It's probably safe to say that just about everyone has read a BDSM sex tips article - or 10. You’ve likely seen their parodies, too. But this list is a little different; no stabbing your lover with a fork here! Instead, I’m delving into the heart of what makes BDSM so hot (at least for me and my partners). I'll also give you some building blocks you can incorporate into your own play.

Communication

Communication is an essential tool for any relationship or sexual encounter. Unfortunately, it's also the one that often gets overlooked. Once you start doing varsity-level stuff (as Dan Savage would say), communication becomes really important. One of the hallmarks of consensual BDSM play is negotiation. Veterans of the kink scene have mastered their communication skills. That’s one of the reasons kink parties can be such safe spaces.


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We all fall into the trap of making assumptions. When it comes to sex, that can mean people aren’t enjoying themselves as much as they could be. Don’t assume your current partner enjoys the same things your last partner did. Get used to asking what your partner likes; ask them to show you how they like to be touched. While you’re at it, get used to asking for what you want, too. (Get more great tips in Talk Dirty to Me: The Why and How of Hot Aural Sex.)

Get Consent

It’s true: Consent is sexy. The argument is often made that it will spoil the mood to stop and ask questions, but I find that the opposite is true. When you don’t have to worry about protecting yourself and maintaining your boundaries you can relax and enjoy yourself. Then everyone has more fun. Try working it into your dirty talk. If you’re into biting, for example, nibble on your partner’s ear and then whisper, "Do you like to be bitten?" You can also incorporate questions like, "Do you like this?" while you’re touching someone. It’s helpful to have a positive check-in, rather than waiting to hear no.


Explore Vulnerability

At the core of bondage is one person being put in a vulnerable position. Being "forced" to lay back and enjoy yourself helps a lot of people get over their mental blocks and relax. Being bound, or ordered to hold still, removes responsibility for a period of time and allows you to just focus on sensation without worrying about reciprocation. (Read more about it in Why Bondage Can Be So Much Fun.)


Establish Trust

In order for someone to allow themselves to be vulnerable they must trust their partner completely. Remember the trust games you played in school as part of team building, like falling back and trusting someone to catch you? BDSM works on similar principals. Regardless of the tool being used, even bare hands, one partner is trusting the other to not harm them. And that takes trust. Speaking of tools ...


Leverage Built-In Tools

It’s easy to get caught up in shopping for exciting new toys but you’ve got enough built in to have a great time. There are no whips and chains necessary to kink things up. You’ve got hands and teeth, and those can provide a variety of sensations. From gentle bites to those that leave dental impressions, biting can really spice things up. The neck is a popular area for this (be sure to ask if it’s OK to leave marks), but most areas of the body are suitable for at least gentle biting. Your hands are also versatile tools. Grabbing, pinching, scratching, slapping; the possibilities are almost endless.


Throw in Household Items

OK, now we’re getting into fork territory. Bear with me. It’s true, the kitchen is a veritable sex toy store if you know what to look for. A wooden spoon or spatula is a great impact play tool. Wooden skewers can provide a sharp sensation with relative safety. Ice cubes pack a big punch when it comes to sensation or temperature play. As for other areas of the house, look around for something to use as a blindfold. Scarves and ties work well and a blindfold is a great way to start a sensation scene, as everything is felt more intensely when you don’t know what’s coming next or what’s being used on you.


Don't Forget Psychological Play

So much of sex is mental, and BDSM is no exception. The fear or anticipation of what might happen can intensify any scene. Try whispering threats or promises. Making someone ask for what they want can be very powerful, especially for people who have been taught by our culture to sublimate their desires. Being "forced" to describe our fantasies can be embarrassing ... but it's the hot kind of embarrassing.


Play With Power Dynamics

Every relationship is fraught with some kind of power dynamic or power struggle, kink just brings this existing dynamic to the fore and plays with it. You don’t need to live a full-time kink lifestyle to incorporate power into your play. The simple act of one person being on their knees is enough to create a power differential. Having one partner crawl takes it to still another level. You can also add power play to your sex. Holding your partners head while they go down on you is a great example. Also try making your partner ask permission to orgasm.


No matter what you decide to try, don’t forget points one and two. Talk to your partner before you try something new. Listen to their fantasies, share yours, and have a night to remember.