A/T/L/S/L/U/T: BDSM 101

His message read:

You will arrive at 9:00pm.  Not 8:59.  Not 9:01.  9:00pm sharp.  Upon your arrival, you will knock on the door four times and wait for my command to enter.  Once you enter my home, you will proceed to take off and fold your clothes, placing them in a neatly folded pile on the floor next to the front door. I will be in the room adjacent, waiting for you.
I’d like for you to wear a jock strap, high-top sneakers or leather boots, socks on, or else you will go barefoot altogether. Upon entering my home and fulfilling the simple demands set before you, you will come to me and kneel at my feet, head down, and we’ll have a conversation about what I’m going to do to you.

I arrived fifteen minutes early, horrified at the prospect of being late, and made my way to the door at exactly 9 o’clock, following his instructions implicitly.  When I was finally inside and mostly naked, trying not to tremble at his feet with my head bowed down to the floor, I could feel his stare fixed on me, causing my cock to tighten against the fabric of my jock, and my mind to come slowly unhinged with anticipation. When he finally spoke, it was authoritative, but warm. He lead me through a dialogue where we both voiced our interests and comfort levels, perimeters for the scene including a safe word, until finally we had reached a mutual understanding and it was time for the talking to end. That’s when he put the leather hood over my head.

With my sight gone and hearing dulled, the sensation of his hands inspecting my body was fully heightened.  As I continued to kneel, he moved from his throne and proceeded to bound my hands in leather mitts and my ankles with leather cuffs.  I was instructed to not speak during this encounter, and could only bark, once to answer yes and twice to answer no.  He completed the look with a puppy tail buttplug, slowly massaged with increased force until the ball surpassed the wall of my ass and rested gently inside of me, driving me wild.  He took his time giving me orders to test my submission.  In a series of events that followed, he bound me, tested me, applied pressure and pain, and explored my willingness to service his needs fully.  The climax that followed the long session was exhilarating, and I left utterly satisfied that I had lived up to his expectations as a willing plaything to fulfill his every command.  


This was my first real “scene” with a dom.  I had dabbled in bondage and sadomasochism before, but nothing to the extent of what this thoughtful situation provided.  And from that point on, I longed to further explore the world of BDSM.

BDSM has seemingly graduated from an underground passion and lifestyle into a full-fledged integration of the popular mainstream.  As a more seasoned kinkster, I’ve encountered countless people who have expressed desire to explore this culture further.  Their trepidation usually stems from the uncertainty of what to expect and how to proceed, which can understandably be very intimidating, so I thought I would take some time to outline a BDSM crash course for you faithful readers.  What follows is this slut’s opinion on best practices as you explore your hard and horny fantasies in a consensual and safe manner.  So let’s get to it!

 

First things first. . . know what you desire and communicate before anything happens.

BDSM is rarely like regular sex.  It’s a negotiation.  It’s often calculated and patient.  The anticipation is as much an aphrodisiac as the act itself.  You can participate in BDSM without making use of your genitals or climaxing altogether.  It’s not one act or ideal, and can range based on interest and personal comfort.  The first step to exploring BDSM is to understand what interests you.  Once you find a partner willing to explore those fantasies with you, a conversation should nearly always precede the scene.  BDSM is ALWAYS consensual.  Know your partner’s desires and limits, and be sure to communicate your own.  If you discover that your expectations don’t align, move on and be happy that you didn’t enter a scene to find out that you aren’t comfortable with what is happening.  
 

Know what BDSM stands for.

BDSM actually represents 3 different categories:

  1. BD: Bondage & Discipline.  This category relates to the act of physically binding someone so they are at the mercy of their partner, most often with chain or rope, but the act of bondage can take many forms for creative minds!

  2. DS: Dominance & Submission.  This relates to the act of taking or handing over control.  A Dom enjoys being in charge and providing direction for the thrill of empowerment.  A Sub loves to serve, and wants to have their being controlled for the desires of the Dom.  This could include any act ranging from not speaking to cleaning a toilet to being on all fours as a footstool to licking feet or sucking dick.

  3. SM: Sadism & Masochism. A sadist enjoys inflicting pain unto others and testing their limits.  A masochist wants to feel physical pain and gains satisfaction from being the object of a Dom’s infliction.  Sado-masochism can occur through any variety of activity, from tools and toys including paddles, whips, floggers, ball stretchers, etc., or from physical punishment like beating, slapping, or kicking.

 

Kink vs. Culture

With BDSM so prevalent in mainstream culture, it’s important to know if your interests are more aligned with the act of participating in the culture, or the actual behavioral acts themselves.  Clothes are most commonly associated with mainstream BDSM culture, and you can participate by attending an event or bar night wearing leather, sports apparel, rubber, and other varieties of fetish gear.  A kink, on the other hand, relates to a person’s sexual interests.  You can wear leather and not be sexually turned on by it.  Understanding and appreciating the difference between these two ideals will help you more successfully navigate the BDSM world and discover what satisfies you within it.


Have a Safe Word.

Safe words are essential, and are the stoplight in case things have surpassed a boundary of comfort.  A safe word is a hard stop, so once it is said, the negotiation has passed and the scene is over.  The right safe word is an easy out for an uncomfortable situation, but can also help navigate the success of a scene.  I use a safe word that has levels so that I can communicate my degree of comfort to my partner should the need arise.  Yellow means that everything is great.  Orange means that we are approaching an uncomfortable boundary.  Red means it is finished.  Pick a safe word that works for you and make sure it is clearly communicated before the scene begins.

 

Old Guard vs. New Guard

BDSM culture has an extremely long history and, in decades past, has existed in isolated spaces away from the bright lights of the everyday world.  As the culture has entered the mainstream, a new era of ideals has emerged, often undermining the older rules that preceded it.  Many “old guard” members of the community find that ignorance surrounding rules and expectations to be very frustrating; this makes sense if you consider the roles of dominance and submission.  In stride, many “new guard” kinksters don't follow or value some simple signifiers that have been core to BDSM culture for generations.  Knowledge of some preliminary signs and values of old guard culture will help newcomers more respectfully participate and grow.


- The meaning of placement:, right vs. left:  You know how you ask someone, “Are you a top or bottom” on Grindr before the hook-up?  Well, BDSM culture has long established signifiers for letting others know your preference without saying a word.  Cuffs, hankys, wristbands, chains, and other accessories can help others read your desires.  Simply by wearing items on your right, you are communicating that you are a submissive and/or bottom.  By wearing them on your left, you are saying that you are a dominant and/or top.  If you have placement on both sides, you are versatile.  This is a very simple, basic, and meaningful rule.  Please plan accordingly.


- Hanky culture: The hanky code was established as a way of communicating your sexual desires based on color.  While the hanky code has expanded to include some downright silly and unrecognizable icons, I still value the traditional system.

Dark/Navy Blue = Anal Sex
Light Blue = Oral Sex
White = Hand Jobs
Yellow = Piss Play / Watersports
Grey = Bondage
Black = Sadomasochism
Brown = Scat
Red = Fisting
Green = Hustlers / Prostitution
Orange = Anything, Anytime, Anywhere (Note, this does not include Anyone!)

And don’t forget the same rules for placement apply with the hanky code.  A blue hanky in your left pocket means you want to top.  A red hanky on your right wrist means you want to get fisted.

- Collars and Locks: These items have certainly become very prominent as a fashion statement, but is traditionally a signifier of ownership.  Once a Dom decides that he wants to formalize a relationship with a Sub, whether sexually or in an ongoing committed relationship, they will present their sub with a collar and a lock.  When I see someone with a collar and lock on, I almost immediately ask who they belong to.  I have found that in recent times, many wear a collar for fashion, which unfortunately is misleading.  As puppy play has grown in popularity, the collar has grown to be a personal identifier that one identifies as a puppy, with or without a handler.  It’s up to you to decide how you want to proceed with this particular BDSM icon, but it’s probably good for you to know the background either way.  And one more thing: since a collar indicates ownership, it is very rude to walk up and touch someone’s collar without asking first.  A Dom might take great offense to you touching their property without their permission.

One last footnote on new vs. old guard ideology:  This is obviously a very grey area in modern BDSM culture.  I am not advocating that everyone falls in line with the strict rules of set forth by the old guard, but having knowledge of these basic ideals will help you decide how you participate and represent yourself.

 
The Local Atlanta BDSM Scene:

Atlanta has many opportunities to dip your toes into the BDSM culture in a social and educational setting.  The Atlanta Eagle is our most prominent bar that shines a spotlight on BDSM events, hosting gear nights and educational forums for learning anything from candle wax play to rope bondage.  Large scale community events occur here in Atlanta, including Leather Pride (coming up April 8-10) as well as Black & Blue Weekend in August. You can also check out the Atlanta Panther L/L group for more opportunities to meet and learn from passionate leatherman and kinksters within our larger community. 
 

In Closing

BDSM can be intimidating, but knowing your interests and boundaries, and not being timid in communicating them to your partners, is the perfect way to begin exploring your desires. Have a conversation to establish boundaries and trust.  Also, not every scene has to be a hardcore dungeon master porno replay.  Don’t be afraid to start small and see where it leads.  At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and experiencing new and exciting sensations.

Click here for a spreadsheet that you can fill out to start understanding where you might want to get started (you can also share this with your partners!).  Have fun kinksters!