A Sex Therapist’s Beginner’s Guide to BDSM

Become well-informed.

Beyond the fact that they are frequently inaccurate, the representations of BDSM in film (or porn) will probably not work for you (they tend to be a tad…extreme). There are a number of resources Richmond recommends to learn more about BDSM, including reading, taking a class, and consulting a professional in order to determine what your version of the practise looks like.

Here’s a quick primer from Richmond, Virginia, to help you understand what each of the three categories means:

In bondage, the emphasis is on discipline rather than naughtiness. You can use various restraints like handcuffs, ropes, and blindfolds, or you can let someone else control your pleasure. Training a “submissive” to obey, follow rules, or perform specific acts is known as discipline. Even in relationships where one partner is the dominant one, discipline is almost always present.

To dominate or submit means to give someone else power or control (dominance) and then take that power or control away from them (dominance). In sexual acts—or through acts of being in control/acts of service—the dynamic can be played out through emotional or physical dominance and submission. There are those who play the roles all the time (even when they’re not in bed), and there are others who only play them during specific erotic encounters.

People who are sadistic or masochistic engage in these types of behaviours because they get a kick out of hurting others. Those who are sadistic enjoy inflicting pain on others, while those who are masochistic relish the experience of being tortured themselves. Due to the significant amount of effort put into setting clear boundaries and communicating openly, this is both pleasurable and one of the safest ways to have sex. Most masochists and sadists feel empowered after enduring a difficult experience.

It’s okay if your experience doesn’t encompass both roles within a single category. Consider whether you’re naturally dominant or submissive, and whether you’re able to switch between the two. Or you may come to the realisation that while being tied down (bondage) is pleasurable, being whipped is not (discipline).

Begin with a fanciful thought.

If you’re thinking about getting married, Kerner says he’s seen plenty of couples make the same mistake: They go to the store and buy themselves some toys before telling Kerner that BDSM isn’t the right choice in the end. As opposed to starting with what other people find attractive, “it’s better to start with what you find attractive,” he advises. Do not be afraid to begin with your own imagination and what turns you on. “. You’re not sure what makes you tick? BDSM stories with themes of power should be read, he says, or ethical porn with BDSM should be watched to see if you like it.

Have a discussion about it.

Sit down with your partner and discuss your desires, what turns you on, and your boundaries. “Eye contact is how we communicate empathy,” says Richmond, so having this discussion face-to-face is critical before trying any type of BDSM (or really any sex act).

Because BDSM calls for letting go of control, building relationships based on trust and open communication is critical. It’s critical that you and your partner are as clear as possible about what you want and don’t want. Tell them, for example, if being blindfolded excites you but handcuffed makes you anxious. Listen to them if they say they don’t want a submissive role.

With this information in hand, you and your partner can begin to negotiate consent and set boundaries so that you are both comfortable during the process.

Make it a social gathering.

It’s possible to bring in a third party if you realise you’re willing to go further than your partner is. If your partner is on board, bringing in a third party whose boundaries are more in line with yours can help ensure that everyone has a positive experience.

Do you feel comfortable trying things with your partner? If not, talk with them about it and see how they feel about it. Alternatively, Richmond points out that “when there’s one partner who wants to do more, they will go to a sex party or a dungeon” as a common solution for couples who don’t want to explore their sexual fantasies together. Once more, it’s not as terrifying as it sounds.

Make a note of it.

Christian Grey and Anastasia had an agreement in writing, if you recall. It wasn’t a bad idea after all. Even if you’re dating or married, since BDSM is all about communication, it might be beneficial to write down what you and your partner discuss in a contract of sorts.

Richmond suggests keeping a list of your partner’s boundaries in this place so you can refer to it later when you need a reminder. You can revisit your contract, renegotiate, and amend it as you become more familiar with BDSM and want to take it further. If you’re not weird or transactional, this can be exciting because it builds anticipation for the future (emphasis on come).

Content from embed-name has been added to this page. There’s a chance you’ll find the same information in a different format or learn something new on their website.

Decide on an option.

According to Richmond, deciding where to perform the deed is an important part of a BDSM strategy. In a hotel (where it may be easier to assume another persona), a room designated for power-play sex, or even your boring old bedroom, this may be the scenario. You’re good to go as long as you’re in an environment that makes you feel secure.

Make up a secret word.

Think about a word you’ll both say (and listen to) when things get out of hand and you or your partner go over a line you didn’t intend to, and decide on it before it happens. Pick something completely random that you wouldn’t normally say in the bedroom, such as “milkshake” or “turtleneck,” says Richmond.

Everything should come to a halt the moment you hear or say the safe word. As soon as it’s clear that things have been pushed too far, the game is over because BDSM only works when it’s mutually pleasurable for everyone involved. For Richmond, the first step is to ask your partner if they’re okay and then stay by their side until they’ve expressed what prompted them to use the safe word.

Also, make sure you’re in a safe place emotionally.

This implies that you should inquire as to whether or not your partner is at ease. For example, you could say something like ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘Did you enjoy that scene?’ without saying anything at all. Giving your S.O. two light taps to let them know you’re feeling good is an example of this. “You’ll also want to make sure your partner is safe physically,”

Go shopping if you haven’t already.

Richmond says that while BDSM is a lot of fun on its own, adding toys and props ups the ante considerably. Take your partner to a sex shop and let your fantasies run wild. Stock up on restraints, nipple chains, vibrators, paddling devices, anal beads, and/or lube to help you better lean into the roles you’ve agreed to.

Put on a suit and tie.

Dressing the part can help set the scene just as much as props and toys can bring out your dominant or masochistic side. Consider wearing a choker or a cat mask and tail to represent your willingness to obey your “owner” during the experience if you’re the submissive.

Enjoy yourself! If a costume or accessory helps you channel your inner sex goddess, wear it with pride. You don’t have to go all-out Halloween-style.

Slowly is the key word here.

When going slowly, how do you keep things interesting?

There will always be a stumbling block, no matter how well you plan and how much time you put into it. This necessitates moving at a moderate pace. You can learn which moves are too rough for you or your partner and decide whether or not you enjoy having your hair pulled during doggy, for example.

BDSM is “an experiential process where the more you do, the more you’ll know,” says Richmond, whether you’re new to it or an old hand. Your partner is still a factor to consider despite her assurances that she’s “very rarely heard of someone getting hurt beyond what was agreed upon”. By taking your time, you can avoid stepping over their line—because if you do, they may not want to try BDSM again.

Do not cram all of your experiences into one day.

When you first hear about BDSM, it’s easy to get excited and want to jump right in with both feet. O’Reilly, on the other hand, advises taking it more slowly. She advises, “Don’t feel like you have to try everything at once. Every time you finish your meal, there’s a new batch of sexy bites on the buffet, so you can keep coming back for more.

Her advice is to start small and “break down your wildest fantasy into manageable parts,” as she puts it. You can try to incorporate one of your desires, such as public sex, lots of props, spanking, and submission, into your regular routine at a time. A semi-public space such as the balcony or backyard can be used to ease into new props and power plays, according to O’Reilly’s advice on the subject. This can lead to sensory overload and an increase in anxiety that makes arousal impossible.

Spend some time on “aftercare,” if you have it.

Expert Advice On How To Take Care Of Your BDSM Aftercare

Sex, according to Richmond, is as much about what you talk about afterward as what you do during it. You can debrief by asking your partner about their favourite parts of the spanking and what they were thinking while you were doing it.

Recommended Articles