If you’ve toyed around with the idea of trying BDSM but never taken that first step, you’re not alone. Many folks find themselves intrigued yet nervous about the idea of incorporating BDSM into their sex lives. I can tell you from experience that some very straight-laced, ordinary people that you would never guess are into bondage, are definitely into bondage. So let’s talk about what BDSM is and isn’t, why BDSM has such a devoted following, and what’s so fun about it.

BDSM: A Primer

Outside of the kink community, BDSM is widely misunderstood. Some common misconceptions include that it’s a mental disorder (it’s not!), that it’s dangerous (it shouldn’t be!), and that it’s a rare and new craze (a big nope on both accounts!). BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism, and in safe, sane spaces, it’s one of the most fun ways to experience sex.

Before starting BDSM, know that in the scene (a scene is any place where BDSM experiences occur), consent is crucial. No one with shaky ideas of enthusiastic consent should go anywhere near bondage (or sex in general, really), because consent is part of safe sex. So, discuss with your partner all the things you are interested in prior to the kinky fun. Pin down a safe word that you’ll both remember. People who engage in BDSM often have a couple of safe words that correspond to “stop,” “go,” and “slow down.” I like to use red, yellow, and green, as it’s easy to remember since they parallel traffic signals.

There’s so much involved in the universe of BDSM that it’s hard to unpack it in one article. Some people are into whips and chains, some have a specific fetish or kink like humiliation, others like to submit or dominate—often with little or no pain involved. The applications of BDSM are diverse, but the basic idea is boiled down to a combination of role-play and power exchange. You may enjoy taking control in the bedroom, even if outside of the bedroom you’re typically pretty easy-going and self-sacrificing. Or, you may wish to be told exactly what to do sexually, or called names. Either way, these mild situations are a small gateway into the wide, wild world of kink. And if you haven’t tried it, you may want to! In fact, I have three reasons you should.

1. BDSM Is Normal

Throughout history, BDSM has been a bit stigmatized. For instance, Freud believed that people who practice BDSM need immediate psychiatric help. Freud’s three theories on sexuality list the kinky participants of BDSM as people having diseases borne of mal-adjusted childhood relationships. He even called many kinky practices “aberrations,” and honestly, if anything, he’s just turning on those perverts (a term I’m using affectionately, here) even more. I mean, tell a kinkster that what they’re doing is very dirty, wrong, and bad, and they’ve probably left in the middle of your sentence to grab their ball gag. But like most of Freud’s psychological theories, his ideas about sexuality were demonstrably wrong.

All the research shows that people who participate in BDSM have fewer instances of depression, anxiety, PTSD, borderline disorder, and paranoia. It reminds me of the stigmatization of sex workers, and how many folks believe sex workers have mental disorders. Again, the data indicates that legal sex workers have the same or better mental health in general. So, take that, Freud and society in general! Let’s not assume causation instead of correlation, though: BDSM probably won’t cure any mental health issues you have, but it also certainly doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. BDSM is a normal part of a healthy sex life.

2. BDSM Is Fun

One of the best parts of setting up a bondage scene is that it engages your mind and your body. There’s no way to turn off your brain and go on autopilot when you’re tied up and gagged, for instance. You’re very aware of yourself and your surroundings, and all your senses heighten due to the adrenaline. Plus, BDSM engages your creativity and helps you find full self-expression during sex. Science says over and over that BDSM has many mental and physical health benefits. All you need to do is find a corresponding partner who complements your particular interests.

3. BDSM Helps You Experiment

The more you know about yourself, the better. And you won’t learn new things unless you explore and experiment. You may not be cut out for BDSM, but you won’t know for sure until you try it. Taking safe risks during sex, determining exactly where your boundaries lie and learning all of the nuances that make up your sexuality will help you be more open-minded and well-rounded, and will unquestionably heat up your sex life. You don’t want to die without the knowledge of whether there’s a badass submissive inside of you, waiting to come out and get punished, or the world’s most exquisite pegger who never got the chance to wear a harness.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

When you get started on your BDSM journey, it’s best to start with an experienced sex educator who can walk you through common pitfalls. Many activities can result in harm unless you’ve had proper sex education, like rope bondage, impact play, and many other undertakings on the more extreme side of the spectrum. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, I’d love to help you explore safely. My background is in sex education with particular expertise in kink, and I’ve traveled to three countries and hosted over 50 events on this specific topic. I’m well-positioned to give you expert-level tips, and I can help stage a striking scene with you.

Email Me

Email me at [email protected], and we can work together to create an experience that will set you up for a lifetime of kinky fun.