1. How can I tell my partner I want to try BDSM?
By communicating with them and assuring them that you still love them. It sounds weird but really that is what is at the bottom of it. It does help of course that you know your partner quite well to bring it up. There are still an awful lot of misconceptions in peoples mind about what exactly BDSM is.
Now saying all that there are books that can help with this. I know at least that Jay Wiseman’s BDSM 101, The Loving Dominant and Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns have each of them a chapter on how to introduce your partner to BDSM.
And people will probably scoff at me, but fiction could play a role in this as well. Not necessary to point at it and go “this is what I want” but very much a more “have you ever heard of this book or that, well .. see, I am kinda into that as well”. If nothing else it offers an opening to talk about. Sometimes that is all it needs, an opening.
2. My partner confessed that they are into BDSM. What should I do?
Listen to them? Talk to them? Realise that this person has come to you and opened their heart, full well knowing that many people will have an averse reaction to the idea of BDSM. They made themselves vulnerable to share something with you that is very important and deeply
personal to them. Thread lightly and kindly there.
Above all realise this, they are doing this because this is who they are. There is nothing wrong with them. They do not need to be fixed, they are, who they are. No more or less a person then they have always been. Except in one fact; they have just opened themselves up and placed that trust in your hands. Talk to them, ask them questions, you will find that they can talk hours and hours about this (hey I am blogging about this for the last three years, if that is any proof you need).
With all this, it is also okay to realise that often people engage in a very light form of bdsm often without knowing what it is is. I mean, who hasn’t done a little bit of slap and tickle, especially tickling someone when they begged you to stop and all it does is to edge you on? Or who hasn’t liked it if their partner pushes their arms above their head while having sex? In a way that is part and parcel of BDSM, the only really difference is that people go in deeper detail regarding what they want out of it, how they want it, and even explore why they want it (even if the answer is “because it feels good!”). We negotiate about it and consent to the activity rather then it being in a way a unspoken agreement.
3. Is it okay to say “no” to something my partner wants to do?
Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt. In fact the entire world of BDSM hinges around the concept of consensual acts. You do what you like and learn what it is about. You agree to activities and can disagree not to want anything. You negotiate as I hinted at the end of last question.
Fact is this, within the BDSM lifestyle, or scene, or whatever word you want to use to describe it – “no” is a perfect valuable and acceptable word to use and anyone sneering at you for using it – should be looked at carefully.
BDSM in that sense goes even deeper. Not only have we got the ability to say no, we have all kinds of mechanisms in place to help us to guide what we want to do and what we don’t want to do. Last week I mentioned the use of safewords. Those words that have the power to stop a scene dead in its tracks if the word “no” does not suffices.
We also have hard limits, things we never ever ever want to do. We have soft limits, things we only want to with someone we deeply trust and after a lot of talking, negotiating and making sure everything can be done as safely as possible.
Again to repeat, yes, if you are not comfortable with doing something, saying no is perfectly acceptable.
4. How can I learn and educate myself about BDSM?
There are books, so many books written about this subject. As I already mentioned a couple of good ones are: Jay Wiseman’s BDSM 101, Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns, The loving Dominant. And that is just really the tip of the iceberg. A fairly good comprehensive list of these can be found over at the BDSM Book News.
There is even more written in blogs and articles on the Internet. Wikipedia for this is a very good starting source. Google will help you as well. I have myself written two blog posts on this subject that will much echo what I have said here as well. They are “Home is where the books are” and “Teach and Learn, to thy own self”
Of course, in time if you find you enjoy this and you want to speak more to people who have experience, you could always go and see if there are munches in your local area where you could meet people who are into this. Remember what I said about people who can talk about this for hours? Yeah exactly .. you will find them there.
5. What “causes” BDSM feelings?
Oh my gosh, that is such a complicated question that I don’t think we ever truly will find out what it is that causes us to be this way. What makes someone like a certain colour is a question on par with that.
It is probably mostly a case of when nature meets nurture. There are little things in us, wired that way. I personally would not care to speculate any further. We all have our own reasons for liking what we are and as I am apt to say; each of us is unique. We thus have each and our own varied reasoning in enjoying what we are enjoying. Which brings us to the next question:
6. Are people with a BDSM- inclination not actually all victims of childhood trauma or abuse?
No; we are not. Some of us had traumatic experiences in life and some had not. I think if you look better at the cross section of people who are into BDSM compared to any other cross section of a random group, I would not at all be surprised if the numbers turn out to be reasonably the same.
So, the follow up question that begs to be asked is of course this: If there is no bigger then average amount of people who have been abused into BDSM where does this tale come from? Mostly the media and perhaps in the more outgoing stories that have been going around.
It is much easier to blame something like BDSM on having a traumatic childhood to show how damaged a person has become rather then simply acknowledging that someone is just the way they are and that other then that they are a good and well rounded human being.
7. Why is there such a social stigma on BDSM?
People are always afraid of what they do not understand, what they can not or do not want to comprehend. So anything that seems out of the ordinary, out of the comfort zone that is defined as their normality is something that can be potentially upsetting.
Add to that that in some cases BDSM plays against or deeply confirms certain social standards, either those from a long past, or from a more recent time; or portrays imagery that most people will not and do not like to be associated or reminded of, you have a already a mix ready to strike out at what is perceived to be erroneous in the more conventional minds.
In case of the BDSM roles, the media adds fuel to that fire by often portraying those role plays that are mostly in clash with traditionally established roles – such as the Dominatrix and the male submissive, or scenes involving pain without showing the thought, negotiation and after care that goes into it. And voila, soon people have the idea that if you are into BDSM you are either weak and not worthy, or someone who has a need to inflict the most horrendous activities on someone against their will.
8. Why are many people so secretive about their BDSM emotions?
This is really very much in line with the question before. People are secretive about this because there is a huge social stigma on it. If people think less of you because of something you do, then sooner rather then later you learn that you should keep your mouth shut about it.
That however is not the only thing about it. Because of the mentioned social stigma, people have been outed by others and as a result of that lost their jobs, their family and much more. All that combined makes people rather weary about coming to friends, lovers, and family.
Luckily nowadays, people are getting more open about the idea of alternative sexualities and with the rice in mainstream media (such as “The Secretary” and yes, “Fifty Shades of Grey”), people can be more open about it but painful lessons learned in the past are not easily forgotten by us. We remain weary for the time being and thread lightly where this is concerned.
9. I hear people who are very dominant in real life are actually submissive in bed. Is this true?
I am sure there is some degree of truthfulness in this. However there is also some truth that people who are dominant in real life and like to be in control in real life are dominant in bed. It takes all sorts and we have seen all sorts.
Again, it comes down to the use of stereotypes that create attention. As human beings we seem to want to adhere to a status quo that levels everything out. So the idea that someone who is successful and powerful would be subjugated to a crawling submissive gives people something to laugh about.
But think about it – what does that say about society? Remember we talked about the social stigma? Why is it that male submissives are seen as week, as inferior? As a human race we have very much to learn about how to engage on a humane level with other human beings who are enjoying things that we are not used to. In that sense – for equality – we still have a long road ahead of us.
10. Is consent necessary?
As with any sexual endeavor, knowing your personal boundaries, and being able to gauge those of potential partners, is vital. While a kink party may seem to the outsider or first-timer like an environment devoid of rules, consent is in fact at the center of every exchange. It is very important to keep enthusiastic consent (yeah, you’ll hear that phrase a lot), in mind as you make your way through the party. A good rule of thumb? If you’re not sure, ask. After all, few things are sexier then a breathy “May I touch you?”
11. What should I wear in a BDSM Party?
Think about that tried and true first date advice to “Wear what makes you comfortable”. Your party outfit should make you feel sexy AND secure. If latex and chains isn’t your thing, go for a more subdued ensemble. If you wear something too outside your comfort zone, you run the risk of feeling awkward. Choose a look that makes you feel capable and desirable, and let the other considerations fall into place from there.
12. What are the products essential in every BDSM session?
- Cuffs & Straps
- Ball Gags & Bit Gags
- Shibari Rope
- Blindfolds & Hoods
- Collars, Chokers, and Body Harnesses
- Chastity Devices
- Spanking / Impact Tools
- Nipple Clamps
- Violet Wands
- Estim Kits
- Sex Furniture
- Fuck Machines