Learning about BDSM

At first glance the world of BDSM can seem pretty daunting. All the mysterious rules and leather gimp (we recommend the Full Hood-Removable Blindfold and Gag) masks are enough to give many people the shivers. Here’s a brief guide to the world outside of vanilla sex…

What does it mean?

B for Bondage – this can range from fashion accessory (think punk trousers with straps and safety pins) to intricate ropework as part of a fetish scene. Most often, it means some kind of restraint – whether Silk Scarf (we recommend the Silk Bindish Sash), Handcuffs (we recommend Police Handcuffs  or Leather Straps (we recommend the Lethal Leather Cuffs).

D for Domination, s for submission – again, this covers a world of possibilities, from acting out a one off scene to a lifetime slave and master contract. (Let them know who is in charge with the Word Band Collar.)

S and M for Sado-masochism – this naturally forms a part of Dominance and submission. Whether mild pain (a light spanking, say) or more hard-core forms of sadism, SM is a way to explore the pain/pleasure field.

(Show your submissive side with a Word Band Collar).

Often, elements of bondage, domination/submission and SM are combined in a ‘scene’. A common theme is power play, whether physical or psychological.

The Rules

 

First and foremost, it is imperative that all BDSM is ‘safe, sane and consensual’. This means that both (or all) partners are aware of what they want and what their own and others limits are, and that all parties agree on these beforehand.

For those involved in BDSM, communication is paramount. This might mean discussion with a partner about what will happen or a more formal written agreement. Particular attention should be paid to safety considerations if restraints are being used, and a ‘safe word’ should be agreed on before a scene. This means a word (or gesture) that signals play should stop immediately. If the scene involves a gag or the participant is unable to speak for some reason, there needs to be a clear way for them to make it known that they wish to stop.

Legislation varies from place to place, but inflicting physical pain is often not legally permitted, even if both partners have consented.

The Community

For many people, BDSM is a lifestyle choice. There are local groups almost everywhere who may meet up regularly for friendship or to ‘play’. Groups are usually tolerant and broad minded, and willing to accept a wide range of ‘alternative lifestyles’.

Others may only be interested in BDSM that never go further than an occasional session in the privacy of their own bedroom.

Freedom of choice, tolerance and consensuality are the keystones of BDSM, whether that means giving your lover a playful spanking or installing your own personal dungeon in the basement. The most important thing is knowing what you want and communicating it to your partner.

For further information we recommend the following books: How to be a Dominant Diva; SM 101: A Realistic Introduction.

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