BDSM for Beginners | The Ultimate Guide

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter

BDSM is one of those things that seems way more intimidating than it really is. To the uninitiated, the word ‘BDSM’ often conjures up images of scary hogties, strange bondage suits, and ‘extreme’ activities like branding.

But the truth is, BDSM doesn’t have to be scary – and it doesn’t have to include anything too crazy. The great thing about BDSM is that it’s super broad. If you’re a newbie, you can start off with more ‘vanilla’ activities and build from there.

And trust me, once you dip your toes into the wonderful world of BDSM, you’ll see just how much you’ve been missing out on. We’ve all got a bit of Christian Grey in us deep down, and once you let him out, sex will get so much better – believe me. 

In this guide to BDSM for beginners, we’re going to be showing you how to unleash your inner freak and get started. 

We’ll be ‘showing you the ropes’ (pardon the pun) and explaining exactly what BDSM is and how you can bring it into your sex life. We’re also going to share some beginner-friendly kinky BDSM ideas, recommend some entry-level BDSM gear we think you’ll love, and tell you everything else you need to know.

Now, let’s get started

What is BDSM?

BDSM isn’t one specific kink. Rather, it’s an umbrella term that covers a whole world of kinky fun. 

The three core pillars of BDSM are Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, and Sadism & Masochism. Don’t worry, we’ll clarify exactly what each of these different terms means shortly.

For now, just know that while all of these are separate kinks in their own right, there is some overlap between them. The thread that links them all together is that they all involve consensual power exchange practices

And that’s what BDSM is about at its core – playing around with power, pain, and pleasure to improve your sex life.

Related: BDSM Ideas | An Illustrated Guide

Key BDSM Terminology

The world of BDSM is full of terms you might be unfamiliar with as a complete beginner. Here are some of the keywords and concepts you’ll need to understand.

Bondage & Discipline

Bondage & discipline is a sub-branch of BDSM (the ‘BD’ part) that involves restraining and disciplining/training the submissive partner

People who are into bondage enjoy a power dynamic in which one partner gives up control by allowing themselves to be tied up or physically restrained. Think ropes, handcuffs, and bondage suits. Discipline involves ‘training’ the submissive partner to behave in a certain way through verbal or physical punishments.

Together, bondage and discipline can be used to create a scene in which the submissive partner is completely at the mercy of the dominant partner. Giving up control like this is something a lot of subs find super hot.

There are different ‘levels’ of bondage depending on how serious you want to get. On the milder end of the scale, bondage can be as simple as pinning your partner’s arms down while you’re doing it.

On the more intense end of the scale, it might involve complicated rope ties, cages, suspension from ceiling hooks, or the ancient Japanese bondage practice and art form known as Shibari.

Warning: Bondage can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Tying up your partner runs the risk of restricting their blood flow, so be very careful to not use bonds that are too tight and do not do anything both of you aren’t comfortable and experienced with.

I’d recommend sticking to safer restraints like soft leather or velcro cuffs when you’re starting out, and make sure you have a pair of safety scissors to cut them away in emergencies.

Dominance & Submission (D/s)

Dominance & submission (usually referred to as D/s) is another important part of BDSM. Every BDSM relationship has a dominant partner and a submissive partner. 

The dominant partner is the one in control; the submissive partner willingly gives up control. Dominant guys are usually referred to as Doms while dominant women are Dommes. Submissive partners are called subs.

Note how ‘Doms/Dommes’ is capitalized while ‘subs’ isn’t. This is no accident. It represents an important concept in D/s relationships – that the Dom is the authoritative figure who commands a ‘higher’ status.

To create a D/s dynamic, Dominant partners can use various psychological and physical techniques to establish their control and authority. For example, they might tell the submissive what to do in the bedroom, or demand to be addressed as ‘Master’ or ‘Sir’.

Bonus fact: Most people identify as either a Dominant or a submissive, but they’re not mutually exclusive. Some people identify as both. In the BDSM community, the term used for these people is ‘switch’. A switch is someone who likes to experience both power roles and will occasionally switch between being a Dom/Domme and a sub depending on the situation.

Different types of D/s dynamics

Different partners prefer different kinds of D/s relationships. Examples of different kinds of D/s relationships include:

  • Caregiver/Littles – this is a form of age play in which the Dom/Domme typically takes on the role of Daddy/Mommy and the sub acts younger than their natural age. 
  • Master/Slaves – partners who enjoy roleplaying as master and slave typically enjoy extreme power dynamic differences. Subs who enjoy roleplaying Master/Slave scenes tend to like giving up a lot more control than other types of D/s partnerships.
  • Service Submission – Some D/s relationships involve the submissive partner ‘servicing’ the Dom in various ways. For example, they might massage their feet, cook them dinner, do their laundry, etc. These subs enjoy being of service and pleasing their Dom.
  • Submissive Brats – sometimes called ‘SAMs’ (Smart-assed masochist), submissive brats challenge their Dominant partners by ‘acting out’ and talking back. They typically like making their Dom work to take control, and they might enjoy punishment.
  • Primal play – in these kinds of D/s relationships, the Dominant partner roleplays as ‘hunter’ while the submissive acts as ‘prey’. It’s a way for both partners to really get in touch with their primal roots. It’s raw, animalistic, and super dirty. 

Bonus fact: D/s relationships aren’t exclusively sexual in nature. Some couples like to maintain their D/s roles 24/7 even when they’re not having sex. In these instances, the D/s dynamic permeates every part of your life and relationship.

Sadism & Masochism

It’s often said that “there is no pleasure without pain”. Well, people into sadism and masochism take this quote super literally. Sadists get pleasure out of administering pain while masochists like experiencing it. You might also hear masochists referred to as painsluts.

People who are into S&M often enjoy impact play. Impact play refers to any sex act that involves a physical impact on the body (think spanking, slapping, whipping, etc.). 

Sensory play is another type of S&M activity that involves sensory stimulation or deprivation. This includes activities like temperature play (think ice cubes on your nipples or dripping hot candle wax on your stomach), feather tickling, and pinwheels.

Note: Sadism & masochism is different from dominance and submission. D/s is more about control and doesn’t necessarily have to involve any physical pain, whereas sadism & masochism is specifically about pain. That being said, there is some overlap between the two. Sadists tend to act as the dominant partner in bed while masochists typically take on the role of the submissive partner.

Scenes

You’ll often hear people in the BDSM community talk about ‘scenes’ – but what does it mean?

Well, most of us like to keep our sex lives and our day-to-day personas separate, right? You might be a Dominatrix in the bedroom but, when you go to the office, the latex comes off and you present a completely different face to the world.

That’s where the concept of ‘scenes’ comes in. Think of BDSM like roleplaying. Every time you engage in BDSM with your partner, you’re acting out a scene. When the scene’s over, you go back to your regular vanilla life.

And just as in acting, setting the scene involves making sure all parties understand the roles they’re going to be playing, choosing the right setting, and creating the right mood.

Aftercare

When the scene is over, it’s important to make time for some aftercare. Aftercare is the time you take after playtime is finished to check in with your partner and take care of their physical and emotional needs

This is super important in BDSM as roleplaying can be very psychologically and physically taxing. 

For example, let’s imagine you’ve just finished a super-intense scene involving lots of erotic humiliation. Your partner might fantasize about being used, humiliated, and demeaned in bed, but they probably don’t want you to continue to treat them like that afterward, right?

So, we need to take time to re-establish the ‘normal’ nature of our relationship after the scene is over, and that’s where aftercare comes in. 

After you’re finished, check in with them to make sure they had fun, then reconnect on a more emotional (rather than sexual) level by reaffirming your love and respect for them

Relaxing together, joking around, cuddling, and generally being kind are great ways to ‘get back to reality’ post-BDSM scene.

Consent

Consent is the golden rule when it comes to BDSM. While some scenes might involve acting like the sub has no control, it’s vital to remember that this is always just a fantasy. In reality, the sub has the ultimate control as they get to choose whether or not to consent to and willingly give up power in the scene.

Two acronyms we use to talk about consent in BDSM are:

  • S.S.C (safe, sane, and consensual)
  • RACK (risk-aware consensual kink)

These are rules to live by when you’re engaging in any kind of BDSM activity. You always need to make sure everyone involved consents to and fully understands what’s happening and that you’ve taken precautions to minimize risks and make sure everyone is safe.

These precautions include making sure you know how to safely use and remove any equipment or any BDSM gear in the scene, having safety scissors at hand to quickly remove any bonds, and establishing a safeword before the fun starts.

A safeword is vital as in certain scenes, it can be tricky to know whether someone legitimately wants to stop or they’re still roleplaying. If anyone says the safeword while you’re in the midst of a scene, that’s your queue to stop the scene and make sure they’re ok

Note: The ‘4Cs’ approach is another framework suggested for negotiating BDSM participation. It stands for Caring, Communication, Consent, and Caution and has been suggested as a better alternative to S.S.C and RACK. 

Edgeplay

Edgeplay is a term used in the BDSM community to talk about any activity on the more ‘extreme’ end of the BDSM scale, such as knife play. 

Edgeplay pushes the boundaries of what you might reasonably consider to be safe/sane and consensual. As such, I’d recommend steering clear of edgeplay activities as a beginner. They’re risky, taboo, and controversial. 

Everyone has their own definition of exactly where the boundary between regular BDSM and activities and edgeplay lies, but I’d say that it’s whenever there’s a real risk of physical or emotional harm.

Hard Limits

Your hard limits are the boundaries you’re not willing to cross. Everyone has their own hard limits, and you need to make sure your partner knows what yours are before any BDSM play begins.

Which specific sex acts are you not ok with? For example, you might be ok with some light erotic spanking but want to rule out anything that might leave a bruise. Or, maybe you draw the line at golden showers. Whatever it is you’re not cool with, let your partner know.

How to Bring BDSM Into Your Bedroom

Alright, now we’re all a little more familiar with what BDSM is, let’s talk about how you can bring it into your sex life.

Figure Out What You’re Into

The first step is to figure out what your personal favorite flavor of BDSM is. Ask yourself what those secret passions that you’ve always wanted to indulge are. 

Here are some things to think about:

  • What kind of role do you want to take on? Do you identify as a Dominant, a sub, or a switch? (Hint: if you like to be ‘on top’ and in control in bed, you’re probably a Dom/Domme)
  • What kind of scenes do you want to explore? For example, maybe you’ve always fantasized about acting out a ‘captured spy’ scene, or perhaps you want to play boss and secretary?
  • Do you have any specific fetishes? Like cuckolding or bathroom control? (Hint: see our A-Z list of kinks if you’re looking for some inspiration.)
  • Are there any sex toys or BDSM gear you want to try out?

If you’re not sure what you’re into yet, the best way to figure it out is to experiment.

Talk to your partner

Alright, here comes the awkward part.

Once you know what makes you tick, it’s time to let your partner know that you want to explore that side of your sexuality. And that means having some explicit conversations.

If thus far, you’ve had a fairly vanilla sex life with your partner, the idea of bringing up something new can be intimidating. However, honesty and openness is the key to all successful relationships – so it’s time to bite the bullet and do it.

Don’t wait until you’re in bed to broach the topic as that’s likely to put your partner under a lot of pressure. Instead, suggest the idea in a less-pressured situation, like over dinner. 

Alternatively, if you can’t muster the courage to throw the idea out there openly, you could also try a subtler approach. For example, if you watch porn with your partner, put something a little dirtier on next time and see how they respond, or ask them about their fantasies first. 

If they’re not into the idea, react badly, or seem nervous about it, try not to take it to heart – and certainly don’t put pressure on them to change their mind. BDSM is only the right option if it’s what both of you want. No one should ever feel pressured to do anything.


NEW: "Magic Finger Technique" Causes Even The Most 'Non-Orgasmic' Women To Shudder With Pleasure...

Click below to find out...


Be prepared & start small

Once you’ve spoken to your partner and made some plans, it’s worth doing some prep work to make sure your first encounter with BDSM goes smoothly. 

If you’re going to be tying your partner up, make sure you have some scissors nearby to cut their restraints in emergencies, as well as the keys to any handcuffs you might be using. 

If you’re using impact play toys, try them out beforehand with your partner, starting with a very light impact so that your partner can figure out their pain tolerance and learn their limits. They get to decide where and how hard you can/can’t strike them.

You’ll also want to make sure both you and your partner know exactly what you’re going to be doing in the scene and that you’re aware of each other’s hard limits

And finally, start small. You don’t want to jump in at the deep end and go straight into the hardcore stuff, you’ve got to ease into it.

Beginner-friendly BDSM Activities to Try Out

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some beginner-friendly BDSM activities you can start off with. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Spanking

Spanking is a great, simple way to start incorporating BDSM into your sex life. It’s a common fantasy and an easy way for a Dom to punish and show power over their sub.

As a beginner, I’d recommend starting out by using your palm to spank their butt and then ramping things up from there.

Once using the palm of your hand starts to get old, you can graduate onto impact play toys like paddles. Certain household objects like rulers make great spanking toys too.

You can also experiment with spanking other parts of their body, aside from their butt. Some subs like to be spanked near their genitals as the vibrations in the muscles in that area can add to the sexual excitement.

2.  Hair Pulling

Another easy way to start out with BDSM play is to introduce a little hair-pulling. Doms, the next time you’re having sex in a Doggystyle position, try grabbing your sub’s hair and pulling back on it – just make sure you speak to them first and know that they’re on board with the idea. 

It’s best to start out light at first and pull gently. You don’t want to yank their hair out by accident. If you both like it, you can get a little rougher next time and be more aggressive with it.

Related: Prone Bone – Is This The Ultimate Sex Position?

3. Titles and Honorifics

Something as simple as changing the name you use to refer to your partner can do wonders to establish roles and set the scene. Here are some ideas:

  • Master
  • Sir
  • Madam
  • Ma’am
  • Daddy

Pick whichever honorific best aligns with your specific fantasies and pre-agree with your partner on referring to each other by those titles in bed.SEE 

4. Aggressive Language

You can also try incorporating aggressive language by using words like ‘slut’ or ‘wimp’ to refer to your partner and set the scene. Expletives like ‘f*ck’ also work well. Check out our ultimate guide to dirty talk for more ideas.

5. Edging / Orgasm Control

Orgasm control is when you repeatedly bring your partner right to the edge of climax and then stop before they orgasm. 

Not only does it help to establish power roles, but it also heightens the pleasure by building up anticipation. When you finally let them cross the finish line, they’ll be so desperate for release that they’ll have a super intense orgasm.

6. Wearing Costumes

Everyone has a secret fantasy they’ve always wanted to act out. Asking your partner to share theirs and engaging in some kinky role-playing can be a great way to start out with BDSM – and costumes can really help bring those role-playing scenes to life.

The right outfit will help you to really get in the mindset of the character you’re playing and create the right power dynamics. 

For example, does the idea of being arrested and taken advantage of by a bad cop make you hot? If so, have your Dom throw on a police officer uniform and show you the ‘long arm of the law’. Or how about grabbing a stethoscope and lab coat and giving your patient a thorough examination? 

7. Tying Each Other Up With Scarves

If you want to experiment with bondage, start out with a scarf before you invest in any bondage gear. Scarves are soft, safer than ropes, and you probably already have one lying around the house somewhere.

Warning: You still need to be very careful when using anything to tie up your partner. Be aware of risks to circulation & breathing and don’t tie anything too tight. Have a pair of scissors nearby for emergencies and make sure you can slip at least two fingers between the scarf and the skin.

8. Blindfolding

Blindfolding is a super simple, beginner-friendly way to spice up your sex life. Blindfolds add an element of anonymity and heighten sexual anticipation and suspense. They also force the wearer to surrender control which can help to create those all-important power roles.

Being unable to see also heightens all your other senses, which means physical feelings become even more intense.

9. Temperature Play

If you’re into S&M, a nice place to start is with temperature play. Things like candle wax and ice cubes can be used to start exploring pain in a safer way. Just make sure your partner is on board and do your research first to avoid injury – some types of wax burn hotter than others.

Best BDSM Gear for Beginners

Alright, before we wrap up, let’s look at some BDSM toys that’ll help you to have even more fun. Here are 7 essential items for your BDSM starter pack.

1. Handcuffs

Handcuffs are a staple toy for any couple experimenting with BDSM. Use them to restrain your consenting partner to fixtures like bedposts or door handles. I’d recommend starting with cuffs made of softer materials. Make sure they also have a velcro closure for easy release.

2. Latex

When you look at the part, you play the part. Throwing on some latex will really help you to transform into your new role and bring your scenes to life. Bondara’s fetish clothing section is full of hot options to choose from – check it out!

3. Ball Gag

Ball gags can be used to silence the submissive when you want to take things up a notch. They can be a great playful way to punish the sub and force them to express themselves non-verbally.

4. Eye Patch / Blindfold

Eye patches can be used for blindfolded play to amp up the sexual suspense and intensity. I’d recommend choosing a blackout blindfold made from a soft material like satin.

5. Paddle

Paddles are probably the best impact play toy for BDSM newbies as the wide surface area means the impact is less painful compared to a whip. They also sound extra satisfying when used against a butt.

Final Thoughts

That concludes our ultimate guide to BDSM for beginners. Hopefully, you now know everything you need to know to safely try out BDSM – the only thing left to do is to start experimenting. Have fun and play safe!