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Everything you need know about BDSM

Picture: Nappy
Picture: Nappy

Bondage and BDSM, which was always seen as the “darker” side sexual practises, has gained popularity over the past few years.

When you’ve been with someone for a long time, and find yourself in a sexual rut, it’s normal to want to try something new in the bedroom.

With love, trust, respect and a mutual desire to explore new sexual avenues, there’s so much to discover.

Bondage and BDSM, which was always seen as the “darker” side sexual practises, has gained popularity over the past few years.

Movies like Fifty Shades of Grey has shed a softer light on the subject and peeked the curiosity of those seeking sexual adventure.

However, it’s not a sexual practise you want to enter blindly.

It’s not like trying a new sex position.

If you’re serious about exploring this practice we’ve asked Marika Leila Roux, who’s a sex expert and chief executive of Shibari Study, to share some tips and advice for first-timers.

The best way to get started is to watch a lot of videos, browse through pictures and read articles about Shibari and other bondage practices.

There’s so much available for free on the Internet nowadays. A great resource can be found on our site in the theory and inspiration section!

It’s good to take the time to investigate your motivations and to discover your personal interests, turn-ons and expectations before practising with other people.

Learn about the techniques

When it comes to learning the techniques, due to social distancing, the only option is to learn online and practice at home with your partner/s or close friends circle.

Whenever possible again, I advise to combine online learning with in-person classes with qualified instructors.

There are pros and cons to both, but a combination of the two is ideal. Shibari Study offers online classes for all levels, including total beginner classes.

These classes are designed to take you from touching your first rope all the way to tying beautiful harnesses and enjoying playful floor-based sessions.

All the basic knots and techniques can be practised without a partner – on a chair or on yourself – so you can build confidence and experience before moving on to partnered tying.

What should you know beforehand? How can you make sure it is safe?

The most important thing to learn when getting started is general safety and to invest serious effort into grasping the basic techniques.

Regardless of your goals, I always recommend a “low and slow” integration method and to make sure that the basics are fully understood and mastered before moving onto more challenging exercises.

Good communication with your partner(s) before, during and after each session is also crucial for a safer practice.

Of course there will always be some sort of risk in playing with ropes, but as long as you do your research you should be able to mitigate the outcome and create a fun and enriching experience.

Establish and update your own personal risk

A risk profile is an evaluation of an individual's willingness and ability to take risks and what they are comfortable with.

It is a way of describing the types, severity, and likelihood of various risks and how they relate to your willingness to participate in certain activities.

Risk profiles are a vital element of RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink).

Picture: Unsplash

How can you make sure everything is consensual?

I cannot stress enough the importance of thoroughly educating yourself about consent and negotiations and making sure that your partners are sufficiently informed as well before engaging in rope bondage (or any intimate activity involving power-exchange for that matter!).

Each partnership and context is different, and the methods used to negotiate and navigate a session consensually should be adapted to their unique needs and dynamics.

Here is some general advice I can share that has worked for me:

If you rely only on implied consent, there is room for misinterpretation. You cannot count on someone being able to read your mind any more than you should assume you can correctly read theirs.

Cultivating mutual self-awareness as well as good communication skills is the key to successful and empowering rope experiences.

Don't be afraid to have a frank and honest conversation about desires, boundaries and consent with your partner/s.

It is important to know your partner's unique views on Shibari and their consent philosophy.

Remember that consent goes both ways; it is important that everyone involved – tying or being tied – explicitly and honestly states their expectations, limits and experience.

Be sure to discuss all of these things beforehand, especially if tying with someone new.

It is very important to learn how to properly and usefully negotiate with your partners. Seek first to understand, then be understood.

Taking the time to negotiate a session and understand your partner’s and your own desires and expectations can be really exciting and a way to connect deeply.

I’ve had several pre-rope negotiations that were as fulfilling as the rope session itself!

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