Family Magazine

Talking About BDSM, What is It and How to Stay Safe

By Evette Garside @evette77

This isn't my regular topic to talk about, but today I'll be talking about the world of BDSM. What it's all about, how to stay safe and how to find others who share the same pleasures.

Talking about BDSM, what is it and how to stay safe
Talking about BDSM, what is it and how to stay safe

BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Submission and Masochism. It covers a whole world of sexual practices that perhaps differ from the regular love making and bedroom antics. It was once very much a taboo subject, this all changed with the release of the famous book and popular movie trilogy - 50 shades of Grey.

BDSM is an umbrella term for so many types of erotic behaviour between consenting adults. There are many practices that fall under this umbrella, far too many to mention. In fact there are books full of hundreds of different BDSM practices. To give you an idea, this can include - bondage (hitting, whipping), being restrained, role play, anal sex, foot fetish's, group sex, master/Slave and many many more. There is a good article over on Wikipedia with a more in depth glossary of practices.

The terms - Dominant and Submissive or Subs and Doms pop up many times in the BDSM world. Both parties in a Dom and Sub encounter will take pleasure from their role. The Dom is the superior/controlling position and the Sub being the submissive one. A bit like master and slave. Either partner can take either role and roles can be switched several times too. Contact does not always have to be physical and can even be over the phone. At the extreme end the physical contact can be intense and then cross over into sadomasochism.

Not all practices of BDSM involve intense pain. It's more about the pleasure, excitement and fun of it all, living out fantasies and fetishes with someone you feel comfortable with, be it someone you know well or even a complete stranger. Sadomasochism is the extreme end of the BDSM world and involves giving or receiving pleasure from the acts of pain or humiliation. This can involve whips and chains and yes it's the image you probably first think of when the words BDSM or S/M are mentioned. Dungeons, chained up, executioner masks, you get the drift. Again it's not strictly limited to dungeon play or even dressing up.

So, the majority of us have at some point imagined or fantasised about some form of BDSM. Some of us may have even taken part at some point; but how do you go from fantasising to actually being involved? Well thanks to the ever improving world of online dating it's much easier than it was 20 years ago. You can find all sorts of online dating sites to cover just about everyone young and old, with all different and unique desires. Of course there are even many sites specifically for fetish dating too. These sites are designed for both newbies and those with experience so you can find that perfect play mate that you feel comfortable with.

To get a fuller experience of the BDSM world, many newbies will at some point want to attend a fetish club. These are also often referred to as swingers bars, however not all BDSM participants are swingers and not all swingers take part in BDSM so it's probably not quite the correct term.

Talking about BDSM, what is it and how to stay safe
Talking about BDSM, what is it and how to stay safe

I actually have a fetish club a 5 minutes walk from my house. I've never took part in the practices but I have been in a fetish bar, just with friends (some of whom dress up etc) and I actually found the people some of the loveliest personalities I've ever met. There is no pressure to join in or do anything you don't feel comfortable with and you will always find someone to speak to even if you just want to sit down and have a drink. There are some rules to abide by if you're attending a fetish club. I'm including a few tips below which include staying safe and enjoying your night.

1) Try not to stare/looked shocked etc - For first timers, a fetish club can certainly be an eye opener. There will be people dressed up, think leathers, dog collars but also people dressed like babies or animals. The bar area usually has its own rules and therefore you shouldn't see anything there that's too shocking, unless of course the club is classed as extreme which probably isn't the best choice for a newbie. There is usually no harm in having a wonder round, doing this means at some point you will venture into the dungeons or other rooms, these probably won't be locked or even closed so don't be too surprised to see sexual acts taking place right in front of your eyes. Try not to gawp in shock, if it's not for you then simply move on.

2) Consent - Always ask first and make sure you are comfortable if asked to join in. No means No and others understand this too. It's important not to touch anyone unless they agree. Don't interrupt others in dungeon rooms either. Watching is usually fine but stay quiet.

3) Drink and drugs - Most experienced BDSM participants are aware of the SSC code. This stands for Safe, Sane and Consensual. In other words participants need to be sober enough to know what they are agreeing to and know what they are doing. Being too drunk or high on drugs can mean being asked to leave or thrown out.

4) Equipment - Many fetish clubs and events will provide their own equipment such as condoms, tissues, even toys etc. However not everything you spot will belong to the event. Many people do bring their own and may get a little annoyed if others take it. So always ask first.

5) Help - If you're a newbie or simply find yourself feeling a bit lost, overwhelmed or scared at a club then find a Dungeon Monitor (they go by other titles too). These people are usually employed by events and clubs and will usually have some sort of clear badge or label. They are friendly and helpful and usually very chatty too.

6) Enjoy the experience - A fetish club is there for fun and pleasure. Being nervous can sometimes take over the fun feeling that you went there in the first place for. Remember you don't have to join in or do anything you're not comfortable with. Just having a drink, dance and friendly chat is fine too.


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