Entering the world of BDSM can be daunting. You’re welcomed with open arms, but a lot of people don’t know where to start. They don’t know what to try or what type of kink they’re into. Since you might lack mentorship or guidance upon first entering the lifestyle, consider this a road map to help guide you through some of the different forms of kink. There’s a lot to choose from, but we’ll get through it together. First, let's look at a few general tips and definitions to get you started on your journey.
Forms of Kink: An Outline for Beginners
Negotiation is essential and should be the first step before you engage in any scene. It should be incredibly in-depth. Topics discussed between you and your play partner should include safe words, hard limits, soft limits, medical and psychological information (this can’t be overlooked) aftercare, and many other aspects of the impending scene.
Impact Play: A Common Kinky Interest
Impact play is defined as the use of your hands or an implement to physically strike a person. It’s an umbrella term that can include spanking, caning, cropping, and whipping. Impact play has been practiced for thousands of years. Frescoes have been found showing the practice in Ancient Greece, is mentioned in the Karma Sutra, and records of ritual self-flagellation have been documented in churches up to today.
It’s also the most ubiquitous form of play you’ll come across, especially during play parties. Spanking is often considered the simplest form of impact play and it’s the form you’ll see most throughout your engagement in the lifestyle. However, don’t be surprised if you hear the crack of the whip at your next play party.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind regardless of where you start on the impact play spectrum:
- Be sure you’ve identified impact play safe zones on the body. It doesn’t matter whether you’re flogging, caning or spanking; there are some places on the body that people shouldn’t be hit under any circumstances. These places are known as "danger zones," or "red zones." For instance, the face and joints should always be avoided. On the other hand, the butt, thighs and breasts (also known as "green areas") are generally a safe bet. Being able to distinguish between green and red areas is imperative in keeping you and your partner safe.
- Start at the beginning. Please don’t rush into play that’s too advanced for you. It’s OK to be a beginner. I suggest you start your journey in impact play with spanking, since that’ll be the least intimidating form of play you’ll encounter. Gradually move from there to more advanced types of play, such as working with crops, floggers and, finally, whips.
- When you finally become comfortable enough with spanking to use an implement, even holding it can be daunting. In that case, I offer the following exercise: Place sticky notes on a pillar or platform and practice knocking them off with your cane, flogger, or whip. Doing this will help you get a feel for the precision required to work with the implement during the scene. Take your time with this.
After you’ve become proficient in impact play, there’s a lot you can jump into.
B Is for Bondage!
In BDSM, bondage refers to restraining a partner. That being said, although most people assume that bondage involves rope, rope play is actually more of an intermediate to advanced level type of bondage.
Rope play is a form of bondage that incorporates tying someone up during a scene. It’s one of the few practices that are still practiced today using ancient techniques perfected in Japan during the Edo Period. There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re dealing with bondage in general and rope play in particular:
- Research, research, research. Read as many books as you can get your hands on. Watch YouTube videos and take notes. Go to parties and ask questions about the ties and suspensions. Don’t even think about touching a rope until you’ve done a substantial amount of research on the topic first.
- Pay attention to different medical conditions. People with brittle bones disease, fibromyalgia and diabetes all have various joint and circulation issues that must be considered before a scene. Ask your partner whether or not they’ve seen a physician prior to the scene to discuss the safety of pressure being applied to their joints. If they haven’t consulted their doctor, the scene shouldn’t continue.
- Don’t walk away. Never leave a person tied up on their own, even for a second. Make sure you have everything you need before you start the scene. I recall a story a person told to me of a dominant who briefly left her submissive in the room to pick up an implement she forgot. When she came back, her submissive was having a seizure and her sharp movements caused the rope that was around her chest to slide upward around her neck. Luckily, the submissive was taken to the hospital and came out of that situation fine, but let this be a word of warning.
And, before you dive into rope, consider other, safer, forms of bondage play.
While many people stop at the forms of play above, some like other forms of kinky fun. Sometimes life can become overwhelming and you simply want to escape. Role playing can be a way to make this happen. Role play creates a scenario that allows you to be someone else for the duration of the scene. Most role plays are well known, such as the teacher/student dynamic, police officer or French maid. That said, there are so many types of role play to explore. Here are a few.
- Primal play: This form of play involves a predator/prey dynamic. Primal play will probably incorporate biting, scratching, takedowns, and "hunting," which involves catch and release. Hunting might consist of running from your play partner in the woods or some other open area, and hiding from the person who’s trying to catch you. What happens after you’re caught is entirely up to you and your partner…
- Pet play: This typically involves one person taking on the role of a pet and another taking on the role of the owner. It’s not uncommon to see the pet being led around on a leash or eating from a bowl on the floor at a play party. You may see a "dog" barking and crawling around with a muzzle. You might even see a "cat" meowing and licking their owner’s feet.
- Age play: This form of play usually involves less pain and more care. The submissive will regress backward in age, where they role play as a younger child. The scene might just consist of the submissive drawing in a coloring book or being bathed by their dominant. One of the most prominent forms of age play are the Adult Baby Diaper Lovers (ABDL). ABDLs are adults who regress in age back to infants. They might throw temper tantrums, eat with a bib, and wear diapers at play parties.
- Imprisonment role play: This form of role play involves being imprisoned with your dominant acting as the person holding the keys to your freedom. As one would expect, bondage could be incorporated in this form of play as well. It might involve a person locked in a cage or a prison-like room. It could even involve a hostage situation, where the prisoner has to do certain things in order to be released.
The list of role play scenarios you’ll discover in the lifestyle far exceeds the list above. Take your time exploring. As you delve deeper into different forms of play you’ll come across more advanced topics that’ll pique your interest.
We hope this article gave you some ideas as to where you should start when you first begin to play. The types of play listed aren’t by any means an exhaustive list of the things you’ll discover. Getting into kink can seem overwhelming, but if it's the right choice for you you’ll be up and playing in no time. Beyond the information above, here are some resources that you can look into. Stay safe, and have fun!
- SM 101 by Jay Wiseman*
- Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Phillip Miller*
- The New Topping Book by Dossie Easton
- The New Bottoming Book by Janet Hardy
- The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino
Flogging and Other Forms of Impact Play
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