Introduction to BDSM
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    A little excitement doesn't have to always be a complete mystery. A lot of couples want to explore the kinky side of sex (BDSM), but are afraid. If you're a newcomer to kink, there are good reasons to hesitate: going too far, too fast, or even a minor miscommunication with your lover can end up hurting each other (or the relationship).

    BDSM means different things to different people. Some may be pretty sure they aren't into it, while many can't help but be really curious. But what do you need to know if you're new to BDSM?

    BDSM stands for a lot of different things, depending on who you ask. The most common and broad definition of BDSM is Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. It's an umbrella term that includes a wide range of erotic activities that consenting adults use to explore their sexuality together. It can be light bondage, erotic spanking, or an advanced suspension bondage and caning.

    When starting to explore BDSM, remember that there's no need to rush to create your own "Red Room of Pain". To begin, you might simply try being blindfolded and let your partner tickle you with a feather or lightly stroke your skin with a whip. If that turns you on, move towards slightly racier bondage play, like binding wrists with a silk tie or handcuffs, a massage candle being dripped on your skin, or exploring the sensation of playful spanking.

    If you really want to take your new venture into BDSM seriously, come up with safe words for your sexy session. Safe words should be used as a way to say let's pause, or stop. This will allow you to feel safe and have some control during this new experience. Discuss who's going to play the dominant and submissive roles and be clear about what you're willing to try and what's simply outside of your comfort zone. Having this talk will strengthen your communication, build intimacy, and create a strong sense of trust so that you can let go of your inhibitions and explore some kinkier sex play safely and comfortably in your relationship.

    For those of you who are intrigued but hanging in limbo because of uncertainty, here's a 5 steps guide to explore the exciting world of bondage.

    1. Go slow, take your time.
    BDSM is a wide network of countless activities. From spanking and bondage to dominance, needle play, and beyond. It's easy to get confused when you first begin exploring this new world. At first it can feel like you're 5 years old, let loose in a candy store. Many people who are brand new to BDSM immediately want to try all the things and end up over-indulging. Take it slow, go in knowing there will be endless temptations, and have fun in a smart way. Just remember, consent must be enthusiastic and voluntary, which is to say, it should be a fully engaged and un-manipulated act.

    2. Explore ideas with your partner.
    Before you begin, go on a date and have a long talk about what you want to experience together, allow this conversation to act as part of the foreplay. Ask a lot of detailed questions and be willing to speak honestly about what you desire, what you do and do not want to happen, what kind of sensations you want to experience. If you can't have an honest conversation about something, you probably aren't ready to try it out. Once you've explored in conversation, you'll have a much easier time fulfilling one another's needs and wants, without getting hurt in the process.

    3. Have fun.
    You are probably going to feel silly or awkward the first few times you try to tie a fancy knot or command someone to their knees. You're going to make mistakes. BDSM is all about having fun and exploring new parts of desire and fantasies. Keep it all in the spirit of adventure. Also remember that many BDSM activities are dangerous, so make proper research or find a trusted educator.

    4. Know your boundaries
    Just because you are doing BDSM in the bedroom doesn't mean you need to give up control outside of the bedroom. Some people are not interested in anything more than using BDSM as a way to spice up sex and that's fine. In fact, most people don't have a Master/slave style relationship and just like to have a little kinky sex. You and your partner should understand what the other is looking for and respect each other's boundaries.

    5. Choose one adventure at a time.
    Many people who are new to BDSM make the mistake of trying out a lot of new things at once. This makes it hard to figure out what you like and what you dislike. Try incorporating one new element at a time so there's clarity about what worked and what didn't. For example, try a simple erotic spanking first. If you like it, you can add in light bondage or verbal discipline, or orgasm control. Each element will add a new layer of excitement and risk, so try one at a time and build your future kinky adventures out of the elements you enjoyed each time.

    6. Safe words are critical.
    Some people like simple colors like red (stop immediately, no questions asked), yellow (I'm uncomfortable or reaching my limit or need to slow down), and green (keep going). Other people like plain language, stop, I'm okay etc. Just remember that any kind of "I'm unsure" or "I don't know" in a scene is equivalent to a stop.

    7. Always be honest.
    Honesty is the most important aspect to BDSM. Your partner need to know basic information about you, such as past experiences, health concerns, emotional triggers, and turn-offs. Don't expect your partner to be a mind-reader and to instinctively know your needs, wants, and limits. If the person that you are thinking about engaging in BDSM activities with doesn't ask you these things, make sure you speak up and tell them.

    The skills you'll gain from going through the process of exploring BDSM sexuality will ripple outward into all areas of your life. You'll learn to be vulnerable while still having boundaries. You'll learn to communicate effectively. You'll learn to recognize the existing power dynamics in your relationship and express that in a healthy way. You'll learn to be honest with yourself and your partner about your real desires so you can finally stop imagining things and start actually doing all those things in real life.

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