13 Things To Try If You're New To BDSM

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OK, so you know you’re turned on by BDSM and kink. You’ve thought a lot about it and maybe you’ve even done some of the things that the experts recommend you do before you get started with BDSM. (Sign up for that FetLife account yet?) You’re ready to start thinking about and planning your first “session” but… You’re not totally sure where to start. Perhaps your fantasies are more varsity level than JV and you want to start slow, or maybe you’re just at a loss for ideas because, well, you’re a newbie.

Before we even get into activities, though, I want to take a minute and reassure you a little bit. I know that BDSM and kink can get kind of a bad rap in the media, like it’s some kind of deviant activity that only messed up people are into. Like a lot of things we see in mainstream media, though, that’s a total load of BS. BDSM and kink are practiced by all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds — and they play a huge role in the fantasy lives for a large proportion of women. There is nothing wrong with being into kinky sex play and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. All it means, in the end, is that you’re into kinky sex play!

Good Vibrations staff sexologist and author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone Carol Queen, PhD, tells Bustle that before you do any BDSM play, you have to have some explicit conversations. Starting with what you're interested in because the world of BDSM, Queen says, is vast. And, "if one person is thinking cushy, bondage gear, and dripping candle wax and a blindfold, and the other one is thinking whips and chains and painting, [you] may talk past each other," Queen says. She suggests having a conversation not when you're already getting to it, which can feel like a high-pressure situation, but before.

"It's maybe better to do it outside of that context, like, 'Hey, I was wanting to talk to you about something kind of frisky. Do you have some time to hang out with me and have this conversation with me at dinner? Or do you want to have a glass of wine?'” Queen says. "Not too much wine when you have these conversations, though, because you want to remember what your focus is."

Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. As a certified sex educator, I have a million kinky friends (well, maybe not a million, but quite a few) who are happy to share their expertise on great entry level kink and BDSM activities for those of you who are 100% new to the game. I decided to focus specifically on suggestions made by Miette Rouge, 43, and Jenna, 26, both of whom are active members of their respective kink scenes.

1. Hair Pulling

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You might have already started this BDSM 1.0 level play: Hair pulling. A lot of people reach for the hair automatically in the throes of the passion.

Miette suggests hair pulling as a good way to start getting into kinky play. It’s easy, doesn’t require any toys, and can be as gentle or as rough as you want it to be.

Of course this (like every other type of BDSM play) requires conversation before doing it. Don't just jump in and yank on someone's hair. Queen recommends using a "yes, no, maybe" list before doing anything to make sure you and your partner are on the same page.

2. Light Spanking

Spanking is definitely a common fantasy and starting lightly is a good idea, with the option of ramping it up as you go, of course. Start with hands and then incorporate toys as you and your partner(s) become more experienced.

“I found it really exciting as a beginner to be told I had to count the number of blows I was going to receive, because it was not only a pain thing, but a power thing,” Jenna tells Bustle.

And spanking doesn't have to just be on the butt. Queen points out that many people like to be spanked all around their genitals.

"Some people love really 'thuddy' spanks, whether it's from a hand or paddle," Queen says. "Because it starts to move around your muscle and fat layer so close to your genitals, it adds sexual excitement to the experience for people who may not have even been thinking about the front of themselves when their spanking started."

3. Pre-negotiated Language

Miette suggests incorporating aggressive language into your play. Words like “slut,” “whore,” “jerk,” “wimp,” and “f*ck” are all good places to start. Name calling, however, should definitely be pre-negotiated, as one person's turn on may be another person's major turn off.

Queen has another note about language, but it's about how to slow play rather than speed it up: Safe words. A safe word is a word that wouldn't normally come up during sex play, but if someone utters it then it's a signal that it's time to either slow down or stop the scene.

"The safe word typically would be something like red, yellow, and green — like red light, green light, like traffic lights," Queen says. "Green" means keep going, "yellow" means slow down, and "red" means you need to stop everything altogether.

4. Tying Up With A Scarf

A lot of people fantasize about bondage and scarves are a good place to start because they’re soft and it’s hard to do real damage with them — unlike, you know, rope and handcuffs. An inexperienced bondage fan can really mess someone up if they do rope bondage incorrectly, from cutting of circulation to not being able to untie them at all. So stick to scarves if you're just getting started.

Miette’s main tip is to make sure that two fingers can be slipped between the tie and the skin in order to avoid cutting off circulation, which definitely can do damage. Pick one that's strong enough to take a little pulling and have fun.

5. Under The Bed Restraints

Once you’re ready to move on from scarves, Jenna recommends trying out under the bed restraints or “just canvas strap restraints.” These types of restraints, which can be found in most sex shops, make it easier to tie someone down without having to stop and fumble around with knots. They're also quick-release, which means you don't have to worry about knots tightening to the point of being difficult to remove, which is a great plus for a beginner.

“Even if you don't do anything else besides fool around, if you've never done it before giving up control over your body is an exciting intro to BDSM for beginners,” Jenna says.

6. Incorporating “Sir” Or “Madam”

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In addition to aggressive language, Miette advises that a “sir” or “madam” can do wonder to set the stage. It’s a simple way to establish roles in a dom/sub scene and keep you both involved in the fantasy.

It's also great because it doesn't cost anything and you don't have to add any gear. Using "sir" and "madam" language is a cheap, easy, and very low-impact way to see if that particular kind of BDSM play works for you and your partner.

7. Biting

Biting is a great entry-level way to play because you can test different levels of pain. It's also, similar to using certain language, something you can do without any gear or any cost to you and your partner.

However, Miette warns that talking about biting beforehand is essential — and part of that talk should be about marks. Some people are into them and some people really aren’t, so make sure you know where your partner stands before you start chomping down.

You should also be clear about how hard you want to be bitten, before the biting starts. You could even make it a fun, kind of silly game with your partner biting you at different intensity levels so that they know what's going to work — and what isn't.

8. Subbing/Topping Role Playing

In BDSM-speak, "subbing" is performing the role of the submissive sex partner, while "topping" is playing the role of the dominant one. But you don't have to jump right to full-on costumes and whips. You can ease your way into sub/top role play with a couple of additions to sex acts you're probably already doing.

Jenna suggests that “something as simple as having your arms tied behind your back while performing oral sex” can be a really hot entry level activity for people who are just getting started. Other suggestions might include begging (for sex or punishment) as well as being put in or putting someone in a submissive physical position.

9. Play With “Pervertables”

Miette is really into what she calls “pervertables,” which are every day objects that can be transformed into toys. She recommends things like wooden spoons, brushes, spatulas and narrow things like canes, thin belts, and rulers with the metal guide on them if you want to make a mark. The best thing about these toys, according to Miette, is that no one but other kinksters will recognize them for what they are. They’re like a kinky secret signal.

Queen cautions, however, that different materials create different sensations. And while some might be really pleasurable for people, others won't be.

"When you're choosing your implements for impact play that some things are going to be thinner or a harder edged material — like say latex would be stingier feeling to the body — and things that are softer material — suede and things like that — or wider wind up feeling 'thuddier.' And some people have a preference one or another."

10. Sensation Play With A Blindfold.

Both Miette and Jenna recommend blindfolded sensation play. What does that mean, you ask? Basically, you lightly restrain someone (or are restrained yourself, depending on your preference), blindfold them, and then introduce various sensations with various objects. So maybe you run a feather over them or you pinch them or you give them a spank or tease them to edge of orgasm.

The idea of this kind of play is to allow the non-blindfolded person to have control of everything that’s happening and for the blindfolded person to surrender control to them. And for the blindfolded person, not being able to see what's going on can make each physical feeling even more intense.

11. Floggers

A flogger is a kind of whip, specifically one with a woven leather handle and lots of woven tails. They're used for impact play, which means hitting of some kind. Some people like to use both ends of the flogger for a variety of sensations.

A flogger is more like a BDSM 1.1 step rather than a BDSM 1.0 step, according to Jenna. She recommends to newbies, though, because the pain it provides isn’t very intense but it looks scary, which can heighten your enjoyment of it.

Her second tip when it comes to this kind of pain play? “Leave the cane for once you've experienced a little more, because that sh*t hurts.”

12. Clothespins

Jenna thinks that clothespins — which can be adjusted and removed quickly, if need be — are a good way to start exploring pain thresholds. She recommends trying them out on nipples, stomach, and inner thigh at first as you start to understand your or your partner’s limits.

Queen says that while you'd think the painful part of clothes pin play would be when you put them on, it's actually the removal that creates the most sensation.

"When the blood flows in the nerves are like, 'Wait, what?' and it can be quite painful for people who don’t enjoy intense sensation," Queen says. "Do something distracting at that time when the clip is coming off — like if it comes off a nipple, add sucking or licking to the nipple right away or do something else on another part of the body that can distract them, clitoral touch or some spanking if they like it. That kind of thing. Distracting [away from] that sensation can be a useful technique."

13. Candle wax

Candle wax is another way to play that Jenna says, “seems scary but isn't, isn't that painful, and is an exciting way to intro/explore pain.” Her only warning is that you do some research beforehand about different types of candles, as certain kinds burn hotter than others and those are the ones you don’t want.

If you try out a couple of these entry-level BDSM activities and find that you like it, you'll be well on your way to further exploring kink with your partner. Have fun, be safe, and remember: Keep communicating. You're in a for a great time.

Experts:

Good Vibrations staff sexologist and author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone Carol Queen, PhD

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