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BDSM Tips Anyone Can Use (NSFW)

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    BDSM_Opener_1
    Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.

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    The world of BDSM can seem intimidating and even impenetrable to the uninitiated. The truth is that BDSM — which includes bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism — is an à-la-carte menu of options for expanding your sex life, not a prix-fixe meal. You get to pick and choose how you play with power exchange: Just because you enjoy being blindfolded doesn't mean you like receiving pain, or maybe the thought of being restrained makes you shrug, but you love being spanked. Maybe you even enjoy switching between dominant and submissive sexual roles.

    That's why, before you even get to the action (or the "scene," as a period of BDSM playtime is called), communication with yourself and with your partner(s) is paramount. As porn performer and sex educator Jessica Drake has recommended to Refinery29, "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." To kick-start your consideration of the magical realm of power exchange, we asked daring visual artist Xavier Schipani to depict 10 scenarios of BDSM accessories in action, and then paired his illustrations with real-life product recommendations for novices and experts alike.

    Click through for kinky inspiration for Valentine's Day weekend and beyond — and don't forget to do your homework before going to town: As Shanna Germain, author of As Kinky As You Wanna Be: Your Guide to Safe, Sane and Smart BDSM (a wonderful BDSM entry point), told Refinery29, "Using bondage in a positive, healthy way requires preparation, education, and complete and total informed trust in the person (or people) who will be dominating you. You have to be able to let go completely, without worrying about whether someone is tying the ropes too tight or doesn't know where to spank you safely." Safety first: It paves the way for mind-blowing play.

    This month, we're sharing steamy personal stories, exploring ways to have even better sex, and wading through the complicated dynamics that follow us into the bedroom. Here's to a very happy February. Check out more right here.


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  2. Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.

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    Ball Gag
    Ideal for submissives who like to surrender their power of speech to a dominant partner.

  3. Photo: Courtesy of Good Vibrations.

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    Good Vibrations Silicone Ball Gag, $26.00 to $29.00, available at Good Vibrations.

  4. Photo: Courtesy Of Babeland.

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    Tantus Pacifier Ball Gag, $48, available at Babeland.

  5. Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.

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    Flogger
    Floggers with narrow and few tails deliver a biting, "stingy" sensation, while those with thick and many tails produce weighty or "thuddy" impact. Suede floggers deliver manageable but noticeable thud with a touch of sting, so they're a good choice for beginners; more experienced players who are after some pain might look into oiled leather.

  6. Photo: Courtesy of Lovehoney.

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    Bondage Boutique Intermediate Thick Suede Flogger, $30, available at Lovehoney.