Bondage & Fetish: 101
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Whip It Real Good...
BDSM stands for bondage and sadomasochism. Both are separate from each other, and do not necessarily entail the other, but are often used in conjunction. This is because people who enjoy bondage activities usually also enjoy the added thrill of being punished, slightly hurt, or administering punishment or pain.
If it sounds horrible and entirely un-sexy to you, then BDSM possibly isn’t your thing. However, if you’ve ever enjoyed your partner scratching your back during sex, having your butt smacked, or simply being completely submissive or very dominant in bed, then exploring those aspects of sex can be very rewarding.
Trust in BDSM
Bondage and BDSM are about a lot of things, and they involve many complex manipulations of psychology and the body to produce pleasure. However, one of the most important aspects of any type of dominance/submission style sex is that there has to be an element of absolute trust between the partners.
This is especially true with bondage, where one person can be unable to move, free themselves or protect themselves, and so they have to be able to trust the person to whom they have submitted.
Some BDSM Lingo
If you’re reading up on BDSM, there are a few terms that you should be familiar with, so that you know what people are talking about. Most of them are self-explanatory, but here are some of the basics:
Bondage involves being tied up, or otherwise having your movements or sensory input restricted. Using a blindfold would be a type of bondage, even though no movement is restricted. The thrill comes from being at the mercy of the partner who has done the tying up.
S&M/Sadomasochism is a complex pairing of two different sexual bents, one being sadism and the other being masochism. Sadism (named after the Marquis de Sade known for his particular sexual cruelty) is when you gain sexual pleasure from inflicting pain. Masochism is the opposite, and is where you gain sexual pleasure from having pain inflicted on you.
Sadists and masochists make good sexual partners, but two sadists or two masochists, or a sadist/masochist with a partner who has neither of these inclinations, will often struggle to find sexual satisfaction in a relationship.
Top and Bottom are the names for the two roles people assume during BDSM activities. The “top” is the dominant partner, and the “bottom” is the submissive partner
What is a Fetish?
Fetish is a blanket term to describe anything that people do that turns them on that is not considered “normal” sexual play. The boundary between fetish and “conventional” sex is blurry, and recedes constantly as more unconventional acts are brought into the public mainstream as a result of popular culture, TV and movies. Using dildos and vibrators used to be considered a fetish, as did anal sex. These are now both commonly accepted parts of a couple’s bedroom repertoire, and are considered normal and healthy.
Some fetishes are extreme, while others are simply quirky. Examples include wearing rubber clothing and masks, BDSM, incorporating urinating in sex, role-playing, playing with food during sex, etc.
It’s easy to judge and to call some kind of behaviour “dirty” or “unnatural”, but remember that having sex with the woman on top was once considered “sodomy” by the early Catholic Church. In fact, some countries still have laws against married couples having sex in any position other than missionary. When it comes to sex, everything is relative. In the words of Woody Allen: “Is sex dirty? Only if it’s done right.”
Getting Started With BDSM
If you’re curious, and by now you’ll know whether you are or not, there are a few things you’ll need to know, and a few supplies you’ll need to pick up (preferably online – it’s much easier and simpler).
In BDSM you are frequently doing things which could result in injury to yourself or your partner. While this may be partly the intention, the idea is not to let things get carried away, and cause permanent damage. It’s also important that you stay within the boundaries both of you have – stepping over these lines when the other partner doesn’t want to can quickly end a relationship.
The Safe Word is a staple of BDSM players everywhere. It is used because often yelling “stop” is all part of the fun of roleplaying, and there needs to be a specific word that means “I’m not kidding or playing along anymore – I really want this to stop.” Pick a word that has nothing to do with what you’re doing, like “football”, so there can be no confusion.
Watch your neck – it’s tempting to tie things around someone’s neck, but make sure that if you do it’s a collar, or something that can’t suddenly tighten beyond the setting you tie it at. Doing so can cause tissue damage, strangulation, whiplash, and a whole host of unpleasant problems. Remember that while autoerotic asphyxiation makes a great punch line, it’s less funny when it happens in your bedroom.
Don’t Leave the Room unless it’s been agreed. Don’t leave someone tied up without them being happy to be left there, and making sure they have good circulation and are not in a position that will hurt them if they stay like that. Also make sure they don’t need the bathroom. Discomfort aside, if there is any kind of emergency like a fire, the bound person will be unable to escape.
Tools of the Trade
The list of equipment, toys and clothing you can buy to experiment with BDSM and fetish is endless, but there are a few things that are the staple of every fetishists toy chest.
Ties, Cuffs and Blindfolds – go crazy, experiment, and buy a bunch of things that look like fun (you’ll be surprised how affordable this stuff is if you buy “starter kits” and bundles). A few pieces of kit you’ll definitely want to have in a drawer next to your bed are: furry handcuffs, silk ties (for tying someone up), a blindfold, a small paddle or tassel-whip.
Optional kit, which you may want to branch into later, can include things like nipple clamps, a ball-gag, butt plugs, strap-on dildos, a pinwheel (a small wheel with spikes that you roll over your partner’s skin), and leather neck and wrist cuffs.
Paddles, whips and beaters are for those who enjoy the S&M side of things. Make sure that you know how to use them, and that you know how they feel when used on you. With a stiff paddle or a sturdy whip it’s easy to do a lot more damage than you intended, so know your own strength.
Bondage, sadomasochism and all things fetish are meant to be enjoyed with someone of similar tastes and predilections. If you enjoy doing things a little different, and you find someone the same, treasure that relationship, and make sure that you don’t overstep the boundaries simply because your own tastes are a little harder than theirs.
Explore and experiment, but always be safe!