BDSM: A how-to guide for beginners

Ony Anukem

Healthista Writer

Posted September 01, 2020

Did you find the Fifty Shades Trilogy irresistible? You aren’t alone. We sought the help of BDSM Mistress Madame Caramel & Sex Therapist, Sarah Berry to turn your fantasies into reality with our beginners guide to BDSM

Let’s face it, although many of us like to see ourselves as forward thinking, open minded individuals, we often live inside a neat little box when it comes to sex. And whilst there is nothing wrong with this, sometimes we suppress our deepest sexual urges and desires in a bid to conform – and to what end? 

Sex is an ever evolving art. Looking back to the 19th century, it was common place for people to have sex fully clothed, with special holes for intercourse sown into the attire. Exploring beyond missionary position was a taboo, let alone oral or anal sex.

Nowadays, these acts are parts of everyday vanilla sex, and those who like rough sex, kink and fetishes are now the ones seen as the convention breakers; but the truth is maybe we are missing out?

sometimes we suppress our deepest sexual urges and desires in a bid to conform – and to what end?

If you’ve ever fantasized about adding something extra to your sex life – such as BDSM (at some BDSM club from )  – but been confused about where to start, we bring you expert advice from internationally renowned BDSM Mistress Madame Caramel and Sex Therapist, Sarah Berry.

What is BDSM ?

According to Madame Caramel ‘depending on who you are BDSM can mean many things.’It stands for bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D&S), and sadism & masochism (S&M).

For her as a wife-to-be, she cannot imagine what her relationship  would be like without BDSM and the couple enjoy a mixturee of all the elements, she is the dominant and he is the submissive.

seduction and domination, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by

Bondage & Discipline

The bondage and discipline element of BDSM refers to sexual acts where the submissive partner is trained and restrained, many of these acts are present in our everyday sex life on a milder scale (think covering your partners eyes or holding their hands together).

Restraining the submissive can include a whole host of things from Shibari (a Japanese rope form of bondage) to being handcuffed to a bed post, partner, or oneself. There are also some more advanced forms of restraint, such as ceiling hooks and bondage cages.

Discipline on the other hand, has more of focus on behaviour modification, the submissive’s behaviour is corrected with punishments, these can be physical and psychological like spanking or erotic humiliation.

Dominant & Submissive

In a BDSM relationship there is always a Dominant and a submissive. The Dominant is responsible for dominating the submissive; male Dominants are called Doms and female Dominants are called Dommes.

The submissive is the partner that gives up control in a BDSM relationship and male and females submissives are often called subs.

Sadism & Masochism

This is normally the area of BDSM that most people can’t define, however it simply refers to the giving and receiving of pain. The masochist experiences pleasure by being inflicted with pain, whilst for the sadist the administration of pain produce pleasure.

The difference between difference between sadism and masochism and dominance and submission is that the former is about inflicting pain and the latter is about control.

They can feature simultaneously in a BDSM relationship, however infliction of pain is not always a component of the Dominant/submissive relationship.

How to tell whether you are a Dominant, submissive or switch?

So now we covered the basic elements of BDSM, it’s time to find out what type of a role you would take on. Our sex expert, Sarah, tells us ‘a session can involve you choosing to be dominant or submissive, or you may want to switch these roles.’

choose what makes you tick … and then whatever box that you decide to put yourself in, you try to explore that side.

The truth is the best way to find out that you like is to experiment, some of the most dominant people in their work & social life love taking on the role of the submissive in the bedroom and vice versa. Some people try both roles and realise that they like both and they switch session by session or even during the session.

It’s all about finding the perfect balance for your partner and yourself, Madame Caramel recommends that you ‘choose what makes you tick … and then whatever box that you decide to put yourself in, you try to explore that side.’

Sexy woman with lace eye cover and whip bw,Beginners Guide to BDSM, by

The great thing about BDSM is that it gives you and your partner the chance to explore another dimension of life and almost step into an alternative realm. It gives you the opportunity to try out your fantasies in safe and trusting environment, which can be great for your mental health and your relationship.

However, sex expert Sarah warns: ‘adding things to you sex life doesn’t necessarily make for a happier, more fulfilling experience’ you both have to be on the same page.

How should I tell my partner about my fantasies?

We all know how difficult it can be to be to bring up something new to our partners, a barrage of thoughts fill your head: how will they take it, will this cause an argument, what if they shut me down. However the truth is a successful relation hinges on good communication.

Madame Caramel explains that it is important to ‘understand each other and be able to talk about a range of subjects and this shouldn’t be any different, if you are interested in BDSM you really should talk to your partner, make them aware of your desires, and try to explore your fantasies without being afraid.’

Think small; you can always add things later.

If you are worried about finding the words to tell your partner, try non verbal communication: maybe trying leaving them a sexy little note or watching a suggestive movie together. Sex expert Sarah says ‘If you want to talk to your partner about kink and feel they may be nervous, you could ask them how they feel about your sex life. Do they have fantasies? Suggest things you might like try. Think small; you can always add things later.’

But remember, ‘ BDSM is only good for a relationship, if it’s what you both want to do, no one feels pressured and it’s an exciting endeavour rather than an ordeal or anything that feels tricky. Be open about how you feel and what you want.’

Woman in hat and whip showing no talk,Beginners Guide to BDSM, by

How can I introduce BDSM into my relationship?

So you’ve had a chat and you are both on the same page, but where do you start ? Sarah says ‘being kinky doesn’t have to involve expensive latex outfits, dungeons, scary hitting implements or humiliation (though all of these things can be enjoyable if that’s your thing).’

If you just look around the house or assess your sexual habits, even if you think you aren’t kinky, you will probably have bits of BDSM in your bedroom habits and useful tools lying around.

it’s a good idea to have a safe word with BDSM as your role may include you shouting “no” when you’re actually enjoying yourself.

Sarah says this could includes a range of things from ‘whether [you] like to pin someone down (holding their wrists or tying to the bed posts), use sex toys with each other, scratch during sex or indulge in role-play.

If you’re thinking of experimenting, you can use what’s lying around your house – whether it’s tying up with your dressing gown chord, using the back of a brush as a spanker.’

Sensual woman holding handcuffs, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by

Our experts’ top tips

  • CONSENT: The most important part of any sort of intimate physical encounter – whether it’s vanilla sex or BDSM – is that you both consent to what is happening and understand that, at any point, you can stop the action.
  • SAFE WORDS: With BDSM, your role may include you shouting “no” when you’re actually enjoying yourself, it’s a good idea to have a safe word, which is a word that has nothing to do with your activity that means everything stops straight away
  • BLINDFOLDS: You could blindfold your partner while switching between teasing their body with ice cubes and kisses after drinking hot tea.
  • TALKING: Don’t rush, enjoy the moment and really talk about it a lot – when you start playing you need to communicate a lot and when you finish playtime you also have to communicate to see if there are a few things that can be changed.
  • START SMALL: As a beginner you really don’t need to buy a lot of things, you can start by tying or blindfolding each other with a satin scarf or using your panties to gag your partner – the options are endless
  • If you do want to buy some pieces there are a lot of beautiful shops out there where you can buy a range of toys: there is SH!, Bondara, Honour, Coco de Mer, Ann Summers, Love Honey & Agent Provocateur to name a few.

Our top 7 products for your BDSM starter kit:

#1 Latex

They say when you are dressed the part, you play the part and BDSM is no different. Get yourself some latex (or leather if you are allergic) and instantly transform into your role.

You can try: Latex Rubber Black Dress available to buy in the US from Amazon.

Love Honey Latex Dress, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by

Or for UK based sales try: marysgift Wet Look Lingerie Short Black Dresses for Women available to buy from Amazon

#2 Eye Patch

Everything is better when it’s dark, amp up the intensity and suspense with some black out eye patches to blindfold the submissive.

You can try: Satin Eye Cover Silk Blindfold Tie available to but in the UK on Amazon.

Or for US based sales try: Satin Eye Mask Blindfold available to buy from Amazon.

Ann Summers Blindfold, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by
#3 Gag Ball

If you really want to take it up a notch, think about getting a gag ball, used by the dominant to silence the submissive. It can be very playful and teasing having to express yourself with non verbal language.

You can try: Dream Alice mouth ball available to buy on Amazon in the US.

Or try: Dominate All-Stars Soft Mouth Ball Plug available to buy on Amazon in the UK.

Gag Ball, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by
#4 Handcuffs

A staple piece for any couple trying BDSM, handcuffs add an element of thrill to a session and can be used for restraint to a fixture like a bed post or in front or behind of ones back.

You can try: NA Black Plush Lining Wrist Leather Handcuffs available to buy in the US on Amazon.

Or try: Plush Black Leather Hand Cuffs available to buy in the UK on Amazon.

ann summers handcuffs, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by
#5 Choker

Bondage chokers are a great signalling piece, particularly as chokers are so popular at the moment, pair it with killer outfit when you are going for dinner and let your partner fantasize about what is going to take place when you get home.

You can try: AsherKeep, Premium Black Vegan Leather Choker and Collar Necklace available to buy in the US on Amazon.

Or try: Jovivi Punk Vintage Choker available to buy in the UK on Amazon.

Agent Provocateur Choker, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by
#6 Paddle

Paddles are great for beginners because the impact is slightly less strong than a whip due to the larger surface.

We recommend starting off hitting the fleshier parts of the derriere and moving to other parts of the body and when desired.

You can try: Jonsdavien Oval Paddle available to buy in the UK on Amazon.

Or you can try: Staydream Leather Paddle available to buy in the US on Amazon.

Sh! Paddle, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by
#7 Whip

Whips are fun and you can find some beautiful ones that are discreet, stylish and will match your home furnishings (so the kids won’t be asking what it is, I can’t promise about the neighbours though).

You can try: Guanhuiii Leather Bullwhip available to buy in the US on Amazon.

Or you can try: Kerr Louisa Whip Double Nail Spiral Handle available to buy in the UK on Amazon.

Honour Whip, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by

And on that note …

You are now ready to take what you have learnt about BDSM, spice up your sex life and most of all have fun.

sarah berry, Beginners Guide to BDSM, by

Sarah Berry, is a Sex & Relationship therapist, and an accredited member of COSRT (College of Sex & Relationship Therapists) and also a member of  ATSAC ( Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity) and Pink Therapy.

Madame Caramel, is an Internationally renowned UK Mistress and BDSM educator.

This article was last updated 3rd September 2020

Source: healthista


A beginner’s guide to bondage – and how to introduce the idea to your partner

via womanandhome (lol what?)

Curious about bondage, but not sure if it’s right for you? Here’s everything you need to know and more…

eye mask on bed

(Image credit: Getty Images / Westend61)


Bondage: one of the biggest buzzwords in the world of sex, but is it really all whips, chains and latex wearing dominatrix’s in dungeons? 

For those who haven’t delved into the world of bondage before, the thought of it may seem daunting, considering pornographic depictions tend to involve some pretty extreme acts. However, since the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, public interest in bondage has been on the rise and it seems more couples than ever are engaging in everything from restraints and blindfolds to full-time dominant/submissive relationships. 

Just like introducing your best vibrator into the bedroom, approaching the conversation of trying bondage with your partner can seem overwhelming. But having an open and honest conversation about your sexual fantasies and how you both can bring them to life is easier than you might think. Plus, it could reignite the spark in a sexless marriage or help you bond with your other half. 

To help you explore this type of sex play, we spoke to the experts who shared everything you need to know about bondage for beginners, with top tips for introducing the idea to your partner…  


Sex-positive relationships therapist, Sarah Berry, describes bondage as “consensually tying, binding or restraining someone. It’s anything that can restrict movement, whether it’s a dressing gown belt tying limbs to bedposts, handcuffs, a corset or a vacbed”.

Jess Wilde, bondage expert at Lovehoney, adds that bondage falls under the umbrella term Power Play where one partner takes on a dominant role while the other becomes the submissive. 

Jess stresses that bondage and rough sex are totally different, and in fact, bondage can be very romantic. “Lots of bondage play is not rough at all and is often extremely slow and sensual. The only similarities between bondage and rough sex are that both acts should be explicitly discussed with clear boundaries agreed upon before play, and you should always settle upon a safe word before either type of sex,” Jess says.

While bondage has been around for centuries, thanks to mainstream film, TV and books, bondage is more popular than ever. Research by Durex found that 53% of us see the benefits of experimenting through role-play, sensual massage or bondage. 

There are lots of reasons people enjoy bondage, from the general feel-good factor of restriction to the element of power exchange. 

“It might be because the restriction feels good in itself, for aesthetic reasons, to carry out a certain action or for power exchange,” says Sarah. 

While some people who engage in BDSM might be more involved in the kink community and enjoy going to sex clubs or being flogged in a Christian Grey-style Red Room, for many it’s seen as a fun way to experiment with their sexual partners and strengthen their bond. 

What’s more, for many, bondage is about much more than sex. Sex play can be a way to process trauma, reconnect with your body and sensuality, and find a sense of order and purpose in a world that can be chaotic and confusing.  


There is really only one universal rule – bondage should always be safe and consensual.

While bondage is a great way to explore your boundaries and discover new realms of pleasure, it’s essential this is done safely and that you and your partner communicate about what you do and don’t feel comfortable trying. 

“A safe word is something the submissive partner (the one who’s restrained) can use at any time to stop play immediately and tells the Dominant partner (the one doing the tying) that they want to be released,” Jess explains. “Your safe word can be anything you like as long as you’ve both agreed on it before play. The best ones are short, easy to say, and easy to remember. It should stand out like a sore thumb in the middle of sex. A personal favorite is “GANDALF!””

When it comes to boundaries, you and your partner should discuss anything you don’t want to happen so they know exactly what is off the table during play. 

The restrained person should never be left unattended, even if the Dominant is just leaving the room for a few moments. And restraints should never be too tight that they end up cutting off circulation. 

Sarah also advises against drinking alcohol when experimenting with bondage, and as a safety precaution, have medical scissors on hand for a quick way to release restraints if necessary. 

It’s also incredibly important to follow up with aftercare when play ends. 

“During bondage play, one partner dominates the other, which is super arousing and exciting in that moment but can leave one or both of you feeling uncertain after it’s all over,” Jess explains. 

This is known as the sub-drop and can happen when the submissive partner feels the endorphins wear off when playtime has finished and they start to feel lonely or sad. 

“Bondage aftercare is the process of reassuring your partner that you care for them. Lots of hugs, loving touches and an open chat about the experience you’ve just shared are great ways to do this,” Jess advises. 


Keen to give bondage and try but not sure how to approach the idea with your partner? Sometimes it’s easier to show rather than tell. If your partner is comfortable with it, you could show them videos of the different bondage play you’d like to try out. 

Porn for women is a great way to introduce your partner to different types of play for female pleasure, there are also hundreds of YouTube videos explaining the different aspects of bondage that will help open up the conversation with your partner. You can then discuss what you’re both interested in trying and encourage them to share their fantasies with you too. 

Once you’ve talked about what you’re both interested in trying, discussed your boundaries and agreed on a safe word, the fun can really begin. 


You can start bondage play using household items like a tie or a dressing gown waist tie as restraints, but if you want to invest in play you won’t be short of sex toys to buy.

The market is full of toys for bondage play, from rabbit vibrators to handcuffs and blindfolds. Brands like Adam & Eve and Love Honey sell bondage sets for beginners which include the basics such as, blindfolds, handcuffs, ballgags and whips. 

While you don’t need a kit to get started, it does remove the pressure of deciding what type of restraint to try out first. Handcuffs and blindfolds are a great place to start as they’re easily removed and not too restrictive. Ideal for first-times who may be a little apprehensive about getting stuck in the restraints. 

To begin with, Jess advises avoiding rope or bondage tape which can damage the skin if not used correctly. “Instead, opt for soft, Velcro-fastened wrist cuffs that offer comfy, reliable restraint, and can be removed in a jiffy if required,” she says. 

“Start small, and focus restraint on one area of the body to begin with (eg wrists OR ankles),” Jess adds. “And, if you both like that, then you can build to more advanced restraint where arms and legs are cuffed at the same time.”

Once you get to grips with the basics and discover what you like, you can explore bondage sex toys further. For instance, if you or your partner are particularly keen on being handcuffed, you can look into other types of restraints such as rope, collars or hog ties. 


Once you and your partner have decided to explore bondage together, your next thought might be which one of you should play as submissive and which as dominant. But, the brilliant thing about bondage, is you don’t have to be one of the other. Play is for everyone who consents and there are so many ways you can explore bondage, domination and submission.

Don’t let the stereotypical, heteronormative depictions of BDSM put you off from what could open up a whole new world of excitement and self-discovery. It can be fun to switch things up with your partner and play different roles every time. 

The world of BDSM is for all sexualities and gender identities, and bondage can even provide a unique sensory experience for those who don’t want to engage in penetrative sex itself. 

“How you play is a matter of personal preference. To figure this out, talk with your partner before play and remember: the sub is the one who’s actually in control at all times. Although the dom may guide play, the sub calls the shots, and decides when play is over,” Jess says.


If you’ve enjoyed bondage and want to take things to the next level, Jess suggests adding sensory play into the mix with spanking. 

“Spanking can be enjoyed with or without bondage (in the same way bondage can be enjoyed without spanking). Because spanking is still a form of Power Play, it has many of the same rules as bondage in order to keep play fun and safe,” Jess says. 

“For couples who’ve agreed they’d like to try spanking, it’s important that you build intensity slowly,” Jess adds. “Start with a light tap, and build how hard you hit to find the right sensation for your sub. Some people like their spanking with some pain, but for many, spanking isn’t painful at all. Lots of people enjoy spanking for the psychological thrill of being dominated or dominating someone.”

Start with your hand first before bringing any toys into the bedroom. “Using your hand enables you to control how hard you spank as you can feel the impact too. If you’re both happy with this and decide you’d like to try using a spanking tool, a beginner-friendly spanking paddle is the best place to start,” Jess says.

When you’re new to bondage the most important thing to remember is that it should be fun! Bondage is play that should be enjoyed by both you and your partner. It should bring a new level of excitement to the bedroom and be a positive sexual experience for you both.

So get those cuffs out, and explore everything bondage and the wider BDSM world has to offer.  


I Suddenly Stopped Being Kinky and I’m Not Sure Why

Opinion: My sexual tastes suddenly changed—but why?

By Rachel Kramer Bussel

illustration of melting ice cream with flavored toppings next to a cone of vanilla ice cream
Getty / Morgan Johnson

If there was kink involved, I probably tried it during my 20s and 30s. Spanking, bondage, choking, being ordered around—all of it turned me on. Dominant lovers, both male and female, indulged my submissive side and I’d return from dates happily sore, sometimes sporting multicolored bruises I’d admire with pride. I even made BDSM part of my career, editing numerous anthologies of kinky erotica.

The acronym BDSM stands for bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism. It describes the general sexual behaviors—although it certainly does not encompass all of them—that kinky folks consensually enjoy. Some people are more aroused by the physical aspect of BDSM, like erotic spanking, while others are turned on by the mental component, such as a dominant partner dictating what her submissive partner should wear.

For me, it was both. I was submissive to dominant lovers inside and outside the bedroom: Some called me epithets I was aroused to hear, slapped me across the face, or used nipple clamps. The most exciting lovers kept me mentally on edge, teasing me about the things they wanted to “make” me do, like have sex with strangers while they watched. I sought out kinky partners, knowing that I would feel let down by someone with more vanilla—that is, nonkinky—tastes. When I discovered someone and I had mutually shared kinks, it was like I’d found a sexual soul mate who spoke the same intimate language I did. Like all healthy and consensual BDSM relationships, my partners and I communicated openly and established our boundaries and limits before actualizing our sexual fantasies.

As someone who practiced kink in her sex life frequently and with almost all my lovers, I saw my kinkiness as a fixed part of my sexuality and the core of my erotic desires. In fact, once during an interview for a documentary, I identified my sexual orientation as both bisexual and kinky.

Then everything changed.

Seven years ago, at the age of 36, I started dating my boyfriend D. What first appealed to me about D. was his sense of humor, creativity, and honesty. We talked for three hours nonstop on our first date. And yet from the start, the way we made love was about as far from kinky as I could get. We regularly enjoy oral sex and hand jobs, either as part of foreplay or the main event. We have intercourse in the one position that’s most comfortable, given our size differences. Sometimes we use vibrators on each other. None of those actions ever involve any of the aspects of BDSM that were the main things that got me aroused in past relationships. Our routine—and that’s a word I use here with positive connotation—has only solidified over the years.

I used to feel disappointed when I slept with a lover who wasn’t as into dominating me as I wanted him or her to be. But I noticed immediately that with D., I didn’t miss my submission in the bedroom. In fact, a few times he started to spank me and I stopped him after a few smacks. The spanking didn’t arouse me; it felt neutral, which isn’t what I look for in bed and truly the opposite from how spanking stimulated me in the past. In fact, all the behaviors I’d previously found totally erotic and central to my pleasure no longer turned me on.

I want to clarify something important: I don’t have any issues with my kinky past and I don’t feel shame over my past desires or previous work. I also know I am not trying to contort myself to fit into a vanilla life to appease D., or for matters of convenience. Rather, I was the one who’d changed—but perplexingly, there was no lightning bolt moment that made me “decide” to stop being kinky.WATCHDr. Jen Gunter Answers 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Your VaginaMORE SELF VIDEOSMost Popular

Losing my kinkiness feels like it happened over time, and like would have come about even if I wasn’t with D. In fact, in moments alone, I have replayed some of my dirtiest submissive fantasies, the ones that had always been a surefire way to get me aroused. They no longer get me going, even on the few occasions when I’ve fantasized about someone other than D. And I am fully convinced that if D. and I broke up today, I would not seek out a kinky partner. It’s an intimate language I no longer speak.

This identify shift feels utterly confusing. Anecdotally, I know I’m not the only one whose kink level has changed. Yet it still feels strange at times, like someone came in and took over the parts of my brain that control arousal. Have I repressed my inner kinkster? Is it that I now associate it with previous (not great) romantic relationships (and the subsequent breakups)? Hormonal changes that come with my mid-40s? Fear of rejection? Stress? It’s difficult—if not impossible—to parse out the exact reasons my sexual tastes changed and whether they are physical, psychological, or some combination of both.

Why people stop being kinky is not a well-explored area. Keely Kolmes, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist with a private practice in the Bay Area, said they (their preferred pronoun) haven’t seen any clients in my exact situation, but have worked with people whose sexual identities or practices have changed for various reasons.

“Most people have some fixed erotic themes,” Kolmes told me, noting that some “are accustomed to things looking different in different relationships” while others get “surprised” by changes to those themes. They emphasized that the shift isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. “It’s my view that sexual desire and interest and practices can change and that’s normal and healthy,” they said. “But if someone’s upset about it, I want us to figure out what is upsetting for that person.”

Beyond the many reasons that women might have changes in desires, one possibility could be that my kinky desires are in a hibernation of sorts, Bianca Laureano, of Oakland, California, a sex educator and cofounder of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network, suggested. “You may be getting so much fulfillment in other parts of your life, that one identity you had [is] taking a break or it’s resting or evolving,” she said.

Laureano noted—as many experts do—the need for more research on women and desire, noting that all of our erotic changes can’t always be blamed on hormones. Instead, she hopes to see more “trauma-led work.” In other words, how might our life experiences be impacting our desires?

When we got off the phone, I at first thought Laureano’s observation didn’t apply to me, as I have not had any experiences that I would consider traumatic. Then it occurred to me that for the past few years, I have been dealing with the stress of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. While my move away from being kinky predates my struggles with fertility, perhaps the two are linked in a way I haven’t consciously been aware of. Since I already feel so emotionally vulnerable from the ups and downs of infertility, it’s possible that kink didn’t simply take a hiatus; instead, maybe I am subconsciously trying to protect myself from the deep vulnerability that submission requires of me, because I don’t have any more reservoirs of vulnerability left. That seems as possible an explanation as any, but of course, I don’t really know.Most Popular

Relinquishing my kinky identity feels bittersweet. I’ve learned that the missionary position gives me as much pleasure as kink used to, as does oral sex and even intense makeout sessions. These are joyful discoveries to be made in middle age. On the other hand, I’ve had to overcome feelings of shame that I’m no longer as wild (for lack of a better word) as I was during my younger years. For someone who used to need handcuffs or power play to get her revved up, that has taken some getting used to—even seven years in.

Fortunately, my libido is entirely the same. My pleasure is just delivered in a different way now. The more we do it, the more variety and excitement I discover in the kind of sex I would have dismissed in the past as not edgy enough. Only now, it pushes me over the edge.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is a writer covering sex, dating, books and pop culture. She’s the editor of over 60 anthologies, including Cheeky Spanking Stories, The Big Book of Orgasms, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, and the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series. She teaches erotica writing workshops at sex toy stores, colleges and conferences around the world, as well as online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and @rachelkramerbussel on Instagram.

Source: self


The Kinky Tendency You Might Not Realize You Have


PHOTOGRAPHED BY ISA WIPFLI.In my first BDSM relationship, I was the submissive partner, and I was dating a dominant cis man who wanted to tie me up. He was also aroused by the idea of leaving me in a cage all day and only letting me out for sex. This turned me on, too. For the majority of our relationship, I was content in the submissive role. Then, one day, after watching S&M porn on, I realized that I was also turned on by the idea of playing the dominant role. So, I asked him if we could try it out. A true dominant, he just wasn’t into me doling out punishments like name-calling and spanking.When it comes to BDSM kinks, some people, like my former partner, fit snuggly into a specific role: a dominant (one who takes a controlling role) or a submissive (one who submits to the dominant partner). However, while I’m primarily submissive, I realized that I am what’s known in BDSM as a “switch.” This just means that I am “someone who enjoys switching roles, from dominant to submissive, or bottom to top,” says Moushumi Ghose, a Los Angeles-based, kink-friendly sex therapist. “This is often done in the same setting with the same partner, or in different settings with different partners,” she says.In my case, I’ve only played both the submissive and dominant roles with specific partners who were also into switching. When I was with the last woman I dated, at first, I felt extremely dominant in the relationship. Then, we attended a BDSM workshop, and each couple was asked to take turns slapping the other. I found myself completely repelled by the idea of slapping her, but totally turned on when it was her turn to slap me. With other partners, I’ve felt submissive throughout the duration of the relationship. And just like the standard dom/sub dynamic, finding pleasure as a switch comes down to the consensual transfer of power. “Power play depends on who you are with, and you can have a different dynamic with different people,” says Goddess Aviva, a lifestyle and professional dominatrix.Of course, you don’t need to date dominant partners with cage fantasies or attend BDSM workshops like I did to take pleasure in switching between being dominant and submissive. Anyone who has enjoyed both being spanked and getting on top during sex to take control can relate to being a switch. In fact, going between more dominant and submissive roles in bed, depending on mood and/or partner, is a natural and totally normal way to express your sexuality, says Shara Sand, clinical psychologist.It’s also fairly common to be a switch, Aviva says. There’s no clinical research on exactly how prevalent switches are, but to give you an idea: The group for switches on FetLife, the kinky social network, has 20,116 members, while the group for submissives looking for dominant partners has 47,815 members (although it’s worth noting that this group also contains dominant members hoping to meet subs). Not to mention, many people begin identifying as a submissive or a dominant, and then realize they want to explore the flip side. It’s also normal to primarily feel more submissive or dominant, and want to experiment with role reversal. “BDSM is about exploration and expression,” Aviva says. “And human sexuality is not fixed; it evolves as we experience new things.”Despite the fancy-sounding BDSM term, being a switch just means that youenjoy experimenting and playing various roles in the bedroom. And take it from me: Freeing yourself from the role you think you should be playing during sex, and allowing yourself to experiment depending on your partner or mood, can result in some mind-blowing orgasms.

Source: refinery29


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Sub Drop is an emotional state that submissives/bottoms can experience after a BDSM scene. Some of the symptoms include feeling down, having less energy, feeling more emotionally raw. The symptoms vary from person to person, as does the intensity of sub drop. Understanding how to deal with sub drop is part of practicing BDSM. Everyone finds their own useful methods, and there isn’t one ‘cure all’ way to fix sub drop. BDSM is intense, and after an intense experience you are likely to go through a pattern of feelings afterwards. ‘Drop’ isn’t exclusive just to kink, ‘con drop’ is a similar feeling that people experience after attending a convention (doesn’t matter what type) and then have to come back to the real world.

For those of us who get our energy from quiet reflection time, it can sometimes be hard for our partners when we need to process our sub-drop away from them. I have seen the general assumption that people experiencing sub-drop need to be around people that they care about, and that they might need some extra affection/attention. I am not say that this isn’t true, I’m just saying not everyone will have those needs. Here are some things that I have done to feel better during sub-drop:

1. Just Check in Over the Phone

I want my people to know I’m ok. I don’t always want them to be around me when I am processing yucky emotions. Often times I will ask for some quiet time and then schedule a phone call with the person I played with a day or two afterwards. On the call there are no expectations for what I talk about, but I do generally ‘debrief’ about the scene and how I’m feeling.

2. Practice Self Care

Self care is a whole topic in itself, and practicing self care is so important in BDSM. Your relationship with yourself is the foundation for your relationships with other people. I’ve found that taking a nice long bath, reading and going on a walk by myself are good ways to reflect. I sometimes will feel sub-drop and just need to sit with myself and be OK with feeling that way. Practicing doing this in a constructive way is important

3.Write To Your Play Partner

I write journals for my partners often. I especially do this when in a D/s relationship. Having a regular journal is one of the things I ask for from my submissives, as it helps me see their perspective on something we experience together, and helps me learn how to be better in the future. If I am experiencing sub drop and my play partner is anxious to know I’m ok, I will typically write about the scene we had and share it with them.

4.The ‘Ignore Me But Be With Me’ Method

I use this all the time with my live in partner and some of my other partners. The general idea is to still share space with someone, but have them ignore me and let me do my own thing. I sometimes need introspective time when I can’t be completely by myself. I can ask my partner to just do other things around the house, and let me read or relax in bed. This helps your partner feel like you want them around, and puts less pressure on you to interact. I often find after having my ‘ignore’ time for a while I will want some more connective attention, which is great for my extroverted partner.

5.Understand That the Feeling Will Pass

Our culture has been conditioned to think we need to be happy all the time, and if we aren’t happy we are doing something wrong. Being happy all the time is impossible, and if you spend all your time with that unrealistic expectation, you will actually be less happy. The highs in life aren’t possible without the lows, and the highs we get from BDSM don’t come for free. I try to remind myself that part of BDSM is feeling all of my emotions, even the more painful ones. Spending some time thinking about this and reflecting helps me recharge and remind myself that everything will be ok.

Source: kinkysprinkles


BDSM Doesn’t Magically Fix Your Life

by Kayla Lords

“I thought it was all supposed to get better once I submitted.”

“I can’t help it. I worry and I’m afraid he’ll leave me.”

“I don’t mean to be jealous, but I’d feel better if my Dom would just share his passwords and let me see everything.”

Would you be shocked to know that I have read/heard some variation of these statements from different submissives across the interwebz? Sad but true.

Dominance and Submission Doesn’t Magically Fix Your Relationships

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BDSM isn’t a correct-all for your past relationship woes.

If you are filled with self-doubts and self-loathing in a vanilla relationship – and your partner isn’t the source of the problem – you’ll most likely be filled with self-doubts and self-loathing as a Dominant or submissive.

If you are always jealous and doubtful of your partners – regardless of whether they give you reason to be or not, you’ll be that way in your D/s relationship.

If you withdraw into yourself and refuse to communicate in all relationships, guess what. That won’t automatically change simply because you’re now a big D or a little s.

Dominance and submission – as well as the rest of the BDSM spectrum – is a relationship dynamic unlike anything most people have ever experienced. It requires full and honest communication. It requires trust. It requires believing in yourself and your partner. It also takes time and patience to cultivate – if you’re looking for a full relationship and not just a temporary play partner.

For the record, vanilla relationships should have this level of communication, trust, and belief. And some do. I don’t disparage vanillas as “other” or “lesser” – but I’m D/s so I discuss D/s. For vanillas who truly communicate and trust at the same level as a healthy D/s relationship, good for you! Could you please start a blog and teach your non-kinkster brethren? Because they could use some help, too. 

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to for a D/s Relationship

You don’t have to enter your D/s relationship with your shit together: completely confident, no insecurities, and able to bare your soul. Most of us don’t. What you should do is be willing to try, willing to do what’s necessary for the relationship to work, and willing to speak up – even though it will seem nearly impossible at first.

It probably seems like some relationships spring forth from the ground fully formed into D/s perfection. Le sigh. Not true. Every relationship requires hard work – regardless of your level of kink or lack thereof. Time must be spent learning each other, talking to one another, spending time together. (Time spent in a virtual world counts – but be assured, it doesn’t truly prepare you for being together in a physical space.)

I’m going to give you a little tough love:

  • If your partner makes you feel bad about yourself and discounts what you say, you’re in the wrong relationship.
  • If you aren’t willing to talk to your partner – and you’re not even willing to try – regardless of whether that’s your fault or theirs, you’re in the wrong relationship.
  • If you can’t let go of the past and see the person in front of you for who they are, you’re probably in the wrong relationship.

When you’re willing to accept less than someone’s best and willing to let someone lie to you, cheat on you, and make demands of you without giving anything in return, you’re only hurting yourself and wasting time with the wrong person in the wrong relationship. On the flip-side, when you’re willing to manipulate, lie, steal, or cheat, you’re hurting your partner and yourself as well as wasting everyone’s time.

It is always better to be alone than to be in a dysfunctional, disheartening, or damaging relationship. Always.

Finding the Right One for You

Dominants, the good ones, are patient wolves. And, this might surprise you, they’re also human. We, as submissives, give them god-like attributes, but that’s not the reality. They need to get to know a prospective submissive before deciding if they want to dominate you. And any “dominant” who is ready to order you around within the first 30 seconds is a fake and a wannabe. Run in the other direction when you come across them – and you will.

A good Dominant takes their time. They talk to a potential submissive and learn likes, dislikes, personality, everything they can. They learn as much as a submissive will let them learn – and often, plenty that you don’t think you’re telling them. From my experience, Dominants watch and read people very well – especially when they’re interested.

For submissives, I will always tell you to be careful. Keep your guard up in the beginning. There are too many assholes posing as Doms in the world to do otherwise. But at a certain point, you have to take a leap of faith. You have to decide if you trust your instinct enough to let this potential Dominant in closer. And when you do, you have to truly open up.

I know (because I was one of them) you blame yourself if you open up your heart and then it gets crushed. That’s not a failing on your part. Loving someone with your whole heart takes courage. Sharing part of your soul takes courage. Trust takes courage. So if you chose the wrong one, if you were released from a Dominant you considered “the one,” don’t berate yourself for being “stupid.” Stand tall with your head high because you acted courageously.

Without knowing for sure (hello, I am a submissive, after all), I believe that the same is true in reverse for Dominants. They have to be careful of someone so willing to submit that they’ll pretend to be someone they’re not. No matter how strong they seem, a Dominant’s heart can get just as intertwined as a submissive’s, and they hurt just as much when things go bad or don’t work out.

Bottom line: be true to yourself, but also communicate, trust, and always, always be honest with your partner. Only then will you have a chance of finding the right Dominant or submissive for you.

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Was this post meaningful and helpful? You might enjoy my website dedicated to BDSM and helping people have better D/s relationships – Loving BDSM – a blog and weekly podcast devoted to helping people find and enjoy healthier D/s relationships and kinky lives. Check it out at

Source: kaylalords


5 Ways Insecurities Impact D/s Relationships


Being insecure about something isn’t necessarily a problem. If those feelings propel you to improve yourself, find contentment, or learn more about yourself, insecurities can actually help you grow. The problem for most of us happens when we get stuck in our insecurities.

How we view ourselves, our bodies, our partners, and our future color every part of our life, including the thing some of us want more than anything – a successful D/s relationship. When you get used to how you see yourself or your life, you start to think it’s normal. You might not even realize how problematic your insecurities can be.

Trusting Your Partner

You’ve negotiated your relationship. Everything is working well. You’ve never caught them in a lie. They seem to be everything they say they are. But you’re still not sure.

Insecurities come from a variety of places. Some are from past relationships (John Brownstone and I call them bad tapes). Even though your partner says and does the right things, you’re still not sure you can trust them. Your mind is constantly thinking, “What if?”

At some point, all you can do (assuming everything else is good) is close your eyes and leap into the unknown. There are no guarantees you won’t get hurt, of course. But if you never choose to trust your partner, the relationship can’t grow.

Trusting Yourself to Dominate Someone

Not every Dominant questions whether they should be “allowed” to dominate another person, but it does happen. You’ve got society telling you that controlling someone is wrong. If you’re a male Dominant with a female submissive, you may be thinking of every lesson you ever heard about “how to treat a lady.”

For those who enjoy sadism, where real physical harm may be done to your partner, fear or uncertainty may keep you from exploring the rougher elements of BDSM. It becomes even more difficult if you’ve had a bad experience in the past. How can you trust yourself not to hurt your partner this time?

There are no easy solutions but moving forward slowly helps. Start with one small act of Dominance and move forward as you gain confidence and learn what your partner likes and wants. Time and practice can help you overcome those insecurities.

Trusting Yourself to Submit to Someone

You might think that the real problem is trusting your partner in order to submit (and that is a real issue). But if you think there’s something wrong with you, that you’re somehow not good enough, your insecurities can stop you in your tracks.

You may do things to ruin the relationship. Or you might keep your Dominant at arm’s length, not allowing yourself to grow close enough so that you can submit. I’ve seen submissives close themselves off so much they struggle to meet people, fearful of even putting themselves out there enough to start a conversation.

I have no quick fixes for you. I wish I did. At some point you’ll meet the person who’s willing to work through those insecurities (John Brownstone did that for me). You may just get tired of being alone and decide you’re going to “do something about being alone.” All I can tell you is not to let loneliness or a need to be in a relationship let you overlook red flags and bad behavior. You really do deserve the best. We all do.

Trying New Things

“I’m stupid.”

“I always screw things up.”

“I can’t do [fill in the blank].”

First of all, these things aren’t true. But if you have a habit of questioning your own abilities, a willingness to try new things is often much harder. Add in a few bad experiences from the past, and it gets even more difficult.

This is where trust in your partner is necessary. When I’m scared to do something (kinky or not), knowing that I’ve got John Brownstone on my side helps me. Even if the whole thing (whatever it might be) gets fucked up, I know we’re together.

Moving Forward

I let John Brownstone wonder for months if we had a future. Insecurities about relationships, yourself, your future, or even your partner can stagnate your relationship. It makes sense, though. You know this part. It’s working well, and you have no guarantee it won’t be ruined later.

There are no guarantees in life, in general. Staying at the same level may seem safe, but it’s rarely satisfying. Relationships have to grow and change in order to thrive. You might not end up in some fairy tale happy ending (hell, that might not be what you want) but standing still usually leads to a bad outcome.

Some of our insecurities come from childhood traumas, past abuse, traumatic events, and just shitty life experiences. They can’t be waved away with a wand. A lot of hard work has to go into dealing with a lot of what life hands us. Even when we have insecurities from a faulty brain that lies to us (believe me, I know), overcoming the things we believe about ourselves still isn’t easy.

Knowing your insecurities is half the battle. The other is working to overcome them as best as you can so they don’t ruin good, positive relationships.

Have you found that your insecurities get in the way of your kink or D/s relationships in other ways? How have you overcome them? Have you? Feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter!

Source: lovingbdsm


The Line Between BDSM and Emotional Abuse

For this reader, the line was difficult to see at first:

Thank you to Olga for publishing her compelling article on emotional abuse. Normally I would post a Facebook comment to convey my appreciation for a great article, but much like the woman in the story, I am not keen on having my own struggles go fully public. Also much like Lauren, I’m an alumna of an Ivy League university, I grew up with parents who have been happily married for 30+ years (they are still married and in love with each other), and I could not see from the inside that my last relationship was abusive.

I was completely in love with my ex, who is an active-duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard. My own career is in animal rights. I have a master’s degree and spend my days investigating cruelty to animals, doing research and writing as well as handling animals directly in an office that doubles as a shelter. Most of the animals who come to our shelter have been abused by awful humans.

My ex has been a vegetarian for several years and acts compassionately toward animals and humans. He is exceedingly liberal, leaning toward socialist. He’s been a Coastie for nearly 20 years and looks fantastic in the uniform, he’s in charge of maybe a dozen people on board his (relatively small) ship, and he loves the search-and-rescue aspect of his job. How could I have possibly found the one member of the military whose philosophies and ethics align so closely with mine? Dream come true!

When I first met him, I was over the moon, and he apparently was, too. Things moved so quickly that within a month or two, we were discussing moving in together. I was dealing with PTSD that came from a violent rape two years before we met, and I had a few physical triggers that would send me into hour-long panic attacks. He was patient with me, telling me he wanted to help me heal and recover from the PTSD.

We are both into the BDSM lifestyle, and he was both my boyfriend and my Dom. He would test my limits, and I would tell him “please don’t do this without verbally warning me beforehand.” He would abide by that for a while until he “forgot” and did it again without the verbal warning we’d agreed was necessary.

He would tell me things like he was being supportive and patient with me to help me heal, and I felt like nobody else would ever be that kind or compassionate with me. I felt that I was too damaged for anyone else to be willing to deal with me.

I now realize that he systematically, slowly, broke down my self-esteem and sense of self-worth until I was fully dependent upon his approval. I compromised who I am as a person and the basic tenets of what makes me happy.

He spends two months in port and two months underway. He was at sea in September and we were keeping up our communication, emailing every day and speaking by phone when he was in a port of call. When he went 36 hours without emailing me, I wrote to him that I was worried; it had been longer than usual and I hoped everything was OK.

He wrote back and broke up with me, without any warning whatsoever, because he found that he was not as excited as he used to be about making plans with me returning home. I was completely devastated and suicidal. My friend took me to the emergency room and I was committed to the psych ward at the hospital. I was there for a week. I didn’t eat for the first four days because the stress triggered a relapse into a decades-long eating disorder. They threatened to put me on a feeding tube after I passed out while the nurses took blood one morning. I began eating again, but since then (for maybe six weeks) I have been caught in this full-blown eating disorder, struggling to find footing, unable to run like I used to because of debilitating physical side effects from the medications they put me on in the hospital. I am an endurance runner, and when I can’t go for my daily runs or my long runs on the weekend, it messes with everything from my mood to my eating habits.

It took at least a half-dozen mental health professionals telling me that I had been emotionally abused for me to realize what had happened. I had so much anger following my hospitalization that I felt shocked at myself. I am a pacifist Buddhist who rarely feels that much anger. After a few weeks, it dissipated and left me with the deepest sadness I’ve ever felt. I am grieving the loss of the man I loved while I recover from the abuse he inflicted on me. The person I loved never existed.

Now I feel ashamed, humiliated, lonely, and worthless. I am unable to enjoy what I used to do for fun. Several men have approached me and flirted, expressing interest in dating and/or sex. Normally after a breakup I would jump at the chance for a rebound boning. This time, though, I panic at the thought of anything sexual. I cannot even touch myself in that way.

Friends have since told me that what I thought was special treatment from my ex is actually the absolute minimum for how a Dom should treat his sub, and he consistently transgressed the limits we discussed and negotiated. I trusted my ex enough that I allowed him to (consensually) tie me down and hit me with things. The depth of trust required for that is immense. That trust has been betrayed and I struggle every single day to comprehend how I will ever recover from the betrayal and abuse.

I had to get my locks changed because I felt unsafe in my apartment and he has a spare key. A friend actually called the cops one evening after I flaked on our plans to get a beer together. They found me cowering in the corner of my kitchen, unable to communicate. It took several hours before I was able to speak with her and hold a conversation. That is how terrified I was. She offered to go with me to the magistrate’s office and swear out charges for a protective order, but she is a prosecutor herself and knows that emotional abuse does not break any laws (at least not here in Virginia). I never swore out charges because there is no hard, physical evidence of the abuse and I do not want to stand in front of a judge and explain everything in humiliating detail.

When I was raped a few years ago, I also chose not to swear out charges because a) I felt that it was my fault and b) I could not bring myself to describe in detail in court what had transpired.

He is back on land until next month. Despite my final email to him telling him not to contact me (after I got out of the hospital), he emailed me several days ago to tell me he has what he calls an STD. It’s not really an STD—more of a virus that anyone can contract anywhere from direct contact, and it clears up on its own without treatment. It’s kind of like warts or ringworm except you don’t have to treat it at all. A close friend told me he’s trying to continue the abuse and manipulation. I panicked when I saw his name in my inbox and deleted it without replying. I don’t have the virus, and I was not going to give him the satisfaction of replying.

Every single day I struggle with the effects of the abuse. I feel that because I have no physical signs of trauma, nobody would even believe that it’s real. When I read Olga’s article this morning, though, I felt less alone. I felt validated. I felt that yes, this is a real thing and other people have survived and healed from it. The article was very hard for me to read and it made me cry. But it makes me feel like victims of this type of abuse matter. What we are dealing with is real and it’s painful and we can recover from it.

Source: theatlantic