partner suggests something that you know nothing about… maybe try it.
Normally, in the course of your regular sex-having schedule, you’d probably push unknown items back in favor of activities you know and love, right? Go for the sure thing. But in the interest of stretching your boundaries, go ahead and lean on that question-mark spot, when one arises. Obviously, do all the safety prep and checks first: discuss it beforehand, including safe words/signals, investigate accurate technique, and even maybe plot out baby steps to this new and possibly scary thing, if it’s something you really aren’t sure of.
But look: if you’re already making the time for sensual dates, and making regular space in your life to incorporate all that new material, you’ve got enough time to slow down and gently push. Leaning into a stretch is how you make it bigger.
I'd like to think that I'm helping to broaden people's erotic imaginations too. If you think so, and you'd like to help me to more of that, please think about getting over to Patreon and becoming a patron of mine. Rare footage of stand-up comedy sets, exclusive backstage interviews, and more as perks for my supporters!