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Bdsm practices for vanilla sex

We have all been led to believe that the world of BDSM promotes violent, non-consensual, aggressive, painful, disrespectful & anti-feminist sexual experiences due to the incorrect mainstream portrayals of kink/leather communities. In reality, however, BDSM utilizes clearly assigned power dynamics (Dominance/Submission) to explore deep layers of trust, communication, intimacy, honesty, vulnerability, and ongoing enthusiastic consent.


While BDSM does not always involve explicitly sexual acts, the main tenets of kink can (and should!) be applied when engaging in any sexual experiences. The following tools can be utilized within any relationship framework to provide individuals with a deeper understanding of what kind of sexual experiences they would like to explore.


Sexual Interests & Boundaries: Yes/Maybe/No List

The Yes/Maybe/No list is a self-evaluation tool that allows you to get a clearer understanding of your physical, emotional, mental, & sexual interests & limits. Yes are acts that you are comfortable & excited about doing. Maybe are acts that you would potentially be willing to explore in time with a trusted partner. No are acts that you will not try under any circumstance. This list covers body boundaries, preferred words/terminology, relationship models, safe sex/birth control practices, sexual responses, & physical activities (both sexual & nonsexual). Your list can (& will) change over time as you learn more about yourself.


Direct Communication: Negotiation

Negotiation occurs between sexual partners before any sexual acts have occurred. This is an opportunity for you & your partner(s) to share your Yes/Maybe/No lists & learn about each other’s turn on’s, interests, boundaries, & potential triggers. This is also the time to discuss the exploration of rougher/more taboo sexual acts (spanking, hair pulling, choking, slapping, biting, anal play, physical restraints, etc.), involvement of sex toys (vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, etc.), & safe sex practices (STI’s & birth control). This also the time to go over safe words, consent check-ins, & desires for aftercare.


Ongoing Enthusiastic Consent: Green/Yellow/Red

Verbal/non-verbal consent check-ins need to occur before, during, & after sex. Within BDSM, most people use Green/Yellow/Red for verbal consent. Green means “This feels great! Keep going!”. Yellow means slow down, check-in. Red means stop what you’re doing immediately. Non-verbal consent practices can also be utilized by individuals who may potentially be unable to verbally communicate during sex. Non-verbal consent can look like hand tapping, sign language gestures, foot stomping, etc. You can (and should) create any kind of safe words/physical consent indicators with your partner(s) to utilize throughout sex to ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves.


Support, Care, & Deepened Intimacy: Aftercare

Aftercare is an intentional check-in that provides each partner with additional care & intimacy after a sexual experience has ended. Aftercare can mean cuddling together, showering together, snacking together, hydrating together, watching a movie together, smoking a joint together, offering verbal validation to each other, etc. The point of aftercare is to gently re-enter into a non-sexual space with your partner(s) while affirming your mutual respect & desire for one another. 


It’s important to note that the involvement of rougher sexual practices (spanking, hair pulling, choking, slapping, biting, anal play, physical restraints, etc) can cause severe physical, mental, & emotional damage if executed incorrectly. Negotiations, consent check-ins, & aftercare are a requirement. Please do your research & reach out to a sex worker/sex educator to learn more about safe, sane, & consensual kink exploration.

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