Does the idea of being tied up turn you on? Do you fantasize about dominating someone? Then you might want to give BDSM a try.

One of the biggest misconceptions about BDSM is that it entails everything kinky. So let’s be clear, the acronym stands for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism. BDSM isn’t a catch-all phrase for sexy kinks.

For example, if you get hot thinking about how certain foods might feel on your body, you have a kink or fetish. If you enjoy the feeling of pain, you might be a masochist and BDSM could be something for you to explore this further.

But before starting anything in the BDSM world there are a few important steps you should take.

Finding the right partner

One of the most important steps is finding the right person or people to explore the BDSM scene with. Total trust is needed, you are putting yourself in a position where if done unsafely could lead to injury and trauma. A trusted partner or friend are good options, the guy on Tinder who claims he knows everything about BDSM is not.

If you can’t find someone you are comfortable enough to explore with, hire a professional. Look for a local dungeon or browse sex worker directories, if you have the funds this is a great, and safe, introduction.

Instagram post of woman licking shoes with caption 'She's a lucky girl these were new. She is blessed I allow her to worship me #bdsmrelationship #dominantman

If they post stuff like this they’re not the one.

If you can’t ask for it, you shouldn’t be doing it

You want to try anal but talking about douching is icky, then it’s simple; you’re not ready.  If you are too embarrassed to ask for something or discuss the specifics then you aren’t ready to be doing it. This may not be what you want to hear, but if you’re not comfortable with your desires, the experience won’t be fun for anyone involved.

It can be difficult to bring up your kinks and sexual fantasies with your partner. But if you can’t have these open and honest conversations with them, you shouldn’t be practicing BDSM with them.

Research is sexy!

So, your partner has asked you to choke them. Fun and sexy right? Sure. Dangerous? Absolutely.

Erotic asphyxiation is intentionally strangling a partner to heighten sexual arousal. It may seem like a good place to start with BDSM but it can be dangerous if not practiced safely. It’s important to understand how you can practice acts like erotic asphyxiation before trying it out with a partner.

Autoerotic asphyxiation, performing the act on yourself, is extremely dangerous. It can lead to serious injury or death, so it is very important that you don’t try one this out yourself.

Learning about anatomy is a crucial part of BDSM. If you understand the anatomy of dangerous zones, like the neck, and follow professional advice, you can have fun and stay safe. It’s about more than just choking, slapping, and tieing your partner up, safety has to come first.

If you want to find a place to start researching, Healthline have a good summary about this type of sexual play.

Safe zones include back and front of quads, butt checks, and forearms.
Low risk sones - be cautious include back of calfs, inner thigh, hands, upper arms, shoulders, and breasts.
High risk zones include front of lower legs, knees, feet, front of ankles, lower and upper abdomen, lower and mid back excluding shoulders, upper back, neck, face, and back of head.  
Don't go here zones include back of ankles, back of knees, wrists, elbows, underarms, front of neck, and ears.
Source: Deviance & Desire

The internet has made finding information for safe sex easy, it is the same for BDSM. Websites with forums like FetLife are great for peer-based resources and a quick google search can help you find things like the safe impact zone diagram above.

Consent and safety

Just because someone enjoys being flogged doesn’t mean you can just start hitting them, they will have limits to where and how hard. Implied consent isn’t enough in a BDSM scene, before engaging in any acts you need to have a detailed discussion about boundaries and approved acts.

 This is also where safewords come in, one of the body’s responses to experiences too overwhelming sensations is to say no or stop even when you don’t mean it. Having a previously discussed word will allow the person who is doing an act, like flogging, to know that the person receiving has had enough or isn’t enjoying what is happening. The word can be anything you like, but make sure it is something that you will be able to remember in a busy moment.

It doesn’t have to involve sex

Vacuuming mess

There are many ways to experience BDSM and a lot of them don’t involve penetration, sex, or genital stimulation. Some people enjoy being used as furniture, some people like to be ordered to clean on their hands and knees. For some, BDSM is entirely a sexual experience for others it isn’t at all, neither of them is more valid.   

Don’t take it too seriously!

There is no script for exploring BDSM, as long as you are participating in safe practices and enjoying yourself then you’re doing it right.

Next time…

Now that you have safely started your BDSM journey, start to think about what role you would like to take, the kind of scene you want to participate in and the equipment you will need.

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