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The Lowdown: WTF is BDSM?


This article was brought to you in collaboration with Sluttish, written by Vanina.

BDSM is a wonderful thing to enjoy with your partner(s), and if you think about it, you will realise that you are already incorporating some BDSM practices into your life. It doesn't have to be that you are putting a full body latex suit and whipping your partner until they cry. BDSM can be using anything for restriction, lightly spanking, role playing and so much more. BDSM is not the scary sex monster some people believe it is. It just combines sexual practices that need to be practiced with more caution, preparation, and care, following specific rules and agreeing on specific boundaries.

When involving in a BDSM play, it is important that some elements are present such as: 100% trust in my partner(s), communication and enthusiastic consent, and risk awareness. I discovered that if any of these are missing, I can’t really allow myself to feel completely vulnerable within the comfort of a safe, controlled environment. And to me, being vulnerable is why I enjoy BDSM in the first place.

In general, I separate kink and BDSM, as kink is the broader category which includes different sexual kinks that do not belong to the BDSM family. For instance, some people find using sex toys or having anal sex to be kinky. Additionally, kink is a very relative term: one thing could be kinky for an individual, but completely regular and common sex practice for another.

BDSM stands for Bondage and Discipline / Dominance and Submission / Sadism and Masochism. You will see the categories getting combined quite often. I often find myself wondering - is spanking part of BD, DS or SM? Is orgasm denial under Discipline or Domination? What makes a specific impact technique SM or DS - is it the level of pain?  It can also be just personal preference - some people might like a certain type of spanking that involves role-playing as a school girl/boy being spanked by the teacher (DS), while others will enjoy the pure pain aspect of an intense spanking session (SM). Some people would want to be tied up and played with (BD) or flogged hard while being tied (SM). You don’t need to have a strict separation between categories, as mentioned above things often overlap and this is part of the fun!

Model: Vanina Photography: Tajo

Bondage and Discipline is the first category of BDSM and the closest to my heart. Bondage involves physical restriction of one’s body in a sometimes sexual or sensual way. The tools used can be anything you can restrain with, from handcuffs to rope or light fabric. A lot of people add the SM element to it with spanking, flogging, caning, or some other type of impact play. For a lot of people, the enjoyment of bondage, especially if its something more involved such as shibari/kinbaku, comes from the process of tying and they do not need extra stimulation. Others like to play with pain after being tied.

Discipline, on the other hand, is defined by psychological restraint, implemented by specific rules and punishment activities. A lot of these activities also fall under the dominance and submission category, but the context is a bit different. For example, under discipline, one might choose to spank their submissive due to their bad behaviour, while in DS it could be part of a role-play.

Dominance and Submission practices are probably the broadest and the most difficult to define. In general, DS includes role-playing (where one of the partners has the authority - teacher and student, queen and servant), service (where one partner “serves” the other by doing sexual or non-sexual chores, such as cleaning, shopping etc.), control (asking for permission to masturbate or orgasm), having specific rules for allowed activities, humiliation (both sexual or non sexual).

Probably the biggest kick and satisfaction I get from Dominance and submission is the transfer of power and control between partners. Power play can be indeed very powerful, and provide both partners with adrenaline and endorphin rushes.

Pain is the milestone of the Sadism and Masochism part of BDSM and to a lot of people the scariest of them all BDSM. This was a big NO for me for a long time, even though my first experience involved some light pain. The thing is that when people imagine pain they go big, and often think about painful bruises and/or blood. Although these are options that some explore and find hot, it is not necessary to go there in order to feel pleasure from pain. You can and should set your own comfortable pain boundary. It could be light nipple pinching or a gentle spank on your bum. It could also involve nipple clamps or whips and canes. The important thing is to know your body and the level of pain you can tolerate, and of course, if it makes you hot or not. I know plenty of people who stay away from pain, and if this is not your thing make sure to let your partner(s) aware of this.

BDSM and Your Period

This image is curtesy of unsplash. Thank you for tagging tampons as weaponry - it provided us with a good laugh. 

It is no surprise that you feel and perceive things differently when on your period. In general, body sensations are heightened, your emotions and feelings could be easier to trigger, and on top of that, you might need more assurance and aftercare.

There are a few points I try to be aware of when having BDSM fun on or before my period (I can speak only from the submissive/bottom perspective, as I don't really top (besides rope). I would love to hear how periods affect emotions and physical sensations in tops - if you wish to share your experience, feel free to get in touch.

1.

If the tools you are playing with cannot be cleaned or washed in an easy way avoid contact with genitals and menstrual blood.

2.

Avoid playing with the most sensitive parts of your body, if higher pain levels are not what you are going for. For me this is is nipple play or any type of breast play. In general, keep in mind pain levels will be increased. You might decide to opt out completely of SM play if it's getting to intolerable levels.

3.

You might get triggered more easily from humiliation while menstruating.

4.

You might be more unsettled and brattier when on your period.  

5.

Make sure you get extra aftercare and extra assurance that you are doing great during play.

With these tips in mind playing on your period can be wonderful. Whatever type of BDSM you choose to enjoy, and whatever time of the month you decide this to happen, be aware of the risks you are taking, communicate and have fun.


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