FAQ

What’s BDSM? Where Should I Start If I’m Interested in it?

FAQ

What’s BDSM? Where Should I Start If I’m Interested in it?

BDSM is a big range of sexual things you can do with your partners. Usually, it involves someone having power and someone giving up power. But it can be different things for different people!

Not everyone likes BDSM. And, not everyone who likes it is into the same things. Whatever you like or don’t like is ok as long as you and your partners are into it!

If you want to try something with your partners, you can talk about it first. Establishing consent in advance can lower the risk of BDSM being scary and traumatic instead of amazing and fun.

A quick look at BDSM words

There are a lot of words that people use when they talk about BDSM. This even includes the acronym B-D-S-M, which stands for bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism. There are a lot of other common words!

Bondage is when you tie someone up or restrain them. People might use handcuffs or complicated rope patterns. Some people like tying people up and other people like it when you tie them up!

Discipline is when people give their partners rules to follow. If they don’t follow the rules they might get “punished.” Punishments are things everyone has already agreed to. Some people might even break their partner’s rules because they like the punishments!

Dominance is when someone has control over someone else. The person giving up control has to give clear and enthusiastic consent to the dominant person. The person who dominates them might like being in control.

Submission is when someone enthusiastically gives up control. People who are submissive might like being physically dominated or when you tell them what to do.

Sadism is when someone likes causing pain. Sadism can be a healthy part of someone’s BDSM as long as they always get enthusiastic consent!

Masochism is when someone likes feeling pain. Some masochists like a little pain while others like a lot!

Kink is any sexual thing that’s less common. What people see as kinky can change over time and between cultures. People can also have their own idea of what is and isn’t kinky!

Safewords are words or signals that someone can use if they want something to stop or slow down.

How do I start?

Starting BDSM can feel like a lot. Many people suggest starting by figuring out what you like and what you’re comfortable with. You can try filling out a want, will, won’t list so you and your partners know what everyone likes! There are lists for anything sexual and ones just for BDSM.

BDSM can be intense and emotional for some people. Having enthusiastic consent can make it more likely to be a good experience. If someone feels pressured, those intense emotions can end up feeling bad.

Lots of people recommend starting small when you’re trying BDSM for the first time. You can build up to riskier things!

How do I practice safer sex and BDSM?

Some kinds of BDSM have little or no risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Other things have higher risks. Using barrier methods like condoms, gloves, or dental dams can help lower the risk of STIs. If you’re having sex that can cause pregnancy, condoms and other kinds of birth control can lower the risk

In BDSM, safer sex can mean more than preventing STIs and pregnancy. Some things like spanking or rope bondage can hurt or injure someone if you do them in certain ways. To lower the risk, you can watch how-to videos, read books or blogs, or get advice from professionals!

How can I make BDSM emotionally safer?

Because some kinds of BDSM can be intense, consent and communication are two ways to make it emotionally safer. On top of common consent practices like checking in, lots of people who do BDSM use safe words. These are code words or signals that make it easier to check in with your partners and learn how they’re feeling. Some common safewords are using the colours of stoplights:

  • “Green” means that you like what is happening and that it’s ok to continue
  • “Yellow” can mean proceed with caution or slow down
  • “Red” means stop

After doing BDSM activities, some people might need aftercare. Aftercare is when people take care of each other after an intense experience. It helps to make sure everyone calms down and feels okay. Each person might need different things. Some things people might want are cuddles, talking about what happened, getting a massage, or having water and snacks.

Some kinds of BDSM can injure someone or hurt them mentally. You can lower the risk by starting when you’re sober. It also helps to start with someone you trust.

Everyone’s BDSM can be different! Communication and having consent can help everyone have a good time. BDSM can be a fun and healthy way to explore what you like and try new things!

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