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BDSM 101: What Is It, Anyway?


    We talk about BDSM frequently, so we thought we'd re-hash this out. What is BDSM, anyway? Like snowflakes, there are so many varieties! And of course, you might want to know about all the different kinds starting with the slightly kinky? Of course, we use these terms synonymously. But let's start again with the basics. Knowing the basics may add ideas to your usual routine. So why not? GetLusty kinkster and guest writer Amy Obey returns with BDSM basics.

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    Think bondage is only for serious kinksters, weirdoes-of-the-night, or fetish porn stars? Think again. And if you've read 50 Shades of Grey and deem yourself an expert on all things kink, think again, again. You aren't. Unfortunately, the Fifty Shades of Grey book doesn't even come close to representing the vast array of sex practices, ideologies, and subcultures that fall under the category of BDSM.

    Definition: From my perspective, BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism.

    Curious on the multiple kinds of BDSM included? Read on.

    Varieties of BDSM:
    • Submissive/dominant 
    • Slave/ master (or any kind of power exchange as included below)
    • Power exchange
    • Bondage and discipline
    • Sadomasochism (specifically, pain play)
    • Sensation play
    It encompasses all these things, and much, much more. In fact, there is no tried-and-true definition of BDSM. However, the glue that holds this slippery concept together is a fierce code of consensuality and power play. There are millions of sexy ways to play with power. Most common are role play, pain play, and of course bondage.

    There's no denying that bondage is one of the most visible practices in BDSM. Bondage will always be popular, but it's really only the tip of the whip. Luckily for kink-curious couples, it's easy to learn and experiment with.

    You don't need to be into hard-core pain, and you don't need a fancy St. Andrew's Cross to experience spine-tickling bondage sex with your partner. You don't even need to wear a corset, which in my opinion is a form of self-bondage, but bonus points for those who do.

    Before reading, make sure you check out our recommendations on sexual negotiation.

    There are so many varieties!

    After you and your partner have honestly discussed your limits, preferences and safe words, try getting some bondage tape. It's inexpensive and available at most sex stores. It only sticks to itself and can be removed easily in the case of an emergency. You can use it for a gag, tying your partner's limbs together, or tying your partner to the bed, the banister. You name it. After the submissive partner is properly immobilized, the top can have his/her way with them.

    Because our genitals and gender have little to do with negotiating the power exchange that occurs during bondage, it is something both women and men of all sexual orientations and genders can enjoy. After a partner is put in bondage, based on pre-negotiated practices, the domme may lovingly use their power for pleasure. Whether or not you make love while tied up is not the be all and end all. The genital-focused sex is really only one hue that reflects off the prism of human sexuality.

    Maybe what really gets you going is a well-placed smack of a riding crop. Either way, that's OK. The goal: enjoy it and get pleasure (and a new experience) out of it!

    Amy Obey is a feminist, kinkster and sex radicalism advocate. She wants to see a world where freedom of sexual expression is not just a right, but a way to celebrate the wonderful diversity of humanity. 'Love thy sexy self' is her mantra. She loves origin stories and questions that lead to more questions. She also loves rock 'n' roll, animals, rock 'n' roll animals, and harping on about the kids these days. She is 25 and lives in Logan Square.
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