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Getting into BDSM Together: How to Be On the Same Page

Dangerous forces lie within me. You awaken them, and not to your advantage. You know how to paint pleasure, cruelty, arrogance in glowing colors.

-Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure.

-Marquis de Sade

Everyone has an opinion on BDSM. Many of these opinions, however, are based on what people have seen and heard, but not actually based on a complete understanding of what the term means.

Bondage, Discipline, Dominance & Submission, and Masochism is difficult to understand at a glance. We see bondage and dominance featured in steamy movies and novels. Sometimes you see kinksters on dating sites or sex documentaries talking about extreme practices that make you feel a little queasy.

But what a lot of people don’t understand about BDSM is that it’s a very vague and yet all-encompassing term.

What Is BDSM?

Defining what’s BDSM means we’re talking about a variety of erotic or roleplaying practices, or what a psychologist might call “interpersonal dynamics.”

But the average person would simply call it “exploring taboos”. Or, embracing what really turns you on. Not “vanilla sex” or what everyone else does. But the interesting stuff that almost no one you know does, but you can’t stop reading about it or watching it.

BDSM List

The fact that BDSM is an umbrella term for so many practices, and yet differs greatly with each individual, is what confuses people the most.

In fact, BDSM was not a term that entered the social consciousness until at least 1991 (the beginning of the internet) after people started to understand and appreciate “bondage, submission, and discipline” and then later sadism and masochism.

But not everyone that likes roleplaying or bondage is a masochist. Not every person who likes to be a dominant partner is a sadist. Not everyone that enjoys submission wants to be treated like a slave.

But these ideas, these fantasies, and taboos, are as old as human history.

Rather than pretend I’ve tried everything under the sun, let me just link to a great site that lists some of the more interesting BDSM activities.

There are many niches within BDSM, and there is such a thing as vanilla BDSM (which is what most people are interested in) and the more hardcore BDSM that enters into sadomasochistic territory.

That’s the problem too. One person’s extreme fetish (which he/she might be practicing for years on end) is going to scare the daylights out of someone new to BDSM who has questions, or may want to try something very simple!

Now before we go on to consider simple ways to get started in BDSM, let’s talk about more scientific stuff. Like why do people, particularly men, enjoy BDSM fun? Why isn’t vanilla sex enough?

Why BDSM Appeals to Him

Maybe you’ve noticed your guy seems attracted to kinky or naughty ideas. Or maybe you’ve just noticed that other women who openly talk about their kinky lifestyles provoke him.

It’s perfectly natural for men to envy other men or other women, their lives, their kinks, and even their sexual experiences. Just because you’ve met a cool and handsome guy certainly doesn’t mean that he’s had lots of ex-girlfriends, or lots of sexual encounters, and certainly not a lot of BDSM fun.

Most guys are just “window shopping”, wondering what they missed out on. They see a hot scene in a movie or read it in a book and find the idea exciting. And sure, movies don’t really get the realism of sex. But a sexy idea still lingers in a man’s mind.

That’s one reason why kink is so appealing. BDSM is not weird sex – it’s just good sex. When two people do it right, it makes for a great experience. It heightens the senses, it lets you indulge in a fantasy world rather than just vaguely thinking about a fantasy during vanilla sex – like most people.

The issue is how two people can approach it in a safe and sane manner.

Why People Get Into Weird or Hardcore BDSM

While BDSM is an umbrella term for many activities (some of which are not even sexual) the images or ideas of extreme fetishes may shock you.

And of course, your partner should never pressure you to do something you don’t want to do. That is and always will be abuse. Any sexual activity should be motivated by love and trust and not pressuring one’s partner into it!

But if you’re wondering why people do go to extremes, there is a logical explanation behind it.

Some people speculate that BDSM play comes from early childhood trauma.

Others say it has to do with the release of oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine, and even adrenaline. Like the idea that a little bit of pain can be arousing. It’s the same reason we eat hot food or ride roller coasters. The temporary spike of strong emotion – or the fight or flight instinct we all revert to in scary situations – can be an aphrodisisac for some people.

Here’s an article explaining why doctors think BDSM is such a big deal. Of course, psychiatry has had a contentious relationship with the BDSM community for a long time.

After all, doctors use to believe that everyone who was gay, trans, or even kinky had a mental illness! So sometimes it’s a case of judging behavior that we don’t understand yet.

BDSM Tickles the Curiosity

More than anything, BDSM tickles our curiosity for what we “don’t have”, rather than doing the same sexual routines all the time. So if a man seems intrigued by the lifestyle, or by another woman that’s into all the gameplay, don’t feel too threatened.

Men are naturally curious. Men like the idea of experimenting and playing with taboos. That makes him feel free, powerful, and confident. It might even turn him on sexually, to know he has a wife/girlfriend that encourages him to explore his limits and curiosities.

In contrast, a woman who only wants him to suppress his instincts, his desires, and actually shame him for his thoughts?

That could be a disaster later on. Men don’t want to be controlled. It reminds him too much of his mother and him getting in trouble as a kid. You don’t want to be his mother and tell him what not to do. You want to be his wife and appreciate him for what he is.

If he wants to be kinky, what’s the harm in letting him explore this world? What’s wrong with him exploring this other side of him?

How Do I Know My Man Wants BDSM?

Of course, an interest in BDSM doesn’t mean your guy is going to admit it so openly. Some men will avoid talking about it if they think you’ll take offense. Sometimes a man may avoid kinky conversation because he thinks he will be judged – if not by you, then by others who look down on the lifestyle.

He may even feel embarrassed because he associates BDSM with “Mr. Grey” (take your pick – either the billionaire guy from the book or James Spader in the 2002 cult-hit Secretary).

He doesn’t want to be laughed at. So he doesn’t want to say he’s curious about bondage or submission. His sexual preferences, his hottest fantasies, shouldn’t be something his partner laughs at. That’s a betrayal of trust.

You either want to fulfill his fantasy because you want to make him happy, OR you don’t like the fantasy and you’re not comfortable doing it. But if you feel intrigued by the foreplay idea and know he likes it just the same, why not try it once?

What I’d recommend, however, is to be careful about how you bring it up in conversation. There’s a right and wrong way to do it.

How Can I Bring Up BDSM Naturally in Conversation?

Talking about BDSM as some kind of cultural taboo might be the wrong way to broach the subject. Approaching any sexual conversation from a feeling of shame, fear, or laughter, is just going to project negative energy.

Here are some more subtle ways to get him to open up.

1. Talk About Fantasies, Not the BDSM Lifestyle

BDSM encompasses too much, that’s the problem. But talking about sex, about ways to make sex even better than it is, is a great idea.

Try to spin it in a positive way. Don’t approach it like, “I think we should improve our sex life.” Or, “I want you to talk to me about what you want sexually.”

That’s not positive, not really.

Instead, approach it from a feeling of attraction to him. It’s about explaining to him how connected you feel to him, how your attraction for him only grows more intense.

Now, ask him what is HIS taboo? What is his hottest, darkest fantasy that would satisfy his lust? What does he desire the most, that you can help him with?

That’s a positive way of broaching a subject that he’s thought about, but isn’t sure how to tell you.

2. Talk About What Someone Else Said

If you want to go for a more direct approach, without the negativity, here’s an idea. Try to broach the subject in the third person. As in, “A mutual friend of ours, talked about this rather interesting kink…”

Describe something that you think might appeal to him about the fantasy or activity, and gauge his reaction. Try to be casual and objective about it. You can even be cheeky or snarky if you want. Let him know that this is just a conversation and not a request.

He will either (A) back off in fear and condemn all BDSM as evil and nasty! Or (B), the more likely scenario, he will share his honest opinion on what he thinks of various activities.

He might like the idea of SOME things, but not so much other things. More on that in just a little while.

3. Talk About Your Fantasies

Is he the type of man who wants to please you to your fullest? Then try this. Catch him in a good mood. Then talk about the things that turn you on – your hottest fantasies.

Make sure it’s a good time to talk. Get him excited about sharing your fantasies and hearing his later on. If he’s a pleaser and a good lover, he will be very interested in hearing what turns you on.

Now is your chance to talk about a few vanilla-kinky things that you’ve heard of that kind of make you feel kind of bashful but also kind of curious. Assuming, of course, these are very “soft” and vanilla-type things, he will most likely embrace the opportunity to please you and explore your fantasies.

In case you’re wondering how do I talk about BDSM without making it weird, just remember: if you bring it up as a topic of conversation, welcoming his input, there’s no pressure to do something or accept something. Gauging his interest first and making it a “safe space” for free dialog is the best way to approach a taboo subject.

How to Get Into BDSM

The real issue is not necessarily opening his mind to BDSM – or essentially, his hottest fantasies that he’s afraid to tell you – but more like, how to make sure the experiment goes well. Meaning, no one gets upset or traumatized!

And this can’t be emphasized enough – BDSM activities, when handled poorly, can be a very bad and traumatic experience. If you have an abusive partner who doesn’t understand the psychology of dominance and submission, it’s a terrible thing to endure.

If you have someone pretending to play a character but missing the whole point of what makes roleplaying sexy, it can be embarrassing and damaging to a person’s self-esteem.

So here’s how you protect yourself and your partner when you’re both new to BDSM.

Take It Slow and Learn, More Than “Do”

If you or your partner is impulsive and jumps into something without thinking it can cause problems. Instead, it’s best to take things slow and learn first, try later. Spend some time reading up on things that interest you, either as a couple, or even while alone.

Never just surrender yourself to an idea (or even worse, a stranger!) and say “No limits!” That’s asking for trouble.

It’s best to approach something new in an educated and safe way. That’s why the next part is so important.

Discuss Consent and “Hard Limits”

Speaking NOT as an experienced BDSM player (haha), but more like a life coach and aspiring psychologist, let me just say this: NEVER say, “I’m willing to try anything!”

That’s not a great idea. That’s not a good idea for dating, in general, and even worse when talking about a kinky sex life, which really can go 0-200 MPH when you’re not careful.

In fact, one of the first issues to discuss when trying something new, sexually, is consent and hard limits.

Consent in the BDSM world means the same thing it does in the dating world.

Sex is only by consent. BDSM fun, only by FULL consent. No implied consent. No iffy consent. Full consent, and double consent. Even triple consent, because there’s nothing wrong with asking your partner “Are you OK?” in the middle of a kinky experiment. You don’t have to take the role that seriously.

I know that in the movie Fifty Shades of Grey a big deal was made about the “contract” between Dom (the aggressive, experienced lover) and sub (the submissive and obedient lover). I think that’s a bit for theatrical effects.

In real life, that’s might not be unnecessary, unless you’re going to be dating a lot of strangers in the BDSM world or hooking up with a new partner for the first time. But for the sake of this article, I’m just assuming it’s a game between two people in love.

When it comes to you and your partner, just communicate. Talk explicitly about what you consent to, what turns you on, what you would like to try, and what you are willing to try as an experiment.

This is the consent negotiation. This is when both of you can say YES or NO to a provocative idea. You should always do this in advance of sex, because you don’t want the “heat of the moment” to overpower your consent, your comfort zone.

Now, let’s discuss the difference between hard and soft limits, because you hear that a lot among kinksters. This is a part of “consent”, but a little more three-dimensional.

A BDSM List for Hard and Soft Limits

Hard limits are just what they sound like.

Under no circumstances will I ever consent to doing this! Ever! Don’t ever try it with me!

You don’t have to say it like that, but that’s basically what a hard limit means. Never push your partner’s boundaries when he gives a hard limit about what he doesn’t consent to. NEVER push your own boundaries, when you’ve decided this is something that you do not want to do.

If you change your mind some day, then you can discuss it then. But you do not change your mind for your partner, or in the heat of the moment, or anything like that. No always means no when you start negotiating your hard limits.

Soft limits are something in between your hottest fantasies (as in “I would love to try this!”) and Hard Limits (“I would never do that!”). There are some activities and taboos that might make you tilt your head.

Maybe you’ve never even thought of this sexual taboo before. You’re not necessarily opposed to it, you just don’t quite know how you feel about it. Maybe some part of it even appeals to you.

But you feel nervous about trying it. Or maybe your partner does.

Does that mean it’s a Hard Limit?

No, it’s a Soft Limit. Something you might try, under the right circumstances.

So what you might do is read a list of BDSM activities together as a couple and then decide whether you want to stamp each item as HARD NO, MAYBE, or YES!

Once you know each other’s hard and soft limits on a variety of BDSM ideas, you can negotiate with each other on what you’re willing to try.

You don’t try to change each other’s mind. You simply agree to disagree on some, and when you DO agree on something, you work the idea into your routine.

Safe Words and Communication

The term “Safe Word” is pretty well known by now and used all over social media. But it’s just one failsafe in a much larger discussion called “negotiation” and “in-scene” communication.

A safe word is the end game. But a good Dom and sub understand that frequent communication is the best way to protect your partner.

Don’t worry about sounding sexy or staying in character. No Oscars are handed out here!

Instead, keep communication going back and forth. Reassure your partner that you’re still OK and ask if he’s OK when trying something new.

Communicate honestly and don’t hide your real feelings. If you find out that a sexy experiment you thought you wanted actually hurt your feelings or disgusted you, then tell the truth!

If you’re trying something for the first time but don’t like how it feels, tell your partner to “STOP”, or “Slow Down”, or even announce to him a color code, that signifies your mood.

He hears your signal and then adjusts the “Scene” (your BDSM experiment) accordingly.

When you both stay in close and intimate communication through the entire experience (that means before, during, and after) then you can avoid hurt feelings and not accidentally damage your partner’s trust or self-esteem.

How to Be on the Same Page with BDSM

There’s plenty more to say on the subject of BDSM and roleplay, but that’s for another article.

In closing, remember that any foreplay or games you dabble in, is just an enhancement of the love that already exists between the two of you. BDSM should not fee like a challenge or a test to overcome.

It really is about pleasure; embracing what feels good, exploring something as a team, and vetoing whatever makes you uncomfortable. Think of BDSM as simply exploring your own pleasure and experimenting and go with that positive spin.

In the meantime, check out my programs for the best flirting and relationship tips!

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