BDSM: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted by Andrew Schroeder on

Although we have been living in the 21st century for two decades, specific subjects still seem to be taboo. Sex, or more specifically, kinky sex, is right at the top of that list. Despite the popularity it has gained over recent years, thanks to the film industry, music, and literature, BDSM is still something that is often merely whispered about. It comes as no surprise that people who want to explore it are not quite sure where (and how) to start.

Fortunately, if you are one of those people, you have come to the right place. This BDSM how to guide will lead you through the world of BDSM step by step until you feel ready and confident to engage in it. You may have started reading this text as a BDSM newbie, but when you finish it, you will be one sexual encounter away from becoming an expert.

What Is BDSM?

For a beginner, BDSM may seem overwhelming unless you start from the basics. Before you and your partner (or partners) start tying each other up, you need to know what you are getting yourselves into. Even though BDSM is widely present in books and movies, semi-love stories of fictional characters cannot teach you how to do BDSM in your sex routine. However, that is not a reason to be intimidated by it. The concept of BDSM is actually rather simple to grasp if you have an affinity for it.

First of all, it is essential to differentiate BDSM from abuse. In spite of the fact that BDSM usually involves pain (to some extent), it must not be confused with the aforementioned. More importantly, you must never justify abuse as BDSM, which represents a consensual sexual relationship between adults (consensual being the operative word). It is an umbrella term, standing for three primary types of erotic behavior: bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. Moreover, it is a subculture, nay, an inclusive community that welcomes everyone who identifies with it. However, there are numerous people who engage in sexual activities with BDSM elements without considering themselves members of the community.

BDSM Basics

Despite the differences that exist among the subtypes of BDSM, they all essentially suggest assuming complementary, rather than equal roles. Bondage and discipline suggest that one person restrains and disciplines the other one. Dominance and submission involve a dominant individual (dom or top) and a submissive one (sub or bottom). The former exerts their dominance on the latter by giving them orders and punishing them if they disobey. Finally, sadism and masochism rely upon the principle of inflicting (sadist) and receiving pain (masochist).

The subtypes do not exclude one another, and each of them usually contains some elements from the other two. Additionally, each erotic practice within the BDSM spectrum can involve more than two people.

Lastly, although BDSM is about taking/relinquishing control, that does not mean that the roles are not interchangeable. Whereas some people prefer always to be either dominant or submissive, there are those who like to change roles. They are commonly referred to as switches.

Why You Should Try It

Although appealing, BDSM is not for everyone because not everyone can enjoy the intensity of such sexual practices. Whether you will be into it or not depends solely on your preferences and affinities. If you are a type of person whose perfect sexual encounter implies romance, you are likely vanilla, and thus, unlikely to enjoy BDSM activities. Nevertheless, if you like to experiment, try new things, and push your boundaries, you may find it thrilling, even if you have never tried anything similar. Whichever type you may be, you are probably curious about why some people enjoy tying each other up and/or inflicting pain upon one another.

BDSM in a Nutshell

It may come as a shock, but BDSM can bring you and your partner closer together. How come, you may wonder? It’s rather straightforward — engaging in sexual practices BDSM implies can improve the trust between you and your partner. Nobody would feel comfortable handing a rope to a stranger and trusting them with their safety. However, if the bond you share with your significant other is strong, experimenting in the bedroom can only further cement it. The entire process of engaging in BDSM also calls for a lot of talk and can, therefore, help you get to know each other better.

Finally, there are the fun and sex appeal that go hand in hand with BDSM. Let’s state the obvious — BDSM offers numerous possibilities for an unconventional sexual experience, and there is something utterly arousing about it. Getting stuck in a sexual rut can turn out to be the beginning of the end of a relationship. Since BDSM offers a fun way out of it (or a way around it), you might as well expand your horizons and include it in your sex life. You can discover something new and exciting about yourself and your partner. In the worst-case scenario, you can use your safe word (more on that later).

How to Get Into BDSM

Now that you are familiar with the concept in theory, you are probably wondering how to start. BDSM involves several stages, each of which is vital. As we have already stated, movies and books will not teach you much about BDSM, although they can get you interested in it. Therefore, you have to find another way(s) to learn more. Fortunately, there is plenty of information on the subject available, so you will be able to put your knowledge into practice as soon as you finish reading this text. Let us begin.

Talk to Your Partner

The first and the most important step on your journey requires you to talk to your partner. There is no time to be shy. You have to break the ice and let each other know how you feel about BDSM in general, as well as its subtypes and specifics. After all, you cannot expect to have a satisfying BDSM experience if you shy away from talking about it. Once you determine which kink(s) interest you, you need to decide on roles. As we have previously explained, roles do not have to be fixed. You can choose to switch and experience being on both ends of the leash.

Do Your Research

In order to know what you are getting yourselves into, you need to do thorough research. Fortunately, we live in the Information Age, so you will have no trouble finding the info you need. However, the more sources, the more material, so you have to be patient. You can read relevant articles on the subject and consult members of various BDSM forums. Finally, the key to the entire process is enjoyment. So feel free to alter the rules so that you are comfortable with them.

Safe Word

Since BDSM is about taking/relinquishing control and usually involves pain, you must set your boundaries. The best and the most effective way to do it is to choose a safe word. Decide on it with your partner. It should be easy to remember, yet something you would normally never say during sex. If the experience becomes too intense for either of the participants, they can use their safe word and stop it. If you can’t speak due to the nature of your play, a safe symbol (ringing a bell, for instance) can replace a safe word.

Choosing Your Gear

Depending on your preferences, BDSM kinks can involve a variety of gear. You can practice them without using any, but if you wish to incorporate some sex toys into the whole experience, there are plenty of options to choose from. Talk to your partner, look into your possibilities online, and visit your local sex shop. Now let us explore this topic in more detail.

Basic Gear

BDSM for men and BDSM for women in terms of the gear can be rather similar or vastly different, depending on its purpose. Some of the universal toys include ropes and handcuffs (if you are into tying each other up), nipple clamps (if you are into inflicting/receiving pain), whips and paddles (if you enjoy spanking), gags (if you want to restrain your partner’s speech or have them restrain yours), and anal beads (which are pretty self-explanatory). Additionally, there are collars and leashes, as well as blindfolds, that have more to do with psychological than physical control. This gear can be used on both men and women, depending on the roles.

However, there are particular toys that are not universal. If a woman is the submissive one in the relationship, her partner can insert kegel balls into her vagina. On the other hand, if a woman is the one to dominate her partner, she can use a strap-on or a dildo.

Even though it may seem that you have few options when it comes to gear, researching the subject, both online and in-person, will convince you otherwise. Every toy comes in a wide range of different shapes, sizes, and even colors. Additionally, the same piece of gear can be made of a variety of different materials. That way, you have metal handcuffs and the ones made of faux leather or fur.

BDSM gear also involves lingerie (made of faux leather, latex, lace, or a combination of different materials), as well as costumes, which are particularly exciting if you are into roleplay.

How to: BDSM Basic Play

BDSM for newbies is all about starting simple and taking it slow. Once you get into it, you will have more than enough time to explore your possibilities and take your play to a more advanced level. Talk to your partner and decide on a basic BDSM practice you are both comfortable with. You should not dive into it straight away, just like you should not jump into a swimming pool — you need to dip your toe first.

You can start by handcuffing your partner or having them do the same to you and having conventional sex. Alternately, the dom can order their sub to perform a specific sexual act (it needs to be something they are comfortable with) and spank them if they disobey. If you have decided to use toys, you should not incorporate all of them at once. Experiment with one at a time and include others when you get used to this change.

Roleplay

Remember the costumes we mentioned in the previous chapter? They can come in handy if you decide to spice things up further and engage in roleplay. Since BDSM is about the exchange of power, you can think of a real or fictional couple that fits the description, dress up like them, and have your take on their relationship. The possibilities are endless: a pirate and a wench, a prison guard and a prisoner, Joker and Harley Quinn, the list goes on.

Aftercare

A BDSM scene can be both physically and emotionally overwhelming. That is why you need to discuss aftercare with your partner beforehand. Although it happens when the scene is over, aftercare is its integral part. It is the time you take after it to get back to reality, recover, and tend to one another’s physical and emotional needs. Despite the popular belief that only subs need aftercare, doms need it too. Talk to your partner, let them know your needs, and familiarize yourself with theirs. If you want to enjoy every BDSM experience to the fullest, do not disregard the importance of aftercare.

Other BDSM Tips for Beginners

In addition to talking to your partner and doing your research, consulting experienced members of the BDSM community can also facilitate your transition from vanilla to kinky. You can do it both online — by joining a forum — and in-person — by visiting a local club. Socializing with other individuals who share your affinities will help you expand your knowledge. Moreover, you will realize that BDSM does not have to be a taboo subject.

Finally, relax and enjoy BDSM at your own pace. The process you are about to go through is a marathon, not a sprint. You do not have to like everything about BDSM, and you do not even have to try everything it implies. Sex is about pleasure, and it must stay that way. Therefore, as long as BDSM contributes to yours and your partner’s pleasure, you have nothing to worry about.

Parting Words

As a beginner, you have come a long way since you started reading this text. You are now familiar with the basics of BDSM and can begin practicing it. To sum everything up: stay safe and enjoy the ride.


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