faq

What’s BDSM? Where Should I Start?

FAQs

What’s BDSM? Where Should I Start?

BDSM is a big range of sexy 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! Most BDSM includes bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism or a combination of these.

Not everyone likes BDSM. 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 really into it!

If you want to try something with your partners, it’s important to talk about it first. Consent is an important part of BDSM. Without it, BDSM can be scary and traumatic instead of amazing and fun.

A quick look at BDSM words

There’s 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 someone is tied up or restrained. People might use handcuffs or complicated rope patterns. Some people like tying people up and other people like being tied 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 being told 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 a kinky can change over time and between cultures. People can also have their own idea of what is and isn’t kinky!

Safe words 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 yes, no, maybe list so you and your partners know what everyone likes! There are lists for anything sexual and ones just for BDSM.

If you and your partners want to try different things, it’s important to make sure no one feels pressured. BDSM can be intense and emotional for some people. It’s important to have enthusiastic consent.

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

How do I practice safer sex and BDSM?

Some kinds of BDSM have little or no risk for STIs. Other things have higher risks. Using 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 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 really important. 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 mean “stop” or “let’s take a break.” They make it easier to check in with your partners and learn how they’re feeling.

Some people see aftercare as an important part of BDSM. Aftercare is when people take care of each other after an intense experience to make sure everyone calms down and feels okay. Each person might need different things. People might want to cuddle, talk about what happened, get a massage, or have 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 really trust.

Everyone’s BDSM can be different! That’s one of the reasons consent and communication are so important. BDSM can be a fun and healthy way to explore what you like and try new things!

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