Introducing a little BDSM into your relationship can be a really great way to intensify things, learn your limits and become closer to your partner, but it can also be really intimidating–especially if you’ve never dabbled in it before.

Perhaps you’ve been kicking around this site for awhile or you just stumbled here after wondering what BDSM was really like, either way, you’re not alone if you’re worried. Beginning a BDSM adventure can be exciting, but it’s going to take communication, honesty, and an open mind.

Use this as your beginners guide and then continue to physically and intellectually explore your options.

Communication

Communication is key to having a successful and pleasurable BDSM relationship. You can’t dive in without discussing the semantics, rules, limits, and safe words. Make sure your partner has a full understanding of what BDSM will entail, what the different roles (dom/sub) mean and who will be who. It won’t work if you both want to be the sub or vice versa.

You will also need to discuss what your limits will be. Are you okay with anal play? Paddling? What level of pain or loss of control are you willing to go to? You want to make sure you are both on the same page. It’s fun to push limits, but you don’t want to push them so far that it becomes scary or someone gets hurt.

The best way to ensure no one gets hurt is to set up a safe word that you can use when one of you is approaching your limit. You want to steer clear of any word that would accidentally slip out in the heat of it all. Instead, pick a beign, random word like “blueberry” for instance. It will be easy to say and won’t be mistaken for anything else.

Experimentation

You can start experimenting once you have a clear understanding of safety and ground rules. Start off slow so the two of you can get use to the dynamic change and consider assigning names to each other, like Master and Slave (or something similar) to really solidify the roles.

For your first go-round, have the Dom tie the sub’s wrists together with something soft and familiar, like a scarf of tie. This will help get the sub comfortable with restraint without moving too far outside of their initial boundaries. Have the Dom use an additional scarf or tie to blindfold the sub, allowing the two of you can play with sensory perception. From there, the Dom should stick to pretty neutral sex acts, as you’ll just want to introduce a little bit of change at a time. The idea of letting go can be a lot for someone to handle, so proceed slowly.

Continue to add elements with each experimentation, such as name calling (to assert dominance), ice or feathers (for teasing), and whips (for pain). In the beginning, you’ll want to check in with each other to make sure you are both OK with what is happening and are equally enjoying it. One of you should not feel like you’re doing it to simply appease the other, this should be a relationship that you are both turned on by.

Upgrading

You can graduate to the big guns once you both feel comfortable with the tools you’ve been using. Consider going to a sex store like Adam and Eve and pick up a few intense toys like an actual whip, ben wa balls, a strap-on, collar, bed restraints or vibrator. You can also typically find prefabricated bondage kits that will make your selection easy.

Begin integrating your toys into your play and see how far you can push yourself. If this isn’t enough, include mandatory outfits, and shaming activities for the sub

Finally, consider branching out and meeting others like you in the community. This is a great way to learn about different techniques and styles as well as make new friends. You can look for meet up groups or join FetLife, a fetish oriented community website. And as always, let the Internet be your guide. Explore this Venus O’Hara for alternative ways to explore and different fetishes you can involve. The possibilities are endless. Just remember to always play safe, to keep communication open and to have fun. Because what’s the point if you’re not enjoying it?
Stacey Mahoney is a blogger for many different media outlets and publications who has been enjoying BDSM for over five years.

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