As an intimacy coach, one of the most common questions I hear is, "How do I know what I want when you don't even know what the options are?"

Many times, people feel like something is missing from their sex lives—or they're eager to explore but have no idea where to start. Luckily, there are a variety of tools that can help the process of discovery.

Researching common fantasies—and the reasons why they're so popular—is an easy way to find ideas of things you might like to try. A recent study by Dr. Justin Lehmiller compiled the most popular fantasies among American adults. Unsurprisingly, at the top was multipartner sex. Second was power, control and rough sex. Some people find a bit of pain helps with mindfulness and staying present. For others, intensity helps them feel wanted and desired by their partner—a common theme.

Whatever you're into, it's important to remember there's no such thing as "normal" sex. We all have quirks when it comes to the things we enjoy. And when it comes to the freedom of the fantasy world, things can get weird. Whatever you're into, you're not alone.

Ready to dig deeper? Here are some questions to contemplate. Download the worksheets here.

1. Does the idea of restraint turn you on?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Explore light bondage. Start with something you can find around the house—like a pair of old stockings, say—and make sure you've got some EMT shears handy to cut them off.

2. Do you enjoy being in control?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Being the person tying your partner up can be a great way to experience control, but it's not the only option. Try planning a scene that will allow you to call the shots and tell your partner what to do.

3. Do you find pain arousing?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Start with something simple, like spanking. Begin slowly, with plenty of chance for your body to warm up to the new sensation. If you decide it's something you enjoy, pick up tools for impact like paddles and canes.

4. Do you like the idea of being watched while having sex?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

For starters, put on a show for your partner. Try a strip tease or have them watch you in the shower. Maybe let them watch you touch yourself. You can also play with taking erotic selfies or videos. Ready to take things to the next level? Check out one of Portland's sex clubs where you can safely—and legally—get yourself a live audience.

5. Do you enjoy the idea of serving your partner?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Acts of service are one of the love languages for a reason. But with kink, you can take it a step further. Turn a meal into a ritual by having your partner pay attention to every step of the process, while praising your work. Try cleaning the house in a sexy outfit, or letting someone serve you with a massage or breakfast in bed.

6. Do you find the idea of multipartner sex appealing?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Start with dirty talk and fantasy play. Talk about what kind of person you'd like to include in your sex and what kind of things you'd like to do together. If you want to test it in real life, consider going to a strip club with your partner. See what it feels like to watch them watching someone, and being turned on by someone else. If that feels sexy to you, spring for a couples dance. If you're still full steam ahead after that, remember you need to treat people like people, not sex toys—unless that's their kink.

7. Do you sometimes just feel like being taken care of?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Sometimes we just want a little pampering. If you want to turn this into a kink, try playing a well-loved pet. Curl up in bed and have your hair brushed. Have food brought to you. Be told what to do. Playing with power doesn't have to look "mean"—it can also be nurturing.

8. Do you like the idea of being someone else in the bedroom?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Experiment with role play. Find a character that appeals to you—someone from media or fiction who exhibits the kind of sexuality you want to feel—and get into that role with the help of clothes, makeup, music, etc. Sometimes, being in character can give us the freedom to explore things we wouldn't do as ourselves.

9. Are you looking for more intimacy?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Intimacy doesn't come only from sex. Try sharing vulnerable stories from your past or even from childhood or learning a new skill together. Plan a date night that's all about kissing and nothing more—believe it or not, kissing is one of the most fantasized sex acts.

10. Are you looking for more intensity?

Yes   No 

If you said yes:

Sometimes a bit of rough play is a great way to add intensity to your sex, and feel more wanted. Try some rough body play—push your partner onto a bed and pin them down. If you have some clothes ready for the trash, give them a last hurrah by wearing them explicitly so they can be torn off your body. Stockings are terrific for this, as are T-shirts, especially if you give yourself a head start by cutting a slit in the collar.

Your Sexual Inventory

Circle three to five things you've already tried that you'd like to do more of and three to five things you haven't done but would like to try soon, then compare notes with your partner.

• Analingus/pimming

• Bondage/restraint

• Biting/being bitten

• Anal toys

• Anal fingering

• Cock rings

• Delayed gratification

• Dirty talk

• Dom/sub play

• Erotic massage

• Vaginal fisting

• Food play

• Gender exploration

• Group sex

• Anal sex

• Mutual masturbation

• Nipple play

• Nipple clamps

• Blindfolds

• Caning

• Clothespins

• Cross dressing

• Phone sex

• Cyber/text sex

• Public sex

• Sensation play

• Prostate massage

• Face slapping

• Foot massage

• Gags

• Hair pulling

• Watching porn

• Role play

• Rough sex

• Sex parties/clubs

• Kink parties/clubs

• Spanking

• Paddling

• Flogging

• Strap-on play

• Wax play

• Ice cubes

• Threesomes

• Erotic/nude modeling

• Orgasm denial

• Orgasm control

• Pain

• Riding crops

• Boot/shoe worship

• Electrical play

• Scratching/being scratched

• Urine play

• Vibrators alone

• Vibrators with a partner

• Dildos

Voyeurism

Exhibitionism

Uniforms

• Costumes

• Wrestling

• Collar & leash

• Enema play

• Medical play

• Reading erotica

• Tickling

• Marks/bruises

• Pet play

• Masturbating in front of a partner

• Giving oral sex

• Receiving oral sex

• Vaginal intercourse

• Humiliation/embarrassment

• Same-sex exploration

• Sex in front of a mirror

• Sex outdoors

• Shower sex

• Masturbating during sex

Stella Harris is a Portland sex educator and intimacy coach. She is the author of Tongue Tied: Untangling Communication in Sex, Kink, and Relationships.