BDSM for Beginners

Your comprehensive guide to our world. Beg for it.

Confused about a term on this website? Don’t know how to go about something? Here’s the quick and dirty on the building blocks for a scene to remember!

For the purposes of this website, dominants are referred to as “She”s, and submissive are referred to as “He”s, although with a little bit of imagination, this info can be fitted for anyone of any gender!


Want to explore something different than reality? Step into character and let the fun begin! Whether scripted out or spontaneous, the sky is the limit when two people act out their fantasies in character. When thinking about the type of role play you might like, ask yourself who do you wish to be? There are as many types of role play as there are individuals to imagine them up. Some popular ones are boss/employee, teacher/student, doctor/patient, spy vs spy, next door neighbors, but get creative, and any situation has potential to be a role play!


This category is play that involves using toys and props (and crops – oh my!) to hit someone. Sounds pretty simple, but there are enough kinds of different toys to bury you alive! The best way to understand toys is by how “stingy” or “thuddy” they feel. Does the toy create a sharp, burning sensation, or does it leave a dull, slowly-emanating sensation? All bodies react to toys differently, though, so be sure to start slow, build in intensity and keep communication open.

Bare hand spanking: Exactly what it sounds like – hand-to-ass (or thigh) contact. This is an activity that usually feels stingy, but proper warm up can help this feel more thuddy. Lots of people enjoy this activity because it is very intimate and involves lots of person-to-person physical contact.

Floggers: A popular toy, the flogger consists of a handle and many strands of leather, rubber, or other thick yet bendable material. Each strand is called a “tail,” and the collection of tails at the end is called the “mop.” The placement of a flogger on the stingy-thuddy spectrum is highly variable. Floggers with heavier mops (more strands) tend to be more thuddy. Floggers with thinner tails or tails made of rubber tend to be stingier. This is one of the few toys that can be used safely on the upper back and chest.

Paddles: If you’ve been around long enough, you may remember these from preparatory school. If not, a paddle is a flat, wide, relatively inflexible tool. It can be made out of solid wood, metal, leather, or rubber, or it may be a combination of materials. Again, the thuddy or stingy factor depends on material, flexibility, and shape. A paddle that is made of solid wood or leather that is thick, inflexible, and has a wide striking surface will feel thuddy. A paddle that is rubber will probably feel stingy. Some paddles have holes or designs drilled into them, which greatly increases their stinginess – or decorative power!

Strap: A close cousin of the paddle, a strap is typically made of flexible material like leather or rubber folded over once into a flat-laying loop. These make great sounds when striking anything, and come in a variety of sizes. These tend to be stingy, but test it out to gauge your level of sensation.

Canes: These are long, flexible, reed-like implements often made of bamboo, rattan or plastic and typically only used on rumps and thighs. They range in thickness from the width of a pencil to over an inch. High on the sting and likely-to-cause-bruising spectrums.

Crops: This toy has a firm handle, flexible extension and flat leather or rubber head on the end. The head can be varying widths which effects how sharp the sting is. The wider the head (no, not that head), the lesser the sting, and vice versa.

Sing-tail whip: This toy requires a high level of precision and practice to be used safety. A long braided tail is attached for a firm handle, and this creates a very sharp sting. Not for the amateur or for the faint of heart!


This term describes any tool that can be used to tie up (or down) a submissive. Simple as that!

Rope: This toy is a favorite of BDSM players who love to show off their artistry. Many different schools of elaborate knot-tying exist, but the basics are easy to master and very effective. Rope comes in many textures, so you should choose what feels good to you and your partner. Harsh ropes can be good for punishment scenes, but softer ropes are good for long scenes focused on the aesthetics of tying.

Restraints: Restraints are literally tools to restrain a person, such as handcuffs, leather or metal or even nylon and Velcro cuffs. These are good for people who like an immobilized bottom, but lack the patience for rope. A simple click or snap on the wrists or ankles will keep you from wiggling too much as long as the restraints are fastened to something secure like a bed post.

Saran wrap: Saran wrap is most often used in “mummification play” where parts of a person’s body are wrapped repeatedly in saran wrap many times until they are unable to move (e.g., legs together or arms to torso). It is also great for incorporating temperature play because ice cubes can be snuck between layers of plastic wrap, and candle wax can be dripped on top layers for easy clean up!

Bondage tape/vet wrap: Once upon a time, people thought using duct tape to restrain submissives was a good idea. Bondage tape and vet wrap are a perfect alternative because this tape only sticks to itself, never skin. Bondage tape is also usually reusable, so simply rinse and wrap around the roll to use again!

Predicament bondage: This is more a type of play than a tool for play. Predicament bondage is a type of restraint system where a lose-lose situation is created, where you, as the submissive, eventually have to make a choice that will cause yourself more pain. For example, you are on your back, with your ankles suspended in the air from a pulley. The other end of the rope is hooked around a chain connected to the clamps on your nipples. Eventually, your legs will get so tired that you will have to lower them, but this will pull the clamps off!


This is the general description for “the lifestyle” of BDSM. Anything involving the free exchange of power between two people falls under this category. Here are some common terms and concepts.

Mistress/Miss/Domina/Goddess, etc.: These are typical names for the female person who has the power in the relationship/scenario/session, aka the dominant person. She makes the decisions (with her submissive’s input and consent, of course!) and is the director of most activities. The extent of her control depends on negotiations, but she can control anything from what type of intimacies she has with her partner to what he eats.

Slave: This name is for the person who has given up power and control in the relationship/scenario/session, aka the submissive person. He chooses to give his control over to his Mistress in exchange for the fulfillment of his desire to submit to the will of another. Other names include: pet, sub, slut, boytoy, etc.

Rituals: This is the term for any action that is done regularly to reinforce the power exchange between two partners. Examples include: a Mistress putting a collar on her slave, a submissive preparing his Mistress’s breakfast each morning, a submissive presenting himself naked for inspection by his Mistress, etc.

Service-oriented submission: This type of submission is focused not on receiving pain but on performing acts of service. Service is broadly defined as anything that makes a Dominant’s life easier. Examples include: holding her cigar, shining her shoes, making her drinks, serving as her table, etc.

Consensual non-consent: This type of D/s play is often considered very taboo even by people who “live the lifestyle”, but its themes align with much of the foundation of D/s play. Consensual non-consent involves a submissive allowing his partner to force him to do things that he may or may not want at that time. A classic example is when a submissive consents in advance that it’s ok for the dominant to ignore his protests (or on the extreme spectrum, even his safeword) and continue on as she desires.


This type of play involves playing with or cutting off one or more of a submissive’s senses (hearing, seeing, speaking), or manipulating his mental state. It can be used to increase fear or anxiety, but also to reinforce the experience of surrendering all control.

Blindfolds: This is any type of covering for eyes. It can be as elaborate as specialty leather mask or as simple as your own tie.

Gags: This is any type of material that can be stuffed safely into a mouth and secured. Gags that fill the mouth like ball gags end the ability to speak, while others like scarves tied around a head and wedged between a teeth are better if the submissive is allowed to mumble some responses. There are other gags that hold the mouth open as well just as spider and ring gags.

Earphones/plugs: These are used to prevent the submissive from hearing. This is often best when used with blindfolds to make the submissive completely unable to predict your next move.

Mummification: This is the wrapping of a submissive in some material until all parts of his body are trapped together like a mummy. Total immobilization for torturing pleasure!

Tickle torture: This is a type of sensory play because it transforms a perhaps pleasant experience of being tickled into utter agony. The submissive may try to fight back, but using some kind of bondage will ensure the fun ends when Mistress decides.

Hot wax/ice: Temperature play is a very fun way of using the senses for arousal. Pouring melting wax onto a submissive is a very versatile activity because distance can be used to tease the submissive and proximity can enhance the heat. Where you choose to drip the wax is also important. A cruel Mistress can drip wax directly onto the genitals and laugh while you scream! Ice can be very cooling and sensual, or it can cause shivers or pain when applied over sensitive spots.

Clothespins: What makes clothespins an excellent toy, in addition to cost-effectiveness, is that they hurt coming on and coming off! Pinch the skin, place a clip, and let it stay for a little while. Shortly after the clip has been placed, the skin in the pinchers will go numb. Flick the clip and it will affect the skin around it. Remove the clip and blood will rush back, causing a painful sensation.

Tease & Denial: This is the term for any activity that involves teasing a submissive with the promise or threat of an activity while delaying delivery. This can be used to create fear of harsh punishment without having to ever actually cause pain or deny the submissive permission to orgasm when he wants it most.


Medical play: Medical themed role play often involving realistic medical instrument such as a stethoscope, speculum, enema, bindings, etc.

Electro play: Any play using elements of electricity to stimulate the senses. Possible toys include: Eros-tek unit, neon or violet wand, bug zapper, cattle prod, stun gun, etc.

Edge Play: A subjective term for types of BDSM play that rides the “edge” of your partners’ limits. Examples include knife play, breath play, fire play, even some edgier role plays such as rape play (depending on the submissive’s tastes).

Public play: Taking the darkness of your play into the daylight… candle-lit dinners with a remote controlled vibe, BDSM play parties, etc.,

Age play: Role play where one partner pretends to be much older/younger than they actually are. Maybe Mistress is really your Auntie, your Professor, or that cougar next door, or the exact opposite – a bratty bossy girl next door. It’s all in good fun, though, since you’re playing with someone of legal age! Check out disclaimers if you don’t believe us!

Pet play: Role play where one or both partners pretends to be an animal in order to explore power exchange. This can include puppy play, kitty play, pony play…

Fetish play: A fetish is any sexual desire that focuses on one particular object instead of a whole scene. Examples are: foot fetishes, latex fetishes, leather fetishes, lingerie fetishes, etc.


These are two very important concepts for BDSM, and will definitely be explained more in further posts. Communication and negotiation are extended dialogues between partners on what they will or will not consent to during an erotic situation.

Consent: A freely given, clearly articulated “yes” to a particular activity. Note: saying yes to one thing does not necessarily indicate a yes to another. “Yes, please spank my ass” does not mean “Yes, please whip my ass with a single tail later.”

Establishing consent: This is laying the groundwork for your scene through partners exchanging information about experience levels, interests, limits. Where you overlap is a good indicator of what is on the table for your time together. Be specific about what activities you want to explore, want to explore but are timid about it, and activities where you are not at all interested in exploring. Don’t forget to always play with a safe word!

Safeword: An agreed upon word that means “stop right now.” If one partner says their safeword, it must be respected. Using a safeword is not the same as pretending to struggle.

Caution word: This is like a safeword, but it means “slow down” or “check in with me” rather than “cease and desist.” This is good for people who are learning their own limits, or for people who want to push their own limits. They can use a caution word to slow the play while still allowing the scene to continue.

Violations of consent: This happens when one crosses a limit of their partner’s or forces them to do an activity they did not agree to. Also known as: sexual violence, sexual assault, or real rape, i.e. the kind of activities that could land you in jail.

So that we are not ending on that depressing note (trust me, it’s depressing for me too), here is one more important definition that just about every kink player should know and appreciate!

Aftercare: Aftercare is the process of decompressing or “coming down” after a scene—returning to the real world and your normal, civilized self. BDSM can be a very emotional, sometimes psychologically intense experience. The bottom needs to be reminded that their Top never actually want to cause them serious harm; that they still value and care for them, and the Top may need to be reminded that they are not in fact a horrible, callous bully. Aftercare can be done in various ways, and the length, type, and duration may vary depending on the intensity of the scene. Not everyone wants or needs aftercare in every circumstance, so check with your partner before the scene begins and again after, to ascertain their expectations for aftercare. Read more about Aftercare here!

*BDSM can be dangerous and cause injury to yourself and others if not practiced safely. Don’t play hard if you don’t know what you are doing (ie. the likes of electric tools, asphyxiation, bondage, wax play, sensory deprivation and augmentation, etc.). Please do your research and contact a professional (ahem…come visit us!) to learn more before you act!