Kink and BDSM is a lifestyle with rules and laws that need to apply.
While the movie Fifty Shades Darker unleashes another tsunami of sexual curiosity about Kink across the globe, I want to talk about best real-world practices to consciously and potently release your and your partner’s Sexy Beasts.
The Fifty Shades of Grey franchise has generated over 150 million in worldwide book sales and the hyper-anticipated movies have brought in close to a billion dollars in global revenue.
What this indicates is that Kink-oriented sex is not only on the map, there is a global explosion of interest arising in all manner of alternative sexual expressions.
I have not read the books, but it seems the general consensus from anyone experienced in conscious engagement of real time Dominance/submission and BDSM is that the depictions of D/s-BDSM in the relationship context (D/s) and the taboo sexual context (BDSM) are generally off the mark, if not alarmingly inaccurate or misleading.
Whatever you feel about the books and movies, the point here is to emphasize how critically important it is to engage in D/s-BDSM in a risk-aware, non-abusive, negotiated, consensual, educated, and conscious manner.
As someone with nearly 20 years in the Kink lifestyle, and as a Kink therapist, author, and educator, it is clear these principles are absolutely imperative to engage my partners with trust, care, intensity, love, and passion.
From this vantage point, I want to both encourage and caution you in your own beginning explorations of D/s-BDSM, if you are in fact, so inclined.
Exploring Fetish sexuality (Kink, D/s, BDSM) is like uncovering a mythic erotic gold mine, buried deep within the sexual psyche. It is a rich treasure chest of vivid sensation, intense emotion, epic tales, alluring personas, taboo sexual ecstasy, and empowering psychological depths.
I have found nothing more exhilarating and intimate than diving deep into the Erotic Wildlands with a trusted partner.
Knowing in advance the pitfalls and cautions one may encounter can greatly enhance the experience of this authentic and valid dimension of many people’s sexuality.
Kink is also one of the most vilified, feared and misunderstood dimensions of human sexuality. For centuries, religion, cultural morality, and family have tried to nullify all but the most rudimentary dimensions of our sexual nature.
If you are inclined towards an alternative sexuality different from the mainstream, the culture at large would like you to simply… not be that way!
These dogmatic and ideological moralities generally have projected their own superstitions and fears onto any sexual expression — Kink and otherwise — that deviates from their narrow definitions or normality.
Kink, as a sexual lifestyle, is in a similar place culturally as gays and lesbians found themselves about 60 years ago.
Homosexuality was not generally considered an acceptable form of human sexual expression. They finally organized as a community and fought for and demanded their civil rights to be who they were, sexually and in all ways. Fetish sexuality is just beginning this journey to normality.
Unfortunately, this current cultural environment leads many people with a Kink curiosity to be afraid of exploring their Kink or have others knowing of their interest. It feels safer to keep it secret.
The imperative of secrecy can lead to people not researching, practicing, preparing for, nor understanding how to consciously and honorably engage their Kink. But they can be so excited to explore that they leap into some Kinky scene without having properly prepared.
This lack of prep can add significantly to the physical and emotional risk encountered in your initial explorations instead of explosive sexual ecstasy, empowerment, and intimacy with your partner.
Unfortunately, our culture at large offers very few opportunities for someone to discuss and learn about how to begin exploring this aspect of their desire or get reliable Kink sex education.
Not only do we deny our adolescents sex education in our schools, we do not even offer sex education on the broad range of sexual possibilities to adults.
However, there is now an emerging Kink scene. If you Google "Kink educational events", books, or websites, you will find plenty of valuable info. Let me offer a few tips of my own.
Here are 4 key points to consider if you want to consciously engage your D/s-BDSM desire.
1. Negotiate thoroughly.
I would discourage ever engaging in D/s-BDSM with someone you just hooked up with at the bar or even your own ongoing partner if you have not come to a complete agreement on all fronts.
The potential for misunderstandings, perceived or actual consent violations, resentment, mistrust, or emotional or physical harm are excessive when there is no clear, sober negotiation.
The point is to feel empowered, connected, and exhilarated after engaging your deepest desires, not wounded.
Start the negotiation with an intention to make a deep heartfelt human-to-human connection before you enter into any level of D/s-BDSM.
The foundation for exploring these powerful depths of our sexual desires is trust, whether for a one-time scene or long-term connection. Each side needs to know that they are ultimately cared for while revealing and expressing vulnerable and often scary parts of their sexual desire.
Conduct your negotiation in an honest, transparent, and revealing manner as possible. Be clear, direct, and thorough. Both partners should share in full equality, voice, and advocacy for what they want and do not want at this stage of the journey. This is critical.
2. Have intent, pace, and trust.
Be clear about intention. It is important to clarify your intentions, boundaries, and expectations beyond the initial encounter for yourself and your partner. If you want to enter the encounter with as a one-off with no expectations afterward, state that clearly right up front.
Make sure your partner understands your intention. Press for a direct response that they understand and agree. If you do not wish to engage with someone who has no interest in a relationship or connection beyond this one engagement, be clear about that.
Hold your boundaries firmly if a potential partner says they are looking for casual only while you seek for more and vice versa.
Discuss clearly what may be involved in an initial engagement with your partner in terms of props, toys, roles, and intensities. Get clear about safe sex practices to maintain and sexual history.
Start slow and keep it simple if you are just beginning. Be clear on options for what to do if something unexpected comes up during the engagement. This would include usage and agreement on safe-words.
Some issues may arise as you engage, so you need to pause and check in with each other before continuing. Others may require you to come to a complete stop, and check in about what has come up and what one or the other needs most in that moment.
Sometimes, even with clear negotiations, there are things that can present unexpectedly.
The best thing to do in these situations is to breathe, stay calm, shift to full compassion, and care for the partner needing support. These will likely be rare if ever occurrences with proper preparation. But, by considering them in the initial negotiation, the trust this builds will actually reduce the likelihood of these occurrences.
If you start with a simple engagement plan, and move forward at a reasonable pace, and stay present along the way, you can have a compelling, intimate, and deeply erotic journey with your partner.
Even for a novice, a wide range of BDSM play and toys are able to be engaged with a common sense level of safety considerations. These could include spanking, using various impact toys such as floggers or paddles, wearing wrist or ankle cuffs, collars, blindfolds, or using insertables.
More intense forms of play, such as full rope bondage, needle play, or single tails, usually identified as edge-play, should require taking a class or workshop to ensure safety and well-being all around.
All of the aspects I am referring to can be researched online to help give you a broader understanding or answer questions you might have.
3. Understand and allow the paradox.
The nature or essence of the dynamic in D/s-BDSM is power exchange. One takes control and the other surrenders for an agreed upon time. This exchange is inevitably both sacred and profane in its nature. There is a noble (D/s) and a taboo (BDSM) context that is occurring simultaneously.
It is very important to understand the distinction between the two, and how both are engaged during a D/s-BDSM encounter.
Embracing either a Dominant or submissive role in this dynamic can bring one in touch with deep-seated instinctual, historical, and mythic archetypal aspects of the collective human experience. These are mythic themes and sensibilities that have been part of theater, epic mythical tales, and cultural cosmologies for thousands of years back.
It's not just the physical sensations and sex that is compelling in D/s-BDSM. It is the intoxication of the sacred ritual ecstasy of regal power, devotional surrender, and the primal instincts of being devoured or ravaging another.
These dynamics are drawn, I believe, from our pre-civilized hot-blooded alpha/beta mammalian instincts and cold-blooded, predator/prey reptilian instincts embedded in our bodies and psyches.
In more refined contemporary form they manifest as the King/Queen archetype and loyal devoted subject, Lord Master/Mistress and slave, Guru/Sage/Saint and prostrated devotee and numerous other personas. Each of these personas can be instilled with a noble quality. But, they each have their shadow or dark side.
To allow yourself to consciously explore the dark, taboo, forbidden, and edgiest realms of your sexuality, it is necessary to operate from the noblest of intentions.
As the Dominant this means having the intention to keep you partner safe, engaged, to lead with authentic authority and wisdom. An aspect of chivalry comes to mind without ever losing the edge of the noble King or Queen.
Examples of these mythic archetypal D/s pairings are very prevalent within the emerging kink communities and can be found online on sites such as Fetlife.com.
In the BDSM side of the paradox, the erotic/sexual side, the shadow of the above-mentioned nobility can come forth.
All the things that are ignoble, the taboo, the things that should never be done, things that hurt, that are cruel, inappropriate, savage wildness, the beast can emerge within negotiated boundaries.
The BDSM side can also be tender and sensual if that is the preference, or the two styles can be mixed. The sensual and the D/s side is where many people like to keep their energy. But, there are those who are drawn to stretch it out to the darkest edges.
By holding the shadow within the over-riding noble side of D/s in a negotiated ritual engagement with your partner, the "dark" or shadow energy can be explored expressed and honored.
Examples of these shadow personas can be predator/prey, Supreme Bitch/pathetic cuckold, rapist/victim, Daddy/daughter, Mommy/son, stud/slut, abuser/abused or any combo you can imagine. They can be drawn to inflicting or receiving physical or emotional pain, degradation, objectification, or humiliation.
These may seem like risky energies to unleash, but with some effort, and if they are authentic to you, it is possible to create a negotiated path where these taboo energies can be revealed, explored, honored and expressed with a consenting partner.
If these more intense edges of Eros are compelling and natural to your own sexuality, you can learn to explore them in ways that can be empowering and off the charts orgasmically!
Know that over the last 20 or 30 years, millions if not tens of millions of people have successfully navigated this paradox and learned how to hold both sides in noble and exquisite balance.
The essence of a D/s-BDSM engagement is a dance like the tango. Both partners are fully present and engaged, expressing authentically and joined as one. Each supports the other in reaching the deepest intimacy and ecstasy possible.
4. Give it time and space.
I recommend you set aside a minimum of 2 hours to immerse yourselves in this compelling personification of your erotic nature. If this seems like a lot of time, you will soon find it might not be enough to take the full journey that may be waiting to unfold.
You might find you could easily go 3 to 5 hours or more. Some scenes can be designed to go for an entire weekend or more. All of these possibilities are negotiable between you and your partner.
Before you engage your partner, take time to prepare yourself by getting present, clear in intention, and embodied in whatever way works for you.
Take care in preparing the space you will engage in. Bring in the ambiance of light, sound, texture, aroma,s and all that sets the right tone for the way in which you and your partner wish to journey. Make this a sacred space, whatever that might mean to you so that it is as private, secure and safe feeling as you can make it.
Aftercare immediately after your engagement, and noticing what unfolds over the days or weeks that follow can be as important as the initial negotiation.
Our Kink desires are intoxicating and compelling energies that in a moment, can sweep us down into an exquisite pool of our most taboo sexual ecstasies.
But be aware, having taken the plunge, does not mean we have transcended and suddenly healed all the ways we may have been hiding, fearing, or in shame about these taboo edgy sexual desires for most of our lives.
We have all been immersed and have internalized to one degree or another, this highly toxic, sex-negative, shaming culture we are in. It can be possible that these internalized, judgmental parts may want to wage an assault on your vulnerable psyche after you indulge your Kink.
Prepare in advance for this situation by a good aftercare plan that includes access to emotional support if needed. This applies to the dominant and submissive both. Moving deeper into your authentic sexual desires is an opportunity to both be empowered and to heal.
As part of my ongoing sex-research into the nature of Fetish sexuality, and in response to working with hundreds of my clients who sought to come to terms with their own kinky desires, I devised the "Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth Survey (PEM)".
The survey helps people map out the depths of their desires and begin to learn how those desires could fit into their everyday life in a conscious, healthy, fulfilling manner. Over 2,600 people, generally from more sex-positive and sex-alternative populations have taken the survey so far.
The results are eye-opening and reveal the great depths of sexuality that are emerging in the contemporary world.
As one participant expressed it, "Taking the Personal Erotic Myth Survey was so enlightening for me. Seeing so many others participating and their startling range of responses was amazing. It helped me realize that I wasn’t some strange outlier. This was eye opening for me!"
The survey is completely anonymous, but you can opt-in after to view the compiled results of all 2,600 participants. You can check it out here.
The key to coming to terms with our sexuality is to learn how to express and experience our desires safely, honorably, and consciously in a way that is in integrity with the agreements we make with ourselves and others, and that encompass our core values.
We must also compassionately examine and resolve the unconscious but powerful negative cultural messages we’ve internalized about our sexuality and ourselves. That is why this is both an empowering and healing journey.
One short article cannot cover all the important considerations of exploring your Fetishsexuality or Kink desires, but I hope this gives you a starting point to launch your own journey into the depths of your Sexuality.
This article was originally published at Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.