The Ultimate Guide to BDSM for Beginners

So, you’re interested in dipping your toes into the world of BDSM, huh? Congratulations! BDSM can be a super enjoyable and exciting way to connect with your partner and experience some incredible erotic sensations. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide to BDSM for beginners to give you everything you need to know to begin your BDSM journey, from what kinds of equipment you’ll need to get started, to why it’s enjoyable, and how you can practice it as safely as possible.

 

BDSM for Beginners – BDSM Essentials

 

Your BDSM for Beginners Essentials

There are a whole lot of different toys and accessories out there under the headings ‘bondage’ or ‘BDSM’, and, depending on who you are, that can make you feel like a kid in a candy shop or just intimidated and a little overwhelmed. But worry not, you don’t have to go it alone. Here’s a selection of products that will get you started in your BDSM journey, with recommendations that have BedBible’s seal of approval.

You don’t have to rush to the computer to buy them all at once, either. We’ve sorted them into categories based on what kinds of BDSM play you might be interested in trying out, so you can pick a few that catch your eye and go to town!

 

Sensory Play

Blindfold

Lovehoney Oh! Satin Blindfold

A blindfold is the starting place when deciding to delve into BDSM. Put the snug and soft Lovehoney Oh! Satin Blindfold on your sub and watch them squirm as you tease their sweet spots. It makes any bondage play all the more exciting, and is a must-have for your collection.

 

Feather Tickler

Bondage Boutique Luxury Ostrich Feather Tickler

A feather tickler is a non-intimidating way to up your sensory teasing. Use gentle strokes of the elegant Bondage Boutique Luxury Ostrich Feather Tickler to titillate your partner’s sensitive areas, and pair with a blindfold for even more sexiness.

 

Nipple Clamps or Suckers

Lovehoney Colorplay Color-Changing Silicone Nipple Suckers

Nipple stimulation can unlock a whole world of arousal and orgasms, whatever your gender, and nipple suckers are a gentle way to achieve it. Simply squeeze the bulbs of the Lovehoney Color-Changing Silicone Nipple Suckers and then release them over the nipples to create a mild vacuum that draws blood to the surface of the skin and makes the nipples super sensitive. These ones even change color with your body heat!

Lovehoney Tease Me Adjustable Nipple Clamps

For a more intense feeling and a more BDSM-aesthetic, nipple clamps are the way to go. The silicone tips of the Lovehoney Tease Me Adjustable Nipple Clamps pinch the nipples delightfully and can be adjusted to your desired levels of pain and pleasure.

 

Massage Candle

Earthly Body Trio 3-in-1 Mini Massage Candles

Experiment with temperature play with a massage candle or three. The Earthly Body Trio massage candle set are body-safe and even edible, so you can craft the perfect sensual mood and tantalize your partner with warm wax sensations. As a bonus, the natural oils in the candles nourish and moisturize the skin, too.

 

Paddle

Fifty Shades of Grey Twitchy Palm Spanking Paddle

If you want to add a little pleasurable pain to your sessions, try out a spanking paddle. This Fifty Shades of Grey paddle is ideal for beginners – it has a satin-y padded side for sensual strokes and a solid faux leather side for smacks and slaps.

 

Flogger

Bondage Boutique Faux Leather Flogger

Floggers are versatile sensory tools. They can be used similarly to a feather tickler to tease and caress the skin, before building to quick flicks and swings once your partner is super sensitive. The Faux Leather Flogger from Bondage Boutique looks perfectly at home in a BDSM dungeon but is easy to use and feels fantastic.

 

Restraints & Bondage-Wear

Handcuffs

Bondage Boutique Soft Handcuffs

Handcuffs are another essential when it comes to BDSM for beginners. Soft handcuffs like these ones from Bondage Boutique are adjustable and offer gentle restraint with quick-release clips that can be attached to each other or other restraints like ankle cuffs or bed straps.

 

Bed Restraints

Fifty Shades of Grey Hard Limits Bed Restraint Kit

Turn up the heat and restrict your sub’s movement even further by using a bed restraint kit like this one from Lovehoney’s Fifty Shades of Grey collection. Four soft cuffs can be attached to adjustable bed straps to transform your bedroom into a sexy dungeon. Quick to set up and easy to use, this set is ideal for BDSM newbies.

 

Gag

DOMINIX Deluxe Leather Bit Gag

Ball gags and BDSM often go hand-in-hand, and, by removing their ability to speak, can really make sub restrained and helpless. If the idea of a gag is a turn-on but you’re intimidated by the ball in a ball gag, try a bar-shaped bit gag. The DOMINIX Deluxe Leather Bit Gag sits between the teeth so you can’t speak, but it doesn’t fill the mouth quite so much and can be pushed out of the mouth by the tongue if worn more loosely.

Sportsheets Saffron Breathable Silicone Ball Gag 1

Another beginner-friendly option is a breathable ball gag with holes in, like the Sportsheets Saffron Breathable Ball Gag. The biteable silicone ball is an approachable 1.5 inches in diameter and has three bored holes that allow you to breathe easier. Just beware of drool!

 

Bondage Tape

Lovehoney Red Bondage Tape

Go wild with restraint with a roll of bondage tape! This bondage tape from Lovehoney makes it easier to tie up your sub however you choose. Use it to tie their wrists or to tie them to a piece of furniture without having to buy specialized equipment or worrying about buckles or knots. It’s also totally body- and furniture-safe, as it only sticks to itself, not skin, hair or anything else.

 

Bondage Shears

KinkLab Curve Tip Safety Scissors

Bondage, whether with tape, rope or anything else, always needs a partner: medical or bondage shears. They allow to quickly and safely release your partner from restraints whenever it’s needed. The KinkLab Curve Tip Safety Scissors are a great option and have a blunt end to prevent any poking or stabbing – important when you’re working close to the skin.

 

Sex Toys!

Penis Ring

BASICS Comfort Stretchy Cock Ring

Penis rings work by discouraging blood from flowing away from the penis and can have a whole host of great-feeling effects, including enhanced sensations for the wearer, increased stamina and even stronger erections! If you’re a first-timer who wants some gentle constriction, check out the BASICS Comfort Stretchy Cock Ring which is comfortable while still providing lots of pleasure.

 

Remote Control Panty Vibrator

Cal Exotics Lock-N-Play Remote Panty Teaser 10

Remote control vibrators can be awesome toys for BDSM for beginners, allowing the dom to take control of their sub’s pleasure by turning on and off the sensations at will. The Cal Exotics Lock-N-Play Remote Panty Teaser is featured in our best-in-test list of panty vibrators for a reason! It locks onto any pair of panties and sits snugly against the clitoris and vulva. Control the 12 vibration modes from up to 33 ft away – perfect for the bedroom or some discreet public teasing, too!

 

Remote Control Love Egg

Lovense Lush 3

We love Lovense’s range of remote control egg vibrators! They sit wonderfully inside the vagina and deliver some serious vibrations straight to the g-spot. The Lovense Lush 3 is their latest model, and feels better than ever. It’s controlled via app, which has almost endless functions for controlling the vibrations, and can be used to dominate your partner’s pleasure from anywhere in the world!

 

Remote Control Butt Plug

Lovehoney Booty Shaker no bg

The great thing about butt plugs is that anyone can enjoy them! Add vibrations to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious anal pleasure. If you want a remote control anal vibrator that you can use to tease and tantalize your partner, try the Lovehoney Booty Shaker. It offers an incredible sense of fullness and will leave you or your partner begging for more, though whether you give it to them or not is your choice…

 

Anal Beads

Tracey Cox Supersex Silicone Beaded Anal Prober no bg

Many people balk at the mention of anal beads, but they’re not as scary as they might seem, and can open up a world of thrills. Start by inserting the tapered end of the Tracey Cox Supersex Silicone Beaded Anal Prober and then go further as the sensations get better and better. For a firework finish, grip the loop and pull the beads out as your partner reaches orgasm for incredible enhanced sensations.

 

BDSM for Beginners Starter Kits

Sex & Mischief Intro to S&M Kit

Sex & Mischief Intro to S&M Kit

3-piece set with:

  • Lockable fur-lined handcuffs
  • Flogger
  • Blindfold

 

Lovehoney All Tied Up Bondage Play Kit

Lovehoney All Tied Up Bondage Play Kit (8 Piece) no bg

8-piece kit with:

  • Blindfold
  • Soft wrist & ankle cuffs
  • Under-bed straps
  • Nipple suckers
  • Adjustable vibrating penis ring
  • Finger vibrator
  • Flogger

 

Lovehoney Take Control Bondage Kit

Lovehoney Take Control Bondage Kit (10 Piece) no bg

10-piece kit, with:

  • Blindfold
  • Flogger
  • Nipple suckers
  • Breathable ball gag
  • Bullet vibrator
  • Wrist & ankle cuffs
  • Under-bed straps
  • Curved silicone suction-cup dildo
  • Adjustable strap-on harness with 3 interchangeable O-rings

 

BDSM for Beginners – Free Things to Try

 

Things to Try that Don’t Cost a Penny

Okay, so you’ve just seen a big list of all kinds of gear and toys that you can buy if you’re interested in trying some BDSM, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to immediately go and break the bank. BDSM is more than just the accessories, and there are lots of ways that you can incorporate ideas and elements of BDSM into your sex life without spending a single penny. It’s all in the mind, after all!

Some ideas of things you can give a go right now (or, at least this evening…) include:

  • Hair pulling
  • Spanking
  • Dirty talk
  • Biting
  • DIY-ing your own BDSM tools
  • Temperature play
  • Orgasm denial

 

Read more about how to give them a go below…

Hair Pulling

This might be something you already do, which means you’re already trying out some kinky play without even knowing it! Hair pulling can feel great both for the giver and the receiver and is an easy introduction to BDSM for beginners and power-play dynamics. Be as gentle or as rough as you’d like and you may just find you’re craving something a little more intense.

Spanking

If you’re turned on by the idea of pleasurable pain, start experimenting with impact play via spanking. Start off by using your hands before jumping to any paddles, and try out spanking the butt and the areas around the genitals for all kinds of sensations. It may also feel pretty natural to incorporate some power-play into the mix.

BDSM for Beginners – Dirty Talk

Dirty Talk

Talking dirty as you get down can be a major turn-on for some. The psychological effects of being talked down to, teased or even insulted during sex can be powerful and incredibly erotic. Just don’t spring it on your partner without prior warning or discussion, as being degraded isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and doing it out of nowhere could end up doing more harm than good.

Biting

Like hair pulling and spanking, biting is an easy but effective way to add a little pain to your bedroom sessions. It can be incredibly intimate and you can control the intensity to suit what you and your partner are into. But, like with everything, we recommend talking it over first, just to avoid any nasty surprises.

BDSM for Beginners – DIY tools

DIY BDSM Tools

What if the mood strikes you but you don’t have any ready-made bondage tools at your disposal? Never fear, you have plenty of items lying around the house just waiting to be transformed into erotic objects! A tie or a scarf, while not great for restraints, make a super sexy DIY blindfold, and a wooden spoon is the perfect spanking paddle for a satisfying slap. You can even imitate the effect of a feather tickler or flogger stroking the skin by using your fingers to gently caress your partner’s skin.

Temperature Play

Incorporate some thrilling temperature play into your sex at no cost by using ice to give your partner some sensual shivers. Hold some in your hand and drag it across the skin, paying special attention to super-sensitive areas like the nipples. Just don’t keep it in one place for too long or you might impart some ice burns. You can also go the other way and try warming up some toys you already own. Some dildos and other toys can be placed in warm (not hot!) water to bring them to body temperature, which can result in some really unique sensations.

 

Orgasm Denial

Practicing orgasm denial means putting your ability to orgasm fully into the hands of your partner, and can be a very intense experience. It’s a real power-play activity, and involves the dominant partner teasing and arousing their sub almost to the brink of orgasm, in a similar way to edging. The difference is that edging is done to prolong the experience and create an enhanced orgasm, whilst you might not get to orgasm at all with orgasm denial. The sub remains totally powerless, and that feeling can be intensified with restraints or sensory deprivation.

Orgasm can be a very satisfying thing to do with your partner, but it may not be the most BDSM for beginners activity. If you’ve explored a bit of sub/dom play before and think both you and your partner would be into it, however, then it may be your perfect next step.

 

BDSM for Beginners – What is BDSM_

 

What is BDSM?

What does BDSM stand for? Well, BDSM is a bit of a strange abbreviation, in that some of the letters stand for a few different things:

B/D means Bondage/Discipline – encompasses practices of restraint and imposing rules and punishments.

D/S means Dominance/Submission – involves power play and adopting roles of control and submission. These roles can be designated to specific partners or can switch.

S/M means Sadism/Masochism – the enjoyment of inflicting pain (sadism) and receiving pain (masochism). Someone who enjoys both is called a sadomasochist.

All together, these things refer to a whole range of sexual practices, activities and kinks. Someone who practices BDSM can be turned on by and engage in all of these practices or just some of them, and they can vary a lot in intensity between different people.

Of course, things can get pretty wild in the world of BDSM, but everyone has to start somewhere! If you’re new to BDSM, then you don’t have to immediately dive into pain play or anal hooks, or build yourself a full-on BDSM dungeon – it can be actually be pretty accessible, and a lot of fun.

 

What isn’t BDSM?

Think you know what BDSM is because you’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey (or seen it in some more …explicit videos)? Well, if that’s the case, it’s quite probable that your perception of BDSM is not so accurate.

The truth is that BSDM may be the safest- and most fun-feeling sex you ever have. It is NOT supposed to be either physically or mentally harmful, and requires absolute trust and respect between partners to keep it this way.

It’s also not a form of sexual deviance or some kind of unhealthy desire born out of trauma or mental illness. Many people get this idea about BDSM from popular depictions in media, but it’s just simply not true for the vast majority of people who practice and enjoy BDSM. In Fifty Shades of Grey, for instance, Christian Grey’s violent and dominant sexual fantasies stem from abuse he suffered as a child, and become they become less arousing to him as he heals from his trauma.

While it’s perfectly fine to drift toward and away from kinks over time, this kind of BDSM representation of why people enjoy BDSM is just fundamentally different from while real life practitioners like it.

 

BDSM for Beginners – Why do People Like it_

 

So, Why do People Like it?

There are a whole myriad of reasons why people feel drawn to and enjoy BDSM practices, but perhaps the biggest and most obvious one is that, well, it turns them on! Everything, from the sensations to the emotions to the aesthetic, can be highly erotic.

The sensory experiences involved in BDSM, all the way from tickling to pain, can release endorphins in some people that result in a natural high like a good workout (or an orgasm) would. Others have fetishes for certain objects or looks that are involved in BDSM, like leather, chains, shoes and more.

But, at the core of BDSM is the mind. The mental effects of BDSM practices are just as important as the physical sensations and the aesthetics. Having total control over a situation and our experience is something we don’t often get to do in our everyday lives, and it can give a sense of ultimate freedom and power.

While, on the other end of spectrum, letting go and surrendering to your partner’s control, as well as feeling restrained in your movements and responses can also be a huge turn on. For some people, this is due to a sense of empowerment that they feel from enduring difficult things like restraint, teasing and pain.

 

BDSM for Beginners – How to be Safe

 

How to Be Safe with BDSM

Enthusiastic Consent

The first thing to know if you want to give BDSM a go is that there are rules! You can establish them yourselves as a couple based on what you’re interested in and what your limits are, and sticking to them is non-negotiable!

However, before you even get to that part, you should both have an open discussion about BDSM and whether you’d like to try it. If you’re curious about delving into some bondage or sensory play but you don’t know if your partner would be into it, the only way to find out is to ask!

You should also both do your own reading and research into BDSM for beginners so you can decide independently if it’s something you’d like to try out. After all, neither of you should ever feel pressured to do anything sexual if you don’t know enough about it, or if it doesn’t sound enjoyable to you, even if your partner is enthusiastic.

And finally, if you both want to give it the go-ahead, make sure that you’re on the same page about what kinds of things you want to do. It’s important, especially in the beginning, to agree on who will be doing what to whom, how much and how long. This way you can be sure that your ideas about BDSM and sex are compatible and that there won’t be any nasty surprises.

No Alcohol/Drugs!

When you’re drunk or high, your judgement is impaired, as well as your ability to make decisions. Practicing BDSM safely requires the ability to give and respect consent without question, so you see why it doesn’t mix well with being intoxicated?

Going into a BDSM scene with a clear head will both make sure that you have an experience that’s both safe and respectful, as well as a lot more fun!

BDSM for Beginners – Trust

Trust

In order to really let loose during a BDSM scene, you need to be able to put your full trust in your partner. After all, it takes a lot of physical and emotional trust to be tied up, spanked and controlled by your partner without having to constantly worry about getting injured or emotionally hurt.

Even when you’re just getting started in BDSM, you need someone who you know will 100% understand and follow your rules and boundaries. For that reason, it’s probably not a good idea to do it on a first date, or for a one-night-stand.

Boundaries

Everyone has limits to what kinds of things they’re willing to do during sex, and it’s important to know both your own and your partner’s before you start getting down and dirty in a BDSM scene. Many people find it helpful to have what are called ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ limits to let their partners know where they’re at when it comes to adventurousness. ‘Soft’ limits are things that you don’t really feel ready for at the present moment, but might be interested in in the future, whereas ‘hard’ limits are boundaries that you know you’ll never want to cross.

Once those are established and understood by everyone involved, you can make sure that you don’t cross any unanticipated boundaries by deciding on a safeword that either of you can say that will immediately stop the action. It’s usually best to stay away from words like “no” or “stop”, because you might say those kinds of things as part of a role-play scenario without actually meaning them, and you don’t want to get things confused. Instead, pick a totally random word that you wouldn’t generally hear in the bedroom.

You could also use the traffic light system:

  • Saying “Red” means stop immediately
  • “Yellow” means slow down, lower the intensity or go back to what you were doing before
  • “Green” means keep going.

 

This allows a little bit more nuance while you play and means that you can check in with each other as you go and make sure you’re both enjoying the experience.

One other thing to keep in mind is that a verbal safeword might be a little tricky if one of you is gagged and unable to speak. In that case, you can come up with a specific non-verbal sound or a physical gesture to make that you both know means ‘stop’.

BDSM for Beginners – Equipment

Equipment

You don’t need to spend a small fortune on bondage and BDSM gear just to give it a go, but that doesn’t mean you can forego safety in your equipment. After all, you don’t want to get hurt, right?

A good rule to go by is to always buy from reputable sellers, either online or in-person.

  • Online stores like Lovehoney and Adam and Eve carry a large range of BDSM accessories and equipment, from starter gear to advanced equipment.
  • There are also stores that are more dedicated to BDSM, like the Stockroom and OXY shop.

 

You can also find a lot of potential tools around the house, just make sure to use them safely. A necktie or silk scarf make a great blindfold, but using them as restraints is a big no-no because they can easily become too tight, restricting blood flow and doing all kinds of bad things to you or your partner’s body.

Aftercare

BDSM can end up being a pretty intense experience, especially if you’re not used to it, so make sure to check in with each other once it’s all over. This includes, of course, physical care like removing any restraints or equipment and tending to any bruises or other injuries, but also the mental side of things. Have a talk with your partner and see if you are both happy and comfortable with what went down, or if there’s anything you’d want to change up next time.

A lot of people can experience a big mood drop after a BDSM scene as all of the endorphins and dopamine wear off, so it can be nice to take some extra care of each other during your post-bondage wind down. Get cozy with a hot drink, a blanket and some cuddles until you feel a bit more normal again.

 

BDSM for Beginners – BDSM keywords

 

BDSM Keyword Glossary

Aftercare – Caring for both partners’ physical and mental wellbeing after a BDSM scene.

Breath play – Restriction of oxygen intake through choking/asphyxiation for erotic effect.

Chastity  – Denial of sexual pleasure from sex or masturbation. Sometimes chastity devices like penis cages or chastity belts are used.

Dom/Dominant – The person in control/leading the power dynamic in a scene.

Edging – Bringing someone almost to the point of orgasm, but then not allowing them to orgasm (sometimes called orgasm denial).

Fetish – An object, act or situation that triggers sexual arousal.

Golden shower – The act of urinating on another for sexual pleasure.

Impact play – BDSM play that involves impact on the body, like flogging, spanking, caning and whipping.

Leather – The material, of course, but also a culture within the BDSM community that wears leather and finds the aesthetic attractive.

Pegging – A type of strap-on play where one partner, usually a female/femme-identifying person penetrates the other partner anally.

Playspace – An area designated for BDSM play, whether that’s your bedroom or your BDSM dungeon.

Queening – Also known as face-sitting – when a female/vagina-owner sits on the face of their partner, often as a form of domination.

RACK – Risk aware consensual kink – an acronym encompassing the importance of being safe, having consent and taking precautions before and during BDSM play.

SSC – Safe, sane and consensual – another abbreviation for remembering the pillars of BDSM. Disliked by some due to its ableist language and due to the face that BDSM may never be ‘safe’, but that the risks can be understood and reduced.

Safeword – A verbal or physical cue to stop a BDSM scene.

Scene – A session of BDSM play.

Sub/Submissive – The person who is being controlled and takes on a submissive role in a power-play scene.

Switch – Someone who is able to and enjoys taking on both dominant and submissive roles during BDSM play.

Vanilla – Sex or erotic activities that are non-kinky or non-BDSM.

 

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