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Beginner's guide to exploring kink with your partner.

Beginner's guide to exploring kink with your partner.

The basics of BDSM and how to introduce into your sex life.

While it seems like BDSM is on everyone’s mind, it’s far from normalized in our vanilla, hetero-centric culture. For this reason, even if more people are admitting to experimenting in the bedroom than ever before, it can still feel intimidating to explore your kinky fantasies with a partner for the first time.

Use Your Words
Start with making sure you and your partner are on the same page. There’s a reason why you want to explore kink—is it an interest that both you and your partner share, or are you coming to them with the idea independently? If the latter is the case, a well-timed conversation (or two. Or three.) will help you determine what both your interests, boundaries, and limits are.

If you don’t have a sense of how your partner will react to your desire, it helps to come prepared with a specific idea of what you want to do. Curious about cuffs? Hot for humiliation? Do you want to top, bottom, or switch? Choose a neutral, non-sexual time and place to share the specific activities you want to try and how you envision doing them together. Do your best not to make assumptions about whether your partner will be turned on or turned off—you won’t know until you hear it from them. 

In a perfect world, you’ll have had the same thoughts about the same tantalizing scenario, but while some of your interests may merge, it’s more likely that you’ll have to strike some compromises on what you will and won’t do. You also should prepare yourself for your partner’s disinterest in your fantasy; desire is personal, but it’s nothing personal if it’s not reciprocated or shared.

Either way, you won’t know until you have a conversation about it. In situations like these, it’s always better to over communicate than to take anything for granted. 

Do Your Research
If your partner shares your kink—or better yet, has kinks of their own to share with you—so far, so good. Now it’s time to hit the books, literally and figuratively. 

Even if you want to try a relatively low-stakes activity like spanking, learning how to do it safely and effectively is worth your time. For kinks that can be potentially dangerous, like bondage, or require skill, hardware, and space, like whipping, you will need to invest time, energy, and, likely, money.

Educate yourself with books like The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy Tens, porn (that you’ve paid for), and BDSM workshops put on by local groups like the Lesbian Sex Mafia. As you learn more about the kinks you’re interested in, explore the ones that you may not have considered, or that don’t interest you right now. Many people discover that the more kinks they learn about, the more open-minded they become over time (though there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you like and sticking with it). 

Finally, Time To Play
As with any new hobby or interest, you can, and should, prepare yourself for exploring BDSM, but it’s most fun to learn by (safely) doing. Though you might be eager to finally dive into your fantasy, there’s nothing wrong with taking it slow, especially if yours is complicated, emotional, or even a little scary. 

Even if you’re exploring your kink with a partner you know very well, building trust is key. Before your scene begins, discuss your safe word—a great tool for every scene, even the most low-key—consider using the traffic-light system, and feel free to change your mind. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and sexy. 

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