Trainer and I receive a lot of questions from curious couples who want to know more about BDSM. We thought we would collect the most common questions we get and try to answer them here. First though, let’s define just exactly what we are talking about.
BDSM is a very broad term that can encompass a whole lot of things from simple bondage to outlandish fetishes. Based on our normal audience, we’ll stick with Dominant/Submissive (D/s) behaviors and some of the activities that are most commonly associated with that. We’ll also specify two levels of BDSM play. One of my good friends recently described it perfectly, I think —
“Swinger BDSM is different from BDSM-BDSM. Swinger BDSM is about the play, a touch of pain but it’s mostly about turning the woman on and making her feel slutty then banging her real good. Real BDSM is about taking control of a woman, doing whatever the hell you want to her, whether she likes it or not (up to previously discussed hard limits) and just making her your personal toy.”
Ready? Here we go!
My wife is interested in BDSM, but I’m afraid to try it. I don’t want to hurt her.
If your lady has expressed to you that she wants to experiment with BDSM, now is the perfect time to discuss what it is she really wants. Is she looking for Swinger BDSM or is she looking BDSM-BDSM, or is she interested in a fetish associated with BDSM? This is also a good time to discuss hard and soft limits.
In our experience most times, your lady is interested in Swinger BDSM. More than likely, she wants to feel just a bit helpless, get a good dicking along with a good smack on the ass. If this is the case, don’t worry about hurting her. Quite naturally, you won’t smack her any harder than you do when she parades through the kitchen and you can’t help but smack that fine ass.
We would encourage you to start there. If she is wanting you to use tools like paddles and/or floggers, then you’ll need to practice a little bit either on yourself or on her if she is willing. During this practice, your goal is to measure the amount of force you use and the level of pain/excitement it produces.
If she expresses an interest in BDSM-BDSM, then you two really need to talk about this. Research it together, and talk about the information that you find and how you feel it will fit into your relationship and your specific personalities. Don’t know where to start your research? Type “what is bdsm” in your Google search bar, trust me you won’t run out of material.
What are hard-limits versus soft-limits and how do you figure out what they are?
While this could seem daunting, it’s actually pretty easy. You and your partner probably already have a good idea of what turns you on and off, and this is the perfect place to start. Have this discussion before you start your play.
A hard limit is something you will not do, no matter what. The reason can be almost anything from moral code, a health issue, or just the ick-factor. Basically, there is no way on this Earth that you will consent to this particular thing.
A soft limit is something that you are unsure of, makes you nervous or uncomfortable, but you may agree to it under certain circumstances. A soft limit can also be health related, maybe you have an injury or temporary illness that will prevent you from being able to do something.
If you feel like you have no idea where to start, there are a number of “checklists” online that you can use, however, be prepared to run into a wide variety of things. Remember, BDSM covers A LOT of ground.
How will I know if I’ve gone too far?
Remember “safe, sane, and consensual” and you should be good. This is also a good time to discuss safe words. Whether your Dom is your spouse or someone else, I highly recommend that you have them. If you run into someone that does not want to use them or refuses to use them, well personally, I wouldn’t go there.
Once again, this is a discussion that you need to have in advance. For beginners, I would highly recommend that you have a simple set of safe words that indicate “I’m good”, “I’m uncomfortable with this”, and “STOP”. This could be as simple as Green, Yellow, Red. These are universal colors for go, slow down, and stop, and don’t immediately have a sexual connotation. This last bit is important; if part of the fantasy that you are acting out has the submissive resisting the Dom, these words will indicate that the submissive is seriously communicating to the Dom about the current activity. Quite often resistance is part of a fantasy — “You big brute, stop it!” “No, don’t do that!” — but if the submissive follows one of those statements up with a “Yellow!” it’s time to back off, maybe switch to something else; if the submissive follows up one of those resistance statements with “RED!” all play stops immediately. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. It’s time to allow the sub to catch their breath, receive comfort if needed, and when ready, discuss what it was that caused the safe word to be used.
How do you decide on a good safe word? or What is a good safe word to use?
Safe words should be random words that are – A) easy to remember, B) have nothing to do with sexual activities, C) are not slang terms, D) are not resistance words.
Easy to remember – a word that is common in your mutual speech together that is not likely to be forgotten in the heat of the moment. Green/yellow/red are great for beginners, more experienced players have been known to use words like “Pepsi”, “Pineapple”, and other random words. It can even be your partner’s name, he or she is not likely to forget that.
Nothing to do with sexual activities; not slang terms – verbalizing an annoyed “well fuck me” statement will probably result in exactly that happening; so if you’re wanting the Dom to slow down or stop, this probably will not have the desired effect.
Is not a “resistance” word – in BDSM, resistance words are commonly part of the fantasy. No does not mean no, stop does not mean stop, and so forth. In a true BDSM-BDSM situation, these words are more likely to encourage your Dominant to keep going and push the sub’s boundaries (or soft limits) further.
How long should this kind of play last?
This is subjective to you and your partner. BDSM, even Swinger-style, can be incredibly satisfying and completely exhausting for both participants. If your role is that of the Dominant, you will be setting the pace and the time limit for this play. Pay careful attention to your submissive partner’s body language and reactions. If you can visibly tell that the submissive is getting tired, it may be time to bring playtime to its conclusion. If your role is that of the Submissive, pay attention to your own body’s signals and do not be afraid to communicate to your dominant partner that you are losing focus or getting too tired, or that this certain position is getting extremely uncomfortable because of a cramp, pinched nerve, or something similar.
As you continue to experiment with BDSM play you will each get better at “reading” the other one to anticipate their needs. But never be afraid to communicate during your play time.
Where do you buy your toys?
This is most often directed at Trainer who will sometime carry his Big Bag ‘O Fun around with him. It’s stuffed full of collars, cuffs, floggers, canes of various sizes, restraints, blindfolds, and all kinds of other stuff.
You could go to a local adult store and find some of these items, you can order them online from just about anywhere, including Amazon, or you can purchase them custom made. Be aware though that this can become a rather expensive hobby very quickly if you don’t budget yourself.
Can you tell me about the relationship between a Dom & Sub? And how do people do this 24/7?
Dominant/Dom/Top and Submissive/Sub/Bottom are just words to describe a person’s role within their relationship. Even normal relationships have one person who is more “take charge” than the other. Generally speaking in a BDSM relationship this is more pronounced in the sensual and sexual areas of the relationship, with very clearly defined roles for each person.
For those that choose to live a D/s relationship 24/7, it’s really not any different than your swinger relationship with your partner. If you’re doing it right, the swinger lifestyle fulfills both a physical and a psychological need for both you and your partner. It’s the same thing for a fulltime D/s couple. Everyone has their different reasons, but the basics are all the same.
What is a “switch”? How do I find out if I am a Dom, a Sub, or a Switch?
Pay attention, there will be a pop quiz later.
Dominant/Dom/Top – these are all terms to describe the partner that takes charge and directs the play that will happen. He/she is the authority figure during this time. This role requires the person not only to plan and direct the session, but also means that you are your submissive’s caretaker of both physical and psychological needs.
Submissive/Sub/Bottom – these are all terms to describe the partner that will take the submissive role to the Dominant. His/her role is simply to “be”. The submissive is not a decision maker or director of the play that will happen. He or she may ask for a particular act or fantasy from the Dom, but the timing and execution is up to the Dom.
Note: it is bad form to “top from the bottom”. This happens when the person in the submissive role tries to control the play either directly, indirectly or passive aggressively. If you are in the submissive role, you have agreed to go along with whatever the Dominant wants to do.
Switch – this term refers to a person that enjoys equally the role of the Dominant and the Submissive. They can “switch” into either persona to fit the fantasy being played out.
What is collaring?
Collaring can mean many things to those practicing BDSM. There is no particular guide or formula to giving a collar, but there are a few basic constants to this particular item –
- The Dom always gives the collar to the submissive
- The collar and the person wearing it should always be treated with respect; he/she is off-limits to anyone else while it is worn
- The Dom should be the only one to put on or remove the collar
- The collar is the property of the Dom and should be returned if the BDSM relationship ends
The reasons that a Dom may use or place a collar on his submissive can vary. It may be a signal that BDSM play is about to begin, it could be used as a training tool, it could be a sign of a committed D/s relationship. The collar’s meaning is as varied as the Doms that use them.
What is the difference between a D/s relationship and a Daddy/Babygirl relationship?
Trainer says that I’m the best one to answer this question, but I’m not sure there is a firm answer to this question. In my personal opinion, a D/s relationship is one that has very clearly defined roles between partners; one is always the Dom and one is always the sub. “Daddy” and “baby girl” or sometimes “little girl” are just another form of D/s relationship. Just like Master/Sir/Mister are terms of authority and respect for the Dom, Daddy could also be added to that list. Depending on the type of play you engage in, terms for the sub like slut/pet/bad- or good-girl can be terms of endearment or humiliation/degradation.
The Daddy/baby girl relationships that I have been around are ones where the Dom has the role of protector, disciplinarian, or pseudo-parental figure that allows the sub to occasionally give in to her inner child.
My man has expressed an interest in being dominated by someone else. I’m not sure I like that idea. How can I support his fantasy?
Kitty says I am the best one to answer this question from the male perspective. If you’re struggling to get your brain around this conundrum (your big, strong man wanting to be handled, bound and possibly – heaven forbid – spanked!), all I can advise is BE MATURE. Disconnect the romantic vision of the “hunter/warrior” and consider that this is a fantasy he wants to try for pure sexual gratification. Afterwards, he will still be your big strong man. The other part is that in watching another take control of him, you might find that it really turns you on, much the same way it turns a lot of husbands on to watch their wives in a submissive role.
Give him the same courtesy of consideration that you would want from him if you shared a desire to be dominated, or any other sexual fantasy. Remember that it isn’t going to do irreparable damage to try it.
That’s my call on this and, ladies, in the hands of the right person (someone you both like and trust) this can be great fun!
I’m afraid to explore BDSM. I’m afraid that if I give in to a submissive position, my partner will think less of me; lose respect; or want me to be like that all the time.
Kitty says – BDSM and the roles played are what you and your partner agree it will be between the two of you. If you’re worried about these things, even after having candid discussion with your partner then one or the other (BDSM or partner) is not a good fit for you. At the end of the day, when all the playtime is done, neither you or your partner should feel shamed by the fantasies that you have acted out.
Trainer says – A role is a role and that is just what you’re doing when you engage in a BDSM fantasy. Both partners are turning off their day-to-day roles and assuming new personas for the experience. Choosing the role sets the tone of your experience. Discuss what you’re wanting to accomplish and pick roles accordingly. While you’re in the moment, you are the role you selected. After the fantasy, you’re back in everyday roles again. Live in the moment (because that is all it is) and enjoy that moment.