Before I tried fisting, I was utterly mystified - and a little intimidated - by it. I had a partner who was interested in doing it, but I was definitely overwhelmed at the prospect. Was it safe? Would I end up damaged? Would it hurt? Or would it actually feel good?

Not too long after, I attended a sex education workshop with a fisting demonstration, and a lot of my questions were answered. It didn't seem painful at all, provided you did things the right way. However, even after that class, I didn't take the leap right away. Instead, I continued to read about it and talk with friends who had experience with fisting (in both roles) until my partner and I felt comfortable trying it ourselves.

Here are 10 things I learned that were most helpful.

Read: The Most Common Question About Fisting? Why?

Fisting Doesn't Stretch You Out

The idea that fisting stretches you out is a pervasive myth. It's simply not true. You don't become "loose" after you've been fisted. The vagina is a muscle and is elastic, and it rebounds just fine (provided you take things slow and do it right).

No Jewelry, Wash Your Hands, Inspect Them for Cuts or Abrasions, & Trim Your Nails

Before you fist someone, make sure to remove any jewelry. Wash your hands and inspect them for any cuts or abrasions. Trim your nails to a uniform length and smooth them with a shaper, ensuring there aren't any ragged edges. When it comes to nail length, shorter ones are generally considered safer, and smooth edges are a must.

This is all for the safety of both the fister and the fisted. Washing your hands with soap will help reduce bacteria on your skin. Ensuring there are no cuts and abrasions will eliminate the risk of your being exposed to any potential pathogens. Jewelry and jagged nails are a big no-no because they can damage vaginal walls and rip through gloves.

Wear Gloves

After you've washed your hands and removed your jewelry, put on some gloves. Fisting mitts are made expressly for this purpose, but you can also use standard-issue latex or nitrile gloves. Even if you wear gloves, you should still ensure your nails have smooth edges so that you don't rip through the gloves.

If you don't want to cut your nails short, you can stuff the tips of your gloves with cotton balls or wrap your fingertips in medical gauze. However, if you opt to do this, you might find it a little more difficult to maneuver your hands this way. Most people find it easier just to trim their nails short.

Use Lots of Lube

When it comes to fisting, it's basically impossible to use too much lube. Buy more lube than you think you'll need.

Lay down towels and/or Chux pads beforehand to soak up any mess. The last thing you want to worry about when you're fisting someone is whether you're staining the sheets.

When It Comes to Lube, Basic Is Better

For vaginal fisting, a simple water-based lubricant is fine. Don't use any lube with numbing agents in it as they might mask uncomfortable sensations for the person being fisted. And those uncomfortable sensations provide valuable feedback. You want to know if the person being fisted is uncomfortable so that you can adjust what you're doing.

Make Sure the Fisted Partner Is Aroused and Relaxed Before Starting

Especially if it's your first time, don't try to go from zero to 60. Engage in plenty of foreplay prior to even inserting the first finger. Put on their favorite music. Take your time.

It's Probably Going to Take a Long Time

Use one finger at a time. Let the fisted partner have adequate time to adjust every time you add more.

The first time I was fisted, it took over an hour. The mind was definitely willing, but my body had its own timing, and it took my muscles a while to relax and accommodate the hand. Thankfully, I had a wonderfully patient partner, and I enjoyed every minute leading up to it.

Reapply Lube as Needed

Reapply lube frequently, even before you really think you need more. When in doubt, use more lube. In fisting, lube is love.

Let the Fisted Partner Dictate the Pace

If it doesn't feel good for your partner, it's pointless. Communicate throughout the process. This doesn't have to be clinical and can actually be part of the pillow talk: "Oh, that feels so good."

Often, people think of fisting as a very rough act, I've always found it works better when you start gently and build up intensity as desired. This might mean that the fisting stays relatively gentle, or it could become a great deal more intense as your partner relaxes. What feels good is very different from person to person and can even vary for the same person depending on their mood and hormonal cycle.

The Knuckles Are the Trickiest Part

Once you have all of your fingers extended, your hand will be in the shape of a bird's beak. This is the most difficult part.

Be patient. If you find that your hand is cramping, don't be afraid to back your hand up into a previous position until the cramping subsides.

Once you're past the knuckles, you're in. It's fairly straightforward to ball your hand into a fist.

The knuckles have an interesting texture (kind of like a bumpy back massager), and many people find they produce a really unique sensation.

Done right, fisting can be an amazing experience. I find the physical sensations to be really intense and unusual.

Fisting also had the unexpected side effect of making me feel the most vulnerable I'd ever been. It's an unbelievably intimate act that made me feel extremely close to my partner. It isn't easy, though. There's a learning curve. But, then again, maybe that's what makes it such an amazing experience.