Whether your interest in kink stems from an inspiration from a favorite celeb (Kanye West, Angelina Jolie, and Khloe Kardashian, Jack Black, Ricky Martin, Rihanna, James Franco, and many more are rumored to be into the scene), a curiosity about the ‘dark side’ of rougher or more niche-oriented sex, or you simply can’t get enough of the smutty material made famous by an unidentified billionaire business owner with the ‘Red Room’ of pain then -
if you’re looking to discover more about kink and alternative sex, here are some basic tips to keep in mind that will make sure your exploration is a safe and fulfilling one.
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You may be surprised to learn that the BDSM / Kink community’s cardinal rules involve safety, sanity, and full disclosure.
Wait, I thought people were being tied up and whipped and paddled?! The answer is, yes, they are- but they’re fully aware of the risks involved. They speak with their potential partners before, during, and after an interaction (called ‘scenes’ or ‘sessions’). They don’t enter into a play session without the full, explicit consent of every party - and if there’s play where speaking may be restricted, systems of hand signals, warning signs, or time limits are agreed to beforehand to minimize the risks of anything you try. Acronyms like SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) and RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) showcase the healthy mindset you’ll need to approach kink for the first time. While you learn more about kink or BDSM, be mindful of anyone who urges you to try things that are too risky, dangerous, or involve things that don’t align with your explicit consent. Speak up for yourself and be ready to say ‘no’ whenever you feel compelled to.
Before you begin, it may be helpful to start with a list of your ‘hard limits’. These are things that, under any circumstances, you are unwilling to have done to your body or do to others. Common hard limits are: scatplay, blood, leaving a mark that lasts more than 48 hours, or humiliation. You can follow these by knowing your ‘soft limits’ - things that, given the right circumstances, you’d be willing to try once (or twice). It’s okay to have your limits change, and to keep a slow pace while you explore what turns you on and what turns you off. Finding someone who is also interested or experienced in kink can help you in this process - look for a friend, mentor or ally that you can share your interests with in a safe space.
Another important element as you progress in a journey of kink is to establish, know, and USE a safeword. Most often, these are determined before a play session with the partner(s) involved, but you can also have a personal preference for a word that you like to use. A common method for using safe words is the ‘traffic light’ / ‘color’ system - green for “let’s go!”, yellow for “slow down / let’s change something, please”, and red for “stop!”. Make sure before any play that all parties know and agree to the safe word(s) and how they will be used.
Many people believe that the terms “BDSM” and “kink” are one and the same - and while they do have lots of overlap, they aren’t exactly identical. Did you know that there are some kinks that don’t involve pain at all? There are also forms of foreplay that you might find ‘normal’, but are extremely kinky by another standard.
Many things can fall into kink! Some of the most common ‘entry-level’ kinks include Impact play (spanking, flogging), Bondage (using restraints or ropes to limit one partner’s mobility), Roleplay (fantasy, school/office, naughty nurse/doctor), or sex-toys (blindfolds, handcuffs, strap-on dildos, or anal plugs).
Aside from these, there are also more kinks that you might have heard of before: Body kinks, Clothing kinks, Backdoor play, Taboo kinks, Touch & Stimulation kinks, and Pain kinks.
And many, many more that you haven’t heard of yet! Unsure where to begin? Sites like bdsmtest.org can help you determine where your interest(s) might lie.
Explore the scene, look online, and if it’s not for you - that’s okay, too. After you prepare to explore in a safe, sane, consensual way, give yourself time to think about your limits, look at what’s out there, and even participate in some kinky behavior, you can decide, knowingly, if kink is right for you.
If it’s something you’d like to continue- great! Welcome to a whole new world of exciting and meaningful sexual experiences.
If you’d prefer not to have any more kinky encounters, that’s just fine too - Vanilla is sometimes the sweetest flavor of them all.