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What Is BDSM? And How Do I Start?


Sex is an extremely intimate experience between partners - But what if it could be even more intense?

An elegant, tasteful image depicting a dimly lit room with a subtle hint of a BDSM theme. The scene includes artistic representations of high-quality BDSM toys, such as leather cuffs and silk blindfolds, displayed on a dark wooden table. The background features soft, luxurious textures that suggest privacy and comfort, enhancing the theme of trust and consensual play. The lighting is soft and inviting, casting gentle shadows that add depth and intrigue to the composition. This image is designed to evoke a sense of curiosity and sophistication, aligning with a mature, respectful approach to the subject of BDSM
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BDSM is in many ways even more intimate than its vanilla counterparts as it centres around an established power exchange between partners. This dynamic is created from a foundation of trust between two people, which allows for one person to submit and give erotic control to their partner. It’s important to remember that the BDSM community pushes a kink-positive message, which is inclusive to heterosexual, gay and lesbian partnerships as well as bisexual and transgender individuals. 


Simply put BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadomasochism and masochism. Each of these categories are recognized within BDSM, however, every couple is different. Partners who participate in a BDSM relationship can include as many or as few of these aspects as they wish. So let’s explore each of these aspects a little further.


Safety

  1. BDSM should only be explored with a partner you trust fully, and while both parties are informed and willing to participate. Consent and safety reign supreme in the world of BDSM and both the Dominant and the submissive are able to withdraw consent at any time, ending the session.

  2. Soft and hard limits should be discussed and completely understood by both parties before a session begins. Soft limits refers to activities that an individual is hesitant about but will consider under the right circumstances, while hard limits are things an individual will never agree to. These limits are extremely important. Both Dominant and submissive partners are entitled to setting these limits and both are responsible for respecting them.

  3. Alcohol and drugs should be left out of the mix to keep everyone safe during play sessions.

  4. Both partners should ensure they are well hydrated and have eaten enough food that day as BDSM can be more intense than vanilla sex. 

  5. Prior to play, a safe-word should be agreed upon by both parties. This should be a word that won’t be said throughout the session, such as “pineapple.” This one word is the submissive's lifeline during sessions and if this safe-word is used by the submissive the session ends, followed by aftercare. Some couples opt for the stoplight method. With this system “green” indicates that the submissive is enjoying play, while “yellow” indicates they would like the Dominant to slow down or ease up. In this method “red” acts as their safe-word, calling for an end to the session.

  6. Learn more about the SSC (Safe, Sane and Consensual) or RACK (Risk Awareness Consensual Kink) methods and discuss in-depth with your partner which option works best for you.

  7. All play sessions should be followed by aftercare that caters to the physical, psychological and emotional needs of both partners. 


Domination/Submission

The majority of BDSM dynamics feature a Dominant partner and a submissive partner. This duality allows for Dominants to flourish with their receptive submissive, while the submissive is given permission to relinquish control to their Dominant. These roles are equally as important and allow both partners to experience a sexual, psychological and emotional dance - A physical representation of the power exchange between them. 


Dominants

The Dominant partner can go by many names including Sir or Master or for their female counterparts, Dommes, Ma'am or Mistress are common.


This partner is given erotic control by their submissive. While this can elicit a sense of power and strength for the Dominant, it also places a large responsibility on their shoulders. Dominants are often in charge of the session, which allows them to plan play that both partners enjoy. However, Dominants are always required to play within the limitations of their partner. 


The safety of their submissive is paramount.


Submissives

This partner is the individual giving up erotic control to their partner. They are often referred to by many pet names, however, they generally fall into two main categories - Submissives and slaves. 


It is essential to everyone’s safety and comfort that these individuals are open and honest with their Dominants before, during and after sessions.


Switches

For some individuals, it may be natural to gravitate towards a position of sexual power or submission. This choice may feel easy and simple. However, certain individuals find that they enjoy exploring both roles, Dominant and submissive, during play, during different sessions or with different partners. These chameleons are considered Switches and are encouraged to explore both parts of themselves as they wish. 


Discipline and Praise

Often submissives undergo a training phase, where their Dominant teaches what expectations they wish to see the submissive meet. This training can take time as the partners get to know this more intimate aspect of one another. 


Some couples observe a set of rules. For example, some Dominants expect to be referred to as Sir, while Dommes prefer to be called Ma’am as a sign of respect.


Not following these rules can lead to punishments, like spanking or orgasm control, as a way to discipline an unruly submissive. These punishments can look different for each couple but should always remain within the boundaries and limits set by each partner.


While discipline allows for established expectations, a Dominant has to always remember the other side. In one hand a Dominant holds a paddle, crop or whip but in the other, he must hold rewards. While this may look different for each couple, these moments of praise are often essential during training and can help a dynamic last long term.


Bondag

Bondage is a means of physically controlling a submissive by limiting their ability to move. This aspect falls under the category of sensory deprivation and focuses on restraining the submissive partner using handcuffs, rope, etc. generally at the wrists and ankles. 



Bondage should only be attempted with a partner you trust with your safety completely. It’s important for both the Dominant and submissive to be informed regarding the risks involved in bondage, particularly when using rope. For Dominants, it's important to remember to check in throughout the session, while it is essential that submissives are honest regarding how they are feeling, both emotionally and physically. 


Sadomasochism/Masochism

Sadomasochism and masochism go hand in hand and are more easily understood as two sides of the same coin. A sadomasochistic partner, often a Dominant, enjoys inflicting physical pain on their partner. As with all aspects of BDSM, everything is consensual, and so sadistic Dominants will seek out a masochistic partner that enjoys the pain they wish to inflict. 


This can include spanking or other forms of impact play. However, as always with BDSM, it's important to play within your partner's limits. As with bondage, for Dominants, it's important to remember to check in throughout the session, while it is essential that submissives are honest regarding how they are feeling, both emotionally and physically. 


Where To Start with Bdsm

These acronyms are important to understand but the foundation of any D/s dynamic is trust and communication. Ultimately, sex is an intimate and physical expression of self. No one does BDSM exactly the same.


Take the time to consider your own desires and kinks. Which role are you more drawn to? Dominant or submissive? What monikers or pet names appeal the most to you? And what fantasies do you wish to see come to life? Only after you’ve gotten to know yourself can you include a partner. 


Sit down and talk comfortably with your partner regarding your fantasies and slowly explore a power exchange within your relationship. Remember to put consent, limits and safety first but above all, have fun!

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