Christmas Specials - order before 12/17 to get your package before Christmas - Shop Now!

lewandmassager

What is BDSM really about? Your Guide to Debunking the Scary Stories Behind this Super Fun Way to Play

29 June 2018

What is BDSM? Learn everything there is to know about the world of kink play!

Does the (in)famous acronym BDSM stir thoughts of spike-tipped whips, heavy-duty chains, and a stony medieval dungeon lit by torches that illuminate an array of ancient torture devices? If so, you’re not alone.

But depending on what sort of kinky folks you speak to, this sort of outrageous fantasy could be right on the money, or so far from the truth that your kink-friendly conversation partner bursts into laughter.

What is BDSM?

BDSM, which stands for Bondage, Domination/Submission, Sadism, and Masochism, is a broad-reaching category of bedroom play that can range from the mild to wild, all depending on what each couple finds a sexy, hot turn-on.

People who regularly practice BDSM in any form (or many forms!) are known as “lifestylers”, especially when they heavily interact and socialize with other BDSM lovers, often forming a community of like-minded individuals who discuss kinky play and sometimes get down with other partners or couples.

The BDSM label can apply to many types of sexual play that fall outside of the vanilla genre. Vanilla generally refers to sexual intercourse in the most simplistic manner — sans even the most beginners’ sort of kink toys, like furry handcuffs or a silky blindfold. Yes, this means that if you’ve ever blindfolded your partner with a soft tie or used your lacy panties to bind their hands above their head, you’ve engaged in a light version of BDSM.

Some couples actually enjoy the full Hollywood-style dungeon, complete with a wooden St. Andrew’s Cross to tie up their partner spread-eagle while they excitedly await an endorphin-releasing whipping. That’s because BDSM hinges on negotiation and consent, and the sexual variations can vary wildly from couple to couple.

BDSM and Consent

When couples’ practice active consent, it means they never attempt a sexual act without asking first, and they listen closely to their partner during sex just in case something that usually feels good happens to feel bad.

In BDSM, part of practicing consent involves negotiating the terms of the sexual encounter before any clothes come off and candles are lit.

These negotiated rules can be as firm as, “I don’t like being spanked, so please don’t ever spank me on any part of my body,” or someone can decide to give certain activities a try with the option to stop the scene if they become uncomfortable, either physically or mentally, like “Sometimes I like being penetrated with large sex toys, but I’ve never tried vaginal fisting before. Please go slow, use lots of lube, and I’ll tell you to stop if I don’t like it.”

Because exhilarating, consensual BDSM can take many forms, let’s look at some common aspects of this often misunderstood sexual niche that debunks all those scary and untrue stories you’ve probably heard over the years. Once you get past the rumors, you open up your partnership to a whole lot of kinky fun!

What is Bondage?

A tied-up tart is probably what immediately springs to mind when you think of BDSM. The B stands for Bondage, and it plays an undeniably huge role in most lifestylers’ playbooks.

Bondage can range from a loosely-wrapped tie around the wrists to those gorgeously intricate Shibari rope designs that you might have seen on the internet.

The most common example of bondage play is being tied up

If you’re new to bondage, start simple with silk ties, easy-release handcuffs, or super-soft rope. If you’re both dying for more and want to make art with your rope work, get in touch with a professional rigger — a person who has had years of experience in safely tying and binding with a working knowledge of how anatomy plays into the whole thing.

If done incorrectly, super tight or otherwise body-bending bondage can cause serious injury and long-term nerve damage. We recommend staying away from the rougher stuff until you really know what you’re doing and have been supervised by a pro.

What is Domination & Submission?

The big D in BDSM stands for Domination, one of the core aspects of kinky play.

As you might have guessed, someone who identifies as a sexual dominant – referred to as a Dom with a capital D in vernacular – likes to be the person in charge in the bedroom.

The S stands for Submission, and unsurprisingly still, these folks like to be on the receiving end of domination. Some submissives – also called “subs” for short – simply like a partner that enjoys being on top or tying their hands to the bedposts.

Others need something more extreme to get off, like engaging in breath play or being bent over and spanked. Dominants can be just as expansive in their play preferences, and their favorite sex acts can range from using a sex toy on their partner while they writhe in ecstatic orgasm, or tightly cuffing their wrists and ankles and screwing them silly.

No matter how dominant and submissive partners choose to play, consent and proper communication underline everything that goes on from the moment both people decide that their play session, commonly called a “scene”, begins. The key is to only engage in  BDSM play with a partner you can trust and feel comfortable communication exactly how you feel.

Switching During BDSM

Not everyone feels drawn to only one category of BDSM identity. Many lifestylers switch back and forth between dominant and submissive roles, hence the basic term “switch”.

For monogamous kink couples, partners will swap bedroom roles depending on the day of the week, how they’re feeling at the moment, or sometimes all within a single round of sex. For polyamorous couples or those within open relationships, switches might enjoy acting out different BDSM roles with different partners based on their individual sexual chemistry and preferences.

What is Sadism & Masochism?

Now here’s where you might assume things get scary, but again, remember that nothing bad can happen when you play with a partner who listens to your needs and care about your well-being.

A sadist – usually the dominant partner – feels sexually turned on by watching their partner squirm and wriggle from the metallic bite of a Whartenberg wheel or the crack of a paddle.

masochist – played by the submissive – gets off by having those sorts of intense acts done to them.

Just like any other part of BDSM, the level of discomfort or pain inflicted is pre-determined by both the Dom and sub before the actual play begins. Lighter forms of masochism and sadism can involve tickling, using a vibrator to tease your partner while they’re tied up, or lightly scratching them with your nails. More extreme forms can involve intense tickling until your partner begs you to stop, turn the vibrator up to its highest setting and ‘forcing’ your partner to orgasm until exhaustion, or scratching your partners back until you draw blood.

Because BDSM play can involve more than just the usual sexual bodily fluids exchanged between genitals – like blood, urine, or anal mucous – it’s imperative that everyone involved gets regular STD tests and discloses their test results with every single partner. The only folks who can get away with a one-off visit to the doctor are fully monogamous couples who remain committed and honest to their partners.

Impact Play

A popular part of BDSM is impact play, which is a fancy term for spanking and slapping.

Impact play in BDSM is another term for spanking and slapping

Impact play can be dialed down or turned up depending on what feels good. There’s a reason that spanking feel good, besides making you feel like a naughty school kid. When you smack or spank any part of your body, whether lightly or with force, blood rises to the skin’s surface, which then intensifies any sort of touch applied afterwards.

To test this fun little theory, give yourself a light (or hard, if you prefer) smack on your arm or leg a couple times, allow the blood to flow into the area, and then use something tactile, like a feather or a hairbrush, to drag over the engorged area. It feels pretty amazing and sensitive, doesn’t it? If you’re not a huge fan of typical spanking fantasies, you can still use this aspect of BDSM play to add another dimension to your sexual sensations.

Research, Learn & Listen

You might not find these terms so specific to BDSM alone, but they’re the most important parts of keeping all partners safe while you’re exploring this exciting new addition to your sex life.

Even with the best of intentions, BDSM can turn right back into a scary Hollywood scenario if you become overconfident in your skills. Before you and partner engage in any BDSM play, scour the internet for real-life advice on how to safely dip your feet into the pool of kink.

You might also want to see out a local “munch”, a casual lunch meet-up where BDSM lifestylers of various skill sets can ask questions and learn from their peers’ experiences. And most of all, never get so involved in a scene that you forget to check in with your partner. Always make sure that they’re feeling aroused, comfortable, and safe!

Communication and consent should always be at the forefront of your BDSM play

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying BDSM in any fashion. A single look around the ‘net will tell you that it’s one of the most popular ways in the world to spice up your sex life! When practiced with proper consent and a whole lot of love, this amazingly diverse sexual universe can open up your partnership to incredible connection and deeper appreciation for your partner.

Enjoyed the article? Carry on with part 2 of the BDSM Series – Orgasm Control With Le Wand

Get 20% off your first order

For more information and tips on how to marry pleasure and wellness, do subscribe to our newsletter.