Photo: Natália Zajačiková

So, you think you’re kinky?

Long before 50 Shades thrust BDSM into the public spotlight, people have explored experimenting with an incredibly broad range of sensations and power dynamics. Unfortunately, most popular media hasn’t depicted BDSM in an accurate or nuanced way. Let’s explore some of the basics of BDSM.


Starters
BDSM stands for Bondage, Domination/Discipline, Submission/Sadism, and Masochism. That covers A LOT of territory! While BDSM is often represented in a certain way in the media, it’s really quite diverse.
BDSM isn’t always about sex. It can include exploring power dynamics (some subtle, some not). It can include different sensations (restraint, pain, denial of pleasure, etc.). It can take place in a set time and place (a “scene”) or be a part of your every-day life (24/7 dynamics). BDSM varies as greatly as we do, so let’s talk about how we find our way as beginners.

Am I normal?
Some will say that desires to explore BDSM are linked to trauma. Research doesn’t support that, though. Kinky people are no more likely to have traumatic histories than “vanilla” people. In fact, people that engage in BDSM/kink tend to be more aware of, and communicate about, complicated histories in a much healthier and productive way.

Knowing this doesn’t stop people, from wondering “am I normal if I’m interested in BDSM?” The short answer is, “yes.” Just as kids play with different dynamics (“ok, so now YOU be the prisoner”) and sensations (“mmm this mud pie is delicious!”), BDSM gives us ways to explore these things as adults. It’s also common to think “I’m not kinky enough.” That’s normal, too. You should never feel pressure to explore more extreme scenarios. Remember, my kink is not your kink, and that’s ok.

How do I explore BDSM?
Because BDSM is so broad, it’s hard to say there’s one “right” way to explore it… but there are some general ground rules:

1) Be curious. What sensations are you seeking? What dynamics are you seeking? Being curious may also include readings, talking to experienced peers, or hiring a respected professional.
2) Communicate. Be open and honest in your communication, so you can stay well-informed, connected, and safe.
3) Set boundaries. While some BDSM certainly looks un-boundaried, it’s important to be aware of and communicate boundaries around your play. When does it happen? Where does it happen? For how long? How intense? How do we stop when feelings shift?
4) Care is crucial. Take care of yourself and your partner during AND after your BDSM play. Care can help you be connected during a scene. Aftercare immediately after the scene AND in the days to follow, keeps that connection strong.

BDSM is a vast world that can help you explore and experience different parts of yourself. You can get more information in Mareen’s BDSM video, or find some fun inspiration in videos like Tape Loop by Meow Meow and Documenting Desire Play by Play by AORTA in the member’s section! Remember to stay curious, communicate, and above all else, have fun!