3-Step BDSM Guide

As mentioned yesterday, BDSM is complex and its explanation goes beyond a few posts. However, I like to split it into three categories when explaining to beginners how it works. A simple three step system for a scene. These three steps are integral for safe practice and safe practice means fun… and lots of it!

Negotiation:

Now, hear me out. I know the word ‘negotiation’ sounds a little serious, and it is serious! But not people in suits in a business meeting kinda serious. Negotiating play is vital for new players or for those who have never played together. This is a step that most people that practice BDSM would tell you not to skip. Once you have a regular play partner you may forego some negotiation for some spontaneous play. However, with new partners, parties and for casual play, negotiation is, well… non-negotiable.

Before you start your negotiation, have a think about what kinds of things you want to experience and things you don’t want to experience. Avoid saying “I’ll try anything once” as you never know what sort of things people are into. Set some personal boundaries before entering that conversation. Express what turns you on and what things you have tried in the past that really did it for you. Tell them your limits, and if you don’t know your limits, then do some research beforehand. It will give you a clue as to what you can and can’t do as well as things that aren’t appealing.

Some things to talk about during a negotiation:
Arrangement of roles, expectations and needs of both partners, limits of the scene, types of play, duration of scene, health concerns, safety measures, sexual contact, safe words.

Play:

Play is a term which, when used in the context of BDSM, describes any of a diverse number of “kinky” activities. The term play might describe mental or physical sexual interactions of various intensities and levels of social normalcy.

The term play was first coined by participants in the BDSM party and club communities to describe the activities that take place within a scene. Today it has evolved to encompass the full range of BDSM experiences.

I personally enjoy using the word play in and outside of the BDSM community as it strays from heteronormative ideas of what sex is. It also highlights that BDSM is not just about sex. You can practice BDSM without having what you would traditionally consider as sex.

Aftercare:

In the BDSM world aftercare refers to the time and attention given to partners after an intense sexual experience. This is both emotionally and physically. Emotional aftercare could consist of discussing the scene and how both felt about it. Making a point of talking about both good and bad aspects is integral for ensuring that you both understand and are aware of each other’s needs. It could also include reassurance. For example, if degradation play has been involved in the scene, you want to reassure your partner that this is not how you see them outside of scene. You also may want to give your partner assurances about their kink, reminding them that nothing they did or enjoyed makes them ‘weird’ or ‘perverse’. Physical aftercare can consist of helping your play partner remove any restraint or blindfolds. Making sure their blood sugar levels are okay by getting them something to eat or drink. Getting them something comforting like a blanket or warm clothes, kissing or caressing their body, paying special attention areas that have been marked during play. Something that personally helps me in any role I play (domme/sub), is a massage. This helps both partners feel connected to each other and also helps our body recover after an intense experience, thus in turn tending to your emotional and physical needs. Intimacy is great post-play, however, some people like to be left alone, that is why aftercare must be spoken about during negotiation.

Aftercare is ESSENTIAL. Our fantasies don’t necessarily correlate with who we are in our regular, day-to-day lives. Whilst we may want our partner to accept humiliating punishments and to call us sir during play, that’s not necessarily how we want to treat them, or how they want to be treated, at other times in our relationship. Aftercare functions as a ‘recalibration’ for the normality of your relationship. As well as this, there can be a physical change in us too. Many people compare the sensation immediately following a scene (sometimes called a sub drop or dom[me] drop) as being similar to sensations felt after an intense athletic performance. The rush of endorphins coupled with potential physical exertion can leave you feeling weak, fatigued, or dazed, and you may be slightly dehydrated depending on the intensity of the scene. My advice would be to never engage in aftercare with somebody who doesn’t “believe” in aftercare. This is not safe.

BDSM 101

Contrary to popular belief, BDSM is a bit more complex than just chain and whips. BDSM encompasses a host of different erotic practices that target either a physical or psychological response. Or even both. 

BDSM is all about pleasure. Consent and communication are the foundations of a successful scene and remain key throughout. It is a common misconception that the submissive’s pleasure is misplaced and that they have no say in what goes on during a scene

B: bondage

D: discipline / dominance

S: submission / sadism

M: masochism

Bondage acts involve the practice of using physical restraints such as ropes, chains, handcuffs and other materials that can tie a play partner down.

The discipline part of this acronym refers to physical and mental discipline – psychological restraining. This is done  with the use of rules and behaviour control including reward and punishment, humiliation, spanking, edging etc. 

The superior partner in a dominant, the subordinate partner is a submissive and a person that can play either role is known as a switch. Power exchange is ALWAYS consensual and will be discussed during negotiation (before play). This relationship usually includes empowerment of the submissive by willingly giving up their power and the empowerment of dominant by the submissive surrender to their control.

Masochism: The tendency to derive pleasure from receiving pain or humiliation. These individuals are known as masochists.

Sadism: The tendency to derive pleasure from inflicting pain on, or humiliating someone else. These individuals are know as sadists.

BINDER SAFETY

Trans men, non-binary and genderfluid, genderqueer and gender non-conforming people may
use chest binders, which are specially designed vest-like garments, to flatten their chest. Some people use sports bras or layer their clothing to achieve a flat chest look.

Types of binders:
  • Sports Bras: some people find sports bras achieve the flatness they desire
  • Cropped Binders: these typically reach to just above the belly-button
  • Long/vest Binders: these typically reach the waist. The lower section may or may not
    bind the stomach also
  • Zip Up Binder: These usually have a zip up the front or back middle or side to make
  • putting them on easier

Where to get a binder:

Spectrum @spectrumoutfitters
G2CB @g2cb
Underworks @underworksstore
Flavnt @flavnt_streetwear
Amor Binders @amor_binders – designed by a neurodivergent non-binary person to be more
comfortable for people who experience sensory issues. Based in Australia.

Places you may be able to access free or reduced price binders:

Pointofpride.org
Your local LGBT+ group
The companies above may run giveaways/offers on their social media so follow and keep an eye out!
*Most of these stores ship discreetly but always check if you don’t want people to know what you are ordering
**Always check individual brand size guides when ordering a binder as each company will have different recommendations

Putting your binder on:

  • Usually binders are put on over the head like a vest or tshirt
  • Some people find it easier to pull them up over their legs
  • It may take a few tries to get the positioning of your chest comfortable. Try both moving
    your chest down and out and/or up and out
  • Once you’re comfortable, look at yourself in the mirror, not down at yourself as this is
    how other people will see you!!
  • To take your binder off, pull over your head or slide off the arms and down
  • Once you have taken it off, have a big cough to expand your lungs and chest muscles and dislodge any fluid build up in your lungs


Don’t sleep in your binder
Don’t use bandages or tape to bind
Try not to wear your binder for more than 8 hours a day
Don’t wear a binder that is too small


Buy your binders from a reputable source, not off ebay or amazon (unless second hand)
If you are planning to wear a binder for exercise try and buy one or two sizes up
Wash your binders often
Take breaks throughout the day, try and find a private space where you can remove your binder
so you can do some deep breathing
Take days off from wearing if you can
Stay hydrated – wearing skin tight clothing can increase sweating and dehydrate you faster.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort – take your binder off!

COVID19 – If you have any symptoms of COVID19, do not wear your binder as this could seriously impact your lung capacity.

Written By Charlie Knowles (He/Him)