BDSM Basics

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You don’t have to be a seasoned Dom/me to practice BDSM and explore your kinks, but you DO have to know how to be safer in your play.  If you’re a beginner or in need of a refresher, let’s cover a few basics for navigating kink and BDSM.

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Negotiation: open, honest, and comprehensive prior discussion is a MUST for kink & BDSM play (and for all sex, I’d argue).  What are your boundaries and limits? Discuss the content of the scene (impact play, roleplay, etc), the mood (is it high protocol, more casual, serious, silly?), and the dynamic (will you assign roles of who is Dominant and who is submissive?).  Designate a safe word/gesture.  Discuss preparation and aftercare.  Communicate as much as you can beforehand, so you can fully enjoy yourself in the moment.

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Safe Word/Gesture: During negotiation, designate a safe word that will indicate a need to slow, pause, or completely stop the scene.  Choose a word you won’t accidentally say in play (like “no” or “stop”) — choose something random (like “pineapple” or bubblegum”) that is incongruous enough to recognize as a safe word.  If verbal abilities will be inhibited (for example, if gags will be used), choose a clearly-recognizable safe gesture.  You may also want to discuss physical and verbal cues that indicate a need to check in, pause, or stop play.  Some folks may have trauma responses, such as fawning or freezing, that make it difficult to express the need to stop.

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Aftercare: Once the scene is finished, aftercare practices soothe the nervous system and gently guide players back into the non-scene world.  Aftercare is integral to preventing sub-drop/Top-drop, the body’s response to the drop in endorphins after a scene has ended.  Aftercare may looks different depending on individuals’ needs, the dynamic, and the type of scene that took place.  Common aftercare practices include cuddling, talking about the scene, having snacks, water or tea, swaddling in bankets, snuggling with a plushie, etc.
This is by no means an extensive list of kink/BDSM etiquette, but I hope it provides a solid foundation for safer BDSM practices in general.  If you’re interested in further learning, check out some of my favorite BDSM educators:

Lina Dune

Blaksyn

and some great beginner BDSM books:

As Kinky As You Wanna Be, by Shanna Germain

BDSM 101, by Rev. Jen

The New Topping Book, by Janet W. Hardy

The New Bottoming Book, by Dossie Easton

 

Happy playing!

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