In recent years many people have become more curious about bondage, wondering how they go about introducing it into their relationship and general play. Many of my customers ask me: “where should they start?” “How will it make things more pleasurable?” “Is there such a thing as a quick guide to kink?” These crucial questions demanded answers, so recently I sat down with local entrepreneur Valen Vain, who is also the creator of Hull’s local fetish night K.E.N to get the expert view on these frequently asked questions, giving you all an insight into BDSM and its benefits, safety aspects and the negative stigma that still surrounds it.
Speaking to Valen was very eye-opening for me; he described BSDM in a way that would never occur to a BSDM novice. I myself had my reservations about using anything restraining or that could possibly cause pain but after this interview, I found myself curious and intrigued by its allure and hopefully this article will too open your eyes and your imagination to so much more when it comes to pleasure.
1: SAFETY FIRST
BDSM is sometimes considered a negative subject mainly due to safety aspects. Can you tell us about safety within BDSM and its importance?
Safety is possibly the most important aspect of BDSM, and that is simply because we in the fetish community know how much can go wrong. Because of this, no matter how many times you have done something, you should always prepare for the worst. Classic “Condom principle” – better to have safety measures and not need them, than need them and not have them.
I have heard many people come to a fetish night and complain that there are too many rules (an aspect that frequently makes the Fet Community look uptight or elitist). At the end of the day, the rules are there to keep people safe, not just the people playing but also the others attending the night too… by all means, when it comes to your own relationships in your own homes, make up your own rules, you know yourselves best.
People’s safety is the reason that Fetish Nights have “Dungeon Masters” (the people in charge of the play area). They are there to safeguard the people in the dungeon. They have usually had a lot of experience in the Fetish/BDSM scene, so know when things are pushing the limits.
In my experience, they aren’t lifeguards with whistles and loud voices, they aren’t there to break the atmosphere or show off their authority. The best ones will have a quiet word when they think something is amiss, or simply ask how people are doing to gauge the dynamic of their area.
Simple things to remember –
As a Top/Dominant:
- If you are using Rope, have scissors nearby.
- Make sure you can get to some kind of first aid (just in case)
- If there are locks involved, always have the keys on you.
- Don’t do something that you are unsure or uncomfortable doing.
- Make sure that you have agreed on a safe word
As a bottom/submissive
- Make sure that you have agreed on a safe word
- Do not “put on a brave face” if something is uncomfortable, numb or actively painful, speak out, if your partner doesn’t know there is a problem then they can’t do anything about it.
2: WHERE TO BEGIN
Speaking to a complete novice, what advice would you give to someone who is looking to try a little bondage?
First thing’s first: relax. As with all things in life, you will always enjoy them more if you are relaxed.
For new people, the most important thing I will say is that everyone is different. Everyone’s kinks, tastes, fantasies etc. are different, and the very first thing to understand is – THAT IS OK! You are allowed to enjoy something that other people think is weird. Just because folk don’t understand something, doesn’t make it wrong.
Now, the initial core of Bondage comes down to two primary aspects, Trust and Imagination. So, say you are someone who has just discovered that they like the sensation of being immobile as a partner touches you, or have realised that you love the mild sting of a light spanking, this is great news, you are exploring your sexuality. However, the last thing you want to do is jump in the deep end with any old stranger, and that goes for both the Submissive AND the Dominant.
Start small, experiment with yourself. The more comfortable you are with your own body, the more comfortable you will be with someone else doing things to/with you. Find out what it is that really gets you going. Then, when you find a partner you trust, you are already on good standing to explore your sexualities together.
Now when it comes to gear, it can be quite intimidating, both the look of some things and the price tag. In most cases, you get what you pay for. If you buy a £5 little whip, it is unlikely to withstand vigorous activity, buy a pair of flimsy cuffs, you are likely to find them falling apart or the chain breaking. Better to save up for decent gear than waste your money on cheap stuff that won’t last long…
In the meantime however, look around and use your imagination. Silk scarves make amazing blindfolds, tie a knot in the middle and you have made a gag, A wooden spatula makes a great temporary spanking paddle (just don’t cook with it afterwards). You will find that good gear is amazing, but if you look at many things from a slightly different perspective, they may have more deviant uses, so go forth and be inventive.
3: MUTUAL RESPECT
In all aspects of relationships and sex most would consider mutual respect to play an important role. How does this enhance a BDSM experience?
Respect is an important part of life never mind relationships, and I think it is important to hammer in the need for respect inside and outside your relationship. In regards to the Fetish community, we all hear the stories about Doms/Domes who belittle or even ignore submissive’s, as if they are somehow categorically better. Fortunately, within my experience, this has been a very rare scenario. In all of my work, travelling, events and partying, the fetish community is probably one of (if not THEE) most accepting and open-minded community, and that all comes down to the fact that we respect that people are different and they do have different tastes and kinks.
Within a BDSM/Fetish relationship, respect is if anything more important. The natural observation of this is the submissive respecting and adhering to the wishes of their Dominant. However, The Dominant must also respect the needs of the sub. This is a person that is putting not only their safety but also their satisfaction into your hands; and that’s what it all comes down to, satisfaction.
The Dominant fulfils their needs through the submissive and the submissive has their needs fulfilled from the Dominant. The key is to understand and respect those needs, and to understand and respect that those needs don’t stop when you put down the whip. In a word…aftercare, a blanket, a cuddle, comforting whispers. They will have been through a lot emotionally and possibly physically, aftercare helps to ground them.
Lastly, talk to your partner. The more you talk (usually outside a scene so you don’t ruin the mood), the more you will understand them and the better your experiences together will become. Ask them what they liked/what they didn’t like so crucially you know what to do again and what to avoid. Ask them what they would like to try out. If your partner doesn’t ask … maybe you should tell them. There is no such thing as too much knowledge.
4: SAFE WORD
We’ve all heard of the famous “safe word”, how important and effective is it?
We have just been talking about the importance of safety; well this is just another safety measure. I have heard many new people (in my experience also usually young) who are full of bravado and come out with the classic “I don’t have a safe word, I can take anything you throw at me”… well what if you can’t? What if it’s amazing before suddenly hitting a point that goes just a little bit too far? Better to have a way out “just in case”.
Now, as you grow with your partner(s) of choice, they will learn to read your body, you may even get to a stage where you feel you never need to use it, but in my experience, it is better to have it there on the off-chance you are feeling particularly sensitive one day.
5: TOOLS OF THE TRADE
We have all heard of hand-cuffs and blind folds, would you consider these as a starter pack and could you recommend anything else to add for a nervous beginner?
As I mentioned before, each of us is different and have different things that float our boats and so each person/couples “Starter Pack” will, in turn, be different. This being said, there are a few things that I would call “Core Gear” that everyone should have in their deviant treasure chest.
- A blindfold – when you block one of the senses, the others become heightened. Find one that they can’t peek out of (unless a cheeky peek is the idea). A silk scarf, sleeping mask or moulded leather, pick one that suits you.
- Restraints – These take a number of forms: rope, shackles, handcuffs, etc. If your submissive can’t move, they are more likely to adopt the mind-set to adapt to your will, can’t get away from the teasing (Make sure there is a way out – Just in case)
- Items that tantalise the sense of touch – this is where it get a little more personal. Skin is the biggest organ that the human body has, and the erogenous zones are only a part of that organ. Whether you have feathers or even get as inventive as a using pastry brushes, taking your time playing with different sensations will lead to heightened experiences when the “scene” evolves.
- Sexy underwear/clothing – Sight is like petrol for the flame of imagination. If you like what you see, you can picture what is to come. If you put the effort in to look sexy, then you will feel sexy and this will heighten the sensations that play out. This goes for Men too. A pair of tight, possibly “risqué” underwear will always be better that a ratty old pair of loose boxers. If you make the effort to dress up for your partner, they will feel more valued and sexy themselves.
Putting aside your toy box, there are other things that are more important, especially for a nervous beginner.
- Relax – Don’t worry about what you look like, your partner would not be doing this if they didn’t want to be with you. Don’t worry about how the night is going to play out, the more you worry, the less you will enjoy it. It is a little known fact that most human beings cannot climax if they are built up with worry.
- Trust – Just because someone has years of experience, doesn’t mean they are trust worthy. I would rather be with an amateur who I trust and who trusts me, than be with a Professional who is a stranger.
- Always have a way out – Safety first people. Scissors, keys for locks, and most importantly SAFEWORDS (or signals if you/your partner can’t speak). Do not ever do anything that you are not comfortable with!
- ENJOY YOURSELF – Kink, Fetish, BDSM, whatever it is you are into, you aren’t doing it for pride or respect or social status, you are doing it because you want to.