A BEGINNER'S GUIDE ON UNDERSTANDING BDSM: FOR WOMEN EXPLORING THEIR KINKS AND FETISHES



Questions that may have been aroused in your mind when you clicked onto this guide could include: what activities or things do people who get sexual arousal and satisfaction out of BDSM actually enjoy? Chains and whips? Slapping/being slapped? Whipping/being whipped? Tying up/ being tied up? Being called a slut? What are sexually enjoyable activities that constitute BDSM? Have I come to the right place?

A person who enjoys BDSM could enjoy any one of, or a combination of, these things and, in addition to this, they may also enjoy other BDSM activities. Or, they may enjoy none of these things and, instead, may enjoy totally other things related to BDSM. When it comes to woman's enjoyment of BDSM, the list of what can be sexually arousing/pleasurable for a woman is endless. To clarify, BDSM includes all things/activities related to bondage and discipline, domination and submission, as well as sadism and masochism.


Other questions in your mind, at this point, may be:

What is bondage and discipline/ domination and submission/ sadism and masochism? Or, I want to discover new kinks and fetishes, but I don'tdon't know if I have any when it comes to these things?

Maybe you have heard about some/ all of these things— or, perhaps, you have also experienced some/all of these things— but you still don'tdon't feel totally comfortable and familiar with, or knowledgeable about, these things. This guide will help you to better understand, in your own mind, what BDSM is so that you can be in a better and more confident position to explore consensually, experiment with, and embrace your potential BDSM desires/ any BDSM kinks and fetishes that you may potentially have. Should you then want to implement (more) BDSM into your sexual activities, Part Two of this guide will offer you practical support, for when it comes to experimenting with, and experiencing, BDSM so that you will be able to get as much sexual enjoyment, sexual confidence, sexual empowerment— as well as a sense of mental and physical wellbeing and safety— out of it as possible.

BDSM


The B and D are for Bondage and Discipline
These two constituent parts of BDSM are all about restraint: whether or not this restraint is physical (e.g., being tied up), or mental (e.g., obeying orders such as "go to the bed"), or both.


Bondage focuses on the physical aspect of restraint. Sexualised bondage involves any sexual activity that implements the physical restraint of someone— through various modes such as ropes, handcuffs, ankle cuffs, blindfolds, or other forms of restraint— as a means to get sexual enjoyment and gratification. So, a woman who sexually enjoys and consents to bondage may enjoy having her sexual partner/s control and regulate or stimulate her pleasure in some way via physical restraint. For example, she may get sexual arousal and satisfaction out of being tied up whilst being licked out. Or she may, instead, get sexual gratification from implementing bondage on— and, therefore, physically restraining— her sexual partner/s by tying them up. It is also possible for a woman to enjoy both sexual activities: being physically restrained and physically restraining others.


Discipline signifies the mental and/or physical aspect of restraint. Sexualised discipline is the practice of instructing, training, and disciplining someone to obey and act in alignment with particular rules and demands: in many cases, punishment is implemented to correct disobedience. If you are into discipline, you may get sexual arousal and satisfaction from being slapped on the ass as a form of "punishment" for being a "bad girl", or you can get aroused by issuing the "punishment" either verbally or physically (e.g., by doing the slapping). Again, it is possible to enjoy both being disciplined by someone else and also to discipline someone else.

The D and S are for Domination and Submission
Domination and submission (or "dom and sub") sexual encounters are usually
about power play/ a power exchange.


A sexual encounter between a dominant person and a "submissive" (the term used for someone who enjoys, and consents to, their own sexual submission) usually involves power or control given by the submissive to someone who enjoys and consents to dominate the submissive sexually. Domination and submission can be implemented on a physical level (e.g., a dominant sexual partner slapping the submissive'ssubmissive's ass during doggy or a dominatrix penetrating a female submissive with a strap on), or a psychological level (e.g., a dominatrix saying things like "good girl" when her submissive obeys a sexual order to lick her out).

The interaction between the dom (the dominant person) and the sub (the submissive) almost always signifies, at the same time, the discipline aspect of BDSM.

I want to clarify, though, that whilst the sexual encounter between a dominant partner and a submissive is usually about power play, and whilst domination and submission usually come hand in hand during sexual activity, this is not always the case when it comes to enjoying domination and submission.

By this, I mean that you can get sexual enjoyment out of being dominated by a sexual partner, but you may not necessarily identify as a sub. For example, a woman can sexually enjoy her ass being slapped in doggy by her sexual partner whilst they pull her ponytail back and say, "tell me your pussy is mine". While this woman can consent to and sexually enjoy the dominance of these actions and order, this does not mean that she is, at the same time, identifying as a submissive in this situation. In the same way, a woman can get sexual arousal and satisfaction out of the dominance of her sexual partner saying "good girl" to her whilst she is giving them a blowjob/ licking them out but— instead of feeling like that person'sperson's submissive— she may also feel that, at the same time, that she has control over that partner'spartner's pleasure whilst giving them oral pleasure.

Similarly, you may get a lot of sexual pleasure from being submissive during sexual activity, but this does not necessarily mean that you enjoy being dominated. For some women, their sexual enjoyment of submission during a sexual experience with someone may not have anything to do with wanting to be dominated by that person: this may, instead, be about their desire to just totally relax in the presence of someone else, and be able to enjoy sexually arousing and satisfying sensations whilst lying back and allowing their partners to kiss/lick/touch/stroke/penetrate, etc. their bodies. So, it'sit's important to remember that you can enjoy dom/sub experiences for different reasons.
A "switch" is someone who enjoys, and consents to, experiencing both dominant and submissive sexual roles. Although their enjoyment doesn't have to be equally split between domination and submission, switches may tend to enjoy and experience being dominant more than being submissive or vice versa.

The S and M are for Sadism and Masochism
Many people tend to associate S&M with sexual pleasure in pain: for example, getting sexual gratification out of using chains and whips . And, yes, whilst physical pain is a constituent part of sadistic and masochistic enjoyment, sadists and masochists can derive sexual pleasure and gratification from incorporating any form of physical or psychological pain and suffering— including humiliation and degradation— into sexual activities.


Sadism signifies sexual gratification derived from inflicting pain and suffering on a sexual partner: which can include humiliating and degrading a sexual partner. Some sadists mostly get sexual enjoyment from inflicting physical pain— via using chains and whips, for example— on someone else during sexual activities. Some sadists mostly get sexual pleasure from humiliating or degrading someone else during sexual activities: for example, from calling their sexual partner a "slut’ or a "bitch’, or from having their sexual partner watch them have sex with someone else. Or, when it comes to a woman who enjoys teasing and sexually arousing her sexual partner— through what she is saying and wearing, through her actions, and through her touch— whilst this partner is not allowed to touch her, if she enjoys watching her partner psychologically "suffering" from being teased and denied an orgasm by her, we could also call this enjoyment sadistic. Other sadists may enjoy implementing physical and psychological pain and suffering as well as humiliation.

Masochism signifies sexual pleasure in receiving and experiencing pain, suffering, humiliation, or degradation. So, for masochists who get sexual gratification from physical pain, a feeling of pain contains, in and of itself, the possibility of sensations of sexual arousal and pleasure. This type of masochist enjoys sexual activities that incorporate pain: for example, being scratched, pinched with nails, being slapped, or being whipped. To clarify, not all masochists enjoy the same painful activities. One woman may not get any sexual enjoyment from being whipped but she may get a lot of sexual enjoyment from being slapped. So, just because one woman tells you that she is a masochist, this doesn't necessarily equal= she likes slapping and being hit with chains and whips.
With masochists who sexually enjoy, for example, being called a "slut’, what this particular masochistic enjoyment signifies is not sexual pleasure in physical pain, as such, but pleasure in being degraded and humiliated verbally. So, you can be a masochist and sexually enjoy mental suffering and humiliation but not physical pain, or you may enjoy both physical and psychological suffering.

TYING UP THE ELEMENTS OF BDSM
As you may have already observed, the constituent elements of BDSM can overlap with each other.

If a woman is a dominatrix who enjoys tying up and whipping her sexual partner/s: this signifies not only her enjoyment of taking on the dominant sexual role but also a sadistic enjoyment at the same time. If you enjoy being whipped, this could be because you get sexual gratification from masochism, submission, and discipline all at once: meaning that, when it comes to whipping, all of these aspects of BDSM are tied together for you.

For another woman, her enjoyment of whipping may just be about one or two of these aspects: you could get sexual arousal and satisfaction purely out of the sensation of pain and the sting that comes with being whipped. So, (in the same way as the enjoyment of submission doesn't necessarily equal the enjoyment of being dominated), masochistic pleasure is not necessarily always about sexual pleasure in being dominated. For example, you may get pleasure out of being whipped by a sexual partner because, in your mind, you interpret the sexual partner who is whipping you as someone who is creating an intense sensory experience for you rather than someone who is dominating you. For this type of masochist, it is more about the intensity and sexualisation of the sensation of pain rather than domination.

So, it is important to understand that people enjoy different elements of BDSM for different reasons and, while a particular BDSM activity may signify submission and masochism for some, for others that same activity could be enjoyable for just one of these— or other— reasons.

However, the thing that does every time, ceaselessly, tie all the elements of BDSM together— no matter what you enjoy about BDSM— is consent.

CONSENSUAL ENJOYMENT
When it comes to implementing whatever you enjoy about BDSM, the most important thing is that this enjoyment is consensual. BDSM— even masochism and sadism— can be one of the safest kinds of sexual experiences because of the vital importance it places on communicating consent and boundary setting.


Since BDSM is based on what you enjoy and what you consent to, you don't have to explore all three categories that constitute BDSM, and you don't even have to experiment with both roles within one category. You may enjoy and consent to experiencing or experimenting with one category of BDSM. Or you may consent to experimenting with a combination of restraining and disciplinary, dominatrix and submissive, or sadistic and masochistic sexual activities or tendencies. Whatever you want to experiment with, and to whatever intensity, is totally fine.

50 SHADES OF WHIPS OR ONE WHIP
Each of the elements of BDSM can be implemented to different intensities, depending on what you and whoever else is involved enjoy and consent to. You may enjoy less intense or more hardcore BDSM, and it's totally fine if you simply enjoy BDSM on a less intense level. Someone who is into the more hardcore elements of BDSM isn't "better" at BDSM than you because there's no "right" way to enjoy BDSM.

Everyone's experience of BDSM is valuable because what matters is not what it is you enjoy doing or to what intensity, as such, but how much enjoyment it brings you and if it is consensual. BDSM does not have to involve turning your bedroom into the "Red Room" with chains and whips left, right, and centre. You do not have to buy 50 different shades and styles of whips. What you enjoy about BDSM may look totally different to the "Red Room", or it may look like a tiny section of the "Red Room", or— far from having a BDSM room. You may want to experience and experiment with just one or two BDSM objects, such as one whip/ a spiked collar, and this may be sufficient for you to enjoy and be satisfied by BDSM sexually. With that said, you also may feel that you have just enjoyed the experience of reading about BDSM and that this is enough and that you do not want to explore and experiment with BDSM any further: this is totally fine too.

Sexuality is a learning experience: it is about learning what you enjoy and what you don't enjoy.


We all sexually enjoy in totally different ways to each other: so, one woman who enjoys BDSM can enjoy totally different activities to the those enjoyed by another woman who is also into BDSM. Even women who enjoy the same BDSM activity can enjoy this same activity for completely different reasons. Our sexual desires, fetishes, and kinks are extensive and, as long as your enjoyment of BDSM activities involves the consent of whoever is involved, you can enjoy exploring, experimenting, and embracing whatever it is you want to enjoy when it comes to BDSM.

 

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About the Author:

Isabella Rooke Ley is a female sexuality specialist graduated with a Master’s Degree in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. Isabella works with Savera UK, one of the leading charities tackling culturally-specific abuse in the UK, including forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

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