A Beginner’s Guide to Kink

    When people hear “kink” they often think of things like BDSM—chains, whips, restraints, etc. Sure, kink can include those things. But really, it’s simply a sexual act that’s seen as unconventional—and can add excitement and fun into your sex life!

    Kink is usually looked at through the lens of what a given culture or society deems normal, but it’s also relative to each couple and individual. If the missionary position seems foreign to you, but you don’t think twice about using blindfolds, missionary could be defined as one of your kinks.

    Kink sometimes gets a bad or shameful reputation in society, but it can be a perfectly normal and healthy expression of sexual interests. Research even shows people who practice BDSM are less neurotic, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, have higher subjective well-being and other great things. Wanting to explore doesn’t make you weird; it makes you open to an experience that could enhance your sex life!

    There are so many different manifestations of kink that it’d be impossible to touch upon them all in one article. Below, the focus is on introducing activities you and your partner could try right away, rather than discussing the more complex or layered manifestations of kink. After all, there are literally dozens of different kinks out there, ranging from things like mummification to pony play.

    Think of this as your guide to getting started and know there’s plenty more to explore if you enjoy it.

    Preparing for a Positive Experience

    It’s always important to engage in clear discussions about desires, expectations and boundaries before you try something new in bed, but it’s even more important when kink is involved. If you’ll be exploring light pain, for example, you’ll want to ensure you don’t walk away feeling physically and/or emotionally hurt by your partner. Ensuring everyone is on the same page helps foster a positive sexual encounter for all involved.

    Each partner should take time to identify what they are dying to try, what they are open to exploring if it’s their partner’s desire and what they don’t want to do. Then talk about it and decide how the encounter will go. For example, maybe you decide to try handcuffs, but only during foreplay. The more explicit you can both be about your expectations and boundaries, the better the experience will be.

    Engaging in a Positive Experience

    Try starting out small. Avoid trying a bunch of new activities right from the start as this can get overwhelming. Pick one or two things to try. You can always add in more later on down the line.

    It’s also helpful to proactively check in with your partner throughout the experience. Ask questions to see what they feel like doing, such as, “Would you like to tie me up now?” or “Can I pull your hair?" Since so much of exploring kink with your partner is dependent on communication, never be afraid to ask questions. Plus, far as we're concerned, it's just good manners to ask someone how hard they want to be spanked.

    Keep in mind you may need to adjust as you go. Maybe you have to re-tie the restraints because someone’s arm got uncomfortable or you take the blindfold off because it wasn’t enjoyable. It’s all part of the learning experience.

    Beginner Kink Activities

    The world of kink is vast and really only limited by your imagination. Below are some common ways to dip your toes into the water.

    Blindfold

    Removing visual stimuli can help make it easier to focus on touch sensations happening on your body. It can also make sensations stronger since you won’t know what’s going to happen or where. All you need is his tie, a sleep mask, a scarf or some other material that will block out light and not be uncomfortable against your skin.

    Blindfolds are fun everywhere, and can be used in everything from foreplay to full-on sex.

    Hand Ties

    Restricting your hands can give you one less thing to think about, which can make it easier to get into the moment. You won’t need to worry about whether you should be scratching his back, massaging his neck, etc. Instead, you’ll be in, "can’t do anything but receive pleasure" mode. Many women find this to be especially enjoyable while receiving oral.

    Or maybe you want to flip the script and tie your partner up. Many women find this approach helps them feel dominant and powerful. You can even try both approaches to see which you and your partner enjoy more.

    You can use a variety of materials for bondage, such as a scarf or rope. Aim for tight enough to restrict your range of motion, but not so tight that it hurts or you feel trapped. A good rule of thumb is tying it so you can still slip two fingers between the material and the skin.

    Biting, Scratching, and Spanking

    These sharp sensations can create a great contrast to gentle touch. They can give bodies a jolt of energy, make other sensations more sensitive and even release endorphins. Beginners usually don’t want these to actually feel painful and instead focus on them creating a new feeling on the skin. Wait until the partner is really turned on as this will increase their pain tolerance and help generate a better sensation.

    For biting, some good spots are the neck, the shoulders and the butt. For scratching, you can consult the Kama Sutra for some great technique recommendations. One favorite is the “peacock’s foot”, which involves scratching the breast with all five nails. This can be done towards or away from the nipple. For spanking, try rubbing the area first before you smack. You can use a hand, a wooden spoon or even a paddle from a sex toy shop.

    Aftercare

    Aftercare is a term used to describe the process of checking in together after a kink session. It often involves nurturing your partner through cuddling, tender kissing and talking about things. Go over what you did and did not enjoy. One or both partners may struggle with feeling a little distant afterwards or shame about engaging in less common sexual acts. Talk through how you both felt, what you didn’t like and what you can’t wait to try again. Keep exploring kink and you’ll find some great ways to add to your sex life.

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    This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.