The Ultimate BDSM Guide For Beginners

If you’re looking to wander in to the mysterious world of BDSM for the first time, then this article is for you.

Kinky sex is wickedly alluring for many reasons. It breaks cultural taboos, pushes your erotic comfort zone, and potentially leads to thrilling peak experiences, which are otherwise inaccessible through quietly humping in the dark in missionary position.

There is a reason why the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy swept the Western world and sold well over 125 million copies (and it’s definitely not because of the high-caliber writing).

Deep down, people are kinky as fuck, and are desperately seeking ways to let their freak flag fly.

While the Fifty Shades series doesn’t necessarily reflect the rules and culture of kink and BDSM in real-life (at all), its sales success simply highlights the fact that people want to mess around with the subject matter. And that’s perfectly normal.

There are literally millions of people out there who want to be dominated, but are too shy to admit it and ask for it, while there are others who want to dominate, but they either feel shame for having that impulse, or don’t know how to explore that urge safely.

first sex party, bdsm

In this article, I’m going to break down what BDSM is, set the two foundational pillars, talk about how to be an awesome Dom to your sub, and pitch in a few other general tips to help you get started.

Since this is a beginners guide, we’re going to hold off on getting into the full lexicon of BDSM slang (which is absolutely massive) as well as everything related to the domain of edgeplay, which is the “edgier”, risky, or ultra-taboo stuff people may want to play around with during sex – like knives, needles, blood, torture, fire, advanced asphyxiation, etc. Edgeplay is definitely not for the faint of heart, and takes an extremely advanced level of self-awareness, trust, and impeccable communication to do safely.

In time, you might find you’re curious to explore these edgier areas a little bit, or simply want to learn all the language. But most people end up being very satisfied (and sufficiently challenged – in a good way) by splashing in the shallow end of the BDSM pool. For now, let’s take the appropriate baby steps and start with the basics!

Heads up – I’ll be using the word “scene” every now and then, which is a term many people in BDSM use to refer to the act of actively engaging in sexual play.

This is also really useful language because it implies preparation, communication, acting, direction and debriefing, just as there would be on a real movie set. We step into certain roles (i.e. aspects of ourselves), and once you call “action!” it could be stopped at any moment.

But Wait… Isn’t BDSM Abuse?

One question that gets thrown around a good amount when it comes to BDSM play is that some people still have a perception of BDSM equalling abuse.

Let’s set the record straight. Abuse is non-consensual. BDSM is consensual. If someone has explicitly asked that you spank them, or bite their neck, or tie up their hands during sex, then you are not abusing them… you are simply delivering on exactly what they asked for.

Once establishing this difference, a common follow up question that I have received dozens of times is “Can BDSM ever actually be healthy… or is this just people acting out their repressed stuff around sexuality and secretly wanting to be abused?”

First of all, everyone has repressed stuff around their sexuality. We are complex beings who grew up in a world that has a collectively tight asshole and we all carry some degree of shame or resistance around our sexuality (even if it’s only 1%).

Second, a big emphatic NO to this question. Making someone wrong for enjoying pain (or the feeling of being dominated, or the feeling of being denied an orgasm, etc. etc. etc.) is as outdated and narrow-minded as thinking that gay people were gay because they were acting out repressed anger towards one of their parents. It holds no basis of validity whatsoever.

To be fair, there are absolutely some people who enter into the BDSM lifestyle because they have unintegrated shit that they haven’t faced within themselves, and do just want to beat and/or be beaten. But people also enter into vanilla intimate relationships in order to experience or inflict pain (mainly emotional and psychological). So this isn’t in any way a BDSM specific thing. This is an ‘a lot of humans don’t work through their shit‘ thing.

And if you still think that psychologically healthy people can’t engage in edgier sexual play, then this (9 times out of 10) is just the question-asker’s way of projecting their own unintegrated dark side on to the people who are engaging in BDSM. In other words, a part of them wants to do the thing they’re judging, but they’re in denial about it.

So, What Is BDSM?

The acronym BDSM encompasses three fundamental dynamics in the realm of kinky sexual play:

B/D – Bondage & Discipline

D/S – Dominance & Submission

S/M – Sadism & Masochism

Since it’s the foundation of most situations involving BDSM, let’s start with Dominance & Submission.

In kink, one person is usually designated to assume a dominant role, while the other will take on a submissive one. The common shorthand for these roles are simply Dom (for women, some prefer Domme) and sub. A person who enjoys taking on either role at different times would be known as a Switch.

In any given scene, the Dom will step into an assertive and directive energy, and the sub will be yielding and compliant, which could look like a Master/slave dynamic, for example. There are absolutely no gender rules for who “should” take on any role. The fluidity of the Dom/sub dynamic applies across same-sex and inter-sex play. This all comes down to personality and the types of fantasy any person wants to explore, or allow their partner to explore. Many men enjoy stepping into a hyper-submissive role and being dominated by a woman.

While playing those roles, what exactly it is you’ll get up to differs wildly. It could look like saucy pillow talk, or you tying someone up before teasing and fucking them, or someone making you crawl around on the floor like a snake, while wearing handcuffs and a leather mask and crying for your mommy, before they pee on you while screaming, “You fucking love it, you little reptilian loser!”

This is where communication and boundary setting is huge (more on that later). Before engaging in any kind of BDSM play, all parties express their desires, preferences, and hard limits, which is anything that is out-of-bounds and beyond your comfort zone. Everyone agrees on a safe word (or phrase) to be used in the event someone feels uncomfortable, unsafe, or simply ‘over it’, and wants to stop the scene immediately.

Many couples who engage in BDSM also have two safe words. One that, when uttered, ceases all sexual play, and another safe word that signals, ‘I’m happy to stay in character, but I want the specifics or intensity of what we’re doing to shift.’ Two of the most common examples of safe words are red, and yellow (yes, like the traffic light colours), where red means full stop and yellow means change things up.

Safe wording becomes crucial when we get into Bondage & Discipline. Bondage is any play that involves one partner tying or restraining another with either ropes, cuffs, belts, velcro, neckties, etc. Discipline is a type of play that involves an element of punishment. This dynamic could set up where the Dom sets rules and guidelines for what the sub has to, or cannot, say and do. Or, the sub simply enjoys the feeling of having been “bad”, and needing to be punished by the Dom in some way (ex. roleplaying a student in detention with a teacher.)

This “punishment” could range from strictly verbal discipline, to light spanking, to much more intense and edgy scenarios. Again, the direction is always determined by the desires and kinks of those involved, and the action is ALWAYS trumped by a safe word. As in, if the sub says ‘red’ mid-scene, all action stops, and the Dom checks in with the sub and gives them whatever they need to feel safe again.

Sadism & Masochism are two orientations in deriving sexual pleasure from pain, suffering and humiliation. A sadist is someone who gets off on inflicting it in another person, whereas a masochist gets off on receiving it. In BDSM terms, hardcore masochists are also often referred to as pain sluts.

If you fall into the S&M category, knowing your orientation is especially helpful in enabling you to communicate with current and potential partners, since you already know the type of person whose kinks would compliment your own. 

Now that we’ve broken down the acronym…

Two Pillars of Healthy BDSM

sex toys that every couple should own, bdsm

1. Getting The Right Mindset

The 2nd pillar (communication) is absolutely crucial, and will be the most frequently used during your kinky adventures. But I’m putting this point about mindset before it because it’s the invisible force that shapes all your communication with partners in the first place, as well as how you end up leading your kinky fuckery.

It also ensures the safety and emotional/mental health of your playmates when you get into more intense BDSM play in the moment.

Know Thyself

In order to properly communicate what you want, who you are, and what you can offer, you first have to KNOW all those things, and feel confident/comfortable enough to voice them. 

If you’re just starting out, it’s perfectly fine to not know exactly where you fit in to the BDSM landscape. In that case, you can honestly say, “I’m new to this and really interested in exploring domination and a little bondage (or whatever you’re into). I think that might be for me, and I’m looking for someone who’s open to experimenting as my Dom/sub.”

Take time to really think about the experiences you want to have for yourself, or what you want to provide for others.

Then, beyond those details, the most important part of this point is something you may never actually discuss with another person: examining your shadow side. 

The place you’re coming from when engaging in BDSM matters a lot. The motivations behind your desires to dominate, submit, punish, etc, have a massive influence on how you come across when you’re in the moment, and the ultimate level of safety, respect and enjoyment the other person ends up feeling. Any unhealthy intentions will shine through in the way you conduct yourself. 

You can’t just be blindly acting out your repressed anger, mommy issues, or self-loathing. Your foray into BDSM needs to be about conscious exploration. If you’re aware of the real reasons behind why you have the kinks you do, then you can express your dark sexual energy in a healthy way, rather than let it run you and put other people at risk.

Look at your kinks with curiosity. Ask where they might have come from, or what some part of you wants to get from exploring them. For example, there is nothing wrong with admitting you have a lust for power, and want to feel like you’re controlling someone, and then communicating with your partner to help create a consensual sexual container in which you can experience that feeling.

What you don’t want to do is stop at the thought, “I just want to fucking dominate and punish someone”. Left unexamined, this impulse could be backed by many unhealthy things, such as a subconscious hatred for women, which makes you an especially volatile and unsafe partner for BDSM.

No matter how edgy you get, it should ALWAYS be backed with a capacity for sensitivity, empathy, and care. BDSM play is about expanding, exploring, and liberating yourselves. It all starts in your own mind. How open, honest, and total you can be with each other is a reflection of the extent to which you’ve already done that with yourself.

Exclusive Content - For Men Only

Do You Want To Last Longer In Bed, Get Hard On Command And Give Your Woman Multiple Orgasms?

If so, you need to watch this video I just made where I show you the sexual techniques women have been *begging* me to teach men…

You’ll learn
Strategies to last for hours in bed… without bullshit advice like “think about baseball.”
– How to get hard on command… even if you’re 70 years old or addicted to porn
– The three types of orgasms women have and how to create them.

And more.

If you’ve ever wanted to ‘level up your sexual game,’ this is your chance.

Check it out while it’s still available.

2. Communication, Consent & Trust

Respectful communication and consent are always important in relationship. But they become vitally necessary pre-requisites for BDSM. Deeply exploring this is only possible when there is complete trust between partners, and this trust should be treated like an antique porcelain doll.

In BDSM, people may get into the most vulnerable situations they have ever experienced (ie. being tied up and punished). Because people’s emotional health and most intimate sense of personal safety is involved, you have a responsibility to look after them and conduct yourself with integrity.

Follow the acronym RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink. Fully flesh out each other’s needs, wants and preferences. Be fully explicit. How total you can be in this conversation sets up just how total you can be when it comes to actually playing with each other.

Examples of things to consider: Do they have any preferred nicknames? Do they like minimal/no talking? Do they like a lot of mind-fucking and dirty talk, or prefer simpler/cleaner language? Do they want to play with toys? Are they open to being tied up or would they prefer that you hold them down with your bare hands? Do they have any sexual trauma or triggering situations you should be mindful of? What dynamics do they want to explore? What is off-limits? What is a maybe/wait-and-see situation that they’re curious about?

A) Hard Limits & Safe Words

When BDSM is done right, the people involved feel totally free and absolutely dripping with juicy ecstasy.

That sense of freedom comes from implicit trust, a sense of safety, and having set up clear parameters to play within. This is where expressing your hard limits and creating a safe word pays off big time.

Hard limits are the things that cross a personal line and make you feel unsafe, violated, or turned off. You could a have a simple limit around the language another person uses, such as names like “slut”, or “my bitch”. Or it could be around something more physical like slapping, spanking, choking, being tied up, anal, etc.

Talk with each other about your hard limits up front and set up clear boundaries for what you’re into and not into. Keep it spicy by talking about what turns you on, and be descriptive in the process. This will also allow the other person to ask qualifying questions to better understand your arousal and where you might want to push the envelope.

Safe words are distinct words/phrases you use in the moment to clearly communicate that you want to STOP immediately. Because saying or shouting the actual word “stop” could play into the scene, or someone’s kinks, it’s a confusing word to use to communicate that a boundary has actually been crossed.

Instead, choose something distinct that you would otherwise have no reason to think to say during sex or a kink scene. Like, “Martha Stewart”, or “Orangutan”, or “Quidditch” (unless you’re roleplaying Harry Potter, cooking shows, or a zookeeper… but get creative and generate some ideas).  

B) Toys

There is no shortage of gear, gadgets and gizmos to put on the inside, or outside, of someone getting into BDSM play. Some people like using a ton of toys, while other people like ‘primal BDSM’ (no toys at all).

sex book, jordan gray, bdsm

Talk about whether or not you’d like to explore with some gear. If you’re curious, but unsure of what you actually like, you can pick up a pretty cheap starter kit online with some classic items, like cuffs, blind-folds, leather wrist restrains, floggers, whips, etc. Vibrators, anal beads, paddles, masks, collars, leashes, leather tops and zentai suits (full-body spandex) are all optional goodies to choose-your-own-adventure with.

These toys all have different effects, depending on the kind of play you and your partner want to engage in, and you’ll never really know until you try them.

Another fun way to shop for toys is to go to an actual retail store in person and browse the shop together to find something that turns you on. You’ll get some solid laughs, at the very least, and good bonding time (pun intended) in the process.

C) Debriefing

When you finish a scene, always spend a little time talking and touching base on how it went. While it won’t always be appropriate (or advantageous) to debrief the scene right away (say, because your sub is in sub space and just needs to enjoy the delicious afterglow), it is a good habit to be in to discuss how the scene went for them at some point after it has happened.

How was that for you? What really turned you on? What will you be thinking about for days? Did anything surprise you? Did anyone come close to crossing the line at any point? What are you curious to try in the future? What do/don’t you want to do again? Is that a good level of pain/bruising/biting/etc.?

This time is about celebration, calibration, respect and connection. The best BDSM partner’s are talkative and show open interest in learning about both themselves and the other person, to have even better experiences in the future. Just like any ‘normal’ sex life, BDSM is an iterative process that gets better with time. And it gets better by having an open channel of communication surrounding it where anything goes.

How To Be A Loving Dom To Your Sub

Before people get into BDSM, they might think that the Dom has all the power. But the exact opposite is actually the case. The sub is actually in total control of the scene. Not only can they drop the safe word or redirect the action at a moment’s notice… but all of the action that is being carried out is being handpicked (by the Dom) from the sub’s menu of items that they enjoy. It is a highly curated experience for the sub.

A good Dom isn’t a ruthless tyrant. They’re actually incredibly sensitive, acutely aware, and big-hearted. They are hyper-plugged in to their partner and sensitive to their inner state at all times. They know who really has the power – and it’s not them. 

A good Dom knows stepping into the dominant role is an honour and act of service. They acknowledge the privilege of walking someone to the edge of their sexual boundaries and allowing them to experience peak levels of pleasure. The Dom is simply the servant to the subs wishes.

They know their sub has to trust them in the most intimate way, and put themselves on the line, and a good Dom does not take that act of trust lightly. They’re protective, cautious, mindful, communicative, and nurturing.

They know their outer limits of their own personal edges, understand their minds, and wield their power and intensity responsibly with intention.

Extra Tips For Doms:

Language – Verbal communication is huge in setting and supercharging an erotic container. Don’t be shy to indulge in tons of dirty talk. Have fun and try to surprise yourself. Once you know your sub’s preferred, or off-limit, nicknames, use one to order them around, tell them what you want them to do, or get them to tell you how much they love what you’re doing and/or want more of. You can even sneakily ask your sub what they want, and still remain in a powerful Dom position, if you do it with vigor and authority. Ex: “You want it harder, you squirmy little thing? Oh yeah? Is that what you want? My pretty little slut? I’ll give it to you when I’m good and fucking ready.” And then build up to going in the direction they’re yearning to go.

Hair pulling – grab a fistful at the nape of the neck/back of the head. Tug slowly and firmly at first, and progressively increase the intensity. BDSM is all about timing and building anticipation. Once you get going, you might use that same grip to direct their head or attention.

Spanking – Just like hair pulling, start slowly and build up. Warm up with light spanking to bring blood flow to the area. This increases pain tolerance (as opposed to starting with viciously hard spanks right off the bat) and makes the sensation more enjoyable. Use your nails to lightly scratch, or grip, and vary the stimulation. Then work your way up to harder spanking. Depending on your sub’s threshold, go hard! Don’t be afraid to leave marks. Make lots of noise, grunt, be vocal. Let your enjoyment show.

Biting – You’ll discover where your sub is most responsive to being bitten. Good places to try are: the side of the neck, where the bra strap falls above the collar bone, ribs, hips, shoulders, thighs, etc. Some people like light grazing with the teeth, whereas others want to see marks for a week. Talk ahead of time, experiment in the moment, and calibrate accordingly.

Takedown/Wrestling/Physical domination – Holding your sub down with your hands is another fun thing to play around. Whether you take their wrists and pin them down during foreplay, or put the majority of your weight on their shoulders and hold them down while you’re inside of them is up to you. The sky’s the limit.

Rules – It’s fun to play around with different types and levels of rules, in and out of the bedroom. You can have standing rules for your sexual play that your sub has to adhere to. 

Some examples of rules that your sub can follow:

  • Always keep your lips parted/legs parted/palms open during sex
  • Always call your Dom daddy, or sir, or master
  • Always ask for permission before you have an orgasm
  • Always thank your Dom for spanks/orgasms/your punishments, etc.
  • Always beg to be penetrated/to be spanked/for your Dom’s cum/etc.

Punishments – When your sub fails to follow a rule (or whenever you feel like it) punishments can be dispensed liberally. These punishments can be pre-agreed on or they can be improvised (within the stylistic range of what you and your sub have pre-agreed upon).

Some examples of punishments:

  • Denying them an orgasm (once, repeatedly, or altogether during a scene)
  • Spanking X number of times while they count along with the number of spanks out loud
  • Discontinuing pleasuring them for a minute (taking the vibrator off of their clitoris, taking a break from penetrating them, etc.)
  • Slapping them on their face (watch out for the eyes and ears)
  • Putting a ball gag in their mouth (if that is a challenge for them/something they mildly dislike)
  • Putting on nipple clamps and hanging small weights off of them (if that is a challenge for them/something they mildly dislike)

The thing about punishments is that, again, this is all mental. Sometimes you want to frame something as a punishment that is actually quite enjoyable (i.e. “I’m going to fuck you viciously for the next 20 seconds and I don’t want to hear the tiniest sound out of you”). And other times their punishment could just be you taking something immensely pleasurable for you (essentially using them) which they might also enjoy. So the punishment/reward part of BDSM is largely just in how you frame it with your words and energy.

Toys – Talk about what you might want to use during this particular scene. Your sub might be in the mood for restraints or anal beads one week, but not into it at all the next. Maybe they want you to have free reign to use anything you want. Again, if you want to ask mid-scene, it doesn’t mean you have to kill the polarity. You can do it from a place of power with a sense of ownership.

Orgasm Denial – Like building anticipation with hair pulling or spanking, don’t just rush your sub to orgasm. When you can feel it building in them, back off and build them back up again. Tell them exactly what you’re doing when you’re doing it. Leading them up and down the arousal arch multiple times can lead to a massive release once you let them go all the way. This takes confidence, intuition, and a sensitivity to and intimate knowledge of your partner’s body to do well.

Exclusive Content - For Men Only

Guys - Do You Want to 10x Your Sexual Stamina, Get Erections On Command And Consistently Blow Her Mind In Bed?

If so, stop what you’re doing right now and watch this video I just finished creating for you…

Women have been BEGGING me to teach these strategies to men for years. And I’ve finally put them into one video for you.

If you use them, I guarantee by tonight your woman will be left breathless, wondering, “Who ARE you and how did you do THAT?!!”

Just a few minutes of watching this training could change your whole sex life…

Check it out.

Aftercare

If you take on the role of Dom, you immediately take on the responsibility for the wellbeing of your sub. When you wrap the scene, pamper your sub and get them whatever they need – towels, a glass of water, ice packs, lotion, cuddles, etc.

BDSM and domination will look vastly different for each couple/group engaged in it. But know that if you’re getting rough and take things to a sub’s edge for a prolonged period of time, their body is going to dump a ton of chemicals into their system, which is a cocktail of panic and arousal. They will likely need extreme tenderness and care after the fact.

This can also lead to something called a “sub drop”, which is very similar to the fallout people experience for a few days after a manic episode. Or how some people experience ‘vulnerability hangovers’ when they share something personal with a close friend (and then wonder, the following day, if that was the right thing to do).

Keep checking in with them in the days following any intense scenes to make sure they’re keeping well, know that they are loved by you, and supporting them through any issues that might be arising in their mind.

At the very least, if they’re new to BDSM, the person might just have questions, doubts, fears, shame, or confusion arising after trying it for the first time. Having a compassionate, supportive voice of reason goes a long way in helping them stay grounded and remember everything you’re doing is perfectly okay, so long as it’s consensual and within your personal boundaries.

How To Talk To Your Partner About Trying Out BDSM Play

So you’ve read this far in the article and you haven’t been scared off yet. Great!

If BDSM still appeals to you (somewhat, or extremely) then you might be asking yourself, “How do I bring this up with my partner?”

Similarly to initiating the conversation of ‘opening up’ your relationship (aka engaging in polyamory/having multiple partners), this is a conversation that is easier to have up front/in a new relationship compared to it already being an established thing… but only marginally. It all comes down to how comfortable you are with talking about your sexual desires generally.

If you’re in an established relationship and you want to introduce BDSM play, then there are a few ways in which you can go about that.

  • You can introduce media about the subject. While there is no perfect media portrayal that I can point to just yet, I would recommend watching The Secretary (the 2002 film starring Maggie Gyllenhaal). If you must, you can watch the Fifty Shades of Grey film but honestly it’s so bad. Like, laughably bad. I’d recommend the books over the films (and that’s really saying something).
  • You can blame your curiosity on me and tell your partner that you read this article and now you wonder what introducing a bit of BDSM play into your relationship would be like.
  • Or you can just have a plain old direct conversation with your partner about it where you tell them, “Hey, I’ve been fantasizing about stuff like X, Y, and Z lately. Would you ever be open to try anything like that with me?” And then letting them respond, and calibrating/finding your mutual overlap from there.

Because, hey, if you’re mature enough to have sex, then you’re mature enough to talk about sex.

To wrap up:

  • Take time to figure out what you like and want to explore in BDSM
  • Examine the deeper and darker motives behind your kinks (we all have them – leave no stone unturned)
  • Talk, talk, talk. Flesh out your sexual boundaries, hard limits and preferences, and those of your partner(s)
  • Set up a safe word or two
  • Roughly plan your scene dynamics, call action, and always play within the mutually agreed parameters
  • Conduct yourself with totality, sensitivity, and respect
  • Do your best to ditch self-consciousness. Let go and have fun!
  • Do proper aftercare and follow up with each other
  • Talk some more! Debrief on how the scene went and what you want to do/change next time.

I applaud the deep courage it takes to let yourself fully step into the strange, kinked up world of BDSM. If you communicate with your partner, give yourself permission to cut loose, and treat each other well, you’re likely about to have some of the most exhilarating sexual experiences of your entire life.

Remember that BDSM is ultimately about liberation, exploration, empowerment, increased self-knowledge and (above all else)… FUN. Be playful and stay kinky you beautiful people!

Dedicated to your success,

Jordan

Ps. If you enjoyed reading this article, you will also love checking out:

Supercharge Your Sex Life (video series for men)

The 3 Biggest Things I Learned From My First Sex Party

Kinky Sex: 5 Reasons You Should Try It 

7 Things Men Can Learn From Fifty Shades Of Grey

5 Questions To Ask Your Partner For Better Sex

How To Get Your Partner To Be More Adventurous In Bed

Pps. A quick reminder that BDSM doesn’t have to hurt! Many people equate the idea of BDSM (or even bondage) with pain, and this isn’t necessarily the case. Some people find the idea of restraint and the power dynamics themselves the turn on. You can have your partner hold you down… or call you a raunchy name… or tie up your wrists and make you climax with a sex toy, with ZERO pain… and all of these things would still easily fall under the BDSM category. Remember, you can make BDSM into whatever you want it to be for you. Your sex life should be as unique as you are. There’s no correct way to do sex, ever. What works for you and your partner(s), is what works for you – and that’s perfectly fine.

×

Supercharge Your Sex Life ($97.00)

Product change

You have selected the Supercharge Your Sex Life product.

Product price: $97.00

Do you have a discount code? Click here to enter your discount code.

Account Information Already have an account? Log in here
LEAVE THIS BLANK

Choose Your Payment Method

Billing Address

Payment Information We Accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express

/
(what's this?)