Posts Tagged ‘safewords’

Dear Delilah:

I have a very easy safeword with any play partner where safewords would be needed – I say their name. I don’t really say much during sex-or-kink anyhow, so the push of speaking at all plus the push of specifically saying their name makes it a useful safeword, in my opinion.

The problem I’m having is, that’s all academic, as I can’t seem to use my safeword. As in, I don’t think I have ever used my safeword, even though I have run into situations where things went further than I wanted them to go. The only way I can explain it is I don’t want to nonconsensually end the scene, I suppose. It feels like I’m damaging the scene, like I can’t suck it up and deal.

(I hasten to add, this is all self-directed. No partner has made me feel this way.)

Would you happen to have any advice on how I can get to a place where using a safeword doesn’t feel awful and jarring?

First off, let me say: you’re not alone. What some kinksters don’t like to talk about is that during play, sometimes submissives enter such a deep space that they can’t safeword, or they feel like safewording would be “cheating,” or they get stubborn and refuse to safeword even if their limits are being reached, or they don’t want to disappoint their partners, and in their submissive headspace, doing so seems like it would be catastrophic.

However, we who have had those experiences know that it is far more catastrophic to need to call your safeword and not be able to. Because if you’re getting to a place where you feel you can’t escape a scene that’s going wrong for you, you are harming yourself and your partner as well. It might help to remember, in those moments, that your partner doesn’t really want to harm you, and that not stopping the scene is ultimately going to make them feel worse than stopping it while it’s still kind of okay. So what’s the answer?

To start with, I think you should back up and play without safewords for a while. Yes, I said play without safewords. Not because I don’t want you to have an out, but because I want you to have a better out. I also recommend that at least for a little while, you only play with people you know well and trust.

Tell your partner you want him or her to check in with you – frequently. Now, I know there’s nothing more annoying than a top who keeps going “Is this okay? How about this? Am I hurting you darling?” But there are ways of doing this without killing the mood. (You can turn it into a game: “Does this hurt? How about now? How about NOW?”) The point is that your top, at least for a while, needs to be in constant communication with you, so that he or she gets to know what your reactions look, feel and sound like. Also, if you don’t have a safeword for a little while, your top will be more conscientious and will probably stop short of crossing your limits.

Your part of this bargain is that when s/he asks, you have to answer, and you have to answer honestly. “Yes sir, that fucking hurts.” “Yes ma’am, I’m okay.” “No mistress, my hands aren’t going numb.” Or maybe it’s just nods and shakes of the head. Make sure your top’s questions are specific, too: “Can you take thirty more seconds of this position,” not “You doing all right?” It sounds like you want to be challenged by your toppish partners, so let them challenge you – but let them do it much more explicitly, with your cooperation. Even if they still have trouble getting yesses and noes out of you, they will observe your breathing, your eyes, your muscle tension, and other clues to how you, specifically, react when you’re in bad distress as opposed to good distress.

After, say, a few months of regular play in this way, your partners should have a better sense of how you react, what no looks like, what yes looks like, what “I’m starting to dissociate from pain/psychological trauma” looks like. This is the time to start bringing safewords back. When you bring them back, have your top give you more than one. Use a “yellow” as well as a “red;” that is, have a safeword that means “Hey I just need to slow down and check in,” rather than “This entire scene needs to stop NOW RIGHT NOW.” This should help with your fear that if you call your safeword you’ll be “ruining” the scene.

If you still find that you’re having a lot of trouble with verbalization, come up with non-verbal safewords, such as what people use when gagged. Hold an object that you will drop if you want things to stop, or nod your head three times.

Finally, I would recommend against using your lover’s name as a safeword. While you may not say their names during sexual activity under usual circumstances, using their names may feel too intimate, and I can imagine where it might feel wrong to say someone’s name when something bad is happening. Contrary to what you’re thinking, their name may not be a very easy safeword at all, given how much effort it takes for you to say it. If you have trouble calling your safeword, the answer isn’t to make the safeword difficult. Say something you wouldn’t ordinarily say (like “flugelhorn” or “Biz Markie”), but don’t make it something that maybe, in your lizard brain, feels like you’re blaming your top for making you feel bad.

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Went to a marvelous party the other night. Friends abounding, getting naked and fucking with abandon or doing deliciously evil things to one another in an atmosphere akin to Burning Man parties I’ve been to in the past. There’s nothing quite like watching someone get spanked under a shiny-mylar-fringed tent-thing amid color-changing LEDs.

I was exhausted and not much in the mood for anything, except maybe a beating. Getting one, I mean. A friend of mine is a great play partner for this; he and I flirt and kiss a little, but the full sexual spark doesn’t seem to be there: he just enjoys my masochistic side when he’s in that special kind of sadistic mood.

It’s always funny for me to play with casual partners in that kind of setting: I’m always thinking about what they’re doing with the cuffs, what their equipment is like, how well they’re managing my safety, and so on – it’s the curse of the professional. But it’s also fun, and good to see that my choice of partners is usually right-on.

He has a nice collection of non-traditional toys: floggers made of nylon strings, smooth for thuddy impact, braided for brutally stingy. Near the end he unzipped a long case, by which time I was floating in endorphins and adrenaline and was only able to ask, “What’s that?”

“The percussion section!” he quipped.

And the coup de grace: two metal canes about a half-inch thick.

Ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. He told me I didn’t have any marks afterward, but that bruises would probably come up from those canes in a couple of days.

He was right. No, there aren’t pictures.

I was very appreciative, too, of his sensitivity to my safeword problem. It was getting to be too much for me at one point, and he said, “If you need me to ease off, just give me a yellow.” I squirmed, screamed, breathed hard, and finally gasped, “I. CAN’T.”

To his eternal credit, he stopped, checked in, then eased back into the scene.

Sometimes it’s subspace and a desire to please that keeps me from safewording. But sometimes, it’s just plain old stubborn pride. I so appreciate tops who can feel this and navigate it well.

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Today I answer two letters that deal with the question: what happens when one of the partners in a desired BDSM scenario is reluctant for one reason or another? It’s a tricky one, but not unsolvable.

I have to say, you are almost a dead ringer for my fiancee. She is also six feet tall, size 12-13 shoe, shoulder length naturally curly brown hair, and with a sensually curvy athletic gorgeously feminine but strong body. I have a question for you, if you don’t mind. She is a sweet, sweet girl and I’m a huge trampling fan. I’m a little over six feet tall and weigh about 155 lbs. I’m kind of wiry and thin. Being a tall strong girl like you are, you probably know where this is going. She’s not a dominant person and I would like her to be more aggressive to help her out in life. I want so much for her to trample me, but I know she thinks she’s too heavy, her feet are too big, blah, blah, blah. What is a good way to ask or warm her up to walking on me? I asked her once about a year ago. She very, very tentatively did so and then quickly stepped off. I’ve been afraid to ask her since. I’ve told her that I’m going to drag a dominant side of her out someday, someway (Marshall Crenshaw anyone?) and have slooowwwly warmed her up to resting her feet on me while laying on the floor. She’s still a bit shy about it. But I want her to take the plunge and walk on me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much for listening!


Dear MJ,

Marshall Crenshaw notwithstanding, this is a territory where you must, if you’ll forgive the pun, tread lightly. I’m hearing that you have a particular desire from your fiancee – namely, that she trample you. This seems like something that the two of you could work up to, and I’ll talk more about that below. But be careful about the other thing I’m hearing, here: trying to force your fiancee to be a dominant.

In my experience, there’s very little more annoying than a submissive male trying to talk his female partner into dominating him when she doesn’t want to and it’s not in her nature. It’s not that people cannot be taught to dominate, and there are beautiful examples of experienced submissives training “from below,” as it were. But the would-be dominant must be willing – and wheedling, offering submissive gestures in the hopes that she’ll pick up the role, or suggesting that you’re going to “drag” her dominant side out, is probably not going to help you, and will probably just make her feel anything from annoyed to inadequate.

The good news is that you have a specific desire, and having your woman trample you does not sign her up for becoming your full-time Mistress. It doesn’t even have to mean that she’s being dominant – there is a difference between being a “top” (i.e. the “active” partner in a sexualized activity) and being “dominant” (i.e. the one holding the power in a power-exchange roleplay dynamic). You may find that she has a dominant streak eventually, but the first thing for you to do is guide her, safely and consensually, toward the activity you desire, without pushing for the whole enchilada.

As far as asking: you say this is something that really turns you on. If you’re not shy about that fact, she may be more able to get into it if she’s interested in your pleasure. You say that she’s shy about her size; she may be afraid of hurting you. Try setting up a safeword with her, and let her know that you will definitely say the word if she is truly hurting you. Try starting, as you said you have, with you lying on the floor while she puts her feet on you, and work your way up to her fully standing. She can start by just pressing you with her feet while sitting, then resting part of her weight on you with one foot from standing. Make sure she has something, like a wall, to hold onto for balance, and make sure she’s only stepping on safe places on your body: upper back, chest, butt, and thighs. Hopefully, she’ll find that she enjoys it for its own sake, and if you’re really lucky, she may eventually find that dominant streak in herself. If not – then at least you have a new piece in your sexual repertoire.

And don’t forget to keep telling her how incredibly sexy she is. I appreciate the compliments, MJ – but it sounds like your foxy fiancee needs them more.

My boyfriend is a self-proclaimed Dominant. Okay. I’m not what I’d call a naturally submissive person, but I’m really, really ready to give it a go with him. Really. Very much so. BUT – in my trying to explain that it was going to be quite a step for someone like me to engage in that side of the “play” I somehow managed to convince him I’d not truly like it. He doesn’t believe in “switches” he says, and any attempt by me to try to engage provokes comments like “But I know you don’t really like that” from him. DO I HAVE TO TIE MYSELF UP MYSELF! WTF?!?

I don’t understand the “no switches” rule; the idea that he doesn’t want to do anything I don’t truly WANT is… well… nothing short of sweet but I don’t know how to convince him I want to when I do want him to take the “this is hard for me, but in a good way” part seriously. And plain old “how to get it started” advice. A guy acquaintance suggested handcuffing myself to the bed, but… that seems hamfisted, pardon the pun.

Here’s what I’m hearing, and I’m sorry if it sounds harsh to your “self-proclaimed Dominant:” he’s insecure, and he’s misinformed.

First, the misinformed part: switches exist. In fact, if he’s been paying attention, he might notice that a large part of the overall BDSM culture grew originally out of the gay leather scene, in which, in olden days, every dominant was a submissive first. That was the way you came up in the ranks. So by the very nature of old school leather, every dominant is also a submissive. Even laying history aside, you can let your boyfriend know that I and many of my kinkiest friends are personally insulted by his assertion that we switches simply don’t exist. It’s like negating the existence of bisexuals. So: Dear Boyfriend: come join reality! It’s fun over here. We have cookies. And lots of sex.

Laying aside my own pet peeves, though, is the larger point that will probably be of more use to you: he’s scared. He probably wants to do things to you that he finds really hot, but he’s still afraid that that means there’s something wrong with him. BDSM dynamics require boatloads of trust, and it tends to be the dominant’s job to hold a lot of that trust. It is very, very easy to make a mistake and break trust in this type of dynamic, and so sometimes dominants are reluctant to play with people they’re not sure about. What if he hurts you and you hate it? What if you laugh at him? What if you find out something he’s into and freak?

Clearly, your words aren’t enough in this scenario to convince him that this is what you want. Tying yourself to the bed is a little hamfisted, indeed. But you might try something similar. Different triggers, when you’re being sexual with him, might open that headspace for him and indicate your availability. Some classics include kneeling at his feet, crossing your arms over your head when he’s on top of you, or undressing in front of him while he’s still clothed and watching. Try one of these if any of them turn you on, or something else simple. And keep talking: if you care deeply for him – and it sounds like you do – let him know that you’re not going to think less of him for wanting some nonstandard things. Have him introduce some of the things he’d like to do to you in dirty talk before actually doing them. Tell him to write you a letter or email with a fantasy scenario he has in mind, and pledge to yourself not to react badly to it, even if it’s not totally your cup of tea.

It may seem ironic, with him being the dominant and all, but you need to draw him out and make him feel safe.

Let me know how it goes, folks! I’m always reachable here at the blog, or at delilah@dommedelilah.com!

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My basic informational post about safewords is here.

There are a few notions about safewords, however, that I’ve come across and would like to take a moment to dispel.

Myth #1: Safewords are only for players who don’t know each other well.

While it’s true that in part, the use of safewords is for the purpose of communication when one might not know another’s reactions well enough to judge, it’s not always the best idea to drop safewords even when you’ve been playing together for a long time. There are a number of reasons to keep safewords in place, even in a long term D/s relationship Perhaps the top wants to regularly push the bottom’s boundaries and help him or her to grow. Having a safety net can really help when you’re trying to push past limits together. If there’s no way for the bottom to say no, the risk is much higher that someone will get physically or emotionally harmed. Also remember that people change, and relationships shift. What might be okay one day might not be okay the next, and safewords are excellent shorthand for “oh hey I thought this was okay but right now it’s really not and could you just stop it and hold me?” While in longer-term relationships people are more likely to “feel” or “know” when something is wrong by reading body language, it’s by no means foolproof, and without a safeword option, a bottom – particularly a submissive – can easily go silent and feel trapped, and that’s where a lot of damage can be done. More on this below.

Myth #2: If I don’t use a safeword, I can be pushed farther.

I have had a number of people contact me requesting – nay, demanding – that I do a scene with them without a safeword. Usually these people also want some kind of intense corporal punishment – like paddling, caning, or whipping – or to be severely trampled, or to have some other scene that involves a great deal of pain-endurance. They often have a story of the mistress who did this with them and how it was all fine and dandy.

To these people I say: Good luck with that. I won’t be visiting you at the hospital.

Doing a scene with a total or even relative stranger, that could involve physical harm, without a safeword, is just. plain. stupid. What these people seem to think is that if they have a safeword, they will call it, plain and simple, and thus they won’t be able to get past their own pain limitations.

First of all: fucking weh. I’m not here to risk criminal charges so you can push your limits. But second: you’re wrong.

If you do an intense scene without a safeword, the top, if he or she gives a shit about your safety or his or her own, will hold back. You won’t get the incredible, limits-pushing ball-busting you were looking for if the top doesn’t have an idea of how to know when to stop. And you, the bottom, may also get pushed where you don’t truly want to go, and get harmed in the process.

I did a scene with someone who was insistent about not using a safeword. I told him tough nooggies, and we did it with one. Guess what? He discovered that he was too proud to use the safeword, and so he got the intensity he was looking for, while always knowing that he could stop it if he really needed to. One way to combat the desire to play without safewords is to make the safeword something really stupid-sounding, or difficult to say, which may make the bottom less likely to want to use it. But if push comes to shove and the bottom needs an out – that sub will be screaming “I want a pomegranate enema!”

Myth #3: As long as I use a safeword, I’m totally fine.

This is the caveat to what I’ve said above, and it’s a tricky one.

Safewords are useful, yes. And as I’ve said, I don’t play professionally without them, and I usually don’t play personally without them, either. But it’s worth noting that sometimes, they don’t work.

Having a safeword in place, for example, is no excuse to engage in activities that you don’t know how to do safely. It’s all well and good if the bottom can tell you that the caning you’re delivering is too harsh; it’s rather unfortunate, though, if you’ve already struck him in a major organ at top force.

It’s also worth knowing that, for some submissives, it’s possible or even common to go non-verbal during a good scene. This can also happen during a bad scene, and if the submissive can’t drag herself up out of headspace to utter her safeword, she’s likely to endure something that she never wanted to endure – and that’s where harm gets done. If you top or dominate people, be sure that you develop good people-reading skills, or if you don’t have them, know that about yourself. It’s easy, in these intense emotional and physical spaces, for a scene to go wrong and for a submissive to feel trapped like a patient under surgery whose anesthesia has left them paralyzed but awake and unable to call for help. Safewords are great tools, but they are by no means perfect: keep your eyes open and your other senses alert for when a submissive may be in trouble.

Myth #4: It is never, never okay to not honor a safeword.

I’m probably going to catch a lot of shit for this, but here goes: sometimes, for certain experienced players who know each other well, it may be okay to play with ignoring safewords.

I’ve seen this posted in play party rules before: “If you’re going to be doing a scene where the safeword will be called and ignored, please inform the Dungeon Master beforehand.” Seriously? I thought at first. Somebody would do that?

The answer to that is always, of course, that yes, somebody would. But I want to emphasize here that what I’m talking about and cautiously condoning is a planned scene that contains layers of nonconsent play: probably the top will be doing something that will strongly encourage the bottom to call the safeword, and the players are eroticizing the idea of nonconsent even further by having the safeword be ignored.

My sincere hope (and my strong recommendation) is that those engaging in such scenes would have a “real” safeword underneath the ignorable one, that either party could call in case of real trouble. But I can see the power in enacting the scenario where the bottom calls the safeword and the top just keeps going. It’s terrifying, and thrilling, in the way that all the best BDSM scenes are.

But remember: if you are playing with someone who ignores your safeword, and you haven’t previously agreed to it, that is simple abuse. Mistress Hypatia out of the UK has a great piece on this and on the topic of safewords in general.

It’s a complex thing, this kinky world. It drills right into our psyches and our hearts and our deepest fears and desires. Remember that, revel in it, and play safe.

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Seeing as my most recent advice column mentioned safewords in both answers, I figured it was time for me to do my philosophizing about safewords – mostly for future reference.

Some of you may be familiar with Jay Wiseman; his SM 101 is a great book for those starting out in BDSM, and his near-paranoia about safety in the scene is legendary. I’m a bit less paranoid, but I do have concerns about novices starting out, especially with stories like this and this.

So first things first –

A Primer

For nearly every novice who comes and sees me having fantasized and scoured the Internet for kinky porn but never experienced the real thing, there’s a novice who’s never heard of safewords. It’s always amazing to me, probably because I learned about kink from people and how-to books, not from porn and kinky novels. Not that there’s anything wrong with porn and kinky novels, but in general they don’t provide a realistic view of how BDSM works. In the real world, cruel yet alluring and fantastically wealthy women don’t abduct unsuspecting tourists, feminize them and keep them locked to the floor by a chain around their balls. Except in my own dreams, when hot leather daddies pick up girls pretending to be boys and find out they’re actually girls, they don’t let them move in with them. And in real-life scenes, most of us use safewords.

A safeword is simply a word, usually but not always assigned by the top, that either/any party in a scene can use to make the scene stop. As soon as one of you says Wienerschnitzel, for example, everyone comes out of role, any potentially hazardous bondage is rapidly undone, and we all check in and find out what went wrong and what needs to happen next.

It’s smart not to pick a word that you might say in the course of a scene: “more,” “harder,” and “ouch,” for example, are poor choices. Something as simple as the word “safeword” itself is a popular choice.

Some also like to use what’s called the “traffic light” system for more nuanced communication, particularly between new play partners. “Red” means everything stops. “Yellow” means “slow down” or “let’s check in.” Some people like to choose a word that fits for the roleplay: a spanking client of mine likes to use “red,” not as in the traffic light but as in, “Ohhhh! It’s getting too red!” This lets him stay in role while differentiating between his usual squirming and crying and when I really am spanking him too hard. This is an important point about safewords: they’re especially useful when the bottom may want to play with resistance or non-consent.

That doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful in other places. I, for one, always play with safewords with my professional clients, in part because they are often new to me, and I don’t know what their reactions look like. While there are many common physical signs that help me to know whether someone is enjoying a flogging (low moans/shouts, tensing followed by relaxation of the muscles, deep breathing), it can be tricky to know how far to go with someone you’ve never played with before. Psychology can also be very different for different people: one person may want a sensual flogging; another may want to be made to truly endure, and their shrieks, rapid breath, and protests are all part of the scene for them. If I didn’t give them a safeword, I very likely wouldn’t push as far.

It’s also worthwhile to know that safewords aren’t just for bottoms; tops can use them, too. Tops carry the majority of the responsibility in scene, and it’s key for them to have a means of stopping the scene as well. The causes tend to be different, though: once I called “red” on a client who was a landscaper by trade; when I had him turn his back to me to tie him up, I realized he had a tick in his back. I stopped the scene to take care of it, then continued.

It’s my official recommendation that all players use safewords; even when you get to know someone well, sometimes you can be surprised, and having that safety net in place helps maintain trust. Nonetheless, there are also some myths about safewords, and I’ll address some of them: expect Safewords 201 – Not for the Faint of Heart – tomorrow.

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Hello, all! Today I have two questions from people just starting out; let’s hope that I can give them some good insight and not send them running screaming from all things kink. 🙂

If you’d like to ask me a question, write me at delilah@dommedelilah.com, or if you’re really brave, comment here!

Now: on with your questions!

Dear Delilah,

Let’s say you’re taking your first baby steps into kinky stuff. Let’s say you’re not the kind of person who just throws hirself into new things with outrageous abandon. How would you recommend finding out what it is that you like safely, both physically and emotionally?

-Aroused in Arlington

Dear Aroused,

I’m so glad you asked. There are many ways to go about this task; your job is to figure out which one works best for you.

One of the better ways of getting a sense of what you might like in the kinky world is to take a look at your fantasies. What do you think about when you jack off? What kind of porn turns you on? What things have you wished your partner would do to you – or wished you could do to your partner – when you’re having sex? This information can be invaluable when you’re trying to navigate the waters of BDSM and its offshoots. Start noticing it. Write it down in your journal. Observe trends.

The next step is trying things out. Now, a warning: one of the more interesting phenomena I’ve encountered is that sometimes the fantasy and the reality don’t match. Maybe your fantasy is something that’s simply not possible in our consensual reality: I have a client who has a giantess fetish, and while I am six feet tall, there’s no way I can be sixty. Or sometimes you might try out a fantasy and discover that in reality, it’s actually scary or uninteresting or even repugnant: maybe it’s nice to fantasize about being vomited on, but the smell, ach!

But you never know until you try, and if you’re a cautious person, the thing to do is pick one of your tamer fantasies first. What constitutes “tame,” you might ask? Depends on you. To you, tickling may be extreme edge play (it is for me; I detest being tickled). Having someone run a knife along your body without cutting may be perfectly tame. (For me, it’s extreme: I have a terror of knives.) When you think about making your fantasy into reality, how does it make you feel? Scared? Aroused? Intrigued? If it’s something closer to the latter two, give it a try. If it frightens you, try some tamer things first.

Finally, you need to share the fantasy with a partner and see if they will indulge you. If the person you’re involving is someone close to you and also new to kink, remember to be gentle and ask that they be gentle with you: you’re revealing something vulnerable about yourself, and you’re asking them to participate in something that may be intimidating. Make sure you make it clear that this is something you want to experience together: if it’s something you wind up enjoying, it’s more likely to be repeated if you both enjoy it. If you’re asking them to bottom, don’t forget to talk about safewords: they should have a word they can say that will stop all activity and give you a chance to check in. (Safewords are important for tops, too, in case you feel you need to stop.) If you’re asking them to top, reassure them that you won’t be critical during the experience; having the first experience be less intense but safe and pleasant is a good gateway to having more intense experiences later.

If both of you are new, it’s also important that at least one of you know what you’re doing. This is why it’s probably better to pick something less complicated: perhaps your partner could tie you to the bed with scarves, but you probably don’t want to be suspended from hooks just yet. There are plenty of books, classes and trainings in the Boston area and country-wide on various types of kink; I myself offer trainings for singles and couples if you are interested.

Another way to go about it, particularly if you attend kinky parties, is to approach someone experienced whom you’d like to play with, and ask them if they’d be willing to do “x” activity with you, a novice. Many experienced players are happy to “break in” newbies, and can (but may not always) provide you with valuable feedback. They also will likely already have good skills and boundaries around BDSM play, and will be able to more easily provide you with a safe environment to experience your early scenes.

Happy playing!

Dear Delilah,

As someone who has little practical experience with kink but who has recently started dating a man who is into BDSM, and is a “dominant,” I am unsure about many things: a) how to explain a willingness but a nervousness about participating in such sexual behavior b) what to expect c) where on earth this desire to be dominated came from.

-Unsure Me

Dear Um,

This is a marvelous tangle, isn’t it? It sounds like you’re on the cusp of something big for you. The question is, how do you make the experience exciting and safe and not let your trepidation keep you from going forward?

You ask how to explain a willingness yet a nervousness to engage in kinky-type sex. If this person you’re dating is a good guy (which I hope he is), then it shouldn’t be too difficult, or at least it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to him. You’re new to this, and that he knows, correct? Let him know that the idea of it turns you on, but you have some fears and he’ll need to take it slow. Make sure that you work out safewords: a word that either of you can say that will stop the kinky activity and give you a chance to talk about what happened. If he is dismissive of your nervousness, that’s a big red flag: BDSM is tricky territory, not to be entered into lightly. Make sure you can trust him before engaging in what could be risky behavior.

As far as what to expect: that depends. When I first got into kink, it was a whirlwind of emotions and sensations I never had encountered before. I started as a pure submissive, and among other things, I had some internal bridling about what it meant to be a feminist who wanted to be sexually overpowered by a man. I had some fear about giving over my power to another. But I also had (and continue to have) some of the most fulfilling and exciting sex of my life. As I grew into my kinky identity as a switch, I experienced the rush of power exchange in both directions, the sacredness of trust given and trust received, and the incredible closeness it can engender. But the experience is very individual.

One thing to be careful of is not to think that you have to be forced to endure anything that you don’t like, either to “prove” how kinky you are, or to satisfy your dominant boyfriend. While in some relationships submissives sometimes endure things for love of their dominants, this is not a necessary component of kink, and if something he does causes you suffering without pleasure (as distinguished from the pleasure one may derive from suffering “for” someone), then don’t agree to it.

And where did this desire come from? Boy, did I ask myself the same question years ago. For you, it may be coming from this person in particular, and how his desires affect yours. Or, he could be pushing buttons that you’ve just never had pushed before, that were just there waiting to be pushed. I wouldn’t worry about that part too much: not everybody’s kink comes from some childhood trauma or repressed memory. Some of us just desire a more intense experience than plain vanilla sex can usually provide, and kink is how we go about getting it.

Above all, be safe, trust yourself, remember your safewords – and check in with yourself frequently about your own power in the rest of your life. Giving someone else power over you temporarily can be incredibly erotic, trust-building, and intimate. Giving someone else control over your life, however, rarely works out well.


That’s it for this week. Remember to send me your questions: delilah@dommedelilah.com.

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