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BDSM: The Basic Concepts for Beginners

There probably was a time when the subject of BDSM freaked the daylights out of you. Then one thing led to another and you found yourself genuinely curious. Now here you are, reading up on an article on fundamentals with an intent to actually try some of these things out. Welcome to the club my friend! If you still have the tiniest bit of reservation, I have some good news for you. The BDSM space isn’t as dark as social media your friends and even 50 Shades of Grey have presented it to be. The full meaning: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism can sound weighty and insinuate a lot of deep, eerie stuff but hey! That’s why you’re reading this article right? So that you get a simplified, much clearer idea or picture of what this is and what you will be getting into with your partner.

We should get right to it in that case. Let’s have a look at what each term mean.

  • Bondage

This refers to tying your partner or yourself being tied up or restrained. Why? Why not? There are actually lots of reasons for this: somatosensory stimulation, erotic enjoyment or aesthetic display. Here, you can improvise however you choose. Some people like to use ropes or handcuffs, others; ties, tape, stockings and so on. The idea is that one person is immobile while the other is not.

  • Discipline

Discipline in BDSM is when punishments or rules are used to correct or control behavior. To some people, this may sound extreme, but with consent and masterful application, this can bring incredible pleasure. Remember, the sub in the equation has to totally consent to this. It’s necessary to discuss punishments before the game begins. Examples of punishments are physical pain, loss of freedom, psychological punishments, humiliation and so on. When I say loss of freedom, I mean things like losing certain privileges. This could be your phone or something you love so much. Humiliation could also be in the form of being told to strip or stand in the corner.

  • Dominance & Submission

Dominance and submission entail the exchange of power between two people in which one party has control over the actions of the other person. In this aspect of BDSM, the word “Switch” is someone who can be both submissive or dominant. Dominance is also done over a text, call, email or in person. There’s no one particular reason why a person could choose to be dominant or submissive; people have their different reasons for this. However, the entire purpose of this exchange is for both parties to enjoy pleasure.

  • Sadism & Masochism

This tail end of the acronym has often been confused or mixed up with cruelty or rather the usage of someone who is just plain mean; jerks I mean.  In BDSM, a side tip to note here is that when telling people you’re into it, you’ve got to be specific. Think of it like this, a person maybe into music, but what kind of music? You could be into reggae and not like rock. That applies to BDSM too.

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, people need to know that there’s no textbook way to be kinky. Just because you read something in a blog post like this one doesn’t mean you’re going to like it or it’s going to work for you and your partner. The key is for you both to sit down and discuss, agree or talk, but most importantly never push. If your partner isn’t comfortable with something you happen to like, don’t try to force them.

This is just the truth about BDSM. One guy could like going down on you in nothing but a ball gag and your favorite red-bottom heels, that doesn’t mean he wants to do that all year round; probably only on your birthday. You might like spanking every time you and your partner go at it, but your friend who’s also into BDSM may not like it unless she’s tied up.

So, you see, the variations and preferences are limitless! You’ve just got to be ready to understand your partner.

DIFFERENT BDSM CONCEPTS TO KNOW

  1. Starting BDSM

Like I mentioned before, one recommendation most pros will give you is to take your time before getting into BDSM. But what should I be spending all that time doing? Communicating! With your partner. I don’t think you want to get into BDSM with someone who is likely to run out of the room screaming blue murder when you pull out a flogger. Also, whoever you choose to partner with is not likely to jump at the offer the first time you suggest BDSM. At least some won’t.

Another helpful thing is being able to find someone that you can talk to in confidence. This person has to be someone who is not toxic or they may ruin things for you. In the event that you can’t find someone, there are lots of materials online to guide you.

I’ll advise that for starters, you can try the following things:

  • Fuzzy handcuffs for bondage
  • Biting (light)
  • Kinky clothes
  • Spanking (light)
  • Orgasm denial (light)
  1. Consent

This is the bedrock for getting into BDSM. Remember, BDSM is not about being cruel and just plain mean.  It’s about pleasure for both parties hence the primary need for consent in order to have a respectful, healthy and safe experience. Any BDSM encounter should be well-researched, uncoerced with both parties keen and consenting (that is, old enough to consent).

In some encounters, people can get into BDSM with contractual agreements, regular conversation or spoken agreements. The bottom line is that all the details should communicated clearly and agreed on.

One last thing to note in consent and BDSM is that consent is revocable. Really? Yes! It’s definitely not a blood covenant now, is it? Parties are allowed to back out if the whole encounter becomes a little too much.

  1. Safety

Consent first. Safety next. Nobody wants to walk around looking like they were mugged just because they are into BDSM. The safety of you and your partner must be put into consideration for a pleasant BDSM experience. As you know, BDSM activities border a lot on risky. Involved parties need to understand exactly what they are getting into and take all the necessary precautions towards cutting down on the dangers of certain activities, possible injuries and disease.

So yes, you can hurt someone but definitely not in a way that will leave them damaged or traumatized for life. This is why the essence of information in BDSM cannot be overemphasized. You or your partner may be doing a business presentation tomorrow. It wouldn’t do to leave bruises; compression marks or rope burns all over the place. Play safe!(SAFETY PHILOSOPHIES IN BDSM)

  1. Safe word

A safe word is just as important as safety. Go into BDSM without a safe word and you may end up choking someone to death. And then what are you going to tell the police? Want to get whipped till you pass out? Certainly not! You must have a safe word. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a special word, it could be a movement. When the sub communicates with this movement then the dominant partner has to know that there’s a problem and the entire activity needs to stop at once. You’re probably thinking “isn’t it better to just say stop?”. Actually, it is. But you know how these things go. If you’ve ever said “stop” to your partner when you really meant “continue” then this can be a problem. Your safe word has to be something you wouldn’t randomly blurt in the middle of an intense moment. Like “pineapple” or “lawn mower”.

Now if you are likely to forget your safe word, it’s advisable to use something you’re not likely to forget; like the traffic light system. Most people use this.  

  • green (keep going)
  • yellow (getting near my limits)
  • red (immediately stop)

Lastly, safe words can apply to “tops” as well and not just “bottoms”. When I say “tops” or “bottoms”, I mean the submissive partner and the dominant one in the game.

  1. Sane

Sanity is a big deal when getting into BDSM. You have to be sure that you and your partner are in a practical, functional and healthy frame of mind before doing this. Why is this a thing at all? Well, there are a lot of people who are not quite right in the head posing as Doms/Dommes. I’m talking about real predators here. A sane partner is responsible and capable of self-control. They also exercise good judgement. Never let yourself be fooled or carried away. BDSM involves power-exchange. This is you surrendering to someone or vice versa; there has to be some level of trust and responsibility to make an encounter highly pleasurable for both parties.

  1. Limits

What are they? They refer to how much you can or can’t take. Limits are part of the things you and your partner need to talk about before getting into the thick of things. Hard limits are a particular action that you or your partner are not wiling to do under any circumstance. I’m really serious on this one guys. Violating a Hard limit could mean the end of an otherwise good relationship. Don’t forget I told you trust is key. Your partner may not wish to be spanked or slapped and you’ve got to respect that.

Moving forward, there are Soft limits too. These refer to actions your partner is uncomfortable with but can consent to on the exception that the action is done with caution. There may be willingness to try out something but the need for a slow pace and also the likelihood that the safe word will be used.

Another limit in BDSM practice is Time limits. This is an agreed period of time in which a relationship (contractual or not) can last. This applies to one-time encounters as well. If your limit is 2 hours, you have to tell your partner that. They should tell you their limit too. This way everybody is happy.

There are Requirement limits to this game too. This means something that must take place in every scene; could be a kiss, spanking or bondage. The last one you should know about is called “No limits”. No limits involve consensual non-consent where there are no holds barred and power is totally given to the Dom/Domme. No limit is quite controversial in BDSM spaces.

  1. Misconceptions & Stigma

Yep! This is a huge shroud that still covers BDSM as a sexual practice and everybody has a part in it. When I say everybody, I mean society; with social media playing a huge role in the misrepresentation and smearing. It’s no news that when people hear the word BDSM, their minds automatically go to something dark, disturbing and violent. To most people, you must be batshit crazy, abused, or abusive if you are into BDSM.

For me personally, this is a giant injustice to an entire community of good, regular people. It’s the standard putting a square peg in a round hole situation; pigeonholing people into types all because you have a narrow idea of something.

So yes, it’s pretty common for someone to call off an engagement because she found out her fiancé likes to dress up as a little girl and be flogged while someone else might find this quite normal. It’s all in the perceptions.

Finally, it all boils down to what you choose to do. Keep your lifestyle hidden or come out. Some people don’t purely because they don’t want to be judged or because there are repercussions due to the environment they find themselves in. It’s all a matter of choice.

BDSM is a pretty big space. It’s possible to try something and not like it. That’s quite okay. They say different strokes for different folks. So there, guys feel free to try out anything that catches your fancy. But most importantly, play SAFE.

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