An introduction to BDSM

For as long as humans have been having sex, we've been spanking each other during it. BDSM (an acronym for Bondage / Dominance / Sadism / Masochism) may sound scary, but it can mean anything from silk scarves and blindfolds to chains and whips.

Whether you just bought your first pair of fuzzy handcuffs, or you have a fully stocked dungeon in your basement, here are a few tips to keep in mind when experimenting with BDSM.
 

1. Know and communicate your limits

This can be the hardest part! Trust your partner enough to tell them what turns you on and what turns you off. Their interests may not line up identically with yours, and that's OK! Just be open minded, and don't yuck each other's yum. Come up with a list of both hard limits (things you won't do ever) and soft limits (things you don't think you're into but that could be negotiated under the right circumstances), and see where the night takes you!
 

2. Come up with a safeword

It may seem silly, especially when you're just starting out, but the phrase, "mad with power," doesn't just apply to politicians. It can be easy to get carried away!  A safeword ensures that your partner has the ability to stop the scene if it gets to be too much for them. Some people use traffic lights (with yellow for 'slow down' and red for 'stop').  I've always found it best to use a short word you wouldn't say in your every day life. Nothing stops the action like yelling, "Pepto bismol!"
 

3. Do your research and keep the instructions 

Handcuffs are great until you have to call the fire department to have them cut off of your husband's ankles. Just like in any other area of your life, if you're using equipment, you need to have a basic understanding of how it works.  Even with seemingly simple things like ropes and collars, there are safety considerations.
 

4. Remember the divide between fantasy and reality 

Just because your partner is wearing a french maid uniform, doesn't mean that she (or he) is literally your maid. Someone being submissive in bed doesn't mean they'll be a doormat in their every day life, the same way that leaning towards the dominant end of the spectrum doesn't mean they'll be abusive. Experimenting with power dynamics only works when there's a base level of trust and respect.
 

5. Have fun!

There's a fine line between pain and pleasure, and no one wants to be on the wrong side of it. With 50 Shades of Grey bringing this particular kink into the spotlight, a lot of people are trying it for the first time and it's a safe bet that not everyone is going to like it. You're allowed to experiment and decide that something isn't for you. There's nothing boring about preferring the roses to the thorns, just do whatever feels good!

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