The 5 Things Every BDSM Beginner Should Know

Photographed by Anja Slibar.
jessica drake is an exclusive Wicked Pictures contract performer, writer, director, and sexual wellness expert. In her award-winning, self-directed “Guide to Wicked Sex” series, jessica brings erotic topics to life through intimate demonstrations performed by some of today's hottest adult stars. She gives seminars and workshops on sex, romance, and communication across the country.

There is no denying that BDSM is trendy right now. Look no further than the shelves of your local bookstore, and you'll see not only the books of E.L. James but also a surge of other erotic writers capitalizing on the desire for edgier sex and steamier novels. When the movie Fifty Shades of Grey premiered in theaters on Valentine's Day, couples rushed to see it, and many of those couples went on to act out their on-screen fantasies. More than ever, I've recently fielded questions from wives (and husbands!) who want to spank or be spanked, to tie up or be tied up, but don't really know where to begin. BDSM can be a great way to liven things up in bed, but it's important to have at least a minimal knowledge of safety before you get started. Here are some basic points for the BDSM beginner.

Communicate
Discuss your fantasies with your partner before you're in the bedroom. Incorporating these desires into your dirty talk is fine when you're mid-coitus, but do have an out-of-bed discussion beforehand in which you clearly define both your expectations and boundaries. And, get specific — you may agree, for example, that you’d like to dole out "punishment" to your partner, but be certain you both understand what that means before playtime begins. As with all sex, consent is mandatory. Find out what both of you are comfortable with, and continue to negotiate together as you explore this new space.

Do Your Research
Please do not assume that what you see on-screen will directly translate to your own play. Watch an instructional (like my Guide to Wicked Sex: BDSM for Beginners) or read up on BDSM. I personally love SM 101 by Jay Wiseman; it was my BDSM bible when I was new to the scene. You'll need to know safety rules, how to tie someone up without causing harm, how to flog/whip/spank without leaving unwanted marks, and much more. Everyone's kink will be different, so familiarize yourself with the acts you most want to partake in.

Start Slow
You don't need to be a master Dom or a pro sub right out of the gate. When in doubt, scale it back until you get the hang of it. You can always do more over time...so hit a little softer, tie a little looser, and err on the side of caution. As you're progressing, make sure to check in with your partner and get their feedback.

Have A Safeword
I know and personally understand the importance of having safewords, and in my experience, it's usually best to have more than one. You can choose a word-to-end-all-play that you'd never say during sex (like "banana"), but you might want to incorporate the colors of a stoplight: green for all things are good to go, yellow for slow this down, use caution, and red for stop this IMMEDIATELY. Also, if your mouth is otherwise occupied, you may want to specify a noise that you'll make, a hand signal to use, or even a foot stomp. All of these things should be discussed prior to your play.

Quality Products Only
If you decide to invest in toys and props of a BDSM nature, understand that due to consumer demand, the market is flooded with all different kinds and brands. Like most other things, you get what you pay for. Please don't go the cheaper route when it comes to things that you use on or in your body. You don't want things that break or things that are unsafe, especially when you're naked and having sex. Without being an infomercial and with no compensation from any brand, I'd recommend Sex & Mischief, NS Novelties Sinful Collection, and Bare Bondage for starters. Love Honey makes the official Fifty Shades-endorsed product line, with plenty of items mentioned in the movie. When in doubt, search product reviews online and talk to retailers in your favorite local adult store.

The thrill of BDSM can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience when done properly, and as with all new sexual experiences, you're much more likely to get the chance of a repeat performance if your first foray into the world of pleasure and pain is a positive one. Communicate with your partner, plan things out in advance, and feel a different kind of bond. Be safe and have fun exploring!

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