CHAINS AND WHIPS :: A THINKING PERV’S GUIDE TO BEGINNING BDSM

Tina Horn (pictured above) is a writer, educator, sex worker, podcaster and pornographer. Plus, she’s AHDM4U newest contributor. Stay tuned for more from her on being smart about getting nasty. 

These days, when the average person considers BDSM, they’re probably thinking of Rihanna leading Perez Hilton around on a leash in her music video for “S&M”, or that pretty white face half-covered in a satin blindfold per the trailer of 50 Shades of Grey. Kink is everywhere these days. But the trouble with prevalent BDSM imagery in the media is that it is consumed in a form that is stripped of its complexity. We’re getting the superficial iconography of “chains and whips” everywhere, but it’s been drained of its meaning, leaving behind only shock value.

This year in San Francisco, the Folsom Street Fair will carry on its proud traditions of brazen nudity, public fucking, fetish outfits and queer love. The event has come to represent San Francisco’s die-hard brand of sexual freedom. But without prior education about kinky sexuality, a first-timer at Folsom may perceive all this expression as degrading, humiliating or just plain painful. And BDSM is all about context! It’s about circles and boundaries and metaphor. It’s about paradox and imagination. Where the outside observer of a BDSM scene may see degradation, the people playing are feeling respected and safe. A voyeur might see humiliation, the players feel elation. The casual observer might see pain, while participants feel ecstatic catharsis.

Want to get that kinky sex into your life, but you feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start? We’ve got some tips on how to find and prepare yourself for kinky exploration.

BUT WHAT KIND OF KINKY AM I?

Good question! Here’s some basic types of kink you can explore.

Bondage

Guess what that first letter in the BDSM acronym stands for? There’s a good reason why bondage kicks it all off: it’s the simplest, most direct way to play with power exchange. A lot of people find bondage visually arousing because of the way it contorts and holds the body in revealing ways. My favorite thing about bondage is struggling and straining against my restraints; it helps me to physically surrender to being completely consumed by sex.

Try if you’re turned on by: Power exchange, restraint, absolution of responsibility.

Make the first move: You could simply hold your partner’s wrists down, or tell them to stay exactly where they are. A simple trip to the hardware store for cotton rope, a few square knots, and you’ve got yourself some bondage!

Spanking 

At Folsom, you will doubtlessly see someone beat someone else’s back black and blue with a leather flogger, or whip an ass with a rattan cane until parallel red welts raise up like railroad ties. If you like the looks of that, you should definitely try out spanking. Whether you love the way an ass wiggles from being smacked, or you crave the intense psychological sensation of being admonished for being bad, hand spanking is the best way to warm up into impact play.

Try if you’re turned on by: Punishment and discipline, age play, ass worship.

Make the first move: Try some light teasing percussion play on your partner’s ass or pectoral muscles in bed, or a simple fantasy of corporal punishment (I’m a big fan of this scene: a lady getting revenge on a street harasser by pulling him over her lap for some punitive treatment!)

Role play and dirty talk

Speaking of scenes, filthy language is like a vibrator for that sex organ between your ears! Dirty talk can be a chance to express desires and boundaries (“Please fuck me harder!”) This is, might I add, really good practice for sticking up for yourself in non-sexual scenarios. Or role playing as, say, a puppy, can be a way to tap into your uninhibited animal nature.

Try if you’re turned on by: Being someone else for a while, cosplay, mindfucking, genderplay.

Make the first move: Save the elaborate costumes and campy scenarios for a third or fourth date. Start with one or two words that turn you on and use them in a complimentary way (“Your cock looks fucking delicious,”) or a familiar scene that establishes a dynamic (like pretending to be strangers cruising one another.)

D/S: Domination and submission

Let’s say the idea of one partner having complete control over another is incredibly appealing to you. You’re already committed to a non-oppressive, non-abusive dynamics in your relationships, so maybe it’s time to explore what it’s like to overcome and surrender to one another. Set a specific period of time during which one person is the top and the other is the bottom. Eventually, you can switch, or extend the period.

Try if you’re turned on by: Power exchange, service, intimacy.

Make the first move: Experiment with a D/S relationship for a single date. Negotiate mutual desires, boundaries and protocol that will commence the moment you pick your date up until the next morning when you both leave the house for brunch. All of a sudden, the most mundane acts are infused with erotic power exchange. Did you realize you could get a boner when your partner brings you your morning coffee just the way you like it just because you told them to?

Fetish clothing

There’s a scene in American Horror Story in which a character splurges on a full-body rubber suit to win his philandering boyfriend back. The boyfriend takes one look at the gimp suit, scoffs, and says, “I’m into leather.” What this scene illustrates is that being kinky doesn’t mean you’re turned on by everything at the sex shop. (And that you should talk to your boyfriend before you spend a bunch of money on something that doesn’t turn either of you on or ends up being inhabited by a ghost, because then … well then nobody wins.)

Try if you’re turned on by: Materials, clothes, smells, tactile sensations.

Make the first move: Develop your taste: leather or latex? Boots or pumps? Sweaty jocks or lacey panties? Remember, you don’t have to gouge your wallet while developing your style. This is where community comes in again: I walked a mile in my friend’s six-inch stiletto lace-up boots before I knew I wanted some of my own. In the Bay Area there are quite a few places for kinky people on a budget. The San Francisco Citadel holds a fetish flea market three times a year. I’ve found some of my favorite leather pieces in Polk Street thrift stores. Latex shorts, thongs or opera-length gloves from Mr. S cost a hell of a lot less than a full-body cat suit.

Group sex

You know what’s a great way to have the same sex you’ve been having, and transform it into kinky sex? Do it in front of other people.

Try if you’re turned on by: Exhibitionism and voyeurism.

Make the first move: Research sex clubs and play parties in your area, or ask around about private ones. Remember that any sex party worth going to will have its own specific rules about consent, safer sex, and respectful conduct: respect those definitions and don’t be a jerk. If you want to make your own parameters, get some trusted friends together, or make arrangements on a dating app, and throw a private party of your own.

Rough sex

Sometimes BDSM is great because it means that intimacy and arousal can be about more than fucking. Then again, kinky sex can be as simple as the passionate, animalistic, high-sensation act of putting things in holes.

Try if you’re turned on by: Hair-pulling, genitorture, face-slapping, hard fucking.

Make the first move: Run your fingers through the base of your partner’s hair and yank slowly but firmly. Grab your partner’s chin in your hand. Fuck fast, relentlessly, and hard. Scream, grunt, and growl.

GOT IT — NOW HOW DO I FIND DATES?

Get on the Internet Trust us on this one: whatever you’re into, someone else is even more into it — plus they’ve filmed porn about it and put it online. And lucky for you, this person might want to talk about the kink you share, teach you about it, or just go back and forth with filthy ideas. It’s important to have community that understands you and with whom you feel safe to express yourself. Shame and isolation can turn perfectly healthy desires into repression monsters, so start finding your people!

Get off the internet The Internet can help in many ways, but it will never live up to full sensory experience and human intimacy. Remember that in real life, negotiating the conditions of remaining safe, sane, and consensual are going to be different than your fantasies. We need to be civilized with one another in order to get to that primal state we crave! Play parties and leather fairs always need volunteers. Helping out gives you something to do with any nervous energy you may have during those events, and sends a message to prospective dates that you’re interested in serving your community as well as your own desires. [Editor’s note: And read AHDM4U’s guide to Folsom Street Fair Week if you’re currently in the Bay Area!]

Educate yourself For technique, safety, demonstrations and conversation, attend one of the many kink classes going on every month of the year in many major cities — especially in the Bay Area. Seeing some of the most incredible kinksters in the world demonstrating scenes can give you stimulating ideas. Ask a date if they want to attend a class so you can explore your fantasies together. If that sounds distracting, go with a friend! Kink community isn’t about only who you play with: it’s about support and encouragement.

REMEMBER

All BDSM sex (bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism, and masochism) boils down to one thing: a consensual exploration of power dynamics. This is why it has become such an important expression of countercultural communities. When we are marginalized, we know how it feels to be non-consensually disempowered every single day. When we eroticize and ritualize and fetishize power, we take control back. And that is how you can start a revolution with kinky sex!

PUT YOUR NEWFOUND KINKY WISDOM TO USE WITH THE REST OF AHDM4U’S ABSOLUTELY SHAMELESS ISSUE

About 4U Mag (264 Articles)
A lifestyle magazine by Kelly Lovemonster and Caitlin Donohue. Not a total vanity project.

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