We’re three badly made Fifty Shades movies into the never-ending franchise, and the increasing interest in kink and BDSM has many people more curious than ever. Looking to get started, or perhaps explore more of your kinky side?

Let’s take it back to the basics

What exactly is BDSM? B = bondage (the tying up), D = discipline/dominance, S = submission/sadism (finding pleasure in hurting others) and M = masochism (finding pleasure in being hurt). The key phrase used in BDSM is ‘safe, sane and consensual’ along with ‘your kink is not my kink’. So as long as your play is the former, then I need not worry about whether or not your kinks are for me – especially if I’m not personally involved. For an intro to what BDSM is really about (versus what 50 Shades might lead you to believe), click here.

Do it on your own terms

Hesitant to try? That’s completely natural. If you feel as though you’re going too far too fast, you could end up hurting yourself or your partner in play. Remember that the way to have the best time possible here is to maintain a level of communication that has everyone involved aware of what’s happening at all times, and consciously enjoying the fun. Exploring your sexuality is a joy and a wonder – do it the way you want to.

10 tips for getting started with BDSM

  1. Figure out what you want. Discuss limits, both physical and emotional, the intensity of play you’re willing to explore and safer sex precautions. Strike an agreement and readjust as time goes on.
  2. Establish safe words – phrases you’ll use when you want the play to be slowed down or stop. Non-verbal cues you can use are tapping your partner’s head, a pinch or two or blinking deeply. Remember: no one should ever guilt you out of using it; safe words are for you and any refusal to honour them should not be tolerated.
  3. Start lightly and build the intensity. A great dominant checks in with their submissive multiple times to ensure that their submissive is okay and that they use their safe word.
  4. Learn how to spank! Whether with your hand or with wooden spoons, learn to do it right. Avoid items that have sharp edges and strike only the fleshy parts of the body.
  5. Trying bondage? Start with a scarf or tie then upgrade to more elaborate types that need rope. Stay away from cable ties or anything that cuts off your circulation when pulled. You can also get yourself a cute pair of cuffs.

    BDSM tips

    Getty images

  6. You may feel any candle can work for wax play when the truth is some types (like beeswax) can cause burns. Plain paraffin candles are great; soy candles are even better.
  7. Washing pegs are an inexpensive alternative to nipple clamps. You’re unlikely to regret purchasing actual clamps that will leave your nipples tender and in need of many kisses. Do some self-experimentation and be gentle when taking them off – that’s when they hurt most.

    BDSM tips guide kink

    getty images

  8. Power play anyone? It’s as much fun ordering someone around when they’re working as it is while naked. Lay out their clothes for them, tell them to take their underwear off in the middle of the day, give them some rules for the day and, should they break one, let them know a punishment awaits them when they get home.
  9. You may not want to think of it, but do prepare for emergencies. Keep a first aid kit close-by as well as some paramedic scissors (very handy if you need to free a bound person urgently).
  10. Don’t forget the after-care! The fun doesn’t stop until you’ve given yourselves a chance to recover from the high that comes with play. Wipe down, cuddle up in a soft blanket, get some water and check in with each other. Engage on how you can increase the pleasure in the future. My favourite question to ask always anticipates the next session: ‘How could we make this even better?’