A lot of sex play that you fantasise about might not fit neatly within the confines of the basic sex education that you were taught at school. BDSM might very well be one of those things. What’s that, you ask? Well, BDSM is an acronym for
- Domination & Submission
- Sadism & Masochism
BDSM is quite a broad term, but it comes down to consenting adults who enjoy expressing their sexuality through the practices of bondage, discipline, domination, submission, and/or sadomasochism. It may sound rough, but trust, consideration and mutual respect are the cornerstones of the BDSM community. Remember, BDSM can be pretty hardcore, or a soft act of love. The different parts of BDSM can be mixed, switched depending on mood, partner, and context.
BDSM is often associated with fetishism, an example would be the leather scene. In various sexual subcultures BDSM plays an important role. It is absolutely possible to have a hot BDSM experience whilst having safer sex. Here we will talk about a few aspects of BDSM and how you can have safer and hotter BDSM sex.
Tie me up, tie me down!
Tying somebody or restraining them in the context of sex is the basic definition of bondage. Using ropes, shackles, chains, locks, plastic wrap or other means, sexual bondage generally involves restricting your partner’s freedom of movement. Sometimes a more symbolic bondage might get you off. Maybe try using thin cotton thread? Feeling helpless and vulnerable in safe hands can be heavenly. Likewise, playing the dominant role can be hot too.
You don’t necessarily need to use equipment or toys to restrict movement. For example, you could restrain someone using just your hands or your body. Likewise, you can dominate somebody verbally or agree that your partner remains in a specific position. Ropes and other gear come in a wide range of materials so it’s fun to test and see how they feel on your skin. Chains and silk should definitely elicit different pleasures. Avoid nylon rope and rough chains as these can scratch the skin. Cotton, hemp, and tweed fabric are better choices.
Instead of restricting movement, why not experiment with restricting one or more of the five senses. Wearing a blindfold or ear plugs can create heightened perception of the other senses. Taste, smell and touch your way to delight.
The act of bondage itself carries no risk of HIV transmission or other STIs. However, it’s important to be aware of other relevant safety issues during bondage play.
Safer sex play – some tips
Even though BDSM sex can be rough, it’s extremely important to be sure that it is consensual and that all participants are willing. It might be a good idea to decide in advance how you can signal if you want to slow down or stop. There are verbal and non-verbal cues that can be used depending on the situation. It’s very hard to say ”red” as in stop, while being gagged… Then it might be better to let the person hold some keys and if the person drops the keys, that means ”stop”.
Treat your own body and the bodies of others with care and respect. Remember to not cut off vital blood circulation or airways. Avoid using ropes, chains, and cords around the neck. Try a broader, looser collar that cannot tighten and choke off the airways. If you use a collar or a leash on any part of the body, be careful not to tie it too tightly. How to be sure? Make sure you can fit at least one finger between the skin and the rope or other equipment.
Whether you are engaging in bondage or another BDSM act, never leave a confined participant alone. Avoid combining bondage with alcohol and/or other drugs, as they can impair judgement and raise your pain tolerance in a potentially hazardous way. It is also dangerous to fall asleep, faint or otherwise lose consciousness during sex games.
Coitus, interrupt us!
Sometimes you need to stop playing quickly. This could happen if one of you stops having fun or if your mom shows up on your doorstep with lasagna (Surprise!). Whatever the reason, use equipment that is easy to unlock or release and have scissors handy if you are using rope.
Domination and submission is a power and control game that is played between consenting adults.
You can exert your power or surrender your power by using verbal or physical commands, orders, humiliation, punishment and/or other types of bondage such as those described above. You might also see domination and submission as a type of discipline. Role-playing is a great way to act out the power game. Such scenarios as police officer/criminal, doctor/patient, master/slave and master/dog are fun to try out. Power games can be played for a short time, like during sex or for a longer period of time.
The act of resistance can also be a part of power play. If the slave disobeys the master, he or she obviously has to be punished. It can be super-hot to smack someone’s beautiful arse until it becomes crimson and tender. If the slave is begging for mercy whilst being disciplined, this can make it even hotter. Do remember though that it’s best to agree in advance how to signal one another if one of you wants to cool off, slow down or stop the game altogether. An example of such a signal would be a so-called ‘safe word’.
Some people always like to dominate, while others always like to submit. Some people are versatile and don’t mind switching between roles. Some people consider their dominance/submissiveness as part of their daily persona, while others see it as a role that they only engage occasionally.
While role-playing itself does not entail risk of transmitting HIV or other STIs, the risk odds vary depending on how you combine your roles with other types of sex. It is a good idea to agree in advance on how you can make the sex safer, for example using condoms, no ejaculating in the mouth, etc. If you’re the submissive, safe sex is just as much your right as the dominant partner. You can ask the dominator to wear a condom, for example. Obviously, as the dominator you can demand that your bitch gets the condom and puts it on with their mouth.
Domination comes in all flavours, so to speak. There are lots of great ways to let it play out. The mobile phone is a great domination tool. Send an order or command via text message ordering the submissive to shower at the gym with the word SLAVE written on their body, or to go to work with a butt plug in. Demand that they reply with a picture message.
The sensations of heat and cold are a great way to toy with our senses and don’t entail any inherent risk of HIV or STI transmission. For example, dripping melted wax over nipples, cock, arse and anywhere else can be deliciously painful and exquisite. Cheap candles are usually the best because they often contain more paraffin, which melts at a lower temperature than wax. Try out different options and see which suit you and your sex partners best. A word of warning – tea-candles may be cheap but should be avoided as they get too hot. Ice and cold water can be used as a delightful contrast to the heat or work up someone’s lust for the hot stuff. Just be careful to avoid exposing the face (particularly the eyes) to extreme heat or cold.
Sadomasochism (SM) is a type of sexual role play that is not about violence but instead about consenting adults enjoying mutual pleasure from dominant and submissive roles. The sadist gets sexual satisfaction from dominating, controlling, humiliating, punishing and/or administering pain. The masochist gets sexual satisfaction from being submissive and being subjected to humiliation, punishment and/or pain.
Pain isn’t always negative. For some people, pain can be pleasurable. Pain can have certain physical effects that can be enjoyable. When we are subjected to pain, our body’s own pain-relief system gets activated, and we experience a greater release of endorphins. Endorphins, when released, give us pleasurable feelings such as when we have sex or when we fall in love. You can dole out this exquisite pain by, for example, hitting, slapping, using sharp or pointed objects, stretching, pulling, heat/cold, using clamps and other ways, as you can imagine. For all types of play there exist all types of equipment, or accessories. Feel your way around and let your senses guide you.
Agree in advance how to signal to each other if one of you wants to slow down or stop altogether (e.g., use a ‘safe word’ or a ‘stop signal’). It’s also a good idea to decide in advance what level of safe sex you want to practise. This makes it easier to relax and give yourself the full pleasure of the sex.
HIV transmission risk reduction
To reduce the risk of HIV transmission, avoid getting semen and blood in the arse, pussy, mouth and on the upper portion of the cock. Also avoid getting semen and blood in the eyes, into open wounds or other damaged skin.
Use common sense and be careful to avoid inflicting serious injury either on yourself or on your partner(s). Listen to your body. Respect your own boundaries, as well as those of your partner(s).
Remember that different parts of the body have different degrees of sensitivity. For example, hitting or applying pressure to the face and throat are not recommended. However, the larger muscle groups (such as the butt cheeks and backs of the thighs) can often take a lot more aggression.
Avoid combining SM sex with alcohol or other drugs (this includes poppers or uppers), as they can impair judgement and raise your pain threshold higher than it normally should be.
Consent, trust, and respect for each other’s boundaries are fundamental to BDSM, ensuring that everyone involved can fully enjoy the experience. Power play that includes ‘force’ and ‘resistance’ are often a fundamental part of BDSM – the submissive disobeys and gets punished. Our societal norms tell us that ‘no means no’, but playing with those words as an enacted fantasy may increase sexual pleasure. It can be very hot to smack someone’s butt cheeks until they’re gorgeously tender. Even more sexy to do so if the slave is begging for mercy. It’s recommendable to talk in advance about what you’re prepared to do and what your boundaries are. Any of the participants is entitled to stop the game at any time, but if saying “No” is a part of the game, you are better off using other words to make your wishes known. Those other words are called safe words. You could have special words or signals that mean, for instance, ‘That’s OK/carry on/MORE MORE MORE’, ‘Slow down/take it easy/Chill out’ or ‘Stop/take a break’. There can also be non-verbal signals – find one that suits the sex you have. These code words and signals must always be respected.
Domination requires both a hard hand (to act the part) but also a gentle hand when considering the other person in the equation. Never take for granted that the person you’re dominating might signal for you to stop or slow down. If at any point during the sex you wonder if what you’re doing is OK, ask the person, or go with your gut feeling and maybe slow things down a little. That way you’ll be perceived as a safe, reliable partner. That kind of appreciation often comes with pleasurable rewards.
Submission demands self-awareness – the ability to listen to your body as well as your head. Be clear to others about what you are willing and unwilling to do. As the submissive, it is your right to demand safer sex, for example using a condom or not ejaculating in your mouth (or on or in any other part of your body)
BDSM is something to be proud of, and something that should make you feel wonderfully secure. That said, be mindful of your surroundings when you’re playing BDSM among others so as not to offend or embarrass non-participating bystanders. Not everybody is comfortable with exhibitionism.