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A Beginner's Guide to BDSM: Using and Enjoying Restraint Play Sex Toys

guide to BDSM for beginners

There are very few sexual activities that are as exciting, as adventurous, as intimate, and as rewarding as restraint play and BDSM.

But BDSM isn’t outside the mainstream. It is a sexual practice enjoyed by many, and desired by even more. Many people, probably even you, have fantasized or imagined it, but thought that maybe it isn’t for you.

bondage tape for BDSM beginners

We disagree.

While popular culture tends to hyperbolize BDSM, making it appear all extreme and only for a select few, there are BDSM activities for everyone. Restraint play sex toys come in all stripes for all sorts of different sensations, for beginners and experts alike.

When you get right down to it, restraint play sex is no different than any other kind of sex. At the heart of BDSM is trust, respect, and consideration. It is about verbal communication and physical empathy. It is about two or more people joining together in ways that make every partner happy.

If you are a bondage beginner, there is nothing to worry about. While every sexual scene has its own lingo and rules, the truth is all that matters is what you want to do with your sexual partner. You set your own rules, and find your own level of comfort. You find the restraint play sex toys with which you are the most comfortable and which make you the happiest.

BDSM is all about exploring new sensations and finding new avenues for the exciting sexual energy we have in ourselves and for each other. So let’s explore.


What Kind of People Are Into BDSM?

shower bondage handcuffs for BDSM beginners

Mysterious millionaires? International jet setters? Goths? What are the kinds of people into BDSM? Here’s our attempt at a comprehensive list:

Everyone.

There is no BDSM “type.” The range of human sexuality is impossibly diverse and impossible to categorize. Anyone can be into it, or want to be into it.

Bondage and domination come in all shapes and sizes, and there are elements of it that nearly everyone enjoys, even if they wouldn’t define it as BDSM. There is no “type,” because many, if not most people, find that they enjoy BDSM to some degree or another.

So don’t ever feel like you aren’t the type of person who “should” be into BDSM. If restraint play is something you enjoy, or about which you are curious, then you are the type of person who should be into it.

If you find yourself interested and want to know more, the first thing to do is to understand the different types of BDSM, along with how to define it.


Defining Restraint and BDSM

bdsm for beginners

Odds are, you’ve heard the letters BDSM plenty of times, though you might not know what it stands for, even if you have an idea (or a picture, or maybe a movie) of what it means. Let’s define the letters (with the caveat that there are actually several variants of this, although they mean the same thing).

Bondage.

Bondage, as we’ll see, is the only one of these letters that has a definite physical meaning. In bondage play, a partner is made partially or completely immobile or has their motion restricted. This could come from something like a pair of handcuffs, a hogtie or being strapped down completely in bed. Leashes, ball gags, and door cuffs are also part of this.

What these all have in common is that they make it harder—or impossible—to resist what the unbound will do. Obviously, limits and expectations are agreed upon beforehand (see below), but within that, anything goes. There is a thrill in knowing that if you are bound, you can’t stop being tickled, kissed, licked, slapped, spanked, or whatever is desired. There’s also a thrill for the partner in being able to do whatever you want.

Dominance (sometimes Discipline).

This is when you are the one controlling the action. There are many people who love being a dom, one part of a mutually respectful relationship where the other party empowers themselves by giving up some control. This isn’t always physical, as we’ll talk about. It’s about making someone do your bidding, whether through exquisite withholding, pleasure-granting, physical play, or any other means (obviously, with their consent and desires in mind).

blindfolds can factor into submission in BDSM

Submission.

The flip side of dominance is the act of submitting. Doms and subs tend to have a relationship, if not be in a relationship. The sub gets off on being told what to do, or taking what the dom gives. In popular culture the submissive is usually a male, but this is split pretty equally among genders.

—or—

Sadist.

A sadist (in BDSM) is the person who enjoys being the dominant partner, and generally enjoys it sexually. It is possible to be dominant without getting sexual pleasure out of it, if you are doing it professionally or being good, giving, and game for a partner. But if being dominant, especially in the form of inflicting pain, turns you on, then you are a sadist in the BDSM community. Here, this does not have a negative connotation. It is a beautiful part of the sexual puzzle.

Masochist.

Same with a masochist—someone whose sexual pleasure can involve having pain or other forms of submission inflicted upon them. People are masochists for many reasons, and there is no one type of person who enjoys it. It isn’t weak or unmanly or unfeminist: it is your sexuality.


Now, you may not fit into any of those categories, and that’s fine. Most people, especially beginners, don’t define themselves entirely by one role. In fact, it is very common for couples to be switches, people who mix up who is dominating whom, and who is on which end of the paddle.

As always, it is about finding what makes you the happiest. And a lot of times, that search starts with adult products.


The Adult Toys of BDSM

What are some of the toys you’ll be using? Here is a non-comprehensive list, many of which will be discussed when we get more into defined activities and roles.

Anal Toys

Bed Restraints

Benwa Balls

Blindfolds

Collars

Crops

Floggers

Paddles

Restraints

Slappers

Spreader Bars

Ticklers

Whips


Let’s Talk About Flogging: Getting Into BDSM

flogging as part of an introduction to BDSM

So, you think you’re ready to begin? Well, as we said, this starts well before you get into bed (or on the floor, or tied against the door, or in the sex dungeon you borrowed from your neighbor for the weekend). And this remains true even if only one partner is a beginner. There are many couples in which one person is pretty experienced with BDSM and the other isn’t. Whatever your levels of experience, it all begins with conversation.

Before The Act

BDSM is not, and shouldn’t be, dangerous. It gives the sexual thrill of mimicking danger, with the adrenaline and serotonin that feeling brings, but there should never be a scenario where someone can get seriously hurt. It is a fun expression of physical intimacy; not an extreme sport. So don’t go into it thinking you are taking a risk. Go into it thinking you are trying something new with someone.

So before you put a ball gag in it, open your mouth… and your ears.

Not sure what you’re into yet? Start your search by taking this quiz to find your kink!

Starting the BDSM Conversation

beginning BDSM discussion

OK, this is your first time, and you’re getting ready. It’s time to remember a few ground rules.

Getting Into Bed

beginning BDSM your first time

There is no doubt that for people who are into very hardcore BDSM, a safeword or gesture is extremely important. But that isn’t something you always need. All you need are these three things.


Types of Physical BDSM

“I’m not into BDSM, since I don’t like being whipped.” We’ve heard that, of course. But there are many, many types of BDSM, and odds are you’ve done (or find yourself intrigued by) some of them. This is far from comprehensive, but is a good starting list.


What Makes a BDSM Scene?

beginners guide to the bdsm scene

There are a few different types of BDSM, and many of these are interrelated. They are all part of “scenes,” a phrase for the kind of bondage you like, often with groups. If you are into BDSM, you are part of a scene (or many scenes, depending on your desires).

Bondage.

As we said, this is the center of most BDSM activities. If you are tied up, anything can happen. Even if nothing happens beyond kissing, the physical nature of being bound heightens everything.

Roleplay and Fantasies.

Fantasies are a huge part of BDSM. It is perfectly fine to be tied up and just be you and your partner. That’s beautiful. But many people also experiment with being someone (or someones) else. These fantasies can include:

arm restraints as part of BDSM

Submission/Domination.

This is a form of BDSM that doesn’t always involve sex, per se. These can be relationships where one partner does whatever the dominant partner says, or does all their chores, or follows them around, or only can orgasm when commanded. While this isn’t generally for beginners, you can play around with the idea. For instance, making a partner wear nipple clamps or a cock ring during the day at work. That way, they always know that the sexual sensations they are feeling are due to their partner, dominating them from afar.

Is Sex Involved?

This is a good question, and it can be answered in a few ways. There are times, maybe most of the time, when this ends with a penetrative act, or in some ways leads to orgasm. There will be times when it does so for one partner but not the other. And there are some BDSM scenes where no one finishes and no one even touches genitals.

But it is all sex, in its own way, because it is an erotic exchange of self. There are BDSM relationships where one person just washes the other one’s gym clothes. They never have “sex,” they never kiss, they never even touch. But for them, it is just as intimate as a rainy weekend at a remote cabin. If it works for you, embrace it. Always.


So, Why BDSM?

why bdsm for beginners

There may be a couple moments in the descriptions above there when you winced, or wondered why people do this. Well, for the same reasons anyone else does anything sexually: it is fun, and they love it. Sometimes for reasons they can’t explain.

But to be more clear, BDSM provides many things, including:

  • New Sensations
  • Enhanced Intimacy
  • Better Communications
  • Escape from the Ordinary
  • New Possibilities
  • A Sense of Danger
  • A Sense of Transgression

  • If done right, it isn’t dangerous. And it isn’t transgressive; BDSM is normal. But you can feel safe, while still embracing dangerous thrills and transgression, making a dull world of fluorescent office lights and traffic jams become exciting and new and different. You can inhabit new roles with your partner, providing a spark in your sex life. You can discover new facets of yourself, and in doing so rediscover each other. You can laugh and wince and explore together. You can talk about your deepest fantasies.


    You can find that being tied down is the most freeing feeling of all.