Adult Sex Ed

BDSM: Know What You’re Getting Into

To define what BDSM is all about is a tough sexual spectrum to cover. There are those who define themselves as Dominant or submissive as much as they define themselves as men and women. There are those who call themselves Dominants who are really nothing more than abusive and misogynistic SOB’s. There are submissives who for whatever reasons invite themselves to be abused. (“I’ll do anything my Master says.” “I’ll do anything that pleases my Sir.”) There are some who are in it just for sport fucking and those who make it the basis and dynamics of their relationships in and out of the bedroom and/or dungeon.

But let’s say you just want BDSM to be part or all of your sexual relationship. Here are some important things to consider.

Respect Respect should never be confused with unquestionable obedience. Respect is earned by both Dom* and sub. Respect is about how you treat your partner with kindness. If a Dom calls his sub a slut, cunt or whore in a sexual situation, it does not mean that he can or should treat her like that after a scene is done. A good Dom will value a submissive* who places her will in his hands and not automatically expect her to do so.

Trust Like respect, trust is earned. Never blindly trust anyone who claims to be a Dom. Talk to him about what mentally and emotionally motivates him to be a Dom. Ask him about how well he knows to use his implements and toys. Experienced Doms are usually quite knowledgeable about the toys and implements they use. They’ll talk openly about how they use them and how they learned to use them.

Limits Limits should be discussed at length before any BDSM sex or play takes place. A checklist like this one is a good place to start for both Dom and sub and needs to be discussed at length. If there are big discrepancies between essential must-haves in play, it’s the biggest safeguard from what one might consider abuse or non-consent in sex/play. It’s also wise for both partners to keep signed and dated copies of such a checklist to protect themselves if a legal situation should arise. Most importantly, limits are about consent, which should always be honored and respected. Even if a sub has consented to a sexual act on paper doesn’t mean she has to comply to such an activity at any time without question. A physical condition (an illness or bruising or aches from a previous session) or even just a mood (depression, stress or just a bad day) are always justifiable reasons for not engaging in BDSM activities.

Safewords Safewords are much clearer than a simple “yes” or “no” in BDSM play. “Red”, “yellow” and “green” are popular universal safewords. “Red” means stop and does not mean it’s OK to go back to that activity a few minutes later. It’s best to stop all activity just to make sure a sub is OK. “Yellow” means slow down, take it easy or take it down a notch or two.

Safety Doms should have some knowledge of or training in first aid. Accidents can happen. Equipment can malfunction. Not everyone has the same tolerance to torture or sensation play. Subs should also be aware of their pain thresholds. Never push yourself beyond your limits for the sake of pleasing a Dom.

Aftercare Communication after sex and play is just as important as consenting to and negotiating limits beforehand. A good Dom will want to know how a sub felt physically and emotionally after play. He’ll want to know if there was any extreme pain, bruising, marks or welts so he can adjust his technique (not everyone’s tolerance to pain is the same). He’ll want to know what she liked, what turned her on, or if something bothered her. Likewise, a sub should be open and receptive to things her Dom would like her to work on or improve upon.

Fun BDSM should be fun and the ultimate thrill for both Dom and sub. If Dom feels as if he’s doing too much of the work, planning and is bearing too much of the responsibility, then he needs to tell his sub or back out of the relationship. If a sub feels unfulfilled, as if she’s treated poorly, or wonders what’s in it for her, it’s something that needs to be discussed or red flags that they’re signs to get out.

*The terms Dom and Dominant also refer to Dommes. Submissive and sub apply to both men and women. I refer to subs and submissives as female for the purpose of keeping my pronouns consistent.

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