I know that many people in the sex positive, bdsm, kink scene are coming out against 50 Shades of Grey. I’ve heard the countless arguments against it and I’ll admit I was unable to get in to the story. I did buy the box set but halfway through the first book I just couldn’t put myself through it anymore and I gave up. I found it slow, badly written and too unrealistic. However, THERE IS A BOOK!! Let’s take a second to get really excited about that shall we? It might be a poor representation of the lifestyle but it’s bringing the idea to the bedrooms over over 100 million people (seriously!) and I’m guessing many of them enjoyed it. Why? Because 50 Shades speaks to a very common desire – the urge to control or be controlled.
The argument can be made that Grey did this in an abusive way, I’m not here to argue that. I just want to take advantage of the hype to get a little deeper in to the whole concept of dominance and submission. If you read the book and enjoyed it you’re probably wondering how to proceed safely in to the next steps. Hopefully this helps.
I have to reiterate just one more time that this is not a new or rare fantasy. There is evidence of this dynamic in sex for as long as we’ve been keeping records.
Lots of people are in to at least some aspect of it (spanking, hair pulling, choking, being held down, called names etc etc etc) without knowing it has a name. 50 Shades of Grey brought that name and that idea to the forefront of pop culture. It made it in to something you could talk about over coffee at your suburban book club – maybe a bit risqué but no longer taboo. It wasn’t complete though – no work is, fiction or otherwise. Now that we’ve started the conversation it is time to touch on the very basics that you have to know when you’re starting on your kinky journey. Safety first!
So, you’ve cornered your partner with sexy passages from the book (or hot pictures, good porn scenes, whatever) and he or she is willing to try and play out your fantasy. Lucky you! Now what?
Everyone has limits and the first thing you need to do is make and categorize yours.
Hard limits – these are the things that are a definite no in any circumstance. Nobody is allowed to push these during play no matter what. Ever. No exceptions. If they do continually try to push your hard limits this is a huge red flag. It breaks trust and I wouldn’t suggest continuing to give them chances.
Soft limits – these are trickier. They are the things that make you a little uncomfortable or scared but you will allow under specific circumstances if caution is used. For example, one of my soft limits is face slapping. It can cause a very emotional reaction from me (as I found out the hard way, but that’s another story) so if a partner wants to attempt it he would have to be very attentive to my reaction and take it very slowly. I do not allow new partners to even try.
These are not optional. If you are going to play you need to have a safe word. Why? Because “no”, “stop” and “please, no more, I just can’t take it” can mean the exact opposite when that paddle hits your soft fleshy ass. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. Pick a word *in advance* (or you’ll end up with my most recent one, “safe wording”). You can also use the light system (red means stop, yellow means proceed with caution) or a gesture if you’ll be gagged or playing with bondage. The safe word ends the scene immediately. I cannot stress this enough. You don’t slow down, you don’t guilt or whine, you don’t try just once more. You stop. Right away. You should talk about what happened but only after everyone is calm and feels safe. There is no shame or blame in using a safe word, any reason is a good one if either party is uncomfortable.
Talk more than you think you have to. Before, during and after. Rules and comfort levels are constantly changing so don’t be afraid to voice what is and isn’t working for you at any given time. Enter with an open mind but realize that you have every right (and even a responsibility) to tell your partner when something doesn’t feel right.
Just like any fetish, BDSM isn’t the same for everyone. It should never be used in a malicious manner. No matter how you play you are no more or no less than any person you play with. It’s a fantasy, it should be fun. You have the right to a safe, sane and sensual time without pressure or bad intent.
What intrigues you about BDSM? Do you think I missed anything that absolutely needs to be discussed before beginning?