I was recently asked by a publication for some quick tips and advice for couples interested in exploring BDSM to kink up bedroom play. I doubt the journalist will use the entirety of what I wrote…space constraints and all…but these three points are, I feel important for those just dipping their toes into the wild & wonderful world of BDSM. Here’s my quick-n-dirty recommendations for new explorers!
For couples thinking about exploring BDSM (that’s Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism) the first thing you want to do is talk about consent. Everyone involved in the interaction has to be in it to win it, and enthusiastically consenting to and in agreement with anything you are going to do. Consent is at the core of BDSM, and making sure you both are ready, willing and able to participate in your chosen kinks is vital to a hot and healthy interaction.
Take it slow.
Sharing your kinky fantasies can feel risky. SO much so, lots of folks don’t even bother to try for fear of seeming “weird” or risking rejection. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Sharing a sexy, kinky book, movie or story that’s captured your fancy with your partner is more likely to draw them out of their shell than running in the house with a leather mask, handcuffs and whips and announcing “ITS BONDAGE NIGHT, BABY!” Trying a role-play where one person assumes power over the other (Let’s say the captured Prince is at the mercy of the vengeful queen, or the confident CEO suddenly finds herself swooning and at the mercy of her handsome Administrative Assistant!) allows you to step back a bit into a playful head-space that gives you room to inhabit a character that fulfills your desires and explore your fantasies. Many people find role-playing frees them from shame (“Hey, it wasn’t ME wriggling and pleading for mercy…it was the naughty cop!”) and relaxes you enough to explore further if you so desire.
Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate!
One of the most critical things kinky folks do it negotiation for what they want. We will often spend quite a bit of time getting to know ourselves, our desires, and find ways to communicate them to our potential partners. Think about why you want to engage in BDSM: is it for the sexual thrill? The emotional challenge? The sensation of sexy clothes and erotic restraint? Once you know the “whys,” it can be a bit easier to share the “how to” with your partner. If what you really want is the sensation of being in control, being able to relate that to your partner is important. “When you relinquish control to me, I feel like you really trust me and that turns me on.” Or “When you take charge, it helps me to feel desired and sexy!” are excellent ways to open negotiations and gives everyone involved a chance to open up. Talk about what you want, how you want it, and what you hope to experience. Talk about your boundaries. And if you aren’t sure where those boundaries are, talk about that, too! We are all explorers and negotiating to get those needs met in a mutually satisfying manner is one of the hottest things we can do to develop intimacy. And while you are exploring, be sure to use a “Safeword:” this is a code that allows the people in a role-play scenario to engage in play that might seem resistant but is actually consensual. It might be fun to be a reluctant captor, but if, in a roleplay scene you wish to have the freedom to say thing like “No! Stop! Let me go!” without actually stopping the scene, a Safeword lets you do so. Keep it simple, and something you can say quickly and that is easily understood is best. Kinky fold will often use the “Traffic Signal” method for communication in role-plays: “RED” for “Stop everything and check in,” yellow” for “slow down and make sure we are OK.” or “green” for “More more more, please!”
Check in After Your Kinky Play!
In addition to negotiating, making sure to connect on an emotional level is important. Talk with one another, listen to each other, share your thoughts and feelings about what you want to do, and follow up with more talking and listening. When kinky folks negotiation for play, we will often talk about “aftercare.” In the general sense that simply refers to “what you do post-play” but in the specific, aftercare is as unique as your fingerprint. Some folks are wildly energized after playing and sexual encounters, some want to rush to the fridge for a massive snack and some want to roll over and sleep. If you tend to roll over and pass-out in the post-coital glow and your partner’s ready to talk about what just happened until sunrise, be sure to negotiate a compromise. Sometimes, kinky play can be intense, or can bring up unexpected feelings. Be sure you have a plan in place for re-connection after you have been getting your freak on: what happens after the ropes are untied and the sexy fetishwear comes off is as important as the play itself. If you need cuddle time, say so! If you need a little room to breathe afterward, share that and do your best to effect a compromise so all parties’ needs are met.
Looking into exploring a bit further? Grab a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Kink for lots more! Interested in taking it beyond the bedroom? Buy or download a copy of Playing Well With Others and see if you might enjoy coming out to play where the wild things are!