from the Submissive Guide Newsletter 6-25-16

As a slave (who used to identify as a submissive, who used to identify as a masochist bottom) I was new at one time (yes really!!). When I came into the lifestyle I was all wide eyes, excitement and healthy dose of caution just days after learning that there was a word for the kinky stuff in my head. It was a very overwhelming time because I wanted to do everything and explore this new world right away. Now wasn't fast enough.

Thankfully I had a wake up call by the name of a kind Dominant online that told me to take it easy and learn about this from the sidelines first before I jumped headfirst into the shallow end of the pool.

I'll never be able to thank him enough for that bit of advice. It's advice I try to tell every submissive, no matter your age or experience level. There is always time for a bit of education and knowledge before exploration. It can keep you safe, it can make you more aware, it can keep you safe and it can be fun.

To start, this isn't going to be an all-encompassing primer about BDSM. There is far too much information for me to lay it out for you. What I hope to do is give you a practical knowledge to work from so that as you explore you will at least have the tools necessary to continue learning with confidence.

If you'd like a more detailed primer, might I suggest these books?

What is BDSM? What does it stand for?

There are so many primers out there about BDSM I’m not sure if another one is really needed. Then again with all the basic questions asked on forums and chat rooms about BDSM it’s likely that my words will be read by someone and that they will take something new from them.

BDSM is an umbrella term for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, Masochism. Each of these words on their own is a giant term with a lot of other vocabulary under them. Basically anything kinky will fall under one of these terms. It's always good to have a working lexicon of the terms often used by the people who engage in BDSM and if you don't understand a word, you should look it up. You don’t have to know all of the vocabulary to practice BDSM but if you are really curious there are BDSM dictionaries all over the web.

On top of knowing some of the words comes learning some of the expectations and experiences you can have in the BDSM Lifestyle. Becoming a submissive in a D/s dynamic is just like any other relationship with one very important difference. The roles are set, not fluid like a regular relationship. A dominant and submissive never switch roles (unless in agreed upon circumstances) and the relationship continues strongly as this dynamic. People can be into kinky play and only engage in their roles in the bedroom or they can be in control of their chosen role throughout their lives.

Neither is greater or less valuable to BDSM. What one chooses to do within their relationship is personal and unique. Liking other people’s kinks is not required, but accepting them is looked favorably on. There are many things that I would never entertain as pleasurable or enjoyable but I can appreciate someone’s desire to do them for those reasons.

Not everyone you meet that is into BDSM wants to be part of a community. You can’t make someone come out into BDSM public and say they are kinky. BDSM is still in the closet for most folks and that’s okay with them. Those who want to be a part of the community you bring with you a wonderful amount of experience and personal knowledge that everyone, including new people, can learn from.

Is It a Lifestyle?

BDSM is a Lifestyle for me. I live it all the time, it’s who I am. This is not the case with over half of the known BDSM population. The range of participation varies greatly. I can’t say that I know exact numbers, but I know that out of 10 kinky people I could meet in a room, 7 of them probably do not identify as Lifestyle BDSMers. That’s fine with me, we can still chat kink and not get all uncomfortable because we aren’t EXACTLY alike, right?

There are many different roles you can be in BDSM as well, from Top, Dominant or Master to bottom, submissive and slave. There are also variations on these roles as well depending on the type of dynamic you want. You could be in a Daddy/little girl or Mommy/little boy dynamic. You could be in a Poly Master/slave household where you are the alpha. You could just be kinky and love the fun stuff in the bedroom. It’s all available to you.

What’s the Big Deal?

BDSM is a big deal to those that have anything to do with it because it turns them on in some way; sexually, intellectually, emotionally or all of the above. BDSM is not always sex driven, but it can be. Some of us consider it almost a sexual orientation; I’ve recently been of the volition that sexual orientation can not only describe your gender specific sexual identity but also the differences in how you enjoy sex.

For example, someone with an extreme but healthy fetish would have that fetish as a requirement for sex, just as being heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual is an identifier for each person. For someone such as myself, sex isn’t fulfilling if it does not have any elements of power exchange or SM. I do not get the same enjoyment from regular sex than I do with Power sex. This is not to say that I can’t have regular sex, it’s just my preference is Power Exchange and SM.

With the mainstream sensation of 50 Shades of Grey, even more people are bringing D/s role play and BDSM into their bedrooms. With this influx of people it's an important distinction that for many people BDSM is just a casual play experience, while others will apply D/s and kink to some or all of their lives and relationships. BDSM is changing people and providing avenues of expression that people may have never known before.

Am I Normal?

Yes, very much so. One of the first questions a new submissive asks themselves is are they normal for desiring the things they do. This could be kinky sex, humiliation or service. Anything that appears to fall outside the vanilla umbrella can cause a novice to question if they are normal. This in fact, is normal.

Everyone questions themselves at one time or another. I’ve questioned myself many times. Each time I come out with a better understanding of myself and what I want in life. There is no reason to be afraid of new and different things. You may find that these things are worth your attention and could fulfill you in ways you never though possible.

For example, even if you never thought you’d explore bondage you one day had the desire to see what it was all about. There is nothing wrong with trying it out to see what feelings and sensations there were. If you find you love it, then that’s just one more thing to learn all you can about and have fun with it. If you find there isn’t really a strong pull towards it you can chalk it on the no thank you list. Either way, it’s normal and human to explore things that are different and foreign.

What about things that could be dangerous or involve risks? Does this mean you are a risky person? Not really. Everything you do has risks, even driving to the corner store could end in a deadly accident. Just because there are risks involved doesn’t mean you should shelter your desires.

So what is normal? How can it be defined in a BDSM context? Not very easily, in fact. Normal is different for each person. Everyone’s idea of normal fluctuates and changes during their lives. So your idea of normal now won’t be the same 5 years or even 5 months from now.

The uncomfortable feelings you experience when everything is still brand new have nothing to do with normalcy but with acceptance. When you accept your feelings as normal then you will feel normal. Thousands of people all over the world are exploring new and exciting things all the time. Join the fun!

Yes, you should try new things. But not everything is going to be for you.

One of our human strengths is that we love to try new things. As a novice submissive you are probably very afraid to venture out of your bubble and try something that for the longest time has seem terrifying and still exciting. I want to encourage you to try everything you are interested at least once. Twice if you are not sure of your first response to it.

It is okay if you find that something doesn't do it for you. It's okay if you change your mind. And it's okay if someone else likes it but you don't. The key to exploration is to do so with an open mind and accept whatever response you get.

For example, if you've had fantasies of being tied up in rope and made to orgasm over and over again but the real experience fell flat of your expectations you have a few choices.

You can decide that it was hotter in fantasy but you are very glad that you tried it. You won't be doing it again any time soon.

You can figure out that it was the person, situation or time frame that affected your response to playing out your fantasy and you want to try it again when things are more favorable.

You can decide that once was enough, now where is the next fantasy!

There are kinks that you will encounter that offend, repulse or just make you feel oogy. These are things that drive other people wild, but that doesn't mean you have to try them. You don't even have to watch them. But you do have to accept that other people can and will participate in kinky activities that you don't like.

Keep an open mind.

Yes, you can do that. Yes, others will have issues with it. No, they don’t matter.

I said above that you may encounter kinky activities that may offend you or make wonder why anyone would find that exciting. But it could also be that you have an unusual or particularly unique kink that few others share. You may find people don't like that kink and will be very vocal about why.

Don't let that bother you. I know that sounds easier said than done, but learn to have a thick skin because there will be people who have closed minds and find that their brand of kink is the only way and anyone who says or does differently is wrong. The truth is that they don't matter to you.

What matters is how you explore life and how you feel about your place in BDSM. Your confidence is sexy and knowing your preferences, no matter how others feel about them is powerful. Consider it this way; what harm is it to you what they think about something you find to be enjoyable or the right way for you to do something? How will it affect you once they turn around and walk away?

Probably very little. Embrace who you are.

Yes, you should explore your fantasies. But recognize that not all fantasies translate easily to real life.

I've touched on this a bit above, but not all fantasies work well in practice and some shouldn't ever leave the realm of your dreams. The reason this is, will probably not escape you. There are safety risks or expectations that just won't work in real life. Say for example you have a fantasy to experience a stress position that is known to kill people or a real torture tactic like water-boarding. The safety in these situations is far above SSC, RACK or any other safety limitations that others may have. Similarly there are fantasies that violate the law or moral code, such as pedophilia or animal cruelty that really should remain a part of fantasy.

With that said, you can simulate a lot of things to experience something like your fantasy without harm and well within the realm of safety. I heard a story of someone who wanted to experience necrophilia with their partner (without actual death). To make this fantasy “real” the female partner went into a private cemetery at night and laid down over a grave for over an hour, getting chilled from the cold ground and frosty air. Then, at the agreed time, the man would explore the cemetery and discover her “dead” body and ravage her cold limp body. From the smiles on their faces it appears it was a fantastic time for both.

Be creative and innovative with your fantasies to see if you can enact something that will give you the sensation of the fantasy without doing anything you may regret later.

Yes, there are other people who share your kink. But please don’t assume that the first person you find is The One for you.

Just because a person also loves having sex while rolling in jell-o does not mean they are compatible with you.

That's right, I just said it. You've searched the world over for someone interested in the same kinky things you are and when you found one, I'm telling you to hold it right there a moment and think. You remember thinking, right? That mind function you had before all common sense fled and you were suddenly in a frenzy over finding someone who shared the same kinks as you and now you just had to have it? Yeah, that.

Ok, okay, so there are two scenarios here. You want a casual fling with someone and to experience a kink or fantasy that you have only found one other person that's into. Fine, go rock your world. There's really no need for further compatibility if that's all you are looking for.

But if you want a relationship with someone that enjoys a particular kink so that you can experience it again and again, as well as the dynamics a relationship can bring, read on.

Realistically, do you think you are completely compatible with someone that you know just one thing about? It's like a lottery number, likelihood is that you'll not win. So, before the roll in jello, unless that's all you are interested in, talk to the person.

A relationship isn't about one specific fantasy fulfilled, it's about being each others dreams realized. Even if you've looked for someone for months or years and this is the first person who has said, yes I love that kink, if you aren't relationship compatible then that really means nothing. The scope is larger than that.

This goes for submissives brand new to submission or BDSM. The first Dominant you meet is not necessarily your dream Dom. Do not submit to anyone until you know them forwards and backwards and are sure you are compatible with them. Date them, regularly date them. Develop a relationship with them before adding kink.

If after a time of your choosing you decide that this person could really be your dream Dominant, then go for it. My best wishes to you.

Thoughts to Ponder

      If you are new to BDSM, what questions do you have that are yet to be answered?

      If you have BDSM experience, what advice would you give someone that was new?

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