Unless you seek out partners on specific websites or local hangouts, you may not know from the outset whether your own kinks are going to line up with a potential partner’s kinks. The only way to find out is to talk about it.

Of course, such conversations can be nerve-racking. Even the most sex-positive of people can feel self-conscious or fear judgment and rejection when first voicing their desires to a new partner, which makes the discussion all the more difficult to have in the first place.

But in the immortal words of DJ Quik, “If you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready.”

Learning how to bring up your kinky side to a new partner early on can keep you from psyching yourself out anytime it comes up in the future. A couple of sex therapists offered their take on how to broach the topic of kink with a new bedfellow:

Ease into the conversation

As with discussions of so many other bedroom activities, you have to set the mood for the conversation.

“The right time and place would be where both partners are comfortable, relaxed and not in any kind of rush or too tired,” said