What is BDSM?

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A beginners kinky guide to getting started with BDSM

By Mistress Scarlett

What is BDSM?

BDSM originally stood for the terms bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism but is now generally accepted to mean any sexual practice or interest that is outside of the mainstream. Interestingly enough, not all BDSM is about sex and there are many aspects that are enjoyed by BDSM lovers that has nothing to do with sex. We will however, in this beginners guide, mainly focus on the more erotic side of BDSM, which is usually what draws people to a more alternative choice in the bedroom and even outside of it.  BDSM play can take on many forms and incorporate a wide variety of kinks. It doesn’t have to be about tying someone up and having your wicked way with them, although this type of fantasy is often what gets people curious about the lifestyle.

So are you curious and wondering what BDSM is all about? While there is no actual BDSM guide, there are a number of important factors to look at before jumping in blindly. We can consider this a beginner’s guide to BDSM but it is far from complete and will only offer some guidelines and insights for people who are new to BDSM or curious about it. To start off with, you need to let your imagination be your guide and don’t get bogged down by the way BDSM is portrayed in porn or in sensationalized movies which have minimal bearing on what BDSM actually is. You do not need a dungeon, you do not need special equipment and you do not need fetish clothing to start with. If you really get involved in kink, you can always add these things in later. You can always start with things you have in your home. Use the back of a brush for spanking or a tie as a blindfold. All it takes is a little imagination. Let’s look a little more in-depth in to BDSM for beginners.

BDSM, what is it actually We will do a quick breakdown of what the term means before we get in to the beginners BDSM basics. Bondage and discipline refers to restraining a partner which can be done in many ways, from fluffy handcuffs to rope, and for the more advanced, you can try Shibari and other forms of decorative bondage, which is artistic as well as effective. The discipline part can be physical, mental, emotional or a combination of these. This often forms part of training to change behaviors to suit the partner that is in control. This can also simply be erotic such as spanking and flogging for enjoyment. While it is not recommended for beginners, this type of discipline can also lead to sadism and masochism as well as humiliation play and more.

While there are many types of BDSM, most BDSM play for beginners will focus on the dominant and submissive part which means that one person is in control (the Dominant) and one person is being controlled (the submissive). In the lifestyle, male dominants are usually referred to as Doms or Masters, while female dominants are referred to as Dommes or Mistresses. Submissive are usually referred to as subs or slaves, depending on the level of control. There are other terms used as well, but these are the most common. When you are just starting out with BDSM your role may not be defined and may actually fluctuate. A switch is a person that enjoys being both dominant and submissive in different circumstances. For BDSM plays, it is good to establish one person as being in control and the other person as being the submissive, even if it is just for the sake of role play at the beginning.

Sadism and masochism is usually not the first port of call for those starting off in BDSM besides perhaps a light spanking. This part of BDSM refers to giving and receiving pain. Masochists enjoy and often experience erotic pleasure from inflicting pain while sadists enjoy receiving pain for a variety of reasons. For some it is the pleasure from the hormones released, for others it is the joy their partner experiences and for others it is purely letting go of themselves for a period of time. BDSM can include a combination of these aspects and can include some or all of the above. There is no strict lines drawn, BDSM is what you make of it.

Okay, now let’s look at how to BDSM up your bedroom and beyond. This is the beginner’s guide to what is BDSM that was promised. The following is a guideline which will help you get started and also assist you with protocol and the basics for BDSM play.

Take it slow

Do not run out and outfit a dungeon or buy up every BDSM toy you can find right at the start. Everything comes with time and experience. Even something as simple as spanking does take practice and needs to be done well for full enjoyment. You don’t have to try out every kink and fetish over the space of a weekend. There are many deep, dark desires and plenty temptations in the BDSM lifestyle, but take your time to explore, learn and enjoy and you will get a lot more out of the lifestyle.

Consent is Key

This should actually be step one, step two and step three in the guide. Before any BDSM play starts there needs to be consent. You and your partner need to be fully aware of all risks involved in the potential play. All parties have to be informed and agree to what will be happening. There needs to be no coercion. Consent needs to be freely given and the persons need to be of an age and in a state of mind that is acceptable for giving consent. It is not acceptable to manipulate someone in to giving consent or to play with someone who has given consent while under the influence. BDSM can involve risks of a physical, mental and sexual nature so no play is ever to take place without consent given willingly before anything starts.

Enjoy it

BDSM is not the same as you see in the movies, there will be some awkwardness, you may feel silly and you may make mistakes but BDSM is about fun. Explore some fetishes, delve in to your darker desires but most of all, and enjoy it. If you are not enjoying something, try something else. That is what makes BDSM so much fun, there are endless kinks to try and you are sure to discover one or two along the way that really make your toes curl. Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the community to help ensure that your play times are safe. They may even give you some naughty ideas to try out with your partner.

Power play decisions

If you get in to the power play part of BDSM, it is important to have a dominant and a submissive during role play, even though you might want to switch roles next time around. Before play starts, both parties have an equal say in what is going to happen and all possible risks need to be discussed and consent given. Once the role-play starts, the one in control needs to take the lead and be in control of the play. You can choose to end your role-play at any point if it is uncomfortable for either of you. At a later point you might want to look at pushing boundaries and limits a little, but this is not recommended when you are just starting out in BDSM.

Have a safe word

It is important to also include safe words when negotiating a BDSM scene or session. Many people use colors such as Red to indicate an immediate stop, orange or amber to indicate that they are close to their limits or to slow down and green to indicate everything is okay and to continue. Others choose more elaborate safe words to prevent accidental use of the words during play. It is important to note that the safe words not be overly complicated so that people cannot remember them should it become necessary to use them. If people are unable to communicate verbally during a scene due to a gag or similar, it is important to establish non-verbal safe words that can be used.

BDSM is often restricted to the bedroom for many people although some do go as far as 24/7 BDSM where there are protocols and behaviors required even when not role-playing. This is generally referred to as lifestyle BDSM. You might only enjoy role-playing in the bedroom or you and your partner might want a full time Master/slave relationship or even an Owner/puppy relationship or a Daddy/baby girl dynamic. There are many variations and some work for some people while others prefers no dynamic at all. You can try a few different roles and see what appeals to you and you may also decide at some point if you want it to be permanent roles within the home or if you only want to practice your kink in the bedroom.

The key to BDSM is being open and honest with your partner. Discuss what turns you on, and what does not. Have a conversation about triggers, health concerns, previous experiences that may be relevant and especially your hard and soft limits. Your partner will need to be as open and able to discuss these aspects with you as well. Talk about your wants and needs and what you would like to try and see where the two of you match up. Soft limits may eventually fall away, but ensure that hard limits are established and update continuously so that you do not overstep these boundaries at any point. Start the chat with simple fantasies and go from there. BDSM is not something you experience in one day and then you’ve done it all. There is so much to learn and explore and how much you learn and explore depends on you.

Complete Article HERE!

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What the BDSM community can teach us about consent

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By Olivia Cassano

In heteronormative porn scripts, enthusiastic consent is about as common as a real female orgasm.

However, there’s a fringe of mainstream society that actually knows how to practise affirmative consent, and one from whom the general community could learn a thing or two: BDSM enthusiasts.

As it turns out, kinksters are the ones who have been doing sex right this whole time.

According to a recent survey conducted by the sexual health charity FPA (Family Planning Association), 47% of the 2,000 people surveyed think it’s OK for someone to withdraw consent if they are already naked, and only 13% said they would discuss issues of consent with a partner.

Too often in sexual encounters, consent is considered implicit: it’s rarely asked for, and sex continues until someone – usually the woman – says no.

However, in BDSM scenarios, only a clear, enthusiastic and ongoing ‘yes’ constitutes consent. There’s a big difference between our mainstream ‘no means no’ mentality and BDSM’s ‘yes means yes’ approach.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, sex educator, queer porn maker and BDSM provider Pandora Blake explains that the absence of a ‘no’ isn’t enough to constitute consent.

‘We’re conditioned from a young age to not say no,’ Pandora tells us. ‘Women are socialised to be people-pleasing, and when you get into the habit of people-pleasing it can make it hard not only to say no but to even be in touch with what we want.’

Because BDSM is an umbrella term that encapsulates a wide spectrum of different activities, Blake explains that you can never assume what your partner will be keen on.

‘Saying “I’m into BDSM” doesn’t mean you’re going to know what the other person actually likes, and you have to talk through it to find out if you have any kinks in common.

‘In mainstream sex people think they know the script, and actually that script doesn’t work for a lot of people, but there’s this assumption that they know what sex is.’

In the BDSM scene, partners explicitly negotiate specific sex acts beforehand, rather than assuming it’s kosher until somebody says no. Because BDSM can be risky and push people’s comfort limits, those who practise it don’t just assume a partner will be okay with a certain act just because they haven’t said ‘no’.

‘Everybody who plays BDSM games has their own ways of keeping themselves safe, and there are different community standards which different people subscribe to,’ says Blake. ‘One of the mantras that people use is Safe, Sane and Consensual, which is the idea that any riskier activities are done in a way that minimises risk and is as safe as possible.

‘Sane refers to people’s abilities to give informed consent, so: are they in a state of mind where they’re able to look after themselves? Are they sober, for example? Are they going through a crisis in their life right now where they’d be inclined to make bad decisions?

‘Another system people use is Risk-Aware Consensual Kink, which makes slightly more space for risky activity, if they consent.’

BDSM is a subculture where consent and negotiation are normalised and accepted. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that compared to vanilla people, the kink community had significantly lower levels of benevolent sexism, rape myth acceptance, and victim blaming.

Another survey published in 2012 by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom also found that 85% of BDSM practitioners polled agreed with statements such as ‘a person can revoke consent at any time’, ‘consent should be an ongoing discussion in a relationship’, and ‘clear, overt consent must be given before a scene’. Over 93% of respondents endorsed the statement ‘consent is not valid when coerced’.

‘From pre-negotiations to post-mortems – just talking about things before, after and all the way throughout – it really just comes down to communication and making sure that everybody is on the same page,’ explains Blake.

‘Most consent violations happen because people are selfish and don’t have the communication tools to find out what’s going on with the other person, but most of us want to be having sex with people who genuinely want to be having sex with us.

‘There is nothing sexier than getting that information from your partner.’

Pleasure plays a huge part in consent, and heterosexual women are the ones who get the sh*t end of the stick in bed. While 95% of straight men regularly orgasm during sex, only 65% of straight women do. Society discourages us from talking about sex (ahem, prudes), making it harder for women especially to explore what they like in bed.

If we don’t encourage women to speak up about what they want in bed, how will we ever normalise affirmative consent?

‘This idea that consent is a contract is really pernicious,’ Blake says. ‘Consent is revocable and ongoing, and being encouraged to change your mind is necessary for consent. By saying you’ve changed your mind, you’re helping your partner respect your boundaries.’

‘Consent isn’t about just avoiding negative situations, it’s not about getting permission to do something, it’s an active process and collaboration between two people who respect each other to create the best experience for everyone involved.’

The same rules of engagement the BDSM community respects can easily be applied to vanilla encounters. Talking about what you want before, during and after a sexual encounter isn’t just necessary, but can be incredibly sexy too.

Asking and giving consent doesn’t have to be a formal sit down where you lay out all the things you’re ok and not ok with (although, if you want to do it that way, it’s perfectly cool).

In fact, foreplay and dirty talk are perfect ways to practice explicit consent. Asking things like ‘can I do X?’, ‘do you like it when I X?’, ‘I want to do X to you, do you want that?’ not only make the experience that much hotter, but they make sure you’re respecting your partner’s boundaries.

The only reason some people think of consent as a formal request for a sex, something that ruins the mood, is because in heteronormative, vanilla sex scenes, consent is rarely given as explicitly as it should be.

Explicit consent has a number of advantages over the implicit consent practised (or better yet, not practised) in traditional sexual scripts because everyone is required and encouraged to ask for what they want.

Boundaries and acts that are off-limit are clearly discussed, there’s no intimidation or coercion, and there’s no ambiguous silence that can be exploited. Just because you’re not keen on a flogging session, doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two from BDSM.

Complete Article HERE!

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What it really means to be in a dominant/submissive relationship

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Real D/s relationships go beyond ‘Fifty Shades.’

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When it comes to understanding BDSM, non-practitioners generally equate the kinky lifestyle with the chains, ropes, whips, and handcuffs found in Christian Grey’s “red room of pain” in Fifty Shades of Grey. And among the different elements included in the BDSM portmanteau (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism), the middle portion (a dom sub relationship) may be the most difficult to understand for those outside the kink community.

Often equated with sadism and masochism (SM), dominance and submission plays with the concepts of power and control rather than physical sensation. In a Dominant/submissive, aka Dom/sub or simply D/s, relationship, the power dynamic between the participants is the kink. Essentially, the person in the dominant role takes partial or total control over the person in the submissive role.

What defines a dom sub relationship?

Types of dom sub relationships

While the D/s relationship can be physical and/or sexually intimate, physical contact is not necessary for domination and submission, which may be conducted digitally or over the phone as well. For example, financial domination (findom) doesn’t require any physical contact, just monetary transactions. There is no singular way to be in a D/s relationship. People in D/s relationships can also be romantically involved with one another or not, monogamous or not (as in polyamorous or open), and of any gender or sexuality.

 

Some dominants and submissives (doms and subs) only remain in their roles during play scenes; a “switch” can play either role and may even negotiate swapping in the middle of a session. The ones that take on their D/s roles full-time are often in what is called a Total Power Exchange (TPE) relationship. In the BDSM community, the participants in these types of relationships are typically referred to as a “master/mistress” or a “slave,” depending on their role. Master/slave relationships (M/s) must always be consensual, and sex is not necessarily involved in these relationships. 

D/s relationships can be between BDSM lifestyle practitioners, or with a professional dominator/dominatrix (pro-domme) or a professional submissive (pro-sub).

Taking on the Dominant role

Also referred to as a “top,” the dom exerts power over the sub in a D/s relationship. This dynamic is made obvious even in the capitalization of the letters, as members of the BDSM community intentionally leave the “s” in D/s lowercase to easily denote the lower hierarchical position.

Subs are usually required to address their doms by a specific title—for example ”sir” or “mistress.” Doms can wield their power in various ways, in and out of the bedroom. There are different play scenes they can perform with their subs, from whipping and bondage to humiliation and forced chastity. Doms must have received consent from their sub to carry out any of these acts.

There are many misconceptions about doms. “Women who take on the dominant role are stereotyped as cruel and bitchy,” dominatrix and BDSM practitioner Yin Q. said in an interview with Apogee. “But to be a responsible dominant or top, one must embody humility and mercy.” Contrary to the optics, there is a lot of care and labor that goes into being a dom, from getting proper training on how to tie ropes and use toys to providing aftercare following a scene.

Two popular categories of domination are “femdom,” in which the dom is female, and “maledom,” in which the dom is male. However, a quick Google search reveals that the search term “femdom” has over 20 times more search results than “maledom” (309 million vs. 14.5 million)—it was also searched far more frequently by users, according to Google Trends.

How to be a sub

Even as femdom imagery becomes more popular online, the archetype of the feminine submissive (i.e., Anastasia Steele from the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy) remains ever-prevalent, though there are subs of all genders.

A sub, or “bottom,” releases some or all control over to the dom in a D/s relationship. In the case of male submission (malesub), scenes can take the form of forced feminization, cuckoldry, and more. Because gender is inexplicably entangled with sex and power, it often—though not always—plays a major role in scene playing. Once again, the sub must consent everything that occurs during a play scene or session with a pro-domme.

The necessity of consent ensures the sub is never truly powerless during D/s play. The sub is also playing out their own kinks and fetishes in a D/s relationship. While less common than pro-dommes, pro-subbing also exists for those seeking to play the dom role in a more professional setting.

“A pro-submissive session is similar to what’s happening when you go to see immersive theatre or performance art,” pro-sub Louisa Knight told Dazed. “You go into this space that has been created, it’s very atmospheric, and you’re able to lose yourself in the experience, because you know it is a held space.”

Taking on submission as a lifestyle can lead to more than just satisfying one’s kinkiness; D/s or M/s relationships can even lead to self-improvement in other areas, including improving one’s diet and health

Consent is key

In case you haven’t caught onto the recurring theme yet, consent is vital to a functional D/s relationship. While the Fifty Shade of Grey misses the mark on consent, it at least introduced the masses to the concept of a D/s contract, which those beginning a D/s relationship can draw up to negotiate and define their arrangement. Contracts can be drawn up per play scene, as well as when entering a longer-term TPE or M/s relationship.

A safeword can also be used if a player gets uncomfortable during a scene—”mercy” is a commonly used safeword.

There is a massive difference between D/s relationships and abusive relationships, and that distinction is consent. Without consent, BDSM acts—such as sexual humiliation and caning—would be considered immoral and likely felonious.

Demystifying dom sub relationships

Being in a D/s relationship doesn’t mean you’ll start dressing up in latex and bondage gear 24/7 all of a sudden. People in D/s relationships do many of the same things as those in “vanilla” relationships—which is what those in the kink community call couples who engage solely in normative, kink-free sex—like fart in front of each other or get the flu.

Though some lifestyle slaves or subs may choose to sport a collar to signify their D/s relationship, others may be wearing more covert accessories, like labeled underwear, or otherwise appear completely vanilla. While sex positivity has allowed some to be more open about their kinks, including BDSM, there are still many who choose to keep this part of their lives private due to the stigmatization of non-normative sexuality.

Sarah, a lifestyle practitioner who has been in different types of D/s relationships for 10 years, didn’t want to share her last name, as she has yet to come out publicly about her kink. “I have not shared it with my parents, because as immigrants and as people of color, I don’t think they would appreciate the appeal or value of something that appears akin to slavery,” Sarah said.

The benefits of D/s relationships

While BDSM and/or kink cannot substitute real psychotherapy, sex therapists and practitioners have suggested that playing out these fantasies can have therapeutic benefits and can help some heal from trauma.

“I also don’t think that people would understand the spiritual or therapeutic way in which I approach D/s.” Sarah elaborates, “When I was a 24/7 slave, I really feel like it helped me stay grounded and attached to the world. The stability of that relationship did a lot for my feelings of abandonment and desire to be heard. My master had a singular commitment to me, my well-being physical and mental. I am no longer in that relationship, but we are still in touch over five years later.”

Complete Article HERE!

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How To Make Consent Sexy, According To A Dominatrix

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By Kasandra Brabaw

When Mistress Velvet, a BDSM dominatrix in Chicago, spanks a client, she demands that they tell her how much it hurts on a scale from 1 to 10. “I have to be careful and not just ask them, ‘Do you like this?’ Because I need them to feel submissive to me,” she says. That means she’s continually asking clients for their consent to hit them and tie them up, which can be tricky when the whole point is that they feel submissive to her. “When I ask for a scale, I’m gauging where they’re at so I know how to play with them next time.”

Mistress Velvet calls covert questions of this sort “consent training,” because even though people seek her out to dominate them in a sexual manner, getting consent from her clients is paramount to everything that she does. People who don’t engage in BDSM may assume that consent isn’t a huge part of bondage and masochism. How much can you really care about what a person feels if you’re intentionally causing them pain, the thinking may go. But purposely inflicting pain is a delicate task, especially when struggles, shouts, yelps, and begging someone to stop are all part of the experience. That’s why dommes and their submissives establish safe words before a BDSM scene even gets started, and why consent is so vital to the work Mistress Velvet does. It ensures that both she and her clients have a safe and satisfying experience. The argument that asking for consent “ruins the mood” is infuriating to her. There’s never a reason to risk someone’s bodily autonomy, she says, and it’s 100% possible to ask for consent while keeping the sexy mood alive — in fact consent can heighten the erotic energy in both BDSM and non-BDSM exchanges in ways you might not expect.

Just because someone let you put your hands up their shirt, doesn’t mean that they want you to put your hands down their pants.
Mistress Velvet, BDSM Dominatrix

In both Mistress Velvet’s work and personal life, she’s a huge proponent of affirmative consent, the idea that you should be asking for a verbal “yes” at every step (from kissing to caressing to penetration) of intimate and sexual encounters. “Just because someone let you put your hands up their shirt, doesn’t mean that they want you to put your hands down their pants,” she tells Refinery29. “Just because my client is okay with me spanking them in some ways doesn’t mean they’re okay with me spanking them in other ways.”

Similar to sex, consent should be fun, even if you’re not into BDSM. Asking someone, “Can I kiss you?” isn’t a mood killer, it’s an important step for intimacy to continue in a way that confirms everyone is on the same page, comfortable, and safe. You can also get creative with how you say it by lowering your voice or throwing some sexy eyes your partner’s way. As long as you remain clear and give the person you’re being intimate with the space to object or say “no,” asking for consent shouldn’t be much different from other communication during intimacy.

You can use the same kind of language throughout a sexual experience — saying things such as, “I’m going to rip your clothes off now, okay?” or “What do you want me to do to you?” — so you don’t have to stop having sex in order to obtain ongoing consent.

“If I was having sex with someone for the first time, I wouldn’t want them to assume that I like to be choked,” Mistress Velvet says. “But there’s a way to ask when they’re pounding me and they’re like, ‘Do you like to be choked? And then I can be like, ‘Yes, choke me daddy.'” The same scenario works in the reverse if you want to offer consent. So, if you like to be choked, but aren’t sure that your partner will ask, then you can say, “Can you choke me?” during sex. Asking for what you want — whether it’s choking, oral, or a simple ass grab — won’t ruin the moment, it’ll make things even more steamy.

If I was having sex with someone for the first time, I wouldn’t want them to assume that I like to be choked.
Mistress Velvet, BDSM Dominatrix

Of course, you might feel as if you’re being thrown out of your sexy headspace at first if you or your partner aren’t accustomed to asking questions before, during and after sex. But practice makes perfect, and eventually you’ll not only get used to it, but also come to appreciate the benefits of getting exactly what you want, and being able to give someone else exactly what they want.

Mistress Velvet says that she struggled to make consent sexy at first, too. “Definitely at times [in my vanilla sex life], people would say, ‘Why are you asking me so many questions?’ and it would sometimes pause things,” she says. In those moments, she would explain that she has a history of sexual trauma, and so it’s important to her that her needs are being heard.

Maybe there’s no trauma in your past, but it’s still important to ask for and give consent regardless of your sexual history. When you’re first starting to have these conversations, you’re likely not going to be good at it. And there’s a chance that starting the consent convo will take you out of the mood, or that someone might no longer want to have sex with you because they feel that you’re making it too complicated. Those are moments to ask yourself: Is it more important to have sex or more important to learn how to stand up for my needs?

“If someone doesn’t make the space to have that kind of conversation with you, I would question if they’re a person that you feel safe with,” Mistress Velvet says. “A conscious and aware person would be like, ‘Yeah, this feels really awkward and I don’t have experience with this. Let’s just try it out.'”

Complete Article HERE!

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I Am A Barista By Day & A BDSM Teacher By Night

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By Kasandra Brabaw

To the people who come through the coffee shop where she works every day, Afrika is simply a barista. But to the BDSM community members who frequent the dungeon where she works every night, she’s Envy Adams, a “dom/sub/switchy sado-masochist” and all-around “kinky girl.”

In her dungeon life, Afrika is able to play with gender identity and power dynamics. She feels masculine and dominant in her everyday life, but is able to be more feminine and shy or submissive when she’s negotiating a BDSM scene with one of her play partners. “In my normal day, I’m wearing joggers and a button up and my backwards hats. And now I’m shopping for latex skirts and nipple tassels,” she says. In a new video for Refinery29, we see Afrika make the transition from masculine barista to hyper-feminine BDSM dungeon worker. As she shops for a wig and outfit for her alter ego, she explains how the BDSM community allows her to explore her sexuality and gender identity, and why consent is so essential for BDSM play.


 
“There is no sex involved, it’s just all play,” Afrika explains about the dungeons. The fact that BDSM doesn’t always involve sex — which Afrika defines as touching genitals — is only the first stereotype she breaks. She also shatters the idea that the BDSM community doesn’t really care about consent, given that the whole point is intentionally inflicting pain. In reality, people who practice BDSM are often way more skilled at asking for consent throughout an intimate experience than are people who don’t have kinky sex. “[BDSM is] a very consensual community. It’s an understanding, non-judgmental community,” Afrika says. “Gender and sexuality is not a big, important issue there. It’s all about how you treat the person, and your consenting and negotiating of the scene that you’re going to partake in.”

Without ongoing consent, Afrika wouldn’t be hitting her play partners, or tying them up, or doing anything else with them. It’s also very important to her that there’s never alcohol involved in any of her BDSM scenes, because alcohol blurs lines of consent. “Being sober during a scene is super critical,” she says. “You don’t want to negotiate anything under the influence.”

So while it may seem to non-kinky folks that BDSM is a free-for-all, do-whatever-you-want kind of sexual experience, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As Mistress Yin, a BDSM dominatrix, told Refinery29 previously: “Even if you’re saying ‘Yes, I want to be placed into bondage,’ it does not mean that you’re saying yes to all the different things that could happen to you while you’re in bondage. There has to be so much really honest communication with your partner.”

Complete Article HERE!

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A Professional Dominatrix’s Advice For Powering Up Your Sex Life

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A professional Dominatrix explains how a trip to the dungeon can help average couples enhance their sex lives.

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It’s been said that every hopeful needs a mentor, and it may be so. But when it comes to sex, there’s not a lot of hierarchy around to guide you. Unless, of course, you look to the professionals. Mistress Justine Cross has been a professional BDSM consultant and lifestyle Dominatrix for more than a decade. In that span, she’s helped a lot of individuals bring their deep-seated fantasies to life. More recently, however, she expanded her practice to include a new demographic of potential clients: married couples. She brings couples down to her dungeon and offers them tips, tricks, and a little bit of rough treatment. Considering how one of the most popular sexual fantasies in America is BDSM, it’s a smart business move. We spoke to Cross about what the dungeon can teach these duos about intimacy, communication, and good sex.

Booking an appointment with a professional Dominatrix seems like a pretty extreme move, especially to the pedestrians out there. What could regular couples gain from a trip to the dungeon?

I think heterosexual couples tend to have one idea of what sex is and why it needs to be a certain way. BDSM allows you to explore things that fall outside of the standard penis-in-vagina sex. There are other intimate things to do. I do consultations with people who want me to talk them through different dynamics and role-plays. Other times, I introduce couples to some new moves. I teach them how to tie each other up, or how to hit someone without hurting them. I’m there to spice things up for them. I’m there to make things more fun.

How often do they come back for more?

I get some repeat clients. It’s not usually something they do all the time. It’s kind of a special occasion thing. I get a lot of birthdays and anniversaries. A lot of women come in on their own, too. They want to learn about BDSM and bring home some skills to surprise their husbands with.

Sex is a pretty intimate process. Why would a committed couple want to bring a third person into the mix?

When there are two people, there’s no referee. I kind of act as a mediator. I get to see what the dynamic is between the couple, and then I get to call them on their shit. Sometimes one partner is trying to communicate something but the other isn’t listening. That’s when I get to tell them to shut up and let their partner talk. I can also be nicer than that. But, basically, the goal is to give both people what they want in a way where they can both be seen and heard. I also leave some time towards the end of the session for couples to be alone. It’s important for them to reconnect within the space without me there.

Sexy stuff aside, how can this kind of experience bring couples closer together?

Well, it’s kind of weird coming in here. I mean, a lot of people come in excited, but it is kind of weird, if you think about it. You’re about to go into this dungeon located in a strange part of town, where you’re going to take off your clothes and this tall, mean, and beautiful woman is going to do things to you. I mean it’s exciting, but also scary and weird as hell. It’s definitely different from going to pick up the dry-cleaning together. It’s a different kind of adventure.

Which BDSM staple would you most recommend couples adopt?

Communication. I’m always trying to get couples to really express what they like, and what they don’t. It’s important to have an idea as to what those things might be. Sometimes people spend a long time fantasizing about a certain scene, or a certain kind of sex that they want to have, and then realize it’s not actually for them. It’s important to recognize why they didn’t enjoy it, what they might want to change, and how they might want to experiment in the future. It’s important to give yourself room to make mistakes. You might not know what your limit is until you meet it. Being able to talk about it is what makes people feel safe.

Are there any common requests you get from couples?

With heterosexual couples, the guy is often put in the dominant position. But some guys want to switch it up. If their partner is also submissive, I can top both of them. Or maybe I’ll co-top one of them alongside their partner. There are a lot of different ways it can play out. I just cater to the couple in terms of what they want.

Is there anything else the dungeon can teach us about a healthy approach to sex?

I think it’s important to remember that sex can also be funny. It’s important to be able to laugh. Maybe you have a whole scene mapped out in your head, but you trip and fall in the middle of it all. It’s ok to laugh about it, even if your partner is tied up across the room. You have to give yourself room to make mistakes.

 

Most people become parents as a result of having had sex. At the same time, “parenthood” and “sex” aren’t exactly considered compliments. How do you think BDSM can help bridge the gap?

When people have sex, there’s really no plan. But BDSM scenes are very directed. You can put together a checklist of things you want to happen, or don’t want to happen. It’s like, ‘I have an hour to play with you, and it’s going to run this way.’ It can be very convenient when you’re on a schedule. You know you’re getting your carnal needs met in this specific way, in this specific time window of time. You get to look forward to it. And that’s an approach you can apply to more vanilla scenarios as well. People don’t really schedule sex as much as they maybe should. They think it should always be spontaneous. But that’s just not reality. It’s not a bad idea to have some kind of arrangement in place. Especially after kids.

Complete Article HERE!

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What does it mean to be a submissive?

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Until a few years ago, unless you were part of the BDSM community, submissive was just a word. 

You’d probably have thought that submissive meant meek, respectful, compliant and passive. And then 50 Shades of Grey arrived and the word took on a whole new meaning.

These days, the sexual side of the word ‘submissive’ means something else. It’s a descriptive word for a role that some people like to take during sex, role play or within their kinky relationship.

The submissive partner can be either the male or the female. It’s also possible for people to take it in turns to be the submissive one, which is known as ‘switching’.

Being submissive can be limited to during sex, when the submissive partner might be on the receiving end of masochism, bondage or other forms of domination. However, some submissive don’t limit their submission to within the bedroom, and will be a ‘lifestyle’ submissive.

Lifestyle submissive have sets of rules between themselves and their partners which govern their relationship. It might be small things such as calling your partner a term like ‘sir’ or ‘master’, it could be doing domestic labour, or it could involve spending large amounts of time naked in a cage.

Every submissive and dominant relationship is different and has different levels of intensity and different rules. It is more common to keep the dominant and submissive roles to the bedroom (or to specific periods of time) rather than living the lifestyle 24/7, as it can be difficult to sustain a relationship with an inherent imbalance, especially if you have a family.

It can be hard to understand why another person wants to be submissive if that’s not something you’re personally interested in. It’s important to try to understand and not to judge. As we have written before, there is a real difference between kinky and abusive. That difference is active consent.

Submissive relationships only work when they are based around consent. If you’re worried that a relationship has become toxic or dangerous, you should contact Relate or the National Domestic Violence hotline.

Complete Article HERE!

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9 Tips For Bondage Beginners

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By Kasandra Brabaw

Have you ever thought about tying your partner up with rope? Or being tied up yourself? It’s a kink that more people than you’d probably think are interested in trying. But as intriguing as the thought of bondage is, it can also be pretty scary.

There are so many questions when you first start out. What kind of rope do you get? What body parts are okay to tie up? Is it possible to seriously hurt your partner (or get hurt yourself)? How do you tell your partner what you do and don’t want to try? And what happens if you do it wrong?

Ahead, we talked with Yin Q, a dominatrix and writer/producer of BDSM webseries Mercy Mistress, to answer some of those questions. Read on for tips about consent, safety, rope types, and safe words.

1) Negotiation and consent.

Before anyone gets tied up, you and your partner(s) need to have a negotiation about what’s going to happen. And in that negotiation, you have to talk about consent, Yin says. “You have to know how you’re going to actually explore,” they say. You could start exploring bondage in an experiential way, where no still means no. But you could also try a theme where struggle is part of what makes bondage erotic. So, you’ll need to talk to your partner up front about what you want.

“It’s not that you just say yes to bondage and then that means that you’re saying yes to everything that happens after you’re in bondage,” Yin says. There are multiple things you and your partner have to consent to, whether you’re the top or the bottom in the bondage situation. But especially if you’re the bottom (the one being tied up). Once someone is in bondage, Yin says, they might enter something called “subspace” and might no longer feel comfortable negotiating what they do and don’t want to try. So it’s essential to have negotiation and consent up front.

2) Safe words.

Part of the negotiation process is establishing a safe word (or multiple safe words) with your partner. In BDSM, a safe word is something other than “no,” “don’t,” “stop” or any other word you’d usually use to tell someone to slow down. Because those words tend to be part of the play. “If you want to play with those roles and power dynamics, language can start changing meaning,” Yin says. Instead, use a word that usually wouldn’t come up in the context of sex. For beginners, Yin suggests “yellow” and “red.”

“‘Yellow’ meaning that you’re getting to your edge where you know something doesn’t feel right or that this is basically as much as you can take,” they say. “Red” meaning that you’re totally done with the scene and you want to be untied.

3) Knowing your bodies (and minds).

Does your partner have bad knees? Are you prone to back aches? Does anyone have diabetes or epilepsy? These are all things you and your partner should discuss before anyone gets tied up, because where you place the rope might exacerbate any of those problems.

And mental health is just as important as physical health. “If somebody has gone through trauma, language can become a trigger when you’re playing,” Yin says. Some people enjoy what’s called “slut play,” which is essentially dirty talk that uses words generally considered humiliating or degrading. But, for some, certain words can bring up insecurities. Yin, for example, feels totally fine using words like “slut,” “submissive,” and “dirty dog” in their play. But can’t stand saying or hearing the word “stupid.”

“For some reason, that triggers something in childhood for me,” they say. “It’s just not sexy to me. I’m very cerebral, so that’s going to call up a lot of insecurity for me.” So, like everything else, you’ll need to talk with your partner about which words are a no-go for them, and keep the communication open so they can tell you if something feels wrong in the moment.

4) Triggers

Just like words can be triggering, so can actions. And it’s important not to assume that something won’t be triggering, Yin says. As a switch (someone who both tops and bottoms), Yin says they can take a lot of masochism, like flogging and canning. “But, the one thing I cannot take is tickling,” they say. “I get angry, first of all, and then I also get nauseous.”

Their partners might not even consider that tickling could be a trigger — after all, tickling is something we do to tiny children, and it doesn’t hurt — but it’s important that they listen to them when they say they can’t handle it. As a beginner, you and your partner(s) might not yet know what your physical triggers are, so communication becomes important again.

5) Nerve damage.

Once you’re done with the negotiations and consent and other talking, there are some things you should know before tying someone up. Mainly, that certain areas are more prone to nerve damage than others. “Usually it’s around the elbows or the knees and especially the neck,” Yin says.

So, if you’re idea of bondage comes from beautiful photos of Shibari-style knots, then you’ll have to adjust your expectations. “Going into it as a beginner, one must learn the basics and also understand that each person’s body has it’s own capabilities,” Yin says. Anyone who’s just starting out should never put rope near the neck, because doing it wrong has the potential to cause serious damage.

6) Tingling.

If you’re the person being tied up, it’s important to tell your partner when you’re experiencing tingling in your fingers, toes, or anywhere else. That could be a sign that the rope is too tight or that you’re not in a comfortable position, Yin says. Tingling is fine for about 20 minutes, as long as it’s just a light tingle. But you should be able to move, to struggle against the rope (that’s part of the fun), and to move the rope around your skin.

When you’re tying someone up, Yin says to make sure their hands are below the heart and to get them into a position that’s going to be comfortable for them.

7) Safety.

When tying someone up, tighter might seem better. But that’s not true, Yin says. “If you’re the top, you want to be able to slip about two fingers underneath the rope, so that the rope can be moved around on the skin,” they say. That’s going to make bondage safer for the partner who’s on the bottom.

But, even if you’ve made the ropes loose enough, it’s important to have a pair of safety scissors like these close by, in case your partner needs to be cut out of the ropes quickly.

8) Types of rope.

Stretchy rope is best for beginners right? Wrong. Rope that has any elastic in it is dangerous, especially for beginners, because you can’t tell how much give it will have, Yin says. Instead, you’ll want to use a sturdy rope that moves nicely against skin. “I tend to start my classes with nylon rope, because it slides nicely against the skin, is laid very flat, and is smooth,” Yin says. “And then we graduate on to either cotton or hemp rope, which are the natural fiber ropes that are going to be a little bit more sturdy for any knots.” Cotton and hemp are more likely to give rope burn, though, so they’re not essential for beginners.

9) Aftercare.

People who do bondage often practice something called aftercare, which involves sitting down with your partner afterward and talking about what you did and didn’t like. This is especially important for beginners, since you don’t yet know what about bondage turns you on.

But don’t think that you can’t continue talking about it once that first sit-down is done. Aftercare can last days, Yin says. “If something comes up three days later and you think, ‘Oh my God, that was triggering something else for me,’ to share that with your partner or at least to be able to honestly pinpoint it for yourself is really important.”

So, once your first-time bondage is done, replay the experience again and again. Even if it doesn’t make you realize something that could have gone better, it’ll likely make you even more excited for the next time.

Complete Article HERE!

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7 kinks and fetishes that are more popular than you think

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By Lea Rose Emery

No matter how comfortable you are with a new partner, talking about kinks/fetishes can feel like a big step. But the truth is, they’re way more common than you might think — and if you feel sure that you have a totally weird kink or quirk, you’re almost certainly not alone. Most fetishes are way more common than you would imagine, so there’s really nothing to be embarrassed about.

There are so many popular fetishes out there. That’s because not only are fetishes totally normal, but many of us actually have more than one.  According to one survey by Ann Summers, the sex toy retailer, it’s not uncommon to have more than one kink or fetish. In fact, while more than a quarter of people said they had more than one, 17 percent of people said that they had three or four. So just because somebody’s into BDSM or has a hair fetish, doesn’t mean that’s their only one. That means if you’re feeling self-conscious about your own proclivities, it’s time to relax — we’ve all been there. The more you start talking about and exploring your kinks and fetishes, whether with a partner or a community or even at a sex shop, the more normal you’ll realize they are.

And if you don’t think of yourself as a fetish person, it may be that you just have found yours yet. If you’re interested in playing around, knowing the most common fetishes is a good place to start. Though there’s no international fetish database, you can glean a pretty good idea of the most popular options by seeing what comes up in surveys the most frequently. Once you get a sense of those, you can decide what appeals the most and start experimenting.

Here are the kinks/fetishes that tend to come up the most — because you never know until you try.

1. BDSM

Call it that 50 Shades of Grey effect, call it human nature, but again and again, BDSM tops the list of fetishes. In fact, in that same survey from Ann Summers a whopping 74 percent of people said they were into it. Try subbing, try domming — who knows? You may love both.

2. Foot fetishes

Foot fetishes are another quirk that repeatedly comes at the top of fetish lists. Seriously — having a thing for feet is way more common than you think. This isn’t to be confused with a shoe fetish, which is also very popular, though they two can certainly overlap. Apparently, foot fetishes are so popular because of the way our brains are sometimes wired, although Freud thought it was all to do with the fact that feet look like penises. Which makes me wonder — what the hell did Freud’s penis look like?

3. Costumes and role play

A classic and popular fetish is dressing up and role-playing. In fact, one survey found that this was a fetish that ranked high on the desirability scale and low on the taboo scale, which means it’s an ideal way to ease yourself into trying fetishes. A lot of people are open to it and it’s nothing to feel weird about bringing up. From the classic maid’s uniform to something more daring, there are plenty of costumes to try.

4. Voyeurism and exhibitionism

There’s a reason that “dogging” is so popular in Britain. Some people like to watch others have sex — and some people like to be watched. And of course, some people like both. This fetish can manifest in more vanilla or kinkier ways. It might be that you just watch your partner masturbate or vice versa, maybe you experiment with sex in public places, or maybe group sex helps scratch that itch. You can start with more vanilla versions and work your way up to find where your boundary is.

5. Rubber, latex, and leather

For some people, it’s all about the texture. According to the sex toy retailer Lovehoney, “rubberists” and other texture fetishisms are very popular. It has a BDSM twist, with some people finding that the material itself has a bondage-like quality, although apparently for some it’s the smell that turns them on.

6. Crossdressing

Gender play is another exciting option — and one that you can experiment with to find different limits. Cross-dressing continues to be a popular fetish and can be a great way to experiment with slightly kinkier sex because it can be as simple as switching clothes.

7. Spanking

Though some might put spanking in the BDSM realm, it actually seems to be so popular in its own right that it deserves its own category.  That may be because, for a lot of people, spanking provides a slightly more vanilla option — or an intro to BDSM. It can also be combined with many other fetishes, while for some just a good spanking is enough.

There is no limit to what can be fetishized, but some fetishes are definitely more popular than others. Start experimenting with the more common ones and see what excites you — you never know where it might lead.

Complete Article HERE!

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Kinky Sex Could Be the Secret to Your Success

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Turns out whips and blindfolds are the unseen force behind a lucrative career—and a satisfying love life.

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[C]laudia wasn’t sure if it was nerves or the night before that had given her the confidence to ask her boss for a raise. Either way, negotiating her salary was easier than expected. She’d been practicing, after all… just on something a little less G-Rated.

The 36-year-old mother-of-two, who asked me not to use her last name, had spent the past few days negotiating with her husband about how she could flex her longtime fantasy of dominating him in a way they’d both enjoy. Afterward, she told me, the experience had made her feel confident, valued, secure and pleased at their ability to compromise—feelings which she was surprised to find lasted into the the following day. When she arrived at work, still swimming in the satisfaction of a fantasy realized, she decided this was it. Raise day.

The way Claudia was able to benefit from her erotic encounter is a common theme among people with knacks for kink. Many successful visionaries throughout history, from artists to scientists and even politicians, have had well-documented kinks and fetishes that affected how they operated in their daily lives. I was curious: Could it be that whips and blindfolds are the unseen force behind their artistry, leadership and innovation?

A wave of recent research has confirmed this: If it’s something you desire in the first place, kinky sex can benefit you not just in the bedroom, but outside of it as well. “Unconventional” sexual practices and fantasies, such as BDSM, group sex, or role play, have been shown to reduce psychological stress, improve mental health and can help with satisfying and communicative relationships. Kinky people have also been found to have higher self-worth than those who are too afraid or ashamed to pursue their fantasies; all positive effects, which Los Angeles-based sex therapist, Jamila Dawson, LMFT, says can help optimize your goals, mood and overall well-being even after kinky play ends.

“A healthy relationship to kink can absolutely be the underlying cause of some people’s success,” explains Dawson, who specializes in kink and polyamory. “I see this all the time in my practice.”

No wonder Claudia felt so motivated.

So, how is it that kink is able to give the people who practice it such an edge? Why would getting lost in the fantasy of floggers, blindfolds and safe-words matter in everyday moments like asking for a raise?

The answer is multifaceted, but the primary way kinky sex gives people a life boost is the fascinating way in which it can affect the brain.

Activities like BDSM can actually alter the pattern of blood flow within the brain, creating a number of favorable mental states with positive effects similar to that of mindfulness and meditation, according to recent findings by Dr. Brad J. Sagarin, Professor of Psychology at Northern Illinois University and founder of the BDSM Research Team. These mental states are highly distinctive, altered states of consciousness which can improve mood, enhance cognition and heighten our capacity to form original ideas and novel connections, adds Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a faculty affiliate of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and author of the blog Sex & Psychology. In the context of kinky sex, these distinct head spaces are called “flow.”

Flow is most often described as a transcendent state of heightened sensory awareness, focus, presence and euphoria. It can be intense—it’s not uncommon for people to feel high, floaty, melty, tingly, or detached from both time and their body. Most commonly, it’s brought on by the endorphins released during a physically intensive experience (flogging or spanking, for example; similar to a runner’s high), but the same feeling can be brought on by passionate mental or emotional stimulation.

Interestingly, the quality of these altered states can differ according to the type of kinky play someone’s involved in. In particular, Dr. Sagarin’s research found that dominance and submission activates two unique types of flow that enhance creative and emotional conditions.

More specifically, Dr. Sagarin found that the participants who played the submissive role in their experiment achieved greater transient hypofrontality, which refers to a feeling of peacefulness and happy detachment, where time has slowed down. Runner’s high, meditation and even some drug highs produce a similar effect. Meanwhile, dominant participants experienced slightly different altered state. As opposed to a dreamlike detachment, those in the dominant role felt a greater sense of control, a loss of self-consciousness, clearer goals and heightened concentration—less of a “high” in their case; more of a laser focus.

When you’re in one of these flow states, Dr. Lehmiller continues, you’re operating with much lower levels of self-awareness. You’re focused; you’re in the zone. It’s like playing an instrument—when you think too hard about what you’re doing and how each note is supposed to sound, you psych yourself out and make mistakes as your body tries to catch up to your brain’s over-analysis. But when you detach from that hyper-awareness of yourself and let things, well, flow, they come out naturally. They sound better.

That’s precisely the mental state in which both creativity and productivity flourish best—when we’re not concerned with moment-to-moment survival or the stressful mundanities of everyday life.

Outside of the bedroom (or dungeon, or… wherever), feelings of flow can stay with a person anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, during which time Dawson, the sex therapist, says many of her clients and kinky acquaintances harness their power for a variety of uses. One acquaintance in particular, she tells me, was able to overcome a severe case of writer’s block the morning after her partner finally obliged her rope bondage fantasy. The catharsis of a fantasy realized—and the freedom to inhabit her desires in a safe and trusting space—put her in a creative mood.

World-famous composer Georg Friedrich Haas is a more well-known example of this. In 2016, The New York Times chronicled the unusual union between Haas and his wife, writer and sex educator Mollena Williams—a 24/7 kinky relationship in which Haas, now a 64-year-old music professor at Columbia University, played the role of Master; Williams, his ever-doting Submissive. Reportedly, the two fell in love after Haas told Williams he wanted to “tame” her on OkCupid. (“I find intense fulfillment in being able to serve in this way,” she told The New York Times, describing the situation as feminist because it’s her choice.)

In the article, Haas directly attributes his success as an artist to his kinky (and sexually vibrant) marriage, which he said had “dramatically improved his productivity and reshaped his artistic outlook.” After three divorces and a lifetime of repressing what he’d once considered “devilish desires,” he explained that the freedom to not only explore, but live in his dominant fantasies had “roughly doubled” his artistic productivity.

This delights, but does not surprise Dawson.

“In general, I’ve found that people who engage in forms of expansive sexuality such as kink are more creative or imaginative in their jobs or recreational life,” she says. “The culture of kink supports their creative drives. It gives them a space to play with the limits and boundaries of their bodies and minds, and with mental states such as surrender, fear, playfulness and surprise. In that sense, kink’s not so different from art, design or any creative venture. It’s a totally valid form of self-expression.”

Of course, not everything kinky immediately leads to a revelation, artistic inspiration or a sudden solution to a long-suffering problem, but, as Dawson points out, getting into a headspace where it’s more likely to happen definitely doesn’t hurt.

In fact, while many people still hold the belief that fantasizing in a relationship means you’re unhappy with your partner (a faulty theory devised by Freud in 1908 which has since been debunked), it has been reported that people who incorporate fantasy into their sex lives reap a surprising number of benefits. Frequent fantasizers have sex more often, engage in a wider variety of erotic activities, have more partners, masturbate more and orgasm more reliably than people who fantasize infrequently, or don’t fantasize at all.

And just having sex can also make you more productive at work. A 2017 study from Oregon State University found that having sex before work—either the night before or the morning of—made people more engaged and efficient on the job.

Fantasy-based sex can also decrease stress and anxiety much like meditation and exercise, only rather than through silence or sweat, the reward comes through say, the satisfying swish of a paddle, or the worshipping of a lovely foot. Kinky sex has also been linked to the sorts of changes in cortisol levels which can reduce psychological and physical stress; correlated with better physical and mental health, increased life span, better coping skills, and improved mood. Show us a job, relationship, creative project or personal goal that can’t be helped by those things.

Expressing a fantasy, a particularly intimate form of connection, can even increase intimacy and connectedness in relationships. One 2009 study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior found people who practice sadomasochism (consensually exploring the pleasure of pain) show an increase in relationship closeness. This, researchers theorized, is because safely executing that kind of play takes a great deal of trust, acceptance and communication.

“Most people in mainstream relationships tend to reserve the most transparent and direct communication for challenging situations like a fight or some obstacle that requires they finally ‘break down’ into total honesty,” Dawson continues. “By contrast, when responsible people engage in kinky acts, there is almost always clear, intimate communication and respect for boundaries, two things that build trust like nothing else.” And even if you identify as vanilla, you can still benefit from communicating like kinky people do: with limits, safety, comfort, and compromise in mind.

Translating that to other areas of your life—either at work or in relationships—isn’t that big of a jump. Midori, a renowned fetish and sexuality educator who teaches a three-day domination intensive for women called ForteFemme, tells me her students utilize her kinky negotiation tactics in a number of practical ways.

One, an IT manager, uses her negotiation training to “discover what motivates potential employees and their compatibility with the scope of the project and team environment.” Another has a special-needs child in school. When school administrators tried to shirk their responsibilities and blame her parenting, she used the physical postures of dominance and negotiation skills Midori taught her to advocate for her daughter’s well-being.

“We learn so much about our bodies and our minds when we engage in kinky sex,” explains Dawson. “It absolutely makes sense that we’d transfer that knowledge to other endeavors.”

Perhaps this transference is why people who engage in BDSM and kink have been found to be happier, more conscientious and less neurotic than people who don’t engage in so-called “deviant” sex.

The question that remains then, is not whether kink is safe, healthy and beneficial, but how you can apply it to your life. If you’ve been harboring kinkier desires and feel empowered to communicate them, one way to cash in is pure honesty: Turn to your partner after reading this and have a discussion about how you’d like him or her to spank you, armed with the knowledge that them doing so can benefit you in ways beyond the thrill of the sensation.

Ideally, that knowledge can help mitigate any shame or embarrassment the prospect of sharing and negotiating your kinky fantasies may bring, but if you’re not ready to communicate your kinky interests—or simply don’t harbor them at all—there are other ways to go about reaping the rewards.

“Let’s be clear, it’s not kinky sex itself that makes life better,” Midori cautions. “It’s the conversational skills and self-knowledge needed to engage in it that makes life better.”

A small, but significant tool she recommends is to start noticing and logging each occasion you don’t speak what you really want, or you minimize your wants in comparison to another’s. These are areas to apply the communication, negotiation, self-awareness and creative thought kink affords. Changing these habits isn’t easy, she says, but they address a lifetime of putting your own needs aside. In kink, when there’s consent, it’s okay to put yourself first.

Dawson offers some of her own advice inspired by safe BDSM practices to help you reach flow during any kind of sex, be it vanilla or covered in more leather than an industrial tannery.

“Setting the scene, taking the time to breathe and slowing sex down to a pace that’s much slower than you’re accustomed to are all things kinky people do to get the most out of their scenes and interactions,” she says. Enhanced pleasure and erotic creativity, Dawson reminds us, can be achieved when you’re not focused on a particular outcome—rather, simply immerse yourself in the experience, concentrate fully, and remain open to what arises in the moment. You can get into the same sort of flow states that latex-clad dominatrixes can, sans the craving for control.

The experience of living one’s fantasy in a safe, consensual space that’s free of judgment and expectation, it seems, far outweighs the perceived benefits of keeping kinky desires under wraps. If you have them, try bringing them to light. At the very least, you might get a raise out of it.

Complete Article HERE!

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8 Bondage Sex Positions For When You Want To Get A Little Kinky

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[Q]uestion: Do you have a bedframe? A silk scarf? A tie? A pair of stockings? Something you could wrap around your arm without it chafing or pulling hair? Great, let’s talk bondage.

If you are looking to dip a toe into kink, bondage is a great place to start: Most of the tools you need are likely lying around your house already, making this a fairly low-fuss fulfillment of any BDSM fantasies you may have. But before you grab the nearest bandana and strap your partner to a kitchen chair, there are a few things you should know.

First of all, you and your partner should discuss your boundaries: which of you is willing to be tied up and/or tied down; what you want done to you in that position, and what you don’t; how much pressure you’re into; and what safe word will signal when one of you has had enough.

Pay attention to your partner’s body language during the act, too, and ask them how they’re doing if you think they look uncomfortable.

And remember: You don’t need to hog-tie someone to reap the erotic rewards of restraint—the mere act of having your wrists bound, whether or not you actually could worm your way out of the ties if you wanted, is hot all on its own.

See for yourself with these eight bondage-perfect sex positions.

1 Conquistador

How to: Missionary is the easiest possible position for beginner bondage: Simply lie on your back with your arms above your head and your legs spread, then have your partner bind your wrists and ankles to the bed frame.

In a previous interview with WomensHealthMag.com, licensed sex therapist Vanessa Marin recommended Sportsheets’ under-the-bed restraint system ($29, amazon.com), because its velcro cuffs are easily removed for a quick escape if you decide in the moment that you no longer want to be bound.

2 Cowgirl

Whether you opt for standard or reverse cowgirl, woman-on-top positions provide a perfect opportunity for you to take complete control.

How to: Have your partner lie on their back and bind their wrists and ankles, either together or to the bed frame, with a silk scarf, a tie, or hell, even your own underwear. Once they’re adequately restrained, straddle them facing forward or away, whichever you prefer.

Because they’re tied down, you can switch it up as often as you see fit—playing with your clit, or maybe pulsing a bullet vibe on your partner’s perineum, nipples, or clit (try the Tenga Iroha Stick, $20, amazon.com.) Basically, you get to do whatever you want—you’re in charge.

3 Leap Frog

How to: Lie with your stomach flat on the mattress (or wherever you’re going to be having sex) and have your partner bind your wrists together over your head. Maybe have them blindfold you, too, because why the hell not?

Then, have them lift your hips to enter you from behind, keeping your shoulders down and your knees rooted while he (or she) thrusts.

4 Rear Entry Standing

Here’s one for the flexible among you!

How to: Bend over and have your partner bind your wrists to your ankles, with your feet anchored shoulder-width apart for better balance.

Have your partner enter you from behind, keeping their hands on your hips to make sure you don’t topple over. Try a hands-free couples vibrator, like the Eva II ($135), for added clitoral stimulation.

5 Pinball Wizard

This one is like the leap frog, but in reverse.

How to: Lie down with your back flush to the mattress and then lift your hips into the air, as if you were doing a bridge in yoga. Then, have your partner bind your wrists behind your back and grab your butt, so you can wrap your legs around their waist as they thrust.

6 Seated Rear Entry

How to: For this one, grab a sturdy chair and park your partner’s butt in it. Then, tie their wrists and ankles to the frame, and once they’re ready to go—after a little oral sex, maybe—straddle them and pump up and down. Whether you face them or turn away is entirely up to you.

7 Knees To Chest

How to: To best introduce bondage into a knees-to-chest position, have your partner bind your ankles and calves together. Then, while you’re lying on your back, drape them over one shoulder as your partner penetrates you. You can also make use of those restraints or even cuffs, and have your partner bind your wrists above your head.

8 Downward Dog

How to: For this one, assume roughly the same position as leap frog, but have your partner handcuff your wrists behind your back and spread your legs. They should kneel between your legs and enter you from behind while your body is flat against the mattress, ground, kitchen table, wherever. Then, have them reach a hand around to stroke your clitoris—because to neglect it would be very rude indeed.

Complete Article HERE!

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BDSM and consent

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How to stop rough sex crossing the line into abuse

[W]hen allegations of assault were made against New York’s top prosecutor Eric Schneiderman this week, he denied them, saying engaging in non-consensual sex was a line he would not cross.

“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone,” he told The New Yorker magazine, which broke the story.

Four women say he repeatedly slapped them and one said he insisted she call him “master” in non-consensual situations.

One former girlfriend, Michelle Manning Barish, said: “This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong… I did not consent to physical assault.” New York prosecutors are investigating the allegations.

This is not the first time a man accused of assault has claimed he was consensually engaging in rough sex (in Mr Schneiderman’s case, he was in a sexual relationship with three of his four accusers; a fourth woman said he hit her after she rebuffed him).

In 2014, Canadian musician and former radio host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of multiple sexual assault charges after several women claimed he had choked, slapped and bitten them without warning or consent.

And in 2015, nine women accused adult film star James Deen of assaulting them and not respecting their sexual boundaries or safe words. He denied the accusations and no charges were ever brought.

In recent days, Mr Schneiderman’s case has come under close scrutiny in the BDSM community, an overlapping acronym for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism.

The BBC spoke with sex experts and prominent members of the community who said full and free consent was a vital element of the practice, in which partners consent to inflicting or enduring pain or physical abuse.

They said they were keen to explain what does, in fact, make a consensual BDSM relationship.

“Stuff like this, doesn’t give [BDSM] a good name,” said Allen TG, one of the directors of Torture Garden, the world’s largest fetish club. “Generally in a BDSM relationship, there are fairly strong guidelines – it’s all about consent.”

Many people who practise BDSM, which is an aspect of kinky sex, may not consider themselves to be in a BDSM relationship or an active member of the community because the exploration of boundaries in sexual imagination are deeply personal and subject to individual tastes.

Certified sex coach Sarah Martin explained: “A lot of people start with something as simple as a blindfold, and it can be erotic and connecting, it doesn’t have to involve equipment or paraphernalia.

“Consent should be freely given, and it should be reversible at any point,” said Ms Martin, who is also executive director of the World Association of Sex Coaches. “Many people think that if you consent, that you agree until it’s done, but that’s not at all how it’s done.”

BDSM vocabulary

  • Kink – a broad term that usually encompasses sexual acts considered outside the norm
  • BDSM – this acronym is described as a pre-agreed power exchange, sometimes not explicitly sexual
  • Dominant and submissive – the names for the roles individuals enact during BDSM practice
  • Play and scene – BDSM participants describe themselves as playing in a scene
  • Munch – a casual social meet-up for people involved in or interested in BDSM
  • Vanilla – refers to someone, or sex, that is not kinky
  • Safe words – words or a gesture pre-agreed with your partner to alert them to your physical and mental limits
  • Aftercare – argued to be just as important as the scene, this is personal to the individual but may involve blankets, cuddles, conversation and a cup of tea to ease both participants physically and emotionally back to normality

To exercise informed consent, the sub – the abbreviated form for submissive – needs to know what activities will take place and how.

“Different bodies respond to touch in different ways,” explained the sex coach. “You may agree to spanking, but then if your partner uses a paddle, then that’s not informed consent.”

“It is entirely unacceptable to ‘surprise’ someone with slaps, whips, blindfolds, or anything like that if you haven’t spoken to them about it before,” said anonymous sex blogger Girl on the Net.

Mr Allen added that there’s a misconception that the dominant partner – or dom as they are sometimes called – is the one with control.

“A good dom is giving pleasure to the submissive, and that’s what gives the dom pleasure. If it’s only going one way, then that’s when it’s not healthy,” the fetish club organiser said.

Clinical sexologist Dr Celina Criss agreed. “It can be said that the power in a scene lies with the submissive because nothing can happen without their agreement.”

Playing it safe

Communication and understanding are cornerstones to any healthy relationship, the experts say. Because there is intimacy in divulging personal fantasies, a level of trust is also developed when establishing a BDSM relationship.

“People who participate in the BDSM community pride themselves on their communication and negotiation skills,” said Dr Criss. “Ideally, negotiation happens before partners ever touch each other.”

Traffic light colours are common safe words used between BDSM partners

Girl on the Net recommended listening carefully, reading the other person’s body language and tone, asking questions to check in and making sure they’re comfortable at every step of play.

The anonymous author also explained that in BDSM there are “pre-agreed safe words or gestures that mean – stop this immediately”.

A simple and common example of this is the traffic light system, using colour cards or the words themselves. Green means “that’s great, keep going”, explained Ms Martin. “Yellow is a check in, but not necessarily a stop, and red is no – it means stop, it means it’s done.”

So why isn’t “no”, as a word, enough?

“For some people, saying no but not being listened to may be part of the sexual fantasy,” explained the sex coach. “But you’ve negotiated this ahead of time so the dominant knows that’s part of your cathartic pleasure.”

Crossing the line

Overstepping a sexual boundary can and does happen, but sexologist Dr Criss said an adherence to communication, negotiation and repeated mutual consent keeps rough sex from becoming wilful abuse.

“People who are not involved in BDSM are likely to have many misconceptions based on what they’ve seen in movies,” she said, referring specifically to the popular erotic romance novel and film series Fifty Shades of Grey.

Ms Martin warned that such mainstream depictions of BDSM relationships are fantasy, and almost never show the level of negotiation and ongoing conversations that shape a successful BDSM experience. She says: “The quickest way for [abuse] to happen is if there isn’t communication.”

Girl on the Net likened it to a contact sport. “BDSM is to abuse what boxing is to being punched by surprise. The former is done with consent and an understanding of risks. The latter isn’t, and is assault.

“I also know that ‘BDSM made me do it’ has been an excuse used by powerful men in the past to try and dodge accountability for their actions. It’s not acceptable… BDSM is not an excuse for abuse.”

“It can be sexy, but also deeply caring,” explained sex coach Ms Martin. Kinky sex should never be used as a way to defend violent behaviour, she said.

“It makes me feel it makes an attempt to take advantage of general societal ignorance of BDSM,” she said.

Complete Article HERE!

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Here’s How Consent and BDSM Role-Play Actually Work

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In an article published in The New Yorker, four women detailed the extreme psychological and physical violence they say they experienced at the hands of former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. In response, Schneiderman resigned, but he also made a disturbing statement linking these women’s allegations with sexual role play. His claim was promptly dismissed by Ronan Farrow, one of the reporters who broke the story, and the women who allege he assaulted them. (One of the women wasn’t even in a relationship with Schneiderman at the time, and all the alleged acts of violence happened well outside the context of sex.) The Cut spoke to sex and BDSM educator Barbara Carrellas, who explains exactly why Schneiderman’s “role play” defense is so flawed.


[R]ole play means two people had a conversation and decided: I think this sounds really hot, now how can we sensibly play this out. You need to negotiate before you start playing. When you negotiate, you talk transparently about what you like, your no-go zones and you state what (in certain circumstances) you might be okay with. We call it the yes/no/maybe list. For acts that you decide are a “maybe,” you should think very deeply about what conditions would have to be in place for that “maybe” to be a “yes.” Get specific — there can’t be any surprises. You also distinguish between what you would give and what you would like to receive. Maybe you enjoy being spanked, but you have no interest in spanking? Then you and your partner can switch lists you can see where they match up.

Being slapped, choked, spit on, and called racial slurs out of nowhere by a drunk person with no prior discussion of kink or role play is a red light of volcanic brightness. For most people, those fall under “edge play,” and that’s the most carefully negotiated play in BDSM. It’s much better to let a desire go unfulfilled for the moment than to be left physically or emotionally injured.

When you have both consented to something that requires skill, or has potential to trigger — such as receiving a slap on the face — your partner should know how to safely execute it and be prepared to support you emotionally. The kind of BDSM we have been talking about, consensual play, requires affirmative yeses, which are all prenegotiated. Of course, you can consent to being slapped on the face, or to being called a slave, but that did not happen here. The slapping as described in this article was bang-on brute violence.

In BDSM role play face-slapping is a trigger for a whole lot of people. The trigger level is so high that we really need to get three times consent. People who slap should learn how to do it safely, and you would never slap someone on an ear. Before the role play, the slapper would ask, are you sure you have no triggers from childhood? Have you ever been slapped before? If so, under what circumstances? Someone might say, “I was slapped a lot in the past by someone who hated me but I want to try being slapped in role play so I can see what it’s like.” I would move very slowly and I’d probably stop after the slap so we can process it and if the receiver wanted to go further we would pick up at a later date.

Responsible BDSM players do not negotiate or play while intoxicated. There was a lot of drinking reported in the story about Schneiderman. You can’t give consent and you can’t accept consent when you are intoxicated. When you are asking for consent you are asking someone to turn over their emotions and their bodies to loan you a piece of their power. We don’t lend power to drunks and drug addicts. People who are BDSM sadists or doms are not enacting their will on a poor, helpless victim; they are accepting responsibility to give someone an experience they have asked for and they are responsible for the result.

A master-slave contract takes time, thought, and sensitivity to negotiate. Schneiderman’s reported references to terms like “master” and “slave” are alarming. Master-slave contracts are negotiated between two consenting, loving people, and they usually take years. They are fine-tuned so that everyone knows where they stand. You discuss exactly how much power is given up and in which situations. They typically do not include what someone eats, and most masters do not order their slave to remove things like tattoos from their bodies.

Race play requires extra-sensitive negotiation and consent. It’s reported that Schneiderman called one of his partners his “brown slave” and demanded that she repeat that she was his property. Race play is just as, if not more, delicate a negotiation than master-slave. It is so loaded. They are some of the deepest, edgiest emotional role-play scenes that two loving people can agree to do together. They are not entered into casually. Or when drunk.

All play requires an affirmative yes from both partners to all planned activities. He was hitting these women so hard they had marks the next day. Marks would be part of the negotiation — you’d ask each other, “Are marks okay?” In cases where you have negotiated no marks and it seems like a sex act might leave a mark, a responsible top will stop and say: “I will not go any further because I can’t be certain that this won’t leave a mark; what else would you like that would not leave a mark?” You have to talk these things through and you have to do that when you are sober. This takes skill.

Nonconsensual breath play (choking) is about the most hideous nonconsensual act in SM, or at least it’s way high on the list. When you are controlling someone’s breath it is so dangerous. Most people don’t swim in that pond. You can do choking with a lot of acting, there are safe places on the neck like the collarbone. You can then put your fingers up over the throat to give the illusion of choking. BDSM is a collection of skills. BDSM players learn from people who know what they are doing.

Always establish a safe word.
When you use a safe word it means that you have to stop. You don’t want to deploy your safe word because you are miserable or hurt: Maybe you need to pee? Maybe a rope is too tight. You stop, come out of role immediately and ask: What do you need? The safe word would stop all play instantly — it doesn’t mean, okay, this is completely over; it just means when it’s uttered everything stops until we figure out why. Safe words are usually words that don’t come up during sex, saying “no no no no no” could be part of the scene. So when someone screams “grapefruit” in the middle of a rape fantasy, it’s clear what that means.

Accidents happen even when there is consent and proper preparation, but there’s a way to deal with that.
Of course role play doesn’t always go exactly as planned. If the giver accidentally makes a wrong stroke and hits some place they didn’t intend to hit, I recommend that the top should acknowledge it. You don’t have to come out of role, you don’t have to grovel. But if you tell the bottom “that was unintentional” that is very important for creating trust and letting the scene swim on. The top might put their hand on the spot to take the sting out. Or give them a kiss, and you can do all of that in a very dominant fashion.

Consent is ongoing, and it can be rescinded at any time.
Withdrawing consent is not renegotiation. Even if these women had consented to a little bit of rough sex (and there’s nothing wrong with that), they did not consent to being brutalized. They did not consent to being slapped in the face on the ear. They didn’t consent to being choked. It doesn’t matter what the role play was if they didn’t consent to that. Role-playing is consensual pretending, it is not BDSM without consent. It’s not violence and abuse.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to use handcuffs during sex in the best (and safest) way

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Please, please, please avoid cheap metal cuffs.

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[C]onsidering trying BDSM? If you’re looking for a beginner‘s way in, handcuffs are a really simple and super-fun way to start.

“Restraints are a fantastic way to explore the world of bondage and discover a new level of pleasure and play,” says Megan McCormack, sex expert for Ann Summers. “Using handcuffs may seem pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few key things to know to ensure you’re getting the most of being cuffed and doing it safely.”

Introducing restraints

When most people think of BDSM, a lovely, gentle chat is probably the last thing that springs to mind. But any form of BDSM play needs to be based on absolute trust and effective communication between partners.

“Establish consent, boundaries and safe words before you begin exploring,” Megan explains. “Talk to your partner about exactly what turns you on. Having this discussion through ‘dirty talk’ allows you to go into detail and build up a scenario to play out later, while building the suspense.

“Set the scene; seduce and relax with your partner,” she advises. Don’t have too many alcoholic drinks for ‘dutch courage’ though, safe BDSM play operates on the Safe, Sane, Consensual principle. This basically means you should be in a sensible frame of mind to take part. “Light candles, kiss and build the anticipation of what’s to come. A slow build makes your body more reactive to sensations,” Megan adds.
Pick your handcuffs style

There are so many different types of handcuffs and restraints, it’s really not necessary to walk away with bruised wrists (unless you’re into that, of course). A dominatrix once told me to never, ever use that cheap metal cuffs you see because they will cut your wrists up so badly. Avoid them at all costs.

“Always begin with soft cuffs, such as Silicone Quickie Cuffs. These stretchy handcuffs allow you to explore restraints without having to worry about getting stuck,” she says. You can play around with control, all in the comfort of knowing there are no pesky keys to lose.” Hypoallergenic silicone is a great and safe material for sex toys and accessories – and they’re soft, flexible and strong.

Chinese rope restraints and rope cuffs are also great introductory restraints for first-timers. “They’re made from soft yet sturdy material, and with sliding knots rather than clasp openings,” Megan explains. “Buckle cuffs are often the easiest type to use and their fabric or leather straps cause less irritation to the wrist during wear.” Plus, they’re often adjustable so you can have them as tight or loose as makes you comfortable.

Putting them on

Before anyone gets handcuffed to anything, you need to pick your position. “Whether you want your hands tied above your head, behind your back or to the bedposts, the options are endless,” Megan says. “If you’re the one being retained, you’ll have to rely on your partner to position you in your chosen cuffs. With your discussion beforehand, you should both be quite clear of what everyone wants and is comfortable with.

“Starting with either yourself or your partner laid on your back, and restrained with hands above your head, is a simple and pleasurable position to start in.” Whatever you want to do once you’re in position, is totally up to you. But it’ll leave you free to get into loads of awesome sex positions. “It also means that you can explore erogenous zones and both give and receive oral sex,” Megan says.

What next?

Communicate

“Reassure your partner by talking to them throughout, and telling them exactly what you’re going to do to them next,” Megan says. “This allows them to voice any concerns and can also settle any nerves they may have.”

Play with temperature and other accessories

Temperature play is so much fun, and introduces new sensations to your sex play. “Freezing lube in an ice cube tray is a super fun (and slippery) way to use it. With your lover’s hands already cuffed above their head, add a blindfold,” she says. “One sense becomes heightened when another is taken away. Watch how their body responds as you slide the ice cubes over them – the coldness will also increase skin sensitivity.”

Rubbing the frozen lube on their neck, nipples, inner thighs and genitals makes bloody rush to the area, too. “Kissing and licking their erect nipples, or gently blowing on their chilled, lubed neck will be the ultimate tease.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Finding power through play: How BDSM can fuel confidence

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By Emerald Bensadoun

[M]arianne LeBreton is suspended in mid-air, tied in an upside-down futumomo, legs bound together. The ropes cascade in intricate patterns, beginning at her ankles and working their way all the way around her wrists. The ropes arch her body backward. Her breathing steadies. Serenity washes through her. The slight discomfort of certain positions causes slow burns to spread across her body—but the pain is secondary to the relief. LeBreton becomes entrenched in a state of flow. Her mind is quiet. She’s enjoying the intensity, both emotionally and physically.

For LeBreton, bondage has become a meditative experience. When it comes to receiving pain, which she enjoys, it takes a certain focus and determination. LeBreton finds rope— especially Japanese rope bondage—to be particularly meditative. She equates BDSM to an empowering “sense of calm,” but it didn’t start out that way.

“What colour should it be?” thought LeBreton. She wanted her boyfriend to like it. As an 18-year-old student on a budget, it couldn’t be too expensive. For almost a week she scrolled through the internet until she finally came across what she was looking for. It was even in her price range. This was the one. Satisfied, she clicked “purchase.” LeBreton had just bought her first flogger—a whip with long tendrils coming out the end. “It felt like the beginning of something for me,” said LeBreton.

When asked about her first experience with BDSM, she grins from ear to ear, trying to visualize the details. “There wasn’t Fifty Shades of Grey but there was hentai,” she says. At the age of 13, LeBreton became fascinated with Bondage Fairies, an erotic manga about highly sexual, human-shaped female forest fairies with wings who work as hunters and police protecting the forest.

Now 30, LeBreton has an MA in sexology from Université du Québec à Montréal and owns KINK Toronto, an up-and-coming BDSM boutique in Toronto’s Annex. BDSM, she says, is about much more than pain—it’s about empowerment. LeBreton says we could use a little more playfulness in our lives. More sensuality. More discovery. “That’s usually what I hear from customers who are curious; they are excited and thrilled to be daring and to be doing this for themselves or their partners,” says LeBreton. “It’s definitely a journey of self-discovery and acceptance.” In her workshops, being naked and engaging in play publicly, she says, has helped with her confidence and body image.

In 2015, Christian Joyal, who has a PhD in psychology from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and his colleagues published a paper on fantasies; ranging from sex in a public places, to tying up a sexual partner, to watching same-gender sex and pornography. But there were also fantasies about being dominated sexually. These were present in 65 per cent of women and 53 per cent of men; dominating someone sexually, present in 47 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men; being tied up for sexual pleasure which appealed to 52 per cent of women and 46 per cent of men.

“From what we’ve seen, most people have a very strict image of what [BDSM] should look like, which is very restricting,” she says. BDSM, she notes, doesn’t have to involve leather. It doesn’t have to involve pain. Another mistake is attributing masculine or feminine traits to erotic behaviour. For many people, BDSM is a healthy way to express their sexuality and grain a sense of control in their lives and of their bodies.

In her workshops, being naked and engaging in play publicly, she says, has helped with her confidence and body image

When it comes to dominance and submission, negotiations, and boundaries, safety and consent are crucial. While the words “dominant” or “top” may conjure up images of complete control, those in the BDSM world know that the submissive, or “bottom” hold true power. “The bottom is the one who gets to decide what they would like, what they do not want, what their limits are,” says LeBreton, “It’s the top’s responsibility to follow that through. Of course some people have very specific kinks where it’s kind of like ‘I want you to take control.’ But that’s negotiated and within limits set by the bottom.”

Feeling in control can also be about letting go. Relinquishing that sense of control they exert in every other part of their lives can be therapeutic. For this reason, LeBreton says that men, especially those in positions of higher power, will often identify as submissives in the bedroom.

Alex Zalewski says he’s always been a little rough. But in a seven-year “vanilla” relationship, it was difficult to break routine. Months later, for the first time in Zalewski’s life, he felt horribly unsure of himself. He’d been flirting with a new girl for some time whose friends invited him to their apartment. But he was confused. “Spit in my mouth,” she demanded. “Slap me.” Zalewski was torn between arousal and inner turmoil. If there was one thing he’d ever been taught from a young age, it’s that good boys don’t hit women.

For Zalewski, empowerment is a quiet confidence, and feeling a level of control that builds pleasure from the knowledge that he is fulfilling his partners’ desires. Zalewski, who lives in Toronto’s downtown core, offers relationship and personal coaching for various clients in his spare time, but he doesn’t charge money for it. The women in his life kept asking him for advice on BDSM. He decided he would try his best. In 2016 he created Authentic Connections, to help people overcome their barriers in exchange for a relationship they’ve always wanted. His goal was to have someone open up to him enough about the types of barriers that were preventing his clients and their partners from having the sex life they wanted to have.

“What are your fantasies? What are your desires? What do you want out of your partner or partners?” He would ask them. Once he could get them to admit what they actually wanted, they would work out a plan. Develop themselves, develop their skills to be able to do the things that would help them achieve their goals. Zalewski says a lot of the time, this is the most difficult step for the people he’s met with. It’s hard for people to step outside their comfort zones sometimes, he says, because they’ve been conditioned into associating kink and BDSM with abuse and mental instability.

A person becomes curious in BDSM. They don’t tell their friends. Maybe they’re afraid of being ridiculed or judged. Maybe rejection. But maybe it’s none of those things. Maybe they just want to keep their personal life, personal.

In 2006, the Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality published an article that compared BDSM practitioners to published norms on 10 psychological disorders. Compared to the normative samples, those who actively engage in BDSM had lower levels of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological sadism, psychological masochism, borderline pathology and paranoia.

But just because a person likes to be controlled in the bedroom doesn’t necessarily mean those needs translate into the real world and can have dangerous implications for parties involved.

Jen Chan was 16. Her boyfriend was 24. He was her dominant and she was his submissive. “That was generally the dynamic of how our relationship went,” she says. But chipping away at her self-esteem, her boyfriend would pressure her into doing things she wasn’t sure if she was comfortable with, and she would go along with them, afraid of appearing inexperienced and childish to her older boyfriend. While BDSM allows you to play out different scenarios from that of everyday life, she says her first experience with dominance and submission was just an extension of the life she already had.

It’s hard for people to step outside their comfort zones sometimes, he says, because they’ve been conditioned into associating kink and BDSM with abuse and mental instability.

After their relationship ended, Chan says it took her several years until she felt confident enough to engage in BDSM again. Coming out as queer, she says, has also made all the difference. Chan now identifies as a switch, which is someone who enjoys partaking in both dominant and submissive roles, or both topping and bottoming.

“There is something very staged, controlled and intentional about BDSM, at least that’s the way I interact with it,” says Chan, who adds that her empowerment with BDSM lies in feeling like she’s doing something adventurous in an environment of her choice. Feeling satisfied sexually, she says, has made her feel more confident in the real world.

Is what you’re doing safe? Is what you’re doing consensual? Zalewski says risk awareness, the amount of risk a person is comfortable taking in order to attain the pleasure plays a large role in BDSM. From flesh hook suspension to unprotected sex, it’s important to understand the personal level of risk you are comfortable with when it comes to the acts you want to perform.

Chan says that while engaging in BDSM gave her the opportunity to try new things and step into new roles, most importantly, it allowed her to reclaim control, sexually. As a person begins to immerse themselves in BDSM, Chan says, they start to learn more about what makes them comfortable, where their boundaries lie, all while pushing themselves to continually learn new things—and to her, that’s all empowerment really is.

Complete Article HERE!

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