The 10 Best BDSM Toys

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If you're looking to incorporate a little BDSM play into your bedroom activities, there's one thing you should know from the jump — there's more to it than Fifty Shades of Grey might have lead you to believe. (In fact, many sex educators agree that the books and movies depict an extremely unsafe version of this kind of relationship — but I digress.) While you may think that getting kinky just means picking up some of the best BDSM toys and calling it a day, experts are quick to stress that there's so much more to BDSM than just stocking your goody drawer with the right accessories.

"Pre-negotiation with your partner, before any type of BDSM play, is absolutely necessary," says Alicia Sinclair, who is the founder and CEO of COTR, Inc. and a certified sex educator. "There needs to be clear consent and boundaries established prior to any play." Part of that consent is knowing exactly what you'll be doing with a specific toy during any given session. Since BDSM play can be incredibly intense, both physically and emotionally, it's important that both parties are informed and consenting — this isn't the time for surprises. "People who live a true BDSM lifestyle will be the first to instruct folks new to BDSM that negotiation and consent are absolutely necessary," Sinclair elaborates.

Once you pick up your toys, it's a good idea to test them in a non-sexual setting. "Test all quick-release mechanisms beforehand so that your partner can be released quickly in case of emergency," says Annabelle Knight, a sex expert for Lovehoney. She also suggests building up a BDSM first aid kit, with duplicate keys, safety instructions, lube, standard first aid kit supplies, sex toy cleaner, and specialty bandage scissors if you're using restraints. Make sure you have a safe word, too, so that you can suspend play if things get too intense for you or your partner.

This obviously isn't an exhaustive list of do's and don't's when it comes to using the best BDSM toys, which is why I'd suggest doing a little more research on the ethics before diving it. But the experts I've interviewed have a few more tips, which are sprinkled in with my picks, below.

1. The Best Beginner Bondage Kit

According to Knight, a bondage kit is a good way to dip your toes into the world of BDSM. This specific kit from sex toy experts Paloqueth comes with nipple clamps, ball gags, a flogger, a tickler, a blindfold, and different types of restraints. The cuffs are Velcro, which make for easy removal, and the included ropes can be used for rope play, too. For this, Knight suggests investing in a bondage book. "It may sound silly, but learning to tie quick release knots is a good safety precaution," she says.

2. The Best Bed Restraint Kit

A bed restraint kit is great for folks looking to get some kinky use out of their bed frame. This one comes with two sets of shackles, a feather tickler/paddle combo, and a blindfold. The cuffs are Velcro — again, making for easy quick release — and they attach to the restraints with an easy-to-use clip. If worst comes to worst, the nylon restraints can be cut with your bandage scissors. Each shackle is lined with fuzzy fur, so they won't chafe your skin, either. The best part? This kit can fit up to a California king bed, so you can even use it if your mattress size changes over time.

3. The Best Bondage Tape

Bondage tape is very different from regular tape — even though it looks exactly the same. Instead of sticking to you, this type of tape uses static cling to stick to itself; that means you won't have to worry about injuring yourself or your partner. Paloqueth's tape is strong enough to stay stuck during the act, but easy to remove by hand or with your bandage scissors. You can use it anywhere on your body — including as a blindfold, since it won't stick to your hair.

4. The Best Flogger

Floggers really tap into the pain/pleasure principal that's at the core of most BDSM play. Its fringe-like tails, which are made from genuine leather, can be dragged across the skin for a tickling sensation. However, they can also be used as a whip for a more intense experience According to reviewers, this flogger is especially great for beginners because the suede tails are slightly softer than typical leather floggers. "I would highly recommend this item for beginners in BDSM or just kinky couples trying to add a little spice. It doesn't hit too painfully hard but it gives a good little sting," writes one reviewer. Just make sure you and your partner have a safe word in place for this toy so no injury occurs.

5. The Best Metal Handcuffs

A set of metal handcuffs are an essential part of most beginner BDSM kits. They keep you restrained while also providing a slight bite to your skin. Aftercare is essential with a toy like these, so make sure you have some arnica or another balm nearby to help soothe your skin post-play. These cuffs come with two different keys, so make sure you have one nearby and one stashed in your kit.

6. The Best Feather Tickler

Not all BDSM play has to be painful — case in point? Ticklers. "A feather tickler is made either entirely or partially from feathers and is used to tickle and tease the skin," Knight explains. "It's often used during foreplay to enhance erotic sensation and cause a sense of anticipation for sexual contact." This kit comes with two ticklers — one small, one medium — that have paddles on one side. The paddle, which can be used to spank, is fun to use in tandem with the feathers.

7. The Best Blindfold

A simple blindfold might not seem as exciting as some of these other BDSM toys, but it does up the anticipation during play. According to the Acoustical Society of America, temporary "blindness," or using a blindfold, may improve other senses. That means that everything you feel when you slip this silky blindfold on will be heightened, making your experience that much more enjoyable.

8. The Best Ball Gag

While some may be intimidated by ball gags, with the proper prep work, they can be a fun toy to incorporate into your routine. "If your partner has been gagged, and cannot verbally communicate your safety word, give them an object to drop on the floor when they want a session to stop for any reason," Knight says. "A ball, bell, or book works well in such situations." Make sure all of that is dealt with beforehand, of course.

This gag is made from body-safe silicone and is secured with a belt, making it easy to remove quickly if necessary. It can also be adjusted to be tighter or looser, depending on what feels most comfortable.

9. The Best Body Restraints

In bondage, restraints can be used in countless different ways. Since this one has so many straps, it can be used to tie your legs, arms, or other parts of your body. They come in different sizes, and each size is adjustable, making these incredibly versatile. They're made of sturdy plastic that won't be broken if you put strain on them, but they can be cut if needed. One point of precaution should be taken when using these, though: "You should avoid using restraints in a way that could impair your partner's breathing," Knight cautions. Always err on the side of looser for this very reason.

10. A Necessary Part Of Your Bondage Safety Kit

While stocking your bondage safety kit, it's a good idea to pick up a ring of universal cuff keys. This will ensure you always have a way to get out of your cuffs, even if you lose the initial set. These keys should fit most standard cuffs, but make sure to test them beforehand to make sure.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.

Experts:

Alicia Sinclair, founder and CEO of COTR Inc., certified sex educator, certified sexuality coach, member of the World Association of Sex Coaches, and “Sex Toys in Today’s Market” instructor at Sex Coach U.

Annabelle Knight, author, sex and relationship expert, sex and love columnist at Now Magazine, co-host of the Sex and Other Stuff podcast.