A Practical Guide To Introducing BDSM Into Your Relationship

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Most people's sex lives could be charitably described as "vanilla" - which is totally fine! But if you clicked on this story, I'm going to assume you're flirting with the idea of introducing something spicier.

The world of BDSM isn't just for leather festishists and 50 Shades fans: anybody can get involved - and they totally should. Here's everything you need to know about getting acquainted with the kinkier side of carnal pleasure.

BDSM is an all-inclusive term given to any sexual behaviour that might be considered alternative, and can be split into three major areas:

  • B&D: Bondage and Discipline
  • D&S: Domination and Submission
  • S&M: Sadism and Masochism

A lot of the stigma around 'BDSM' has evaporated in recent years. E. L. James' Fifty Shades trilogy has awakened many an inner kinkster, sparking curiosity and experimentation all over the world. As well as offering new physical sensations, BDSM can create an intensified feeling of trust and closeness.

If you’re intrigued, broaching the subject with your partner can be tricky. And if you’ve jumped that hurdle and are eager to begin, where do you start? Here are some beginner-friendly tips to get you started:

A Beginner's Guide To Shibari Sex

The origin of Shibari is thought to lie in Hojo-jutsu, a martial art used by Samurai in Japan in 1400 to restrain prisoners. To show their prisoners respect, they used rope, different tying techniques and patterns to symbolise the social status of their prisoner, as well as the type and severity of the crime.

Hojo-jutsu took on a new, erotic form in the late 19th Century and became Kinbaku (Kinbaku-bi translates as ‘the beauty of tight binding’) – in today’s western world, it’s called Shibari.

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  • First and most importantly, don’t just spring it on your partner. It's important to talk to them about your desires first. Ask open questions, like: “How would you feel about using a blindfold in bed tonight?”
  • BDSM should only be practised if both partners are willing and comfortable. Don’t force the issue if your partner isn’t interested. Also, you may not be aware of events in your partner's past that could mean the prospect of BDSM is a little upsetting – be sensitive to this when suggesting trying a new activity.
  • If you’re not into something your partner has suggested, understand that your partner's desires are valid but don’t feel bad – and definitely don’t do anything if you feel manipulated or blackmailed.
  • If you both want to try BDSM, it's essential that you discuss rules and limits, and agree any boundaries before play begins.
  • Before you buy any equipment, talk about what you would like to try. Are you looking to enhance sensory play? Do you or your partner have a preference as to who should be tied up? Are you happy being spanked or spanking your partner? These are all questions you should have explicit answers to before diving in.
  • Bondage kits like the Purple Reins Beginners Bondage Kit and the Fifty Shades Darker Principles of Lust Romantic Couples Kit contain staple BDSM items and are great value for money, allowing you to experiment without investing in loads of toys. Visit our Bondage for Beginners guide to discover the best first-time toys.
  • If you’re using restraints, make sure you both know exactly how to unfasten them before you put them to full use, and choose handcuffs with a quick release option or a spare key. Avoid anything which ties in a knot until you're ready to do the research needed to play safely. A great alternative is bondage tape – it sticks to itself so you can bind wrists, ankles and just about any body part without the fuss and hassle of knots.
  • Ensure that you are both able to communicate, and that you have agreed on a safe word and/or a safe action that you can use at any time to halt the fun and games if they get too much for you.
  • Never mix alcohol and BDSM, especially when restraint is involved – remember, you’re responsible for your lover's safety as well as their pleasure.

If you're keen to keep exploring, you can read more about BDSM and bondage safety techniques here. Have fun and stay safe!


Coco Cameron is a blogger and sex toy expert who writes for Lovehoney Australia. You can see a list of their best-selling products here.


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