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Beginners Guide To
BDSM

BDSM 101


BDSM is an abbreviation meant to encompass many of the world’s most popular fetishes – Bondage (the act of tying down or restraining someone), Discipline (consensual punishment such as spanking or withholding orgasm), Domination (acting as the dominant or master over your partner), Submission (submitting to the dominant or master partner’s will), Sadism and Masochism (the consensual giving and receiving of pain or discomfort, such as hot wax play or paddling) – under one umbrella. If you or your partner would like to give any element of BDSM a try, there are hundreds of avenues you can take to explore your fantasies, but the most important thing regardless of how you choose to play is communication.

First, have an open and honest conversation with your partner regarding your fantasies. Listen, be non-judgmental, and try to keep an open mind. Be as specific as possible.

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Often times just hearing the fantasy described out loud is enough to get some really great ideas about where to start, but it also allows you to draw some lines in the sand - what is okay, what might be okay under the right circumstances, and what is NOT okay. Something to keep in mind: Just because someone has fantasized about something, does NOT mean they actually want to do it in real life. Fantasies are a tool our brains use to sort out what piques our interest from what doesn’t, and what feels safe and what doesn’t. They allow us to play out possible scenarios in our head to see what suits us, without any consequences. It is vital that these conversations occur BEFORE you engage in any BDSM play so that everyone involved feels comfortable, and trust can be established.


A vital part of any BDSM play scenario is what is known as a ‘safe word.’ A safe word is used to stop all play immediately should anything arise that makes one of the partners uncomfortable. This is an absolute must. Both partners need to know and commit to the word and understand that the second it is said during play, everything stops NO MATTER WHAT. Choose a word that wouldn’t accidentally come out in the heat of the moment. Don’t use ‘Stop’ for example, use something that would sound totally out of the ordinary, such as ‘Pineapple.’ Some people like to use two safe words; one for absolute stop (such as ‘Red’) and one for slow down or ease up, but don’t stop completely (such as ‘Yellow’). Whatever you decide, make sure you both know and respect your safe words.


A woman caresses a blindfolded man from behind.

Toys & Equipment


Once you have established what you and your partner want to try out, imagine the scenario you’d like to create in your mind. What do you need to make it a reality? Maybe a sexy outfit? A toy? Some handcuffs? Get creative, or head to your nearest adult store if you’re stumped! There are a wide variety of toys and props you can use to enhance your fun. Although thousands of varieties exist, let’s take a look at the most popular props:


Feel free to enhance your playtime with whatever tools and props whet your appetite. It’s your fantasy! Remember to always communicate, have fun exploring and never stop trying new things!

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Restraints

Any item that can be used to bind one’s hands or feet (or other body parts) is called a restraint. This includes (but is certainly not limited to) handcuffs, rope, bondage ribbon or tape, and under-mattress tethers.


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Floggers

Also known as flogs, they have a handle attached to two or more ‘tails’ made of varying materials and are used to ‘whip’ or ‘flog’ by swinging them into contact with the skin.


A whip is a specific term for a one-tailed flog. Most people picture a bullwhip similar to what Indiana Jones would carry. The longer the tails and the harder the material, the more pain the flog will inherently cause. Beginners flogs are often made of soft rope or suede with slightly shorter tails. More advanced flogs can be made of metal chains, thick vinyl or leather, or even strings of jewels. For the spanking aficionado, there are also paddles – a thick, blunt wedge attached to a handle that is sometimes lined with leather or other soft materials. Paddles provide a solid slap with very little force exertion from the user and are known to leave red impressions on the skin long after playtime has ended.


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Gags

Used to prevent the wearer from speaking, sometimes with a solid gag or ‘ball’ to close off the mouth completely or sometimes with an open style ‘ring’ that just keeps the mouth stretched open. For beginners, use a breathable ball gag with holes in the ball. As you become more comfortable surrendering in a gag, you can progress to something solid or completely open. One thing to note here: because the wearer is unable to speak, you will need to establish a way of communicating your ‘safe word’ differently. You could try a hand motion if your hands will be free or a specific sound instead of a word.


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Stag Shop University BDSM Play Class Cover

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