BDSM 101: Changing from Vanilla to the D/s lifestyle

Starting Out -

BDSM 101: Changing from Vanilla to the D/s lifestyle

Ready to go to the other side - vanilla to kink!

Is this you? Happily in a ‘vanilla’ relationship, plodding along in life, content with what you have but feeling like there might be something missing. Maybe you read an erotic book and felt turned on by the spanking, or maybe you saw a woman wearing handcuffs kneeling before and looking up at her partner, or maybe you watched a show on Netflix where a Dominatrix was walking on her sub. Maybe you feel a bit weird inside that you long to explore some of those fetishes, maybe you fear that your partner will freak out and treat you differently or maybe you just tuck it away inside yourself but you always know that it is there! Maybe one day while lying in bed chatting to your partner about anything and everything, you let slip that you would like to try something sexual that is a bit out of the ordinary to your normal style. And maybe he or she is like woohoo! I am so glad you said that. Me too! But how do you even start?

Maybe you have already started scouring the adult shops looking for some toys to play with or maybe you have been googling to learn or watching some BDSM porn! (Although side note: don’t rely on what you see in porn to know what BDSM is really like!). It might seem overwhelming and intimidating knowing what to do first. So …

  1. Start communicating. You will be able to have the most incredible conversations with your trusted partner, and you can begin talking about the types of things that you would like to try.
  2. Don’t rush! Take your time and take it all in. Maybe you just start with one tiny kinky thing at a time.
  3. Keep it simple. Don’t go overboard buying the entire paddle and flogger section of an adult shop. Don’t stock up on an overload of sex toys! Start with the basics (see our Top 10 Toys for Beginners) insert link and try one or two things at a time.
  4. Don’t be influenced by what you THINK you should be doing. Do what feels right for you and what you are interested in.
  5. D/s relationships need both parties in it together. Talk, talk and talk some more! Know your fears, turn ons, turn offs and feelings.


Set limits

Read up on the concept of Safe, Sane and Consensual. Talk about it together, be honest and discuss issues and questions. Set your limits which are lines that are drawn by either or both people. They can expand as your relationship grows but NEVER crossed. In never crossing a limit, trust is maintained and your relationship will blossom.

Find a BDSM Activity Checklist. Each of you can complete it, and then set aside some time to go through it all and discuss your thoughts about each activity. Ask questions, talk to each other about how each one makes you feel. Does it freak you out completely and you would rather swim with sharks? Or does it make you feel warm and fuzzy or excited and buzzy and make you want to try doing it every single day!

If you don’t know a word, look it up so you can talk to each other about it with enough knowledge that you can both decide what you think. 

Once you have both filled it in, make a list of the activities that you both rated the highest. You can then use that as your starting point to start finding some toys! Maybe you both like the idea of being blindfolded, so use a soft cloth from around the home, try it and both talk about what you think. If you really liked it, then you can progress from your soft cloth and buy a proper blindfold. Then just work your way down the list of activities!

If the partner who is going to be the Dominant is wary of hurting you, there are ways for him to practice on you safely! Research how to use impact toys so he/she knows the good places to his, but then have the sub wear heavy clothing while they practice to reduce anxiety levels of hurting the sub. 

Support each other as both of you might have fears or apprehensions! 


Always learning

While the Dominant is learning new skills like using impact toys, the submissive can learn behaviours and courtesies to make it a happy and healthy power exchange. The submissive can practice giving over control over certain areas of their life that you agreed on. Or you might have negotiated that you will just ‘play’ in a D/s relationship in the bedroom!

Becoming a Dominant can be a head rush but you are going to be responsible for the health, happiness and well-being of your submissive which is a big deal, so start with one or two things that you agree on and then move to other areas. 

Talk about what types of control you want to use power exchange in, for example, speaking at home, choosing what clothes to wear, or sexual control like when you can orgasm. 

You could start with a couple of hours a day where the Dominant can make all the decisions and the submissive will ask permission to do anything. At the end of the two hours, talk about what was difficult, what you enjoyed, what you had questions about, and both give each other feedback. 


So now you have both discovered that you love BDSM! Where to from here? You could negotiate a contract, for example, set a duration of a weekend and define your expectations, limits, rights and needs. It does not need to be fancy or formal; it might just provide some guidelines for you both to follow and be guided by as you grow and learn together, as well as being a great tool for encouraging communication. 

Respect and love each other

This is new for you so be kind to yourselves! You will make mistakes. Be patient and don’t be critical or judgmental of each other. Laugh together, hug together, support each other, love each other, and take time to still be the couple you are familiar with and love and be your devoted couple. No matter what happens in your kink journey, if you laugh, love and remain the best of friends, it will be a journey you will never forget. 

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