BDSM Tips Anyone Can Use (NSFW)

Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
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.
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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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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Ball Gag
Ideal for submissives who like to surrender their power of speech to a dominant partner.
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Photo: Courtesy of Good Vibrations.
Good Vibrations Silicone Ball Gag, $26.00 to $29.00, available at Good Vibrations.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Babeland.
Tantus Pacifier Ball Gag, $48, available at Babeland.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
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.
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Photo: Courtesy of Lovehoney.
Bondage Boutique Intermediate Thick Suede Flogger, $30, available at Lovehoney.
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Photo: Courtesy of HoloWhips.
HoloWhips Black Oiled Leather "Gorean" Flogger, $65, available at HoloWhips.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Penis Cage/Chastity Device
Most penis cages don't actually allow for erections, making them useful in orgasm-denial play.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sexysamba.
Sexysamba Stainless Steel Chastity Cage Male Chastity Device, $25.99, available at Amazon.
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Photo: Courtesy of Fetish Toy Box.
Master Series Detained Soft Body Chastity Cage, $19.99, available at Fetish Toy Box.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Handcuffs
A classic. Skip circulation-restricting metal for sturdy Velcro or classy silk.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Sportsheets.
Sportsheets 5 Piece Hog Tie & Cuff Set, $36.99, available at Sportsheets.
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Photo: Courtesy of Good Vibrations.
LELO Sutra Chainlink Silk Cuffs, $59.99, available at Good Vibrations.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Collar/Leash
Using this combo is one of the hottest ways to represent sexual ownership in a scene. With so many beautiful collars on the accessories market, you could even wear one as a secret sign of your bond with your partner outside of the bedroom (we love Zana Bayne's BDSM-inspired line).
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Photo: Courtesy of Zana Bayne.
Zana Bayne Choker Collar — Silver, $165, available at Zana Bayne.
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Photo: Courtesy of Leather Etc.
Leather Etc Black Leather And Chain Leash, $21, available at Leather Etc.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Nipple Clamps
Nipples are heavy-duty erogenous zones, and pain in this area can put some people over the edge.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Pleasure Chest.
The Pleasure Chest Tweezer Nipple Clamp To Cock Ring Set, $28.95, available at The Pleasure Chest.
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Photo: Courtesy of Good Vibrations.
Good Vibrations Nipple Teasers Vibrating Nipple Clamps, $29, available at Good Vibrations.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Riding Crop
Riding crops can deliver a range of sensations, from painless to intense.
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Photo: Courtesy of Adam & Eve.
California Exotic Novelties Scandal Feather Crop, $24.95, available at Adam & Eve.
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Photo: Courtesy of the Pleasure Chest.
The Pleasure Chest Riding Crop With Loop, $19.95, available at The Pleasure Chest.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Hood Mask
The hood mask ensures that no light reaches a submissive's eyes. For less sight denial, start with a blindfold.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bijoux Indiscrets.
Bijoux Indiscrets Shhh — Blindfold, $15.50, available at Bijoux Indiscrets.
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Photo: Courtesy of Extreme Restraints.
Extreme Restraints Premium Spandex Hood With Mouth Opening, $15.95, available at Extreme Restraints.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Bondage Tape
Bondage tape sticks to itself, not skin, so it's secure while in use and easy to remove afterward. Apply it flat against the skin to avoid cutting off circulation.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Lovehoney.
Lovehoney Tease Me Bondage Tape, $8.99, available at Lovehoney.
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Pipedream Neon Bondage Pleasure Tape, $9.95, available at Adam & Eve.
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Illustrated By Xavier Schipani.
Under-The-Bed Restraints
Transform your plain bed into a bondage fantasyland.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Sportsheets.
Sportsheets Under The Bed Restraint System, $76.99, available at Sportsheets.
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Photo: Courtesy of Utimi.
Utimi Fetish Under Bed Restraint Kit With Hand Cuffs, $15.69, available at Amazon.
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