Intro to BDSM: How to get started 1 1792

Intro to BDSM

BDSM is probably different than you think; here’s everything you need to know 

If you’re new to the world of BDSM and not quite sure where to get started, this post is for you. Entering into BDSM’s vast and varied landscape may feel overwhelming at first. There’s a lot of poor reference points (cough, 50 Shades of Gray.) There’s also a lot of misconceptions about what BDSM looks like. If you’ve ever clicked on a free mainstream porn site’s representation of it, you know what I’m talking about!

You might have questions like:

I’m not really dominant or submissive, is BDSM still for me?

What are simple ways to start out? 

I hate pain, does BDSM always include it?

Do I have to build a dungeon in our bedroom to make my partner happy?

Want to know the truth? There is no one way that kinksters practice BDSM. From roleplay to restraints, dirty talk to dominance, and mistresses and masochism, BDSM can truly include anything under the sun. 

BDSM is for everyone, from married folks looking to spice up their sex life, adults of all ages, or kink-curious people looking to deepen consensual power-play. 

You don’t need to Google search your proximity to the local dungeon to begin experimenting with BDSM (but you can if you want to!) If you’re looking for ways to start practicing from the comfort of your home, we’ve got you covered. Allow yourself to be introduced to the truly tectonic landscape of BDSM! Think of this article as your personal kinky fairy godmother.

Getting started: BDSM 101

BDSM is an acronym for bondage and discipline, submission and domination, and sadism and masochism. 

The backbone of BDSM (i.e., what every practitioner’s foundation should include) is not leather, or spanking, or ballgags, but boundaries!

For starters, consent is an agreement for the roles and activities that will take place. In short, it’s one way you can ensure physical and emotional safety. When you decide on a BDSM practice to try, it’s crucial that everyone involved knows what to expect. Consent is ongoing and voluntary.

Another critical part of BDSM practice is having safewords, which you pick (before exploring) that everyone involved knows. This word (which could be simple and direct like “red” or silly, like “banana pants”) means to stop whatever you are doing for any reason. 

Another part of boundaries in BDSM is deciding what you do and don’t agree to do and then sharing and discussing with your partner. How do you determine what you feel comfortable doing? I advise sitting down with your partner and making a yes/no/maybe list. If this is a one-time hookup, you can also text about it before the encounter. 

For the yes category, write down anything you know you already enjoy or would enthusiastically try. For the maybe section, write down things you might have interest in trying. These activities may not be an everyday menu item, or they may require more conversation, research, or planning beforehand. For nos (you guessed it), write down activities that are off the table. Make sure to converse and compare with your partner, so you find out where you meet, what to try in the future, and what to avoid. This conversation makes it, so everyone is on the same page. 

But how do I choose what to do?

The liberating part of BDSM is that you don’t have to choose a specific role and stick to it for all of eternity (unless you want to.) Take a gander through their brief intros below to give you an idea of the roles you can choose from. 

First, meet Doms. They are the controller of (consented to) activity. Submissives on the other end obey said activity. Tops are the doer of the thing, and bottoms are the receiver. Switches can play any role. Sadism means you enjoy inflicting pain, and masochism means you enjoy receiving pain. Any gender can play any role.

If you are unsure which role appeals to you, you can experiment with all of them! Experimenting will give you direction as to what resonates or spikes interest. Trying out different roles also gives you an idea of what your partner might be experiencing when you switch. 

A good rule of thumb is to find out what you like before getting into all the bells and whistles, like buying a shopping cart full of new leather gear you might not use. But if, like Rihanna, you find whips and chains excite you, go ahead with your bad self! 

Kitchen sink kink

Ready to move on to the fun stuff? There are endless ways to start practicing kink and BDSM without needing much. You can DIY your very own BDSM-for-beginners kit from everyday objects lying around the house. Your kitchen and home are full of wondrous opportunities to turn stuff kinky. 

Examples:

-The backside of a large wooden spoon makes for a great paddle for flogging. 

-A scarf or tie works perfectly for newbies to start playing with restraints.

-You can use any old bandana as a blindfold and experiment with sensory deprivation. 

-Ice cubes dripped down the chest of a submissive partner make for cruel and tantalizing punishment.

A word to the wise: start slow! Proceed slowly, especially with painful things like spanking. Gradually increase pressure as the receiver gets used to the sensation. This might also trigger a release in dopamine (the feel-good chemical) which can make something like a spank not feel so painful. 

Ideas for getting started

  • Light hair pulling (start gently and only increase as you check in with the receiver)
  • Amp up the dirty talk, say exactly what you want to do to your partner or want them to do to you
  • Ask permission to orgasm or masturbate
  • Pull out that makeshift blindfold and allow your partner to feel a feather, an ice cube, or your kisses on their skin
  • Roleplay power exchanges like doctor/patient or teacher/student
  • Restrain your partner’s arms with a tie or handcuffs and give them oral
  • Make up a list of rules for a submissive to obey 
  • Make up a punishment for when a submissive break the rules (this could be forced orgasms with a vibrator, being spanked x amount of times, or having to please the Dom in whichever way they see fit)
  • Get creative! Listen to your desires and the desires of your partners for guidance

Aftercare ideas 

Aftercare is another vital part of ensuring safety in BDSM. Aftercare is time dedicated to checking in, cuddling, talking, or covering any needs post scene (BDSM activity.) Aftercare is not just for BDSM practitioners, though, and if you’ve ever spooned your boo post-coitus, you’ve done aftercare before. Sometimes, BDSM can produce powerful highs similar to drugs, and aftercare is the time to smooth the potential low after the high. 

BDSM can also bring up deep emotions or vulnerabilities for people; aftercare provides much-needed self-care to tend to these feelings. Aftercare can look like taking a shower together, pillow talk, tending to any physical needs like addressing bruises, drinking water, ordering takeout, or cuddling with no words. Aftercare might look different for partners, and this is okay. It’s essential to check in before the activity so that you can know what people’s needs are and what to expect. 

Now you’re ready to get kinky, curious, and creative! 

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