Even thought Fifty Shades of Grey has been somewhat forgotten, the act of BDM has actually been around for centuries and is becoming more and more popular in sexual play. This Valentines Day, why don’t you and your partner start to explore a little kink by starting with some light BDSM.

BDSM stands for bondage & discipline, domination & submission, and sadomasochism. In the traditional sense, this type of sexual behaviour encompasses all of the above terms; however, many people enjoy a sexual relationship in which only one or some of these types of sexual play are present, either in a very mild (vanilla) way or in an extreme way. Let’s break each of these elements down and explore how you can incorporate them into your sexual relationship and play:

Bondage and discipline: the act of restraining someone and adhering to how you are bound. Bondage can take on many forms – from simply tying your partner’s hands together with a silk scarf, to handcuffing their ankles, to using rope, tape or ties to restrain them. By doing this, you are expecting your partner to be powerless and ‘obey’ you.

Dominance and submission: When one (or more) partner is in the ‘Dom’ role, they have the command and authority over their submissive’s (Sub) sexual pleasure. They dictate the play, the intensity, the pace and the sexual stimulation. In a traditional Dom/Sub relationship, although the Dom is the one in the position of power, the Sub actually has the control. This is because the partnership is dependent on trust, and on the Sub’s ability to stop the experience at any time, by means of a safe word. A safe word is decided upon by the Dom(s) and Sub(s) prior to any sexual play, and signifies the immediate cessation of any BDSM play. My advice to anyone wanting to try BDSM is to choose a safe word that cannot be misheard. “Stop” isn’t adequate as this could be said to edge the Dom on, so choose like a colour (e.g. red).

Sadomasochism: derived from sadism (pleasure from inflicting pain and humiliation) and masochism (pleasure from being humiliated or enduring pain). Traditionally, the ‘SM’ part of a BDSM relationship involves the Dom inflicting pain on and/or humiliating the Sub. The Sub can stop this at any time using the safe word. Ultimately the Sub puts their trust in the Dom, and gives in to receiving punishments, disciplines and commands from the Dom.

Although traditional BDSM relationships are common, both in private and on the club scene, variations of it are far more popular, and far more commonly practiced. Many couples will experiment with some bondage and discipline at some point in their relationship, and there are many people who prefer the lighter (more vanilla) side of BDSM than what is considered traditional. This includes sexual relationships where one partner is dominant over the other, when partners tie each other up to tease each other, or when mild forms of pain such as spanking and biting are introduced into the bedroom.

Some common myths that are untrue about BDSM include:

o BDSM is all about pain
o BDSM is dangerous – not if practiced in a safe, sane and consensual way
o BDSM is pathological – evidence shows that people who practice BDSM are no more pathologised than people who have vanilla sex
o BDSM is abusive – focus is on consensual sex
o BDSM has fixed roles – some see BDSM as identity, and others just as fun and a practice