Everything Newbies Want To Know About BDSM

For anyone interested in trying kink, they may decide to venture away from vanilla and enter the world of BDSM. In the BDSM community, people actually meet up and host parties where folks can participate and watch each other perform, but you can also just have fun in your own home.

There aren't really a ton of rules that govern how people must behave except for one fundamental one--participants must always consent to what is happening to them. An example of consent and not consent is this--When someone meets Gordon Ramsay knowing he likes to yell and they ask him to call them an Idiot Sandwich and he does, that's consent. Those people know what they're going to get, they ask for it, and they wanted it. In contrast, when women dated former New York AG Eric Schneiderman and he randomly punched them in the face, that's not consent. They went into the situation expecting one thing, and he delivered something completely different (and violent) without asking or receiving permission. 

With the main concept of consent in mind, let's talk about other BDSM basics. 

What does BDSM Stand for?
Sexual beings are either vanilla or into BDSM. Vanilla is a term used in the community to describe regular sex, which most people are into. Intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex can be a lot of fun and done in different positions and locations, but that doesn't make it kinky necessarily. 

What makes sex kinky is when people take it to another level. People who engage in BDSM tend to find vanilla sex boring. BDSM players enjoy exploiting power dynamics, with the principle that in a relationship no person is actually equal. One is in charge and the other follows, and in BDSM, these roles are explicitly defined.

BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, Dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. These roles often intertwine but also may not. For instance, sometimes bondage and discipline can mingle with sadism and masochism, but Dominance and submission does not always require restraints or bondage. 
  • Bondage and discipline: If you think of the Red Room in 50 Shades of Grey, that's an example of what goes on in bondage and discipline. People who like this type of play may wear leather or latex; own whips, ropes, or masks; and may have their own sex dungeons. Bondage and discipline acts can inflict pain, but pain is not the primary purpose. Bondage and discipline acts such as tying someone up or flogging them are done for restraining and training, and the turn-on is the idea of controlling someone or submitting to them. 
  • Dominance and submission: Dominance and submission is where one person leads the relationship while his or her bottom follows. D/s does not always include pain. It's main focus is the power dynamic. For instance, in a female-led relationship, a man willingly agrees to do whatever his Domme asks for him. For this type of submissive man, he enjoys serving a strong woman and letting her take the lead, and that's how he receives pleasure. 
  • Sadism and masochism: A sadist enjoys inflicting pain and the masochist enjoys receiving it. Pain can either be physical and can be as light as a slap or as intense as drawing blood. Pain can also be emotional in the form of humiliation or even blackmail. An example of sadism/masochism include splaying with knives, needles, or consensual emotional abuse. It's often tied into bondage and discipline. 
How can one start a BDSM relationship? 
50 Shades of Grey gets some slack from people in the community because Christian Grey stalked Anastasia Steele until she gave into his lifestyle, and this concept gives the false idea that it's ok to coerce someone into a BDSM relationship. And since consent is the number one tenet in the BDSM world, it is not ok to manipulate or force someone into doing anything sexual, especially if those acts involve any type of emotional or physical harm. After all, there are some things such as name-calling or violence that are sexy when requested but terrifying or offensive when sprung out of the blue. And BDSM should be fun, not something that makes you or your partner feel bad or gross. 

So if you are interested in exploring kink, you can go onto specific kink websites such as FetLife to make friends, or you can search for BDSM dates on the app Kinkd. On mainstream dating apps, BDSM people have good luck on Okcupid when they explicitly state on their profiles what they are looking for and what roles they like. 

If you want to learn more about the lifestyle in person, some professional dungeons offer classes or you can book sessions with pro-Dominants or Dominatrixes. For instance, if you are in Los Angeles, I recommend checking out the Den of Inequity which is owned by Mistress Tara Indiana. 

Remember, it's important to be upfront with what you like and want. Don't wait until after you go on a few vanilla dates and end up back at someone's apartment to reveal that you like acting like a dog or want to kick someone in the balls. That'll more likely just end up in awkwardness for you and your date, and you're not going to get what you want. So stop wasting time! 

Lastly, I strongly advise people looking for BDSM play partners to never approach people at work or school. I'll go into sexual harassment more in other posts, but basically, power dynamics already exist in those environments and adding a sexual element complicates things and blurs the line of consent.