What is B.D.S.M?
BDSM is an umbrella term for other kinks. They can be broken down into several categories:
Dominance and Submission - Where a dominate person has control over attacks and orders of a submissive, a person who follows these orders.
Sado Masochism - The consensual giving or receiving pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation.
Bondage and Discipline - Refers to the physical restraint over another person.
A lot of this terms can overlap during play, involving some or all of the activities.
If you’re new to BDSM and interesting in exploring, think about what areas intrigue you. Are you in interested in a more dominant role or does being submissive turn you on? Do you like the idea of feeling a little pain or dishing it out? Do you want to be tied up or the person making the knots? Maybe you have a firm idea of whether you want to be dominate (top) or submissive (bottom), or maybe you like to sound of both (switch). Remember, being dominant or submissive is an expression of your sexuality and doesn’t have to reflect the way you are other areas of your life. In fact, a lot of people like to explore opposite roles of what they experience in their everyday lives.
Categories of Play
There are many types of play out there to explore and experimentation is key when exploring BDSM. Here are the basic breakdowns of activity, however, if you find some area you like, do your research! There are endless resources online, as well as books, articles and magazines catering to any kink.
Restraint / Bondage - Restricting a person’s physical movements in the form of tying, handcuffs, or even direct orders not to move. Restraint can be the goal of play or further developed into pain / sensation play and/or mental play. Further kinks to explore in this category would be - rope play, movement deprivation, blindfold, & gags.
Pain / Sensation Play - This is the range of activities that involve inflicting sensations or pain. Further kinks to explore in this category would be - tickling, biting, spanking, flogging, whipping, paddling, clamping, temperature play, wax play, electric play.
Mental Play - The collection of activities intended to create a psychological impact. Further kinks to explore in this category would be- humiliation, name calling & shaming.
Ready to Play?
You can have sex without any conversation without any intimacy or conversation. However any BDSM play requires in depth conversations that are intimate, clear, and non judgmental. This is where the first element of respect comes into play — being able to divulging your desire and have it be met with respect. It’s important to ask yourself - “Can I be intimate?”. Engaging in BDSM play with another person is going to require clear communication, asking tough questions, explaining desires in detail, and being open and accepting enough to not get embarrassed or defensive.
Be clear with what you need to communicate about your desires and boundaries. A good way to do this is to write down your requests and hard limits. Another route would be to find a BDSM checklist like this one, and have yourself and possible play partners fill them out to see if you're compatible.
BDSM is more theatrical than real. Moves are highly choreographed in advances before session, often referred to as scenes. Negotiations are where each partner's roles are established and boundaries and limits are set. Overall, the submissive role is always the one in charge. They set the limits in which a dominant can play in and have ultimate say over ending a scene. The use of clothing and equipment heighten the sensual excitement. Remember, not all BDSM play involves sex, so be sure to discuss this element with any new play partners.
Most cities, especially major metropolitan areas, have BDSM and kink communities. Many are located in certain clubs, bars, and parties. Fet life, the Facebook of kinksters, is an easy way to meet people within your local BDSM community. However be sure to vet people thoroughly before any play. It’s completely normal to meet beforehand, get references from other community members, or make your first play public at a fetish club or BDSM party.
Two terms used often in the BDSM community is RACK - Risk Aware Consensual Kink and SSC - Sane, Safe, and Consensual. All activity in BDSM must be consensual at all times and stick to the boundaries established in the negotiation. It is ok to stop play if you are unsure or need to communicate with your partner. Safety words are an important element as it is the sign to stop a scene immediately. Though there can be a lot of debate over what a safe word could be, the most important thing is that it works for you. Insure it is something that wouldn’t be naturally said during your scene. Avoid “stop” or “no” and pick something random like “hot dog” or “kangaroo”.
Avoid being intoxicated during play as this can impair your judgement and awareness of dangerous sensations. When using physical impact, stick to fleshy area of the body like butts and thighs. Never hit someone's on the chest, neck, head, or stomach. When using bondage, never restrict anyone's airways or cut off circulation by restraining too tightly.
As important as any other aspect of BDSM, aftercare is the immediate processing of any newly finished scene. The purpose is to discuss the exploration, what worked, and what didn’t. This vital debriefing protects everyone emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing. Aftercare can go further than discussion to include cuddling, hydrating, taking a soothing bath, meditating, or any other calming activity.