What Is Kink-Shaming?

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(And Why You Should Avoid Doing It)

By Alex Manley

How Kink-Shaming Can Keep People From Feeling Sexually Liberated

You’re hooking up with someone for the first time — or the second, the tenth or the hundredth — and you think you know what to expect, but then they ask if you can try something new. 

Immediately, you’re a little cautious. What if it’s weird? They blush a little bit. “Well, you see, I’ve always wanted to try this thing … but it’s a little kinky…” You gulp as they lean in and whisper the secret desire into your ear. You want to make them happy because you’re not a jerk, but this fetish is way out there, and not at all something you’re used to.

“Gross,” you say. “You’re really into that?” Your hookup buddy looks embarrassed. “Never mind,” they say, grabbing their clothes from the floor. “I should probably get going

What just happened? Well, there’s a name for it: kink-shaming. And even if you don’t think you’re doing it, you probably are.

What Is Kink-Shaming?

“This girl I met on Tinder told me she wanted to try this thing called ‘caking’ — spreading cake batter all over your naked self. I was like, ‘Hmmmm, no.’ Very unsanitary, and I don’t like wasting food.” – Miguel, 28

Kink-shaming is basically exactly that —shaming someone for their sexual desires when they don’t line up with what you think is normal.

“Kink-shaming is when you embarrass someone for their sexual preferences and believe something is wrong with them because of their sexual interests,” says Dr. Janet Brito, a sex therapist based in Hawaii.

This could be about a fetish, a kink, a preference, a history of certain behaviors, or even just an openness or willingness to try something that the other person considers unconventional.

“I would define kink-shaming as the negative judgment and criticism of all sexual contact that isn’t considered vanilla or ‘mainstream,’” says Jor-El Caraballo, a relationship therapist and co-creator of Viva Wellness.

Brito notes that some common targets of kink-shaming include “fetishes that are uncommon, such as titillagnia (arousal to tickling other people) or urophilia (arousal to urine or urinating on others), dressing up as a furry or a desire to be choked or spanked.”

However, there are some that are gender-focused — men, for instance, often kink-shame “their girlfriend’s/wife’s interest in group sex, public sex, threesomes, double penetration, having a rape fantasy, masochist or sadist interestsl,” notes Brito. Or when talking to other men, they might be judgmental toward things like “same-sex attraction, same-sex fantasies, autogynephilia, men attracted to transwomen or non-binary folks.”

This kind of thing can play out in all different ways. It could be as simple as making fun of your friend for a hookup story with an unexpected detail in it, or it could be your long-term significant other trying to make you feel dirty for asking for something new in bed.

While it might not be coming from a place of hurtfulness — it’s as often a sense of surprise or shock rather than outright cruelty — it can still be incredibly demeaning.

How Does Kink-Shaming Negatively Impact People?

“I had a man recoil and tell me he ‘doesn’t do that weird sh*t’ when I placed his hand closer to my neck. It made me feel super uncomfortable for the rest of that interaction.” – Maria, 29

“Kink-shaming really only serves to make people live in silence and fear of judgment,” says Caraballo. “It creates negative internal emotional consequences, leaving the receiver to question the validity of their own desires. This could exacerbate any lingering questions of self-worth, depression or anxiety that the receiver already has about their sexuality and identity. It can negatively impact their ability to have and enjoy sex, and might kill desire altogether.”

It can also have a serious impact on a person’s mental and emotional well-being, ultimately causing psychological harm in the end.

“They may feel invalidated, dismissed, misunderstood,” says Brito. “It can negatively impact their relationship with their significant other, cause someone to withhold information or hide their kink from them. [And] at its worst, kink shaming can be used as a weapon against someone, and can cause someone to lose their job or their family.”

That might sound extreme, but instances of people’s sex lives becoming public knowledge are often weaponized against them in some form; the belief that a certain non-conformist sexual interest is unacceptable or somehow indicative of a person’s core moral character lives on in popular thought.

As a result, it’s worth thinking about how kink-shaming functions on a greater societal level, rather than just instances of one person shaming another. When we normalize kink-shaming and general sex-negative attitudes, people grow up feeling ashamed of desires they cannot control.

How Can You Stop Kink-Shaming?

“When I was in my teens (and probably even into my early 20s), I thought it was really funny to make fun of furries. But at some point, I realized that I was belittling people for sexual desire that I didn’t understand, even though it was being practiced by consenting adults. There was no real justification for it other than that it felt good in a shallow, sh*tty way to mock outsiders and people who don’t conform. I never tried to shame anyone directly, but I definitely carried that prejudice for many years.” – Ian, 30

Considering the widespread societal consequences of kink-shaming attitudes, and the seriously negative consequences it can have on a person’s wellbeing, it’s worth considering how we can move away from kink-shaming in general.

To that end, sex education — not just about the physical ins and outs of sex, but how desire works — can be a huge factor.

“I think that education is the biggest way to combat kink-shame,” says Caraballo. “There are a lot of misconceptions about why people enjoy kink (or certain forms of kink) and getting exposure to accurate information helps combat negative, internalized puritanical views about sex and kink.”

Brito agrees that education is important, but notes that there are lots of ways we can help shift our culture away from its current kink-shaming state.

She suggests “being willing to learn more about the diversity of human sexuality by being exposed to more sex-positive messages, by de-stigmatizing sex and knowing how to distinguish the difference between a sexual fantasy and reality, [and] by speaking up when someone is shaming someone’s kink.”

Brito also notes that some of the most common kink-shaming occurs within the self, meaning people shaming themselves for their own desires. If you struggle with that kind of thing, it’s worth putting in the effort to shift gears “by practicing self-acceptance, since working on embracing one’s interests is the first step toward accepting others.”

Finally, she adds, you can make a difference “by embracing the notion that everyone is different, and that having unique or non-traditional sexual interests does not mean something is wrong with you.”

Experiencing sexual desire is normal, and what exactly turns you on is often largely out of your control. Until you recognize that your desires alone don’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, it’ll likely be a struggle for you to genuinely accept yourself and your sexuality.

But if you commit yourself to working through these issues — with a partner, perhaps, or in therapy — it’s absolutely possible to arrive at a healthier, more confident place where your own comfort with your sexual desires means you’re not looking to ridicule, diminish or shame others for theirs.

Complete Article HERE!

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We asked a sex educator every question you probably have about spanking

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By Tiffany Curtis

While the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy might be the most mainstream (and, honestly, lackluster) depiction of sensual spanking we’ve seen in recent years, the act of receiving or giving some good ol’ ass slaps isn’t new.

Erotic or sensual spanking is a method of impact play. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “impact play,” it is defined by Kinkly.com as “a sexual practice where one person is struck by another person for the sexual gratification of either or both parties.” While spanking, which can vary in its levels of intensity, and other forms of impact play are often a part of BDSM, you don’t have to be a part of the lifestyle or identify as kinky in order to master and enjoy the act.

Despite the fact that many people enjoy erotic spanking (24% of Americans, according to this study), the topic remains somewhat taboo and bogged down by misinformation. “Most media representations of kink, BDSM, and spanking involve persons who are psychologically troubled or have experienced abuse,” said Candice Smith, co-founder of The KinkKit, when the reality is plenty of people who were never victims of abuse or trauma choose to practice BDSM.

Again, it’s important to note that you don’t have to self-identify as kinky in order to experience the pleasure or potential benefits of safe and consensual spanking, or other forms of impact play, but those who practice elements of BDSM experience higher levels of life satisfaction, lower anxiety, and more communicative relationships, according to a 2013 study conducted by the International Society for Sexual Medicine—just in case you needed reassurance that spanking is a normal and healthy sex act.

Maybe you’ve wanted to ask for a good spanking, but you aren’t sure how to initiate the conversation with a partner? Or maybe you’re already a spanking pro, and you’re wondering how to level up beyond just being taken across someone’s knee?

That’s why we reached out to Dirty Lola, sex edutainer and host of Sex Ed A Go Go. She recently collaborated with The KinkKit on a sensual spanking skills kit for adults, and she spoke to us about the ins and outs of spanking.

HG: For anyone who might be new to the term “sensual spanking,” what is it?

Dirty Lola: Sensual spanking is spanking with the intent to give pleasure. It should be consensual, mindful, and focus on the connection between partners. In this case, sensual should not be confused for gentle. While sensual spanking may start off with light smacks, it can most definitely move into harder, firmer blows. It all depends on the needs and desires of the person being spanked, aka the bottom.

HG: What do you think makes this particular kind of impact play pleasurable for folks?

DL: I think sensual spanking is a popular form of impact play because it’s so accessible. You don’t need special furniture or implements to start exploring sensual spanking. While those things can definitely take your spanking game to another level, if you’re just starting out, all you need are your hands, a willing bottom, and a little know-how.

HG: How can someone who wants to try sensual spanking bring up the conversation with their partner(s)?

DL: I’m a big fan of making time to chat with my partners about sex things when we aren’t having sex. For instance, the next time you’re hanging out on the couch with your boo, you could mention that you read a great article on sensual spanking that piqued your curiosity. This will definitely open up a dialogue about trying out new things.

HG: What things need to be in place before incorporating spanking into your sex sessions?

DL: Before you begin to incorporate spanking into your sex sessions, you should definitely know how to safely administer a spanking so you reduce the chances of harming your partner. You should also know what sensations your partner likes and what level of pain they would like to receive. Most importantly, you should have a safe word in place or use the stoplight method (Green = more / harder, Yellow = keep the same pace, Red = stop) in order to ensure an open line of communication with your partner and fewer misunderstandings.

HG: While the over-the-knee position is pretty common, what are some other positions that can make getting spanked, or doing the spanking, more fun?

DL: Have your bottom stand and bend over and hold on to their ankles, a low table, or a stool. This position is great because it really showcases the butt and exposes more of the upper thighs. If you want to experiment with a standing position but your bottom needs more upper-body support, then you can have them stand at the end of the bed and lay their upper body across the bed while keeping their feet flat on the floor. This position can also be achieved by leaning over the arm of a couch. If your bottom enjoys the sensation of their entire body being supported while receiving spanks you can try spanking them while they are on their knees on a bed or couch with their chests flat against the surface and their asses in the air. Both of these positions allow the person doing the spanking, aka the top, to easily move around and change angles during the session.

HG: Where on the body, should we be spanking/getting spanked?

DL: The main area of concentration during a spanking is the convex buttocks, or as I like to fondly refer to them, Booty Meats. The Booty Meats are the lower, fleshier portion of the butt. All of that fleshy goodness is what makes it the prime target during a spanking. However, you can also spank the sides of the butt (stay away from the hips), as well as those delightful creases between the thighs and butt as well as the upper thighs. These areas should receive fewer swats because the skin in those areas is more delicate and prone to bruising. Of course, if that is your thing, then proceed accordingly. You should avoid spanking near or around the tailbone completely. You especially want to avoid spanking anywhere around the lower back, as heavy blows can cause kidney damage.

HG: Is a partner necessary in order to experience spanking?

DL: You don’t need a partner in order to enjoy the fun of spanking. You will, however, need long arms or implements with long handles in order to be your own bottom and enjoy a bit of self-flagellation. Positioning is also key when spanking yourself. Standing and leaning over the arm of a couch or a stool or a high chair will position you in such a way that your butt is sticking out giving you more access.

HG: What are some of your favorite spanking techniques/tools?

DL: I love giving and receiving spanks with bare hands. There is something special about feeling the heat of skin-to-skin contact during spanking sessions. Hands also have the ability to squeeze, rub, tickle, and pinch. All things you can add into your spankings to heighten sensation. If I am using an implement or having an implement used on me, I prefer a small, sturdy paddle. Small paddles make it easier to dole out harder blows while using less energy. I also love having something soft to run across the skin post-spanking, like a feather or a silky piece of fabric, to change up the sensation during a long spanking session.

HG: What kind of aftercare should be taking place after a spanking session?

DL: Some examples of post-spanking aftercare are cuddles, gentle touches, words of affirmation, massages (butt and hand), and, of course, verbally checking in with one another. Yes, tops need aftercare, too. It’s also a good idea for everyone to hydrate post-spanking. If the spanking resulted in bruises, you can add a bruise reducer to your aftercare ritual.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Psychology of Sexual Kink

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The word kink has myriad associations — leather, spanking, corsets, whips, maybe even a ginger root. While its depictions in popular culture are abundant and eager, they are hardly ever accurate. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, is the most recent, and perhaps the most famous, example of kink, specifically Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (BDSM), in mainstream pop culture — except it gets kink wrong. BDSM practitioners have called the movie more vanilla than BDSM, or dangerous, because of its superficial understanding of violent sex, glorifyingly portrayed without context.

The kink sexual preference is a greatly stigmatized one, and the psychology behind it misunderstood. Kink is believed to stem out of trauma, which is false; it’s perceived to bastardize the tender idea of making love, again false; and it’s considered ‘freaky’ and ‘not normal,’ guess: false. Understanding how kink develops and what kinky people get out of it are initial steps toward normalizing an integral aspect of human sexuality.

Kink is defined as “consensual, non-traditional sexual, sensual, and intimate behaviors such as sadomasochism, domination and submission, erotic roleplaying, fetishism, and erotic forms of discipline,” psychological researcher Samuel Hughes, who has determined the five stages of kink identity development, writes in Psychology Today.

Kink can develop innately in childhood, or be adopted later in life

Individuals may gravitate toward kink in two ways; the journey is either innate and realized as a child grows up, or an acquired taste later in life for others wanting to explore their sexuality. Children, even before age 10, can develop initial engagement in kinky behaviors, such as “wanting to be captured while playing cops and robbers, or seeing television shows with superheroes in peril and feeling absorbed by the show,” Hughes writes. For some, these initial excitements could graduate to exploring those desires with their bodies, through “fantasizing, seeking out erotic media, masturbating, and exploring material sensations on their bodies.”

Between ages 11 and 14, kids come to terms with their interests. “It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them, and sometimes actively engaging in research in order to try to label and understand their interests.” Once they realize there might be people like them out there, they can attempt to find others who share their interests, through the internet and popular culture. The last stage of kink development includes engaging in kink interests with others, which usually happens after a kinkster surpasses 18.

The word kink has myriad associations — leather, spanking, corsets, whips, maybe even a ginger root. While its depictions in popular culture are abundant and eager, they are hardly ever accurate. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, is the most recent, and perhaps the most famous, example of kink, specifically Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (BDSM), in mainstream pop culture — except it gets kink wrong. BDSM practitioners have called the movie more vanilla than BDSM, or dangerous, because of its superficial understanding of violent sex, glorifyingly portrayed without context.

The kink sexual preference is a greatly stigmatized one, and the psychology behind it misunderstood. Kink is believed to stem out of trauma, which is false; it’s perceived to bastardize the tender idea of making love, again false; and it’s considered ‘freaky’ and ‘not normal,’ guess: false. Understanding how kink develops and what kinky people get out of it are initial steps toward normalizing an integral aspect of human sexuality.

Kink is defined as “consensual, non-traditional sexual, sensual, and intimate behaviors such as sadomasochism, domination and submission, erotic roleplaying, fetishism, and erotic forms of discipline,” psychological researcher Samuel Hughes, who has determined the five stages of kink identity development, writes in Psychology Today.

Kink can develop innately in childhood, or be adopted later in life

Individuals may gravitate toward kink in two ways; the journey is either innate and realized as a child grows up, or an acquired taste later in life for others wanting to explore their sexuality. Children, even before age 10, can develop initial engagement in kinky behaviors, such as “wanting to be captured while playing cops and robbers, or seeing television shows with superheroes in peril and feeling absorbed by the show,” Hughes writes. For some, these initial excitements could graduate to exploring those desires with their bodies, through “fantasizing, seeking out erotic media, masturbating, and exploring material sensations on their bodies.”

Between ages 11 and 14, kids come to terms with their interests. “It can involve feeling stigma over their kink interests, feeling generally different, realizing that not all of their peers share their interests, worrying there might be something wrong with them, and sometimes actively engaging in research in order to try to label and understand their interests.” Once they realize there might be people like them out there, they can attempt to find others who share their interests, through the internet and popular culture. The last stage of kink development includes engaging in kink interests with others, which usually happens after a kinkster surpasses 18.

If this identity development doesn’t occur early on, then it leads to internalized shame, causing anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, Hughes says. He adds that young kinky people often feel like they are freaks, sick or evil for entertaining their desires. This is mostly due to the stigma and silence around kinky behaviors, which leads to rampant pop psychology pathologization of kink in media and the law. “Studying the identity development of kinky people can help us to better understand how kinky people develop resilience in the face of a world that often thinks of them as, at best, a joke, and at worst, violent criminals or mentally deranged,” Hughes writes in Psychology Today.

Social stigmatization of kink can be a detriment to kinksters’ mental health

Let’s take the example of age play, one of the most stigmatized kink expressions, as it can involve adults dressing up/behaving as babies or toddlers in a sexual situation. It is classified into “ephebophilia, or attraction to older post-pubescent adolescents; hebephilia, or attraction to pubescents; pedophilia, or attraction to prepubescents; infantophilia, which is often considered a sub-type of pedophilia, used to refer to a sexual preference for infants and toddlers (ages 0–3, though some raise it to 5),” sex therapist David Ortmann writes for Alt Sex NYC Conference, an annual event that brings together scholars from the kink community to expand popular discourse around kinky identities.

A majority of the stigma against age-play arises from the conflation of pedophilia with child sexual abuse. The former is a sexual preference, while the latter is an illegal practice that harms minors who cannot consent. In age-play, the consenting, adult sexual partners act an age different from their own, for various reasons: those who act younger may want to be cared for, or disciplined or simply play an age that they feel most familiar with. For those who gravitate toward older ages, their instincts might arise from wanting to act as caregivers or protectors of their partner, fulfilling their partners’ desire to be disciplined, and myriad other reasons, according to ABCs of Kink.

Ortmann adds that he has treated such kinksters for 14 years, and the main reasons they seek therapy is “to be seen, to be heard, to recover from shame, discover how to have sexual pleasure without harming themselves or others.” It is important to understand that “age-play is a form of roleplaying in which an individual acts or treats another as if they were a different age, sexual or non-sexually,” Ortmann writes. The important thing to remember, he adds, is that it “involves consent from all parties.” There needs to be more research into the kink origins of age-play, which has historically been difficult to accomplish owing to the silence of the community that doesn’t trust outsiders easily. “Let’s work together to find language for the very in-the-shadows sexual minorities that allow for empathy, instead of evoking fear and disgust.”

Normalizing the kink for the person, and helping them find a like-minded or accepting partner, is most important, writes Rhoda Lipscomb, a certified sex therapist, in a presentation for Alt Sex NYC Conference. With those steps come self-acceptance, less anger, better sleeping habits and better relationship patterns for those involved.

The supportive environment of kink can be a haven for those with non-normative desires and bodies

For dominant-submissive relationships in BDSM, the underlying psychological motivations are more clearly researched. For tops (in kink speak: tops are those who adopt a dominant role for a particular sexual encounter, as compared to doms who gravitate toward dominance more frequently), “I can determine what happens next; I can be independent; I can feel cherished,” make up some of the erotic motivations, according to an Alt Sex NYC Conference presentation by sex therapist Dr. Petra Zebroff. For bottoms (in kink speak: bottoms are those who adopt a submissive role for a particular sexual encounter, as compared to subs who prefer submissive sexual identities more frequently), they include, “I can hold extreme focus; I can feel safe; I can feel cherished; I don’t have to make decisions; I don’t have to worry about my partner’s reactions.” For both tops and bottoms, “openness, exploration, trustworthiness, communication, humor (playfulness, laughter, and fun), sensual experiences” are prioritized for themselves, and their partners. In tops, their bottom partners require “trustworthiness, warmth and caring; ability to read a partner; confidence and strength of character; knowledge and skill.” In bottoms, the tops need “self-knowledge, rebellious qualities (such as bratty), expressiveness, surrendering of power (servicing).”

In addition to understanding the motivations of the sexual players, it is also important to destroy the myth that BDSM encourages unwelcome violence against partners. In sexual play that involves intense sensation (sometimes, pain), for example, the players seek to achieve pleasure and challenge their boundaries, Michael Aaron, Alt Sex NYC co-organizer and sex therapist and sexologist, writes in a presentation.

People choose to harm themselves for a variety of reasons, Aaron writes: to alleviate negative emotions, to direct anger at themselves, to elicit affection from others, to interrupt feelings of being empty, to resist suicidal urges, to generate excitement, or to feel distinct from others. The bodily harm from when an individual inflicts injuries on themselves outside of a sexual context — what is called non-suicidal self-injurious behavior (NSSI) — is different from BDSM, mainly in the ways an individual feels after the hurting has happened, Aaron writes. NSSI can arise out of wanting relief from overwhelming feelings and wanting to distract emotional pain with physical. After inflicting pain for these unhealthy reasons, however, the individual feels broken or damaged, and more alienated from others.

In BDSM, Aaron clarifies, the motivation to indulge in NSSI in a sexual context emerges from “desire, hunger, eagerness, [anxiety] to start.” While indulging in the kinky behavior, feelings of excitement, pleasure, connection abound. After, players feel “satisfied, content, calm, secure, fulfilled,” and “empowered, loved, authentic.” Aaron found that most individuals who engaged in NSSI eventually stopped harming themselves after they sought the feeling through BDSM, according to a survey he conducted.

For others, engaging in kinky behavior may help in dealing with past trauma. While the trauma itself doesn’t serve as a catalyst for developing a kink (which is a popular misconception), it can be alleviated through play. “For example, a sexual assault survivor might initially feel afraid, weak, and powerless during their actual sexual assault,” Hughes writes in Psychology Today. “However, simulating that assault via consensual roleplaying with a trusted partner can help them feel powerful (because they consensually negotiated and agreed to it, and can use a safeword to stop the scene), strong (because they feel they can get through whatever physical pain or intensity comes their way), and brave, for facing what can often be dark times in their past head-on.” A major part of it is “aftercare,” the word for the time and space kinksters use for emotional and mental health, often with their partners, after having engaged in BDSM. It involves “cuddling, talking, rehydrating, and ‘recentering’ oneself, which can help those who are using kink to overcome hardships process their experience in a healthy and safe environment,” Hughes adds.

However, the process of navigating a past trauma proves difficult even within the kink communities, according to licensed sex therapist Samantha Manewitz. In an Alt Sex NYC Conference presentation, she lays out how kinksters with trauma can internalize shame, be unwilling to give up power to their sexual partners or be able to explain their own responses in BDSM play. Some scenes can also trigger trauma or feelings of isolation. It is important to empower the survivor in such situations — build their coping skills through negotiation before an act, exposing them to the act during play, and integrating their thoughts with their feelings after BDSM through aftercare, Manewitz writes.

Kink can also help build an inclusive environment for queer folks. Hughes compares the identity development for kink to the way in which kids can realize their queer identities. The emotional stages are similar, including dealing with stigma and making positive associations with those realizations. BDSM as a sexual orientation is a popular hypothesis, explained as attraction toward specific activities or toward a role (dominant, submissive, switch) — be it the individual’s or their partners’, according to Daniel Copulsky, founder of sexedplus.com and researcher of social psychology. “Everyone has a sexual orientation in regard to gender because that’s how we’ve defined sexual orientation,” Copulsky writes in a presentation for the Alt Sex NYC Conference. “Everyone has a sexual orientation in regard to power, too, if we define it as a submissive, dominant, switch, or vanilla.”

Kink can also help marginalized communities feel more comfortable in their own skin. For trans people, their relationships with their bodies are colored by dysphoria, awkwardness, and trauma. For a group whose bodies and existence are unabashedly questioned, fetishized, or who are made to feel unwelcome in societal institutions, consent in a sexual scenario holds utmost importance.

“Consent is the explicit indication, by written or oral statement, by one person that he/she [or they] is willing to have something done to him/her [or them] by one or more other persons, or to perform some sort of act at the request or order of one or more other persons. In terms of sexual consent, consent may be withdrawn at any point, regardless of what has been previously negotiated orally or in writing,” licensed psychotherapist Laura Jacobs writes for Alt Sex NYC about a core kink principle.

Trans or gender non-conforming folks can greatly benefit from this structure, as they may not have been accorded the opportunity or the language to communicate their sexual needs. Through using safe words, they can feel protected and respected; and through tight-knit local BDSM communities, they can encounter people who will respect them and their boundaries. “Ultimately, for a large number of people in the trans and gender-nonconforming community, heteronormative or not, reveling in these nontraditional forms of sexuality and relationships is part of our ongoing examination of the human experience,” Jacobs writes.

It is a shame, then, that some forms of kink, and within it BDSM, are regarded as detached, cruel and violent. In reality, kink can be a vehicle for people to embrace their vulnerability, maintain intimate bonds with various people, and learn to communicate and negotiate varied sexual preferences in a non-judgmental way. Kink is not “weird,” or something to sensationalize. When we achieve a greater understanding of non-normative sexual practices, we normalize identities that are otherwise marginalized, and who knows — might even learn a thing or two instead, both in and out of sex.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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A glossary for BDSM beginners

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A Guide to all the BDSM Terms You Were Too Shy to Look Up

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If you’re having enough sex, it’s only a matter of time until it grows stale. Eventually, you’ll begin to crave something more than a quick release. You’ll want sex to last—and for physical pleasure to come coupled with psychological stimulation.

That’s where bondage can come into play (no pun intended). But before you can bust out the restraints and sounding needles, you need to know what’s out there. Only then, can you properly ask for whatever it is your secret, greasy, heart desires.

That’s why we spoke to Jess Wilde, a bondage specialist at the online sex retailer Lovehoney. She’s going to help us untangle the unnecessarily confusing lexicon of the bondage world.

BDSM

An abbreviation for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism, BDSM is an umbrella term for numerous sexual practices. It’s not only inclusive of the four principles in the title, it includes elements of roleplaying, dominance, submission, and other related interpersonal dynamics.

Bondage

Breaking down B in BDSM a little bit further, “Bondage is the sexual practice of restraining someone during sex and falls under the umbrella term Power Play,” says Wilde. “Power Play is where one partner takes on a dominant role and one takes on a submissive role. Restraint includes anything from holding the sub’s hands in a certain position to using restraint tools like handcuffs.”

Dominance and Submission (D/s)

Dominance and submission is a set of erotic behaviors involving one person being subservient (or submissive) to the person in control (the Dominant). This can happen in the bedroom through the Dominant (Dom) dictating orders to the Submissive (Sub), but it doesn’t even require both parties to be in the same room. Some Doms never meet their Subs in real life. They simply converse over the phone or email, where the Dom tells the Sub what he or she would like them to do.

“Being a good Dominant involves much more than being able to control and give orders to others,” explains Wilde. “A good Dominant will also be able to practice self-control and respect their Submissive. Dominants should also be responsible enough to decrease the intensity of or stop a scene altogether when a safeword is spoken.”

“Submitting doesn’t mean being weak,” Wilde continues. “It’s a gift to give up all control, to make yourself more vulnerable than most people could ever imagine, and to offer yourself, body and soul, for someone else’s pleasure… And, of course, doing so is also a Submissive’s ultimate pleasure.”

Safeword

A safeword, which Wilde noted while discussing Dominance and Submission is “a word, phrase, or signal which you both agree means ‘stop.’” She continues, “Make sure you agree on a safeword–this is a good starting point for all BDSM activity. A safeword should be easy to remember, easy to say, and should be a word you’d never usually use in sex. A personal favorite is ‘Gandalf!'”

Master/Slave

“In BDSM, master/slave, m/s or sexual slavery is a relationship in which one individual serves another in an authority-exchange structured relationship,” says Wilde. “Unlike dominant and submissive structures found in BDSM in which love is often the core value, service and obedience are often the core values in master/slave structures.”

Animal Play

“Animal play is a special type of role play where one or more participants take on the role of an animal. Animal play is commonly seen in BDSM contexts,” explains Wilde. “Typically the submissive ‘animal’ partner is humiliated or dominated, but sometimes they will take on the more dominant role. Animal play is sometimes called animal role play or pet play.”

Contract

“You may be familiar with sex contracts from Fifty Shades of Grey,” says Wilde. “The contract wasn’t just a figment of author E. L. James’ imagination. In BDSM communities, these kinds of contracts help Dominants and Submissives play with each other safely, both emotionally and physically.”

“By establishing ground rules, each partner knows what’s expected of them. It also makes issues of consent—which is crucial when power exchange and pain are involved—crystal clear.”

Electro-Play

“Electro-sex is sometimes called erotic electrostimulation (e-stim) or electroplay,” says Wilde. “It gives people distinctive tingly, tickly sensations which differ greatly to the sensations achieved with common battery-powered sex toys like vibrators.”

“It taps into the electrical signals that course through the body’s human nervous system, stimulating them to create more powerful sensory reactions. A variety of high-tech sex toys are designed for electro-sex. These include electrified butt plugs, masturbatory sleeves, cock rings, eggs, G-spot probes, and nipple clamps.”

Hard and Soft Limits

“Limits are basically a boundary, a thing you don’t want to do. BDSM often divides these into ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ limits. A soft limit is often an activity that you don’t enjoy and wouldn’t normally engage in, but you may consider doing it for the right person,” says Wilde.

“Hard limits are absolutes. These are the things that you will not do, under any circumstances. For many people, these may be activities or things which trigger bad memories, panic attacks, or other psychological stress. Hard limits can be anything at all, even things that other people consider to be tame or a lot of fun.”

Sensation Play

“Sensation play describes a wide variety of activities that use the body’s senses as a way to arouse and provide stimulation to a partner,” explains Wilde.

“Although sensation play is often related to skin sensations, it doesn’t have to be so limited. Sight, taste, and hearing can also be included in sensation play. Forms of light sensations play include playing with feathers and other soft objects, light blindfolding, and bondage with scarves or temperature play with ice or hot wax.”

“The goal of sensation play is simply to provide unusual and arousing sensations to a partner’s body. It is only limited by one’s imagination and, of course, personal limits, which should be respected at all times.”

Sub-Drop

When the fun and games are over (and the last spank has struck), there’s one last thing you have to remember to do. As Wilde explains, aftercare is an essential part of your play-time and can bring both you and your partner closer together in post-coital bliss.

“Known as ‘sub-drop’, sometimes the submissive partner can feel a wash of sadness when playtime has finished and the endorphins wear off,” says Wilde. “Bondage aftercare is the process of reassuring your partner that you care for them. Lots of hugs, loving touches and an open chat about the experience you’ve just shared are great ways to do this.”

Complete Article HERE!

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How to talk about kink with a new partner, because it doesn’t have to be awkward

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By Tracey Anne Duncan

“I like to struggle,” I whispered. What I meant was: Hold me down. Instead, she wrapped her arms around me and held me sweetly, nuzzling her face into my neck and petting my arm lightly with her fingertips. Oh, I thought. That’s not what I wanted. We had just been all sweaty and frenzied and now we were cuddling? Was she purposely withholding? Embarrassed? We had only hooked up once before, so I didn’t know her that well. “Are you into that?” I asked — determined to tell her about my kink preferences — but she was already gently snoring.

And then it hit me. She thought I said, “snuggle.”

I laughed to myself. She was a thoughtful lover and was just trying to give me what I asked for. She just wasn’t kinky, and I am kind of kinky. For the unfamiliar, that means that I like to do things in bed that some people find unusual. Kinky people call people who find our desires unusual “vanilla.” Although some people say it with shade, vanilla is my favorite flavor and I’m not here to judge anyone.

In any event, kink isn’t actually that unusual. Even though most people don’t consider themselves kinky, studies show that most people have kinky fantasies, even if they don’t actually have kinky sex. Interestingly, kink preferences often break down along party lines. Liberals tend to be drawn to BDSM (bondage, domination or discipline, sadism, and masochism), while conservatives are more likely to be into taboo-breaking activities, like age and incest play. Personally, I like to play with power dynamics. In kink circles, this is called domination and submission and they, along with bondage, are some of the most common practices of kinky folks.

But it wasn’t that long ago that I began exploring this facet of my sexuality. It’s taken time to learn how to communicate about kink well, and I still have questions — when is it OK to tell people I’m dating about my kinks? And how do I bring it up?

“There’s no one size fits all answer for these things,” says Dulcinea Pitagora, a NYC-based psychologist and sex therapist. “Anytime I hear someone say ‘that’s the rule,’ I immediately discard it. Disclosure is a privacy and a boundary issue. It’s entirely based on someone’s comfort level.”

Amanda Sanflippo, a New Orleans sex educator with an adult sex ed radio show, agrees. “It depends on the person,” she says. “I don’t have a formula.”

But if there aren’t any rules, what’s an aspiring kinkster to do with a new-ish partner when they want to try something that the other person might find strange? First of all, wait until you’re comfortable with someone and have developed a sense of trust. The experts are right in that there’s no formula for this, but you can typically tell if someone is basically trustworthy. While some people say that you should just let your freak flag fly from the very start, there are real risks around putting your private sexual desires out into the public domain, so trust is key.

“If somebody gets outed, they could lose their job, their apartment, or even their children. Discrimination happens in many different ways. There’s a possibility of disclosing that could put you in a dangerous situation,” Pitagora notes. She adds that these are worst case scenarios; if your employers or sex-negative people in your community find out about your “unusual” desires, you might just end up feeling uncomfortable, making someone else uncomfortable, or scaring off a person you want to get to know.

Sanflippo says that if you meet someone on a dating app and who is likely to be just a hookup, it’s OK to be upfront about your kinks. You can do this before you even give them your phone number or real name, so there’s no safety or outing risk. Recently, I was messaging a guy on Tinder and within the first few messages, he asked, “Are you sub?” What he meant was: Am I sexually submissive? It felt safe for him to ask and for me to answer honestly because our flirtation was still anonymous.

So if you’re chatting anonymously with someone and it feels safe to you, don’t hesitate to indulge in a little freaky banter. And if you’re already sexting on an app, it’s also OK to say, “I want to tie you up.”

But what if you meet someone IRL? Sanflippo suggests first asking your potential crush what they’re into, instead of just dropping the kink bomb on them. “If I was considering being intimate with someone, I might ask a person if they are into kinks rather than divulging my own,” she says. “I’ll ask them what kind of sex they enjoy. Then you can sense if they’re comfortable.”

This is a great rule of thumb. Wait to talk about sex with someone until it seems like you might want to have sex with them; if you’re already thinking about exchanging fluids, exchanging a few words beforehand can’t hurt.

And if you do plan to have sex soon, instead of making a demand like, “I want you to forcefeed me cake,” you can ask a question like, “What do you like to do in bed?” This is a direct and emotionally friendly way of figuring out whether your hookup might be into the same things as you. It’s also a good way to game out your sexual compatibility and strategize about what sexual activities might be mutually pleasurable in advance.

“The conversation about consent is what’s actually more important,” Pitagora says. “The nitty gritty and specifics aren’t as important.”

Basically, you can say you’re kinky and not go into detail — but you can’t not ask for consent. Since I’m already oversharing, I will tell you that more than half of my recent male partners have tried to do some pretty aggressive and dangerous to me without asking for permission. I don’t know what’s going on in cis-het 50 Shades of Patriarchy land because I mostly date women, but you cannot assume that people are into rough sex or BDSM.

“It’s important to know that it’s something that some people are into,” says Pitagora, “but some people aren’t and they could be traumatized. You don’t want to traumatize your sexual partners.”

Um, yeah. What she said.

Activities such as sexual choking, which is rising in popularity in vanilla het sex and porn, are considered “edge play” in BDSM communities. That means that it’s dangerous, and so not only do you have to ask for consent, you also have to know what you’re doing. “The person not asking for consent is also not trained to do it,” Pitagora says. This means that they shouldn’t do it, ever.

I’m (really) not trying to scare you away from BDSM, but sexual choking is also called “erotic asphyxiation” and you’ve definitely heard of it because people die from it. Tying someone up the wrong way can lead to all kinds of injury, including nerve damage. Getting and giving consent and talking about what you and your partner do in the bedroom aren’t just issues of ethics and pleasure — they can be issues of life and death.

“People should embrace saying the obvious,” Pitagora says, especially straight, cisgender men. “Cis-het men are used to being dominant by default. They might think asking for consent is too obvious, but because we can’t know, it’s just not obvious.” In other words, even if you are already pretty sure that someone is saying YES, you need to ask them to say (or scream, if you’re into that) YES out loud so that everyone’s signals line up. Consent can also be a great lead in to talking about your kinks. “Is it OK for me to kiss you?” is just a single word switch away from, “is it OK for me to spank you?”

In the past year, I’ve gotten a lot better about being explicit about what I want. In some ways, I was late to the kink party — I was basically married for half my life to vanilla folks and I never really thought to sexperiment with them. But, actually, I’m not late. Most people become more sexually adventurous as they age, and it can take a lot of trial and error before you get good at saying what you like out loud to new partners.

It’s definitely worth it, though. I’ve had more great sex in the last six months than I did in the first 20 years of my life. So if you’ve got some kinky fantasies, don’t worry, you’re not late, either, it’s just might take you a hot minute to learn how to talk about them.

A few weeks ago I hooked up with my sweet, snuggly friend again. She straddled me and playfully held my hands together over my head. When I resisted, she let go.

“No,” I said, “when I resist, I want you to push harder.”

“Ohhhhhhh,” she said, smiling. And then she held me down.

I think I like her.

Complete Article HERE!

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There are infinite ways to have sex & there’s nothing unnatural about any of them

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The famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey once said the only unnatural sex act is one that can’t be performed.

By and

Humans have discovered an almost infinite amount of ways to have sex — and things to have sex with. The famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey said: “The only unnatural sex act is that which can’t be performed.”

From foot fetishes to the kinkiest outfit or habits, fetishes are an endless rainbow of preferences and practices. Although human studies on fetishes and atypical sexual interest are few, case studies and research on non-human animal behaviour have revealed some insights about them and how they may develop.

In fetishism, the subject of the desire is not necessarily related to sexual intercourse, yet the fetish drives a person’s sexual arousal, fantasies and preferences. Fetishes can be part of a healthy and playful sexual life for individuals and couples, and also forms the basis of some sexual subcultures.

Unfortunately, fetishes have often wrongly been associated with sexual deviancy, making it easy to feel weird or shame about them. Many of us are quick to judge things we do not understand or experience. When it comes to sex, we can believe that things we don’t do are weird, wrong or even disgusting.

Let’s not judge each other’s sex lives. Instead, embrace your curiosity.

The Pride marches taking place this summer began as a social movement against repressive and discriminatory practices against LGBTQ people following the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. Fifty years later, Pride month has become a commemoration and celebration of sexual minorities and diversity.

Let’s take a look under the covers together to paint a more positive view of these so-called “perversions.” We all may have a kink or two. So why not feel more accepting of our more obscure sexual desires?

What are fetishes?

Fetishes are not just about whips and leather, but part of a natural curiosity to explore the unknown territories of our sexuality.

A lot of the early science claimed fetishes were sexual abnormalities or perversions. However, most researchers and clinical practitioners now only consider fetishes to be harmful if they cause distress, physical harm or transgress consent.

Scientists have recently begun to understand how some fetishes develop. Several animal studies and case reports on humans suggest that early imprinting and Pavlovian or classical conditioning can shape the formation of fetishes. We believe learning from experiences plays a large role in forming fetishes.

From a Pavlovian conditioning perspective, fetishes are seen as the product of associating early and rewarding sexual experiences with objects, actions or body parts that are not necessarily sexual. This is perhaps why different people have different fetishes.

As for early imprinting, the best example comes from a study in which newborn goats and sheep were cross-fostered by a mother of another species. Goats were mothered by sheep, and the sheep mothered by goats. The results showed male goats and sheep had sexual preferences for females of the opposite species, meaning the same species as their adopting mothers, while females on the other hand were more fluid in their choices and were willing to have sex with males of both species.

Studies with rats have shown that other non-human animals also develop fetishes.

This study shines some light on sex differences in human fetishes, as men with fetishes tend to vastly outnumber women with fetishes.

These sex differences appear to be explained solely by differences in sexual urges, where men tend to show higher arousal or less repulsion towards various “deviant” sexual acts than women do. This, nevertheless, does not imply men have more psychological disorders.

Fetish-related disorders

Fetishes, just like any other thing in life, can be taken to where it may be a little “too much.” They may not only be preferred, but also needed in the expression of sexual arousal, which can impair the preferred pattern of arousal or performance.

Fetish-related disorders are characterized by the expression of two main criteria: recurrent and intense sexual arousal from either the use of objects or highly specific body part(s) that are not genitalia manifested by fantasies, urges or behaviours; those which can cause great distress or impairment of their intimacy, social or occupational life.

Some are particularly troubling, like exhibitionism or frotteurism. These paraphilias are believed to be distortions of normal sexual interactions with others. Sadly, both of them still remain poorly understood.

As previously mentioned, if by some reason we can establish associations that can drive our arousal through learning experiences, research has also shown that these associations can be “erased.” However, this process can be quite slow, difficult to change and susceptible of being spontaneously triggered by familiar cues.

No definition of normal

Fetishes have the potential of enhancing or expanding the repertoire of sensations we experience during sex. In fact, experimental data shows that animals become more sexually aroused when they learn to associate sex with fetish-like cues.

Instead of focusing on what you should like or what should get you off or not, you’re better off wondering how that thing suits you or your partner. Normality falls within blurry lines, and it is up to you to expand its limits or not.

There is no exact definition of what constitutes normal or healthy. These definitions are highly dependent of the context (historical time and culture).

We get caught up with what appears to be more frequent, healthy, natural or normal: but what about what feels right?

So how do you know if you have a fetish? If there is consent and respect, it really doesn’t matter what you do between the bed sheets, on the kitchen table or on that secret hidden spot.

Perhaps you don’t have a fetish. But it’s never too late to try.

As North Americans celebrate Pride this summer, we should take it as a reminder of our colourful sexual diversity —and also the infinite ways to have sex, with nothing unnatural about any of them.

We believe all people should be allowed to express their sexuality and embrace it without the weight of stereotypes or “normal” standards to live by. Life is too short to not make the best out of it, especially when it comes to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh.

Complete Article HERE!

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If You’re Into Kink…

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You Need to Join One Of These Dating Apps

By Erika W. Smith

Kink can encompass a lot of things: bondage, yes, but also spanking, choking, feet, cuckolding, and watersports. And it turns out that many of us are at least a little bit kinky. One Canadian study asked over 1,000 adults about their sexual fantasies, and found that about half were interested in some kind of kink. The most popular kinks fell under the categories of voyeurism, fetishism, exhibitionism, masochism, and sadism.

“People want to be tied up,” researcher Christian Joyal told the Montreal Gazette. “As long as it’s with a consenting partner, people will be relieved to know that their desires are not necessarily abnormal.” He added, “One hundred years ago, oral sex was considered gross, 50 years ago it was illegal and now it is the number one fantasy. In 30 years from now, I would be surprised if BDSM wasn’t part of normal sexuality.”

Whatever you’re into, you’re far from alone. And while you can certainly ask your Tinder match if they want to choke you or exchange “kink menus” with your partner, there are also kink-specific dating apps out there to make the search for someone with compatible kinks a little bit easier.

Keep in mind that, as always, consent is mandatory — and if you match with someone who wants you to sign a “consent contract” or refuses to use a safe word, that’s a red flag. If you don’t already know your potential kink partner, sex and intimacy coach Shelby Devlin previously suggested to Refinery29 that it’s a good idea to “[go] on a couple of dates and [get] a feel for someone, giving them an opportunity to demonstrate that they’re good with boundaries, before you do any BDSM.” And that goes for any other kink, too.

On the plus side, many people using kink-specific dating apps may already be kinky pros, rather than someone who just watched Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time. Here are a few kinky apps to get you started

Complete Article HERE!

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Getting Kinky In a Relationship?

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by:

Don’t worry, it’s okay to be freaky in a relationship and most of the time the other person will love you for it. If you feel that your sexual taste goes beyond that of the average person, have no fear as most Americans feel just like you.

As a society, we tend to move on from what is regarded as normal in order to satisfy our needs. According to surveys, couples who have been going out for more than four years tend to move on to other means of sexual desires that are regarded as less common by many.

Couples who go out for more than four years are moving past the stigma and shame associated with fetishes and kinks, and are becoming more and more comfortable in sharing their pleasures and desires.

If you’re a kinky person, then your partner needs to hear out your desires and fulfills your needs. A mismatch is a relationship killer, and if you’re the kinky one, then there are a few things that you need to do in your relationship in order to get accepted from your partner.

Talk With Your Partner

This might sound weird, but a lot of relationships tend to move past their problems by simply communicating with each other. We understand that you might be afraid to tell your partner about your fetishes and desires, but trust us that communication is key in a relationship. Start off slow and start by talking about what you like most in the bedroom. Explain what that is and why that turns you on. Make sure to make the mood as comfortable as possible, as you don’t want to make things weird.

When you start to talk things out, you will find out if your partner approved of your kinks, if he/she is/are open to them, and if they’re interested in doing them. Your partner might hide it at first, but we’re positive that they will grow into it.

Give Your Partner Time to Think

Most intercourse therapists say that you should always give your partner think about your kinks and desires. You might have told your partner that you’re into restraints and harnesses, and that might sound too much for your partner. But the key is to give your partner room to think it out. Never demonstrate the kink without the approval of your partner. He/she needs to feel safe at all times during bedroom business, and forcing your kink onto your partner is an instant red flag. If your partner eventually approves of your restraint kink or you have agreed on a sex toy you would like to use, you can go to Extreme Restraints and choose the type of restraint together that you will both enjoy.

Show Your Appreciation for Trying Something New Together

If your partner doesn’t feel as kinky as you, and if your partner agrees to your kink, then always show your appreciation for trying something new with you. They might not know how to do it at first, so you should never judge them for doing it wrong. Always be encouraging,  supportive, and avoid making any negative comments towards your partner.

Complete Article HERE!

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When and why is pain pleasurable?

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Many people think of pain and sex as deeply incompatible. After all, sex is all about pleasure, and pain has nothing to do with that, right? Well, for some individuals, pain and pleasure can sometimes overlap in a sexual context, but how come? Continue reading this Spotlight feature to find out.

The relationship between pain and sexual pleasure has lit up the imaginations of many writers and artists, with its undertones of forbidden, mischievous enjoyment.

In 1954, the erotic novel Story of O by Anne Desclos (pen name Pauline Réage) caused a stir in France with its explicit references to bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism — an array of sexual practices referred to as BDSM, for short.

Recently, the series Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James has sold millions of copies worldwide, fuelling the erotic fantasies of its readers.

Still, practices that involve an overlap of pain and pleasure are often shrouded in mystery and mythologized, and people who admit to engaging in rough play in the bedroom often face stigma and unwanted attention.

So what happens when an individual finds pleasure in pain during foreplay or sexual intercourse? Why is pain pleasurable for them, and are there any risks when it comes to engaging in rough play?

In this Spotlight feature, we explain why physical pain can sometimes be a source of pleasure, looking at both physiological and psychological explanations.

Also, we look at possible side effects of rough play and how to cope with them and investigate when the overlap of pain and pleasure is not healthful.

Physical pain as a source of pleasure

First of all, a word of warning: Unless a person is specifically interested in experiencing painful sensations as part of their sexual gratification, sex should not be painful for the people engaging in it.

People may experience pain during intercourse for various health-related reasons, including conditions such as vaginismus, injuries or infections of the vulva or vagina, and injuries or infections of the penis or testicles.

If you experience unwanted pain or any other discomfort in your genitals during sex, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional about it.

Healthy, mutually consenting adults sometimes seek to experience painful sensations as an “enhancer” of sexual pleasure and arousal. This can be as part of BDSM practices or simply an occasional kink to spice up one’s sex life.

But how can pain ever be pleasurable? According to evolutionary theory, for humans and other mammals, pain functions largely as a warning system, denoting the danger of a physical threat. For instance, getting burned or scalded hurts, and this discourages us from stepping into a fire and getting burned to a crisp or drinking boiling water and damaging our bodies irreversibly.

Yet, physiologically speaking, pain and pleasure have more in common than one might think. Research has shown that sensations of pain and pleasure activate the same neural mechanisms in the brain.

Pleasure and pain are both tied to the interacting dopamine and opioid systems in the brain, which regulate neurotransmitters that are involved in reward- or motivation-driven behaviors, which include eating, drinking, and sex.

In terms of brain regions, both pleasure and pain seem to activate the nucleus accumbens, the pallidum, and the amygdala, which are involved in the brain’s reward system, regulating motivation-driven behaviors.

Thus, the “high” experienced by people who find painful sensations sexually arousing is similar to that experienced by athletes as they push their bodies to the limit.

Possible psychological benefits

There is also a complex psychological side to finding pleasure in sensations of pain. First of all, a person’s experience of pain can be highly dependent on the context in which the painful stimuli occur.

Experiencing pain from a knife cut in the kitchen or pain related to surgery, for instance, is bound to be unpleasant in most, if not all, cases.

However, when a person is experiencing physical pain in a context in which they are also experiencing positive emotions, their sense of pain actually decreases.

So when having sex with a trusted partner, the positive emotions associated with the act could blunt sensations of pain resulting from rough play.

At the same time, voluntarily experienced pain during sex or erotic play can, surprisingly, have positive psychological effects, and the main one is interpersonal bonding.

Two studies — with results collectively published in Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2009 — found that participants who engaged in consensual sadomasochistic acts as part of erotic play experienced a heightened sense of bonding with their partners and an increase in emotional trust. In their study paper, the researchers concluded that:

Although the physiological reactions of bottoms [submissive partners] and tops [dominant partners] tended to differ, the psychological reactions converged, with bottoms and tops reporting increases in relationship closeness after their scenes [BDSM erotic play].”

Another reason for engaging in rough play during sex is that of escapism. “Pain,” explain authors of a review published in The Journal of Sex Research, “can focus attention on the present moment and away from abstract, high-level thought.”

“In this way,” the authors continue, “pain may facilitate a temporary reprieve or escape from the burdensome responsibilities of adulthood.”

In fact, a study from 2015 found that many people who practiced BDSM reported that their erotic practices helped them de-stress and escape their daily routine and worries.

The study’s authors, Ali Hébert and Prof. Angela Weaver, write that “Many of the participants stated that one of the motivating factors for engaging in BDSM was that it allowed them to take a break from their everyday life.” To illustrate this point, the two quote one participant who chose to play submissive roles:

”It’s a break free from your real world, you know. It’s like giving yourself a freaking break.”

Potential side effects of play

People can also experience negative psychological effects after engaging in rough play — no matter how experienced they are and how much care they take in setting healthful boundaries for an erotic scene.

Among BDSM practitioners, this negative side effect is known as “sub drop,” or simply “drop,” and it refers to experiences of sadness and depression that can set in, either immediately after engaging in rough sexual play or days after the event.

Researchers Richard Sprott, Ph.D., and Anna Randall argue that, while the emotional “crash” that some people experience immediately after rough play could be due to hormonal changes in the moment, drops that occur days later most likely have other explanations.

They argue that feelings of depression days after erotic play correspond to a feeling of loss of the “peak experience” of rough sexual play that grants a person psychological respite in the moment.

Like the high offered by the mix of pleasure and pain in the moment, which may be akin to the highs experienced by performance athletes, the researchers liken the afterplay “low” with that experienced by Olympic sportspeople in the aftermath of the competition, which is also referred to as “post-Olympic depression.”

In order to prevent or cope with feeling down after an intense high during erotic play, it is important for a person and their partner or partners to carefully plan aftercare, both at the physical and psychological level, discussing individual needs and worries in detail.

Whatever a person decides to engage in to spice up their sex life, the key is always consent. All the people participating in a sexual encounter must offer explicit and enthusiastic consent for all parts of that encounter, and they must be able to stop participating if they are no longer interested and willing.

Research suggests that fantasies about unusual or rough sexual play are very common, and some people decide to take the fantasy out of the realm of imagination and make it a reality.

If you decide to stray from “vanilla” sex and try other flavors too, that’s fine, and there’s nothing wrong with you. Just make sure that you stay safe and you only engage in what you enjoy and feel comfortable doing.

Complete Article HERE!

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How To Talk About Sex (And Consent)…

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4 Lessons From The Kink Community

Talking about sex and consent can be awkward, but it’s important — learning to do it better can help make sure that everyone is on the same page and also that you have the kind of sex that you want to have, whether that involves handcuffs or not.

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I don’t remember when the concept of consent as it relates to sex became part of my vocabulary, but it shapes how I approach my personal relationships and affects the way I move through the world. I was shaken when the #MeToo Movement exploded, not only by the stories of sexual assault and harassment, but also by the stories of women who had felt pressured or coerced into having sex they didn’t want.

I flashed back to my own similarly uncomfortable experiences, when I was single and new to D.C. I remembered times on dates when I’d expressed my discomfort by simply pulling away or turning my head when a guy tried to kiss or touch me when I didn’t want to be kissed or touched. I was familiar with the sickening feeling of being distressed by something that was happening, while also feeling unable or hesitant to speak up for myself.

It’s been on my mind a lot recently, how I, like so many people, have been socialized not to talk about sex — because it’s uncomfortable or awkward or it might kill the mood. I thought about how that hesitancy to speak can muddy the waters of consent, and I wanted to explore that idea with people who talk about sex a lot: the kink community, or kinksters, as they’re known.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of kink is “unconventional sexual taste or behavior,” and includes a wide variety of behaviors and preferences. That includes BDSM — a subset of kink — which stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. Being tied up or handcuffed (bondage), spanked (discipline), and role playing all fall under BDSM.

To make sure each partner is on the same page, kinksters have to talk about sex in a way that vanilla people — those who don’t participate in kinky activities — often don’t. Julie, a kinkster and sociologist in the Washington DC area, believes that the communication kinksters have with each other distinguishes them from “vanillas.”

“Ultimately, what it seems to come down to more than anything is not how many whips and chains are involved, but rather how openly are you willing to talk about the sex that you’re having in the most blatant of terms,” she says.

Of course, the kink community isn’t perfect, as several kinksters told me. They’ve had some high-profile cases of bad behavior — non consensual or even abusive — and as a community they’re dealing with their own need to root out abuse. The kinksters I talked to stressed the importance of evolving the conversation to be even more thoughtful in navigating sex and consent.

Since this is a community that’s made an art out of talking openly about sex, I sat down with six kinksters in Washington D.C to learn some better ways to think and talk about consent. We aren’t using their full names to protect their current and future employment opportunities. Here’s what I found out.

Consent isn’t a simple Yes/No question … it’s a dialogue.

A core principle of kink is negotiating with a prospective partner before anything happens — if that negotiation is done right, it’s more like a collaboration toward a common goal: each party’s pleasure. That includes discussing what’s about to happen before it happens, hashing out boundaries, and ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page.

For Ren, the kind of consent she’s getting is especially important. She organizes cigar socials — events where kinksters can explore the ritual of smoking cigars in a more sexual context. That could include one partner preparing the cigar for their dominant partner, presenting it, and lighting it in a show of submission. Ren says she’s started only working with what she calls “enthusiastic consent.”

“It’s opt-in consent, as opposed to what the vanilla world works with which is opt-out consent. ‘If you don’t say no, it’s fine’ versus what I go for is, ‘If you say yes, it’s good.’ ” For Ren, that opt-in consent means only doing to a partner what’s already been discussed.

But consent isn’t just something given or received at the beginning — it needs to be ongoing. Julie says: “I’m most sexually compatible with the kinds of people who say, ‘Of course I’ll tell you if something’s wrong.’ I don’t want to be in a situation where I don’t trust you to tell me if there’s a problem.”

Ren adds that there have been multiple times when she’s stopped having sex with a person when they’ve done something to her that she’s specifically told them not to do: “I’ve kindly given them their pants back, and I’ve been like, ‘Well, it’s time for you to go.’ ”

Consent is ongoing, and partners should be talking; if something goes wrong and someone wants to stop, everything should stop.

“Talk about sex before you have sex. Talk about sex during sex. Talk about sex after sex,” says Heather, who works with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, an advocacy group for kinksters.

“It’s okay to have a discussion the next day or the week after and say, ‘I liked this but I didn’t like that or can we try this next time,’ etcetera,” she says.

When you talk about sex acts, talk about what they mean to you.

The kinksters I spoke with said there was not a perfect checklist or script for how to talk about sex. Remy, a lawyer in the NYC area, says that’s because everybody is different.

“People have different minds, and that sounds very simple but what it can mean in practice is that somebody could do everything right and have taken every precaution, and the other person with whom they are doing something can still experience that as a violation of consent,” Remy says.

Which is why it’s so important to kinksters to talk frankly with each other about what they want and about how they want to feel. What does each person want to experience? What do you want to feel emotionally?

“There are so many things that when we get too hung up on specifics of activity, we lose track of some of the meaning — and a lot of times, the meaning is what affects people more,” says Evan.

Heather says she prints out a short checklist on negotiation. “I always tell people ‘this is not a comprehensive list but is a great conversation starter for both sides,” she says.

At the very top of the list is the question “Mood: how do we want to feel.”

Ren says that requires a little bit of self-reflection. “I don’t want to have bad sex anymore, so it’s like how do I want to feel during sex? Well, I want to feel powerless, and then having conversations based on that in order to find compatible people to have that type of sex with.”

“One of the most useful pieces of advice, is not just negotiating what’s going on but negotiating what things mean,” says Evan . “You can say to someone, like, ‘I want to be spanked. I want you to spank me’ but what does that look like? What does it mean, where does it involve touching?”

Make the consent conversation fun and seductive.

Yes, having frank and open discussions about sex can be awkward, but kinksters say they’re able to have fun with it too.

“I think there’s a real failure in the imagination of a lot of the broad public to think that you can’t ask for and even, you know, specifically in a detailed manner negotiate activities, without it also being sexy,” Evan says.

The kinksters’ “negotiation cheat sheet” encourages talking about things like each party’s hard limits and triggers, level of experience, and who is doing what in the scenario (for example: who is being spanked and who is doing the spanking). It also suggests talking about each person’s tolerance of the risk of minor harm, like rope or wax burns, or the potential emotional impacts from play.

And all of it can be sexy to talk about, says Ren.

“There are so many ways you can get consent without going ‘I’d like to kiss you right now’ or ‘I’d like to touch your leg,’ ” Ren adds. “Like begging can be really hot. And if you make somebody beg for the thing they want, you would assume that they want that thing.”

Talking about fantasies is another way to figure out what a partner might want to do in bed.

“A lot of time, when you start from fantasies, you can get a much better picture of how someone wants to feel,” Julie says. “Then at some point, it becomes a question of ‘you fantasize about this thing, are you actually okay with doing it in reality?’ So then it’s a matter of trying to make that feeling happen.”

Get good at describing what gives you pleasure.

Many of us have been socialized to find it shameful to ask for what we want sexually, and Julie thinks that needs to change to make communicating about sex easier.

“When we’re too ashamed to do it when we’re sober, and [think] that anyone who’s had sex with too many people isn’t worthy of marrying, you make it impossible for people to have a context for open and honest sexual communication,” she says.

For kinksters, it’s not just about ensuring that all parties involved are comfortable, and consent to what’s happening. It’s about having good sex. It’s about feeling empowered to ask for what you want out of sex — without being shamed for it — so you can have the sex that you want to have with the people you want to have it with.

“I think the vanilla society are missing out on a lot of feelings and emotions and satisfaction that they could get if they would be more open and honest with each other and more willing to communicate about these things,” Heather says.

And for Ren, that’s one of the biggest changes she’s found since joining the kink community.

Getting better negotiation skills led to better sex,” Ren says. “A lot of my experiences with my partners are a lot better now because I’m a lot better at communicating the things I want out of our interactions, and I’m also able to give them more of the things they want.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Gay men reveal the fetishes they don’t want others to know about

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Kinky gay men who are open and honest with partners are more likely to have better mental health

By Joe Morgan

Gay men have revealed the fetishes they don’t want others to know about.

XTube surveyed their users to determine and rank which fetishes they get turned most on by.

The winner was ‘partialism’, also known as a fetish for a particular part of the body. This could be anything from feet to a hairy chest.

Role play was second on the list, while narratophilia (or dirty talk) was third on the list.

The answers was collected from over 3,000 gay or bisexual men over the age of 18.

Fetishes

The full list:

1. Partialism (9.54%)

2. Role play (8.24%)

3. Narratophilia [or dirty talk] (7.55%)

4. Uniforms [firefighters, soldiers etc] (7.41%)

5. Bondage (7.31%)

6. Submission (7. 3%)

7. Exhibitionism [sex in a place you can get caught] (6.28%)

8. Voyeurism [watching others have sex] (4.7%)

9. Maschalagnia [armpits] (3.4%)

10. Macrophilia [someone being bigger than you] (2.79%)

11. Olfactophilia [smells and odors] (2.52%)

12. Clothing fetishism [leather, rubber] (2.14%)

13. Underwear fetishism [jockstraps, etc] (2.01%)

14. Ablutophilia [baths, showers] (1.78%)

15. Technosexuality [robots, toys etc] (1.4%)

16. Medical fetishism [doctors etc] (1.36%)

17. Podophilia [feet] (1.24%)

18. Coulrophilia [clowns] (1.11%)

19. Sitophilia [food] (1%)

20. Pygophilia [bums] (0.79%)

21. Transvestophilia [wearing clothing typically worn by the opposite gender] (0.65%)

22. Toonophilia [cartoons] (0.3%)

Kink and mental health

If you are kinky, psychotherapists advise to share it with your partners if you already have good communication.

Also, some studies say people who do engage in kink are more likely to have positive mental health.

Deborah Fields, a kink-specialist and psychotherapist, told Gay Star News: ‘[There are studies that say] people who are kinky are more likely to be ok with themselves. People who are kinky tend to have better mental health than people who are not.

‘It’s a hard one to judge. I see a lot of mental health issues. However, do I see any more mental health issues than those outside of the kink community. No.

‘I think what kinky people do is talk more. We have to talk about our shit more than someone that doesn’t. You’re negotiating consent. That community, we, are more likely to discuss things and be open about mental health upfront. The idea of being risk-aware is also including mental health.

‘Research says we’re quite ok. However, there’s no widespread research that has yet to look at the kink community.

Complete Article HERE!

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7 Kinky Sex Tips For Curious Vanilla Girls

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Are you ladies more kinky than you are admitting? Considering the popularity of “50 Shades of Gray,” the erotica book burning the laps of lady readers across the country, I’m guessing you gals might be a tad kink-curious. Of course, there is a difference between reading about kinky sex and actually doing it– but both can be hot. Why not give those fantasies a whirl in the bedroom?

Being a vanilla girl who is curious about BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) can be intimidating. You’re probably conjuring images of dog collars, dungeons and the leather-clad man who calls himself Master DragonBallz. Fret not, there are ways for a normal gal to try this stuff out with her partner in the comfort of her bedroom. No dungeon is necessary. Click through for some tips on how to dip a perfectly manicured toe into the dark waters of BDSM. And remember, you can use your safe word at any time during this slideshow.

Initiate A Kink Conversation

It all starts with talk. Kinky sex educator Maggie Mayhem has some ideas for broaching the topic: “If you’ve never discussed your fantasies out loud with your partner it may be helpful to refer back to a song, blog-post, movie or even porn/erotica.” Saying something like, “I just saw a movie where a woman’s partner tied her up to the bed while they had sex. And the connection they had was intriguing. Wanna watch it with me?”

If you want to take a more blunt route, frame the suggestion for kinky sex as a compliment, rather than as an accusation that there is something missing in your sex life. “You could say something like, ‘I really enjoy having sex with you because you listen to my body and make me feel safe. The idea of [being tied up during sex/spanked/dirty talk/doing chores naked] is something that makes me feel turned on and a little vulnerable, but I think it would be sexy to explore.”’ Maggie suggests using “and” instead of “but.” Example: “I really enjoy sex with you and I want to try spanking” sounds much different than “I really enjoy sex with you but I want to try spanking.”

Start Off Slow

You don’t have to try everything all at once! Looking at rows of floggers, paddles, and nipple clamps at the sex shop can be a little overwhelming. There are so many things you can do with BDSM, but there is nothing wrong with starting slow. Try mixing one new thing into your sex routine at a time. You can start with a blindfold during sex or maybe a little spanking in your foreplay (you can always use your bare hands before forking over the money for a paddle.)

Books, websites, workshops can be helpful as well. You can try saying something to your partner like, “I have so much fun with you in the bedroom, and you make me feel so good that I feel comfortable checking out something I’ve never done before, like maybe bondage. I don’t really know very much about it. Do you think that we could attend a workshop just to find out how it works?”

Do Some Erotic Brainstorming

Okay, sure all of this is great if you know what you want to try, but what if you don’t know? Brainstorm it out. Think back on the (kinky) sexual images that have turned you on. What elements stick out and what parts you could do without? Is your goal to feel the physical sensations involved in a particular act, or are you more interested in the emotional side of the fantasy?

Make a list of the things you might want to try. “Write down a basic idea such as ‘Bondage’ or ‘Spanking.’ Then make one column for the different things about spanking you think are sexy and another column for what you don’t find sexy at all,” Maggie encourages. Then share that list with your partner.

Tantalize Your Partner’s Senses

So you know what you want to try, but how do you get around to actually trying it? Start with the senses. Tantalize your partner. Bring a sensual surprise into the bedroom to break out of your routine — a tray of fruit, wine, chocolate (or all of the above). Try rubbing your partner’s body with furry or feathery things, massage, bite, find dull kitchen utensils to graze over their skin, use ice cubes.

Then work your way up the sensory ladder to something more intense. If you want to get rough, try a handkerchief as a gag. “It can be a reminder of how much tension we release through our voices and can heighten the feel of an orgasm,” says Maggie. The rope is also fun. “For some, bondage is about the vulnerability of being unable to escape, but for others, it’s about the sensation of smooth rope gliding over different parts of their body like their arms, legs, or torso,” she says.

Take turns doing this stuff to each other. But if you already know that it only turns you on to be the “bottom” in the situation, take the reigns and get the ball rolling. Lay out some toys, put on your sexiest outfit and ask, “What can I do to serve you? What would please you?”

Be Creative

Trying out kinky things is all about getting creative with sex. Role play and other sex games are just that — games. So have fun. Try putting on sexual performance or ask your partner to perform for you. “Stripping or masturbating for your partner can be a sexy and kinky experience, especially if your partner (or you) remain fully clothed the whole time,” says Maggie. Or try getting it on in public. Go to a fancy restaurant dressed to the nines, then excuse yourself. Go to the bathroom, slip off your panties and then discretely hand them to your partner under the table. It’s a safe way to play with being an exhibitionist. “Play wrestling is another way to explore power dynamics,” Maggie suggests. “Or turn on a sports game and assign a sexual act that one of you performs on the other every time their team scores a point.” Whatever you decide to try, its’ most important that you be creative and have fun.

Use Safe Words

In the world of BDSM, consent is paramount. And one of the first things you can start with is a “safe word”– a single word that stops the scene. You can make one up, but I personally like using the stoplight system. Red for Stop.Yellow for Slow down and Green for Oh god yes. But let’s admit it– it can be hard to speak up in the heat of the moment.

While exploring, try to establish non-verbal cues together to help you communicate at the moment. If you like something, you can make it a point to moan in appreciation or give a thumbs up. If something is getting too intense, pantomime turning down the dial or put a hand up in a Stop sign. Remember to always honor your safe word. Unexpected things can happen in our minds or bodies. A cramp in the foot! A buzzing cell phone! A sudden feeling of discomfort!

Have A Post-Kink Debrief

Having fulfilling kinky sex with your partner can be a great way to bond as a couple and build trust with each other about exploring any sexual fantasy. If you are playing bottom, also be aware you just might find yourself in sub-space, a mental state of euphoria that comes from playing with BDSM. Regardless, after that, toe has been dipped into kinky waters, don’t forget after-care.

Debrief and talk about what just happened. Did you enjoy it? Was there something that didn’t turn you or your partner on? Keep the communication going so that next time you can push the envelope even further … ya know, if you’re into that.

Complete Article HERE!

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Get tied up with these trusted BDSM dating sites

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Long before 50 Shades of Grey was ever published, bondage dating sites have brought people together to indulge in their shared passion for shibari, suspension, and other forms of rope bondage. But since the series highlighted all types of kink, more BDSM dating sites have popped up–which begs the question: how do you know which sites are worth your time (and money)? You can spend countless hours typing websites into Google and sifting through user reviews, or you can just get a head start with one of the sites we’ve reviewed below.

Are bondage dating sites safe?

When used correctly, dating apps like these can be a helpful tool to have. However, as with any online community, if you don’t take the right preventative measures you risk putting yourself in harm’s way. Here are a few tips to prioritize your safety:

  • Remain skeptical and never rush to meet someone–take the time to properly vet their identity.
  • Fully discuss consent, safewords, and boundaries.
  • Establish rules and aftercare rituals.

These details may seem minor, but they’re mega-important for protecting yourself and weeding out those who won’t be a match.

Best bondage dating sites according to reviewers

1) Perversions

Neatly designed, this bondage dating site is easy to use and makes searching for potential matches hassle-free. In fact, it’s so organized that reviewers claim it’s what leads to the site’s high matchmaking rate. Perversions.com also offers users access to private cam rooms, chat rooms, community blogs, and more. The site is also very good at making what each member is looking for very clear. When you sign up, you’ll be prompted to answer questions pertaining to your political beliefs, masturbation practices, even your favorite sex positions. Users can join for free but in order to access all the site has to offer, you’ll need to upgrade your membership to a Silver or Gold plan.

Silver members can view and contact members, show up in searches (after Gold tier members and before free members), contact new members, unlimited access to live and recorded videos and 24/7 phone support.

Gold members will have access to all new content first, appear in search results before Silver and free members, receive full access to the Gold Room (which includes erotic photos, movies, downloadable videos, erotic stories, and live webcam shows).

2) Alt.com

Alt.com (apart of the FriendFinder Network) hosts a platform for masters or mistresses of BDSM and people looking to practice erotic bondage. Members are able to connect with other users in chat rooms, webcam sessions, and through private messaging. Reviewers claim that Alt.com isn’t as reliable as other sites that are a part of the FriendFinder network (like AFF), but that doesn’t mean it’s total garbage either. You’ll just have to be careful about who you connect with in order to avoid scammers, but that can be said for meeting people IRL too! However, one user did offer a pro tip for navigating this site: hang out in the chatrooms and get to know interested parties that way, instead of scouring profiles for countless hours trying to find the perfect person. 

Joining is free, but if you want to access everything the site has to offer you will need to upgrade your membership to a Silver or Gold plan. Silver members can view and contact members, show up in searches (after Gold tier members and before free members), contact new members, access members photos and video introductions, and 24/7 phone support.

Gold members will have access to all new content first, appear in search results before Silver and free members, receive unlimited access to members photos and screen names, movies, downloadable videos, erotic stories, blogs, groups, magazine stories, and live webcam shows.

3) Bondage.com

Founded in 2004, this top bondage dating website is mobile-friendly but has no app (yet). Its matching algorithm is GPS-based and designed to show you profiles of top members in your region. But what sets the site apart from the rest is that when users sign up they can choose to upload a profile video instead of a static photo. Users can also choose to sign up with Facebook. However, reviewers claim that this site is no longer as active as it once was, so unless you’re looking to find matches in a big city, you may want to sign up for one or two other sites as well (or just be patient). 

Joining is free but in order to send gifts and come up as a priority in search results, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid membership.

4) MeetDominatrix.com

Reviewers claim that MeetDominatrix.com is one of the best bondage dating sites available, and we have to agree. The site allows users to create custom profiles that reflect their experience in the scene, so if you’re new to bondage you can find comfort in matching someone more experienced with the patience to show you the ropes (literally). The site design is a bit boring but it does a great job at representing users from all experience levels, backgrounds, ages, and interests–in other words, don’t let the look fool you. 

Joining won’t cost you a thing, but free members will only receive restricted access to features like sending flirts, instant messaging and searching the site. So if you’d like to carry a conversation through the site-based email system or access advanced search filters, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid membership. Luckily, you don’t have to subscribe immediately, since all new members receive a free Premium membership to test out before they sign up. 

Complete Article HERE!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Impact Play

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We’re here to answer all your questions about this particular kink and how to practice it safely, spank you very much.

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Impact play, simply put, refers to any form of impact on the body for sexual gratification purposes. Many sexual partners practice impact play the most common way, through spanking, but those who are more experienced will often bring toys into the mix or try a slew of other acts. Impact play is a prevalent kink with a wide umbrella.

Some people prefer various toys, such as whips, floggers, and paddles. Each instrument delivers a different sensation. While it can be tempting to spend money on beautiful black leather BDSM accessories, for those new to the experience, it’s best to start small and use what you have at home. Your hand is the most obvious answer, but even a kitchen spatula can double as a paddle. In addition to saving money, using what you have on you familiarizes you and your partner with where to hit on the body, how hard is comfortable, and what you’re each looking for out of a scene. Are you unsure what a “scene” means? Keep reading. Allure created a glossary of common impact play terms and what they mean. After you brush up on our kinky dictionary, learn how to negotiate with your partner, where it’s safe to hit on the body, and what kink guidelines encourage for post-play etiquette. We spoke to a New York City professional dominatrix and a sex therapist to ensure you have accurate and important information, so you can explore impact play from a place of understanding and confidence.

Common Impact Play Terms and What They Mean

Aftercare: Aftercare is post-play etiquette in which all parties check in on one another to ensure the scene was enjoyable, tend to any bruises as well as emotional needs, and communicate how all parties feel.

BDSM: BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism, and is an umbrella term for any kinky play that involves a consensual power exchange.

Bondage: Bondage is when one partner (typically the submissive) is tied up by the dominant partner. Bondage is frequently part of impact play, because tying up the submissive, who then consensually can’t move, adds to the thrill of the scene.

Dom drop and sub drop: During a BDSM scene, endorphins and adrenaline run high for all partners. As a result, like a comedown from a drug, both the submissive and dominant partner may experience a comedown immediately after or even a few days later. All parties involved have a responsibility to tend to their partner during their drop.

D/S: D/S stands for dominance and submission. Typically one partner takes on the dominant, or top role. In impact play, this is the person inflicting the spanks or other forms of play. The submissive is the bottom, or the person receiving the impact on their body.

Edge play: Edge play refers to BDSM activities that push the limit of what is considered safe, sane, and consensual. This often refers to activities involving bodily fluids and blood. Single-tail whips are considered a form of edge play as they can draw blood and inflict harm if not used correctly.

Hard limits: Your hard limits are activities that are absolutely off-limits and should be communicated to your partner prior to play.

Kink: A kink refers to any sexual interest that is outside the heterosexual vanilla norm.

Pain slut: Pain sluts are people who enjoy erotic pain.

Play: Play is a word used within the kink community to refer to any erotic activity, from penetrative intercourse to impact play.

RACK: RACK stands for risk-aware consensual kink, and is the guideline all kinky play should follow. It means all parties understand the risks they are taking and consent.

Safe word: A safe word is a word agreed upon by all parties that indicates it’s time to immediately stop the play. A safe word is used over “stop” or “no,” as some people enjoy scenes in which they (consensually) “fight back.”

SCC: SCC stands for safe, sane, and consensual. It is another acronym for safety guidelines, although RACK is more commonly used today because what is considered safe and sane varies from person to person.

Scene: A scene refers to the time in which the agreed upon kinky play occurs.

Soft limits: Soft limits are things that you are curious about but hesitant to try. Perhaps in the future, you’ll want to try them, but as of now, it’s a no. Your limits may change with time.

Switch: A switch is someone who can literally switch and enjoy both the dominant and submissive role.

What is impact play?

As stated before, spanking counts as impact play, but toys such as floggers, paddles, whips, and crops may also be used, though most people don’t start there. “At least 50 percent of people have some interest in spanking,” says somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist Holly Richmond. “When we’re talking about anything harder than that, the number drops a bit, for sure.” Whether you want to try some light spanking or learn more about how to practice impact play in BDSM, there are some things you should know to do it safely.

How do I talk to a partner about trying impact play?

First things first: You must negotiate and communicate with your partner about what you both desire from the experience. “For my clients who want to be slapped, or spanked with a paddle, I prefer they start the conversation days before the actual event itself,” Richmond says. She suggests an in-person conversation to discuss what you both want and what is off-limits.

Nervous about sharing your kink? “Always lead with a compliment,” Richmond suggests, “if possible, like, ‘I’m really happy with our sex life, but I saw this scene in a movie,’ or ‘I saw this scene in porn, and it really titillated me. I’m curious to try it. Could I show it to you and see what you think?'”

How do I safely try impact play for the first time?

After you’re on the same page, pick out a safe word. “Safe words are just a really easy way for your bottom [submissive] to communicate when they’ve hit their limit,” says New York City professional and lifestyle dominatrix Goddess Aviva. “I use the words ‘yellow’ and ‘red,’ so yellow is slow down and red is a full stop for whatever activity is taking place.”

Whether you take Aviva’s advice and use “yellow” and “red” or choose a word specific to your relationship, it’s important to have a safe word. Some people who enjoy impact play also role-play as part of a BDSM scene. “They might be into a role-play and say things like ‘no,’ or ‘stop,’ but they really want to keep going. That’s why you’d use safe words rather than ‘oh, no, that’s enough,’” Goddess Aviva explains.

In addition to communicating, you need to know where it’s safe to be hit. “You want to hit areas on the body that are fleshier and fattier,” Aviva says. “The ass, thighs, and front of the legs. You want to avoid hitting someone on their spine. You want to avoid hitting someone on the lower back where the kidneys are. You want to avoid basically any area in which you could damage organs.” If you’re into slapping, make sure to avoid the eyes, mouth, and nose, and keep a flat hand on the fleshy cheek. It’s a good idea to practice on a pillow before engaging in impact play. If you are curious about BDSM impact play toys, start small with a hand, and then work your way up to some of our favorites.

What sex toys can be incorporated into impact play?

Different toys feel different on the body. Goddess Aviva suggests starting with a crop because it’s multifunctional. “I personally love using a crop for impact play because you can angle it really well and it can go on lots of parts of the body. You can use the crop in more of a sensual teasing manner, or you can whack it down really hard,” she tells Allure. Try the Kookie Riding Crop from Babeland, $24.

If you want something harder that hits with a “thud,” opt for a paddle. “If someone is really into hard spanking, I tend to like a paddle, because you can deliver a lot of force and impact,” Aviva says. Try the Bondage Boutique Faux Leather Spanking Paddle available at Lovehoney, $20. If you’re curious about floggers, which can be gentle or extremely painful, depending on how hard you use them (do not flog a person without practice), try Lovehoney Beginner’s Flogger, $20.

Whips, despite the frequent use of their name, can actually be the most dangerous toy of them all, because longer whips can wrap around the body and cut through flesh. “Whips are always just so beautiful and I love the way they sound,” Goddess Aviva says. That said, if you’re new to this, stick with a paddle for a while. But if you or your partner absolutely know what you’re doing and are at least an intermediate, try the Bondage Boutique Faux Snakeskin Whip from Lovehoney, $30.

What is aftercare, and how do I practice it properly?

Aftercare is a word used in BDSM circles that refers to checking in with your partner post-sex, or in kink speak, after a scene has ended, to make sure you both feel good and secure with what went down. It’s an essential part of any sex that involves risk of physical harm, including impact play, and may require bringing the submissive partner (or the one who was hit) food, water, a blanket, and ice for any bruises.

Dominants need love, too, so both parties should share how they felt, tend to each other, and discuss how to improve the next time. Aftercare is a term that has grown out of the BDSM community, but all sex should involve checking in with each other afterward to make sure you’re feeling taken care of.

Complete Article HERE!

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What’s A Dom?

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This BDSM Term Is All About Perception

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Like being born with brown eyes or being right-handed, some traits are naturally dominant. When it comes to the sexy stuff, a dominant trait can mean more than what you learned in ninth grade biology. Whether you’re just starting to learn about BDSM or if the idea of being the boss in the bedroom seems pretty exciting, knowing what’s a Dom can be super important in uncovering all the sexy stuff you may be into. “A dominant is a person who likes to have the perceived power in a situation,” Amy Boyajian (they/them), co-founder and CEO of Wild Flower tells Elite Daily. “Usually, they’re the one controlling the experience, directing a partner and delivering sensations and stimulation. Some people might like engaging in these dynamics during BDSM play or sex only, while others like to incorporate them into their relationship and overall lifestyle.”

As BDSM takes on so many forms, it can be challenging to fully unpack what it really means to be a Dom. “Most dominants in media are portrayed as cruel and unreasonable, or troubled and insecure, Boyajian says.I don’t think there has been a healthy representation of what a loving, caring dominate can be! If you’re out to cause real harm to people, exploring dominance is not for you. Power play is about exploring safety within boundaries, in a mutually beneficial dynamic. It is never about simply doing whatever you please with someone.” Since so many misconceptions about Doms exist in the media, learning the real tea, can be super helpful in learning about BDSM, in all its forms.

According to Boyajian, there are a myriad of ways to navigate a Dom experience. However, whatever role or dynamic is unfolding, the most important aspect to keep in mind is consent. “People exploring Dom/sub dynamics and BDSM play have some of the most involved conversations about consent and include many safety measures to ensure everyone is happy and taken care of,” Boyajian says. “There is a huge misconception that dominant and submissive dynamics do not include consent — one person simply gives all power to the other. This couldn’t be further from the truth.” Prioritizing consent and healthy boundaries is super important in fully understanding Dom play and activities.

Although it can sometimes seem as if a Dom wants complete control over their partner(s), oftentimes, Dom sex or play is about perceived control in a roleplaying or dynamic. “People who explore dominance are rarely wanting to actually control another person completely. Rather, play that incorporates power dynamics is about roleplaying scenarios and subverting societal norms, like traditional gender roles,” Boyajian says. “Someone who enjoys being dominate is exploring their fantasies of control and what it would be like to have authority over someone.” From subverting gender norms to exploring control fantasies, being a Dom or incorporating dominance into your sex or romantic life can be a super empowering way to recreate societal power dynamics.

Apart from consent and control, there are several crucial behind-the-scenes conversation to have playing with dominance. “Both dominant and submissive roles require a solid amount of non-judgmental communication before, during, and after exploring,” Boyajian says. “Much like any sexual encounter, it’s vital that both dominant and submissive partners share any boundaries, limits, or hard no’s they may have.” These conversations can also be a great time to establish a safe word or action, a phrase or physical motion that signals stop, if a scene is making someone uncomfortable, or if for whatever reason a parter wants to take a break or fully stop. “Since consent is an ongoing thing, it crucial that everyone is able to indicate their consent or refusal at all times,” Boyajian says. If you and your partner(s) may have previously discussed trying something new, or may have all been on the same page at the beginning, it’s still important to check in consistently throughout the sex or scene, to make sure everyone is continually feeling comfortable and good.

If you’re thinking of experimenting with Dom/Sub activities, there may be some personal ideas to reflect on. “It’s important to assess, to the best of your abilities, if something maybe upsetting or triggering to you and be understanding in a situation where you and your partner may not feel comfortable,” Boyajian says. “Different people have different affinities for power play during sex and some may not find it as rewarding as others.” Experimenting in the bedroom and trying new things can be a super fun and totally hot way to learn about your own desires. Still, it’s important to keep yourself safe and protected in all you do, and getting clear on your boundaries is very important before jumping into Dom-play. “While your skills on expressing yourself will expand with experience, it’s important to enter into power play dynamics with a firm understanding of consent and set of communication abilities,” Boyajian says.

When it comes to exploring Dom/Sub dynamics, there may be restorative post-thing practices to factor in as well. “Aftercare is also a factor to consider. Since you may be exploring practices that are physically and/or emotionally draining, plan some activities that will provide some relief to these feelings,” Boyajian says. “That could be physical care like rubbing lotion into bruises or sore sports or emotional comfort like cuddling or talking through the experience afterward.” Aftercare can be necessary in winding down and processing after an intense BDSM scene to provide comfort and support to all parties involved.

There are many ways to dip your toes into BDSM if you or your partner(s) are dying to try to sexy Dom-play. “Start small with some commanding dirty talk or directing your partner to get yourself comfortable with being in an authoritative role,” Boyajian says. “A little spanking session can be great foreplay and things like gentle biting and hair pulling can be an exciting new inclusion.” From commanding dirty talk to a light spanking, there are plenty of ways to experiment with dominance that you can really make your own. If you want to try being a Dom, but don’t know where to start, Boyajian suggests some sexy pretend play. “Roleplaying is essentially the gateway into exploring power dynamics. Playing the role of a sexy dominant is the pathway to becoming an IRL sexy Dom!”

Although BDSM can look different for everyone, healthy Dom/Sub dynamics are always built on consent and communication. From enjoying the perceived control to wanting to subvert gender roles, Doms can take on many forms. And while Doms may be the ones calling the shots, Dom/sub sex ins’t all about them. So, if you’re thinking about experimenting with Dom play, remember it’s not about being bossy, it’s about being the boss.

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