Love Shop’s Beginner Guide to BDSM

Listen, we know times are tough. A lot is changing in the world and it's hard to cope with the stress of a major pandemic keeping us all inside, but there are a few things we can do to take back control of our lives—simple things like establishing a healthy routine, taking time to connect with loved ones, checking in on your mental and physical health and broadening your horizons by taking up new activities and hobbies.

While we understand having no clue of what the future will bring, we have a few fool-proof ways of making the best of all the sensory deprivation! It’s called Bondage Discipline Sadism and Masochism (BDSM), and it’s been around much longer than the 2011 release of Fifty Shades of Grey... If you’ve ever thought about exploring the vast world of BDSM, that makes you one of a high percentage of people who, according to a 2015 study by Fonds de Recherche Québécois sur la Société et la Culture (FRQSC), have expressed interest in participating in some form of non-traditional sex.

Love Shop wants to take an erotic approach to helping you fill your days and nights with new, exciting ways to liven up your sex life, and it starts with one question we get a lot.

What is BDSM?

The acronym stands for Bondage Discipline Sadism and Masochism, but is more commonly used as an umbrella term for the many variations of non-traditional sex acts involving power dynamics. It’s more than whips and chains, collars, gags and handcuffs; it’s a practice between two or more consenting adults—emphasis on the consent! BDSM is a mutual exploration of exchanging power, weaving pain with pleasure, role-playing and much more.

First Things First...

Before donning your leather or polishing up your latex, you must discuss safety and rules with your partner(s). This includes, but is not limited to, establishing a “safe word” and outlining your soft and hard limits, implementing a colour-code system and more.

Safe
Word

A safe word is like a white flag you can put up when an activity becomes too much to handle. When a participant utters the safe word, the dominant party must stop and reassess their partner’s comfort level, and whether to stop all activity or resume after reaching a mutual agreement. Make your safe word something obvious, but difficult to forget, like “caramel” or “indigo” so when the dominant partner hears it, they’ll know to step away.

Setting Your Limits

Between soft limits, hard limits, and requirement limits, there are lots of parameters to discuss before engaging in any type of BDSM. Like a safe word, limits are important to set ahead of time to ensure comfort, safety and trust between partners before enacting a scene. 

Requirement Limits

A “requirement” limit is something submissive and dominant parties absolutely need to feel comfortable enacting a BDSM scene. Setting requirement limits ensures both parties are getting what they need to enjoy a scene.

“If you fuck me doggy-style, I need you to spank me and pull my hair.”

“After my punishment, I’ll require lots of aftercare.”

“During penetrative sex, dirty talk is a must.”

Soft Limits

These are things a submissive may express an interest in but is cautious to explore. We must never assume if someone has agreed to be submissive that they’re fine with any sex act. We set soft limits in place for dominants to explore slowly and consensually with their submissive.

"I want to try anal play, but I’m hesitant.”

“We can explore my pain threshold very slowly.”

“I don’t mind some bruises, but permanent scars are not for me.”

Hard Limits

These limits are put in place by all parties to ensure safety and comfort in a BDSM scene. Hard limits are acts either party are not willing to explore and must be respected atall costs. Whether it’s for peace of mind, personal comfort level or physical limitations, a good dominant knows never to toe the line of a hard limit.

"I love getting spanked, but I am not comfortable with anal penetration”

“I have a disability and cannot have my arms or hands tied above my head.”

“I do not enjoy anything that involves blood/urine/feces/vomit. Spit and semen are okay.”

Aftercare

s a submissive, you might experience an intense rush of endorphins before, during, or after a BDSM scene which may cause swings in emotion or mood. Aftercare is given to the submissive “after the fact” by the dominant. Some submissives need to be soothed, assured or attended after rough play. It is an important part of BDSM and strengthens bonding and trust between partners. A good dominant understands the importance of taking care of their submissive after a session, and should provide positive affirmation, physical care or whatever previously agreed upon care their partner needs.

"You did very well, now let’s lay down and cuddle until your heartrate returns to normal.”

“That was an intense spanking, you’ll need lotion and a massage to soothe your skin.”

“Wow, you took a beating, and I’m very proud of you, let me get you some water and a snack to replenish your electrolytes.”

Colour Codes

Assigning colours to signal when to slow down and when to stop can be useful in a BDSM scene. When words like “no” and “stop” become part of your scene, using green, yellow and red can let your partner know if your physical and mental limits are being pushed or exhausted.

Red

During intense play, when a partner says “red”, it means stop. They may have hit their limit or need a break before resuming. Just like traffic lights, running a red light in a scene is against the law.

Yellow

Saying “yellow” will let the dominant partner know their partner is approaching uncomfortable territory or might need less stimulation, a short break to catch their breath, or to ease up on the intensity. Slow down. Reassess. Dial back and start again when your partner givesyou the green light.

Green

This one is obvious. Green means go! The submissive partner is ready to receive whatever the dominant has in store for them.

Now we’ve covered the important stuff, it’s time to get to the goods! We’re talking about our favourite BDSM products, scenes and concepts. If you have a genuine curiosity for BDSM, or are just starting out in the world of power exchange and role-play, let this list be a short introductory guide to the hundreds of kinky possibilities! We’ll break down our top 5 favourite types of BDSM play and tell you why they excite us!

Wax Play

Wax play is an exhilarating type of play that marries sensation and aesthetics, but before you dive in, you must take safety precautions. Never use regular scented or household candles, as the wax can get extremely hot and cause scalding of the skin. There are special candles you can purchase that are low temperature and won’t burn skin, like these. Do not engage in wax play on your best sheets either! Dripping coloured wax over your partner’s sensitive skin will cause a mess, so lay down a towel, mat or a reusable sex sheet such as the PVC bed sheet from Liberator to make cleanup easy. Light your candle, let the flame melt the wax, snuff out the flame and get to pouring! Your partner will gasp and quiver from the warm drops splattering over their skin, turning them into a gorgeous human canvas!

*Note: Safety is everything. Have an extinguisher nearby and brush up on your fire safety practices!

Bondage

Over the last decade, we’ve seen bondage play appear in mainstream media more than ever before. There are many types of bondage from Shibari (artful Japanese rope bondage) to the increasing demand for under-the-bed restraint systems, handcuffs, posture restraints and more. Whether you’re a noobie or a bondage master, there are endless avenues of restricting your partner’s movement.

Hand Cuffs

An inexpensive item you can add to your bondage collection! Classic, versatile and widely available, handcuffs are fabulous for beginners looking to lock up their partners for a night of fun! We recommend Sincerely Lace Double Strap Handcuffs as a comfortable and stylish beginner set or Sportsheets Suction Cup Handcuffs if you want to try bondage in the tub!

Bondage Rope

 Wind coils of beautiful material around your partner’s wrists, arms, thighs, knees, ankles and more! Rope bondage is an ancient art form, and for good reason. You can create endless shapes and secure your partner’s body into sultry positions from which they can’t escape (unless you want them to.) Bondage rope comes in several materials such as jute, cotton, nylon, hemp, MFP (synthetic fibre) and vary in strength, texture and friction. We suggest Kink Collection Soft Cotton Bondage Rope as a great cotton rope, ideal for all levels of BDSM lovers.

Sashes

Like rope, bondage sashes are meant for securing submissives, but without the rigidity of rope. Sashes are luxurious, non-abrasive and simply gorgeous! Check out Sex and Mischief Silky Sash Restraints for a sleek option.

Pet / Owner Play

A pet-play scene involves the submissive taking on the role of an animal (puppy, kitten, pony, pig, bunnies and more) and the dominant taking the role of owner. You can affix your pet with a collar and leash, take them for a walk, feed them, groom them, pet them and dress them up as you see fit! And if your pet acts up, you can always put them in a cage until they learn better.

Hoods

Complete your fantasy with a muzzling hood that transforms your partner into the perfect pet! Interested in puppy play? Check out our selection of puppy products that will have them wagging their tails!

Collars & Leashes

No good pet goes without a collar to remind them who they belong to! Attach a leash to it and you have the makings of a good girl or boy. Here are a few collars and leash sets we think you’ll love: Saffron Leash and Collar, Lux Fetish CollarCuffs and Leash Set and Tom of Finland Gun Metal Leash.

Tails

Affix your pet with a fitting tail! No pony is complete without a long silky tail. Go from babe to bunny with an adorable cottontail or squeal like a piggy with a cute curly plug!

Impact Play

Punishment never hurt so good! Did you know most humans can sift through the sting of a slap to find an underlying layer of... pleasure? If you don’t believe us, there are thousands of impact play toys on the market backing us up! If the idea of being slapped or spanked makes your toes curl in a good way, read ahead to learn about the many types of tools we can use to deliver satisfying punishment with varying degrees of intensity and style.

Paddles

These instruments of destruction are made from a sturdy material like wood or leather to withstand hours of impact. Some come with extra features such as spikes or studs for those who’ve been extra naughty, holes to decrease resistance, notches to imbue interesting marks and textures or bevelled words or tread that leave patterns on the skin.

Floggers

These types of whips have more strands or tails than the average whip, made from leather, faux leather, suede, chain, fur or anything that can deliver a sting. Depending on the material of the tails, a flogger can deliver anything from feather-light lickings to harsh bites that leave welts, so it’s important to select a material based on you or your partner’s taste for pain. Try this beautiful suede flogger by Kink Collection for a luxurious experience.

Riding Crops

A riding crop’s tip is flat and usually made of leather to deliver a satisfying smack. Loved for their durability and ease-of-use, a riding crop is ideal for beginners looking to explore impact play with a prop that won’t cause welting. The wider surface of the tip makes for less intensity, but still provides a lovely sting. The Sportsheets Sweet Sting Crop is a gorgeous, yet simplistic riding crop to try for your first time.

Torture Play

For those of you who are ready to take your adventures in BDSM to the next level, there are many types of torture play and torture devices to incorporate into a scene. Having your hard, soft and requirement limits in place before engaging in torture play is key to enacting a safe and sane BDSM scene. Torture play goes beyond the parameters of regular bondage and usually incorporates some kind of torture device or sensory deprivation. Let us introduce you to a few of our favourite acts and props and explain their uses

Wartenberg Wheels

While you or your partner are indisposed (tied up, locked down or unable to move in some way) the Wartenberg Wheel inflicts tiny bites of pain by rolling the spiked wheel over the skin. This causes the nerves to react and can provide intense sensations, especially to someone who is blindfolded, as it heightens our other senses. Wartenberg wheels are often made of steel, but you can find them in plastic as well.

Nipple Clamps

Nipple play is a popular act, and not only in BDSM. Who doesn’t love to have their nipples touched, squeezed, licked or flicked? For those who want to up the ante, there are many styles of clamps which can be attached to these sensitive hubs of nerves. From a beginner alligator-style clamp that can be adjusted for tightness to a butterfly style that squeezes tighter when pulled. Looking for something even more extreme? Try weighted nipple clamps if you’re ballsy!

CBT (Cock & Ball Torture)

Hold on to your junk, gentlemen... CBT stands for Cock and Ball Torture, and involves inflicting pain to the male genitals and surrounding area. This includes, but is not limited to: slapping, flogging, stretching, using chastity devices (cock cages or chastity belts), ball crushing and urethral sounding rods. We could go on, but we’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks.

Note: we do not recommend CBT for beginners. We suggest doing your research and seeking advice from people experienced in BDSM and CBT first!

Pussy Torture

Like CBT, pussy torture is about inflicting pain or intense stimulation to the vagina, labia and clitoris. Whether it’s over-stimulation like forced orgasms, labia-stretching/spreading, slapping or flogging, some folks derive intense pleasure from having their lady bits abused! Again, do not attempt a torture scene without proper knowledge and a firm grip of safety practices. Searching for videos on your favourite porn site? Keep in mind the actors involved are experienced professionals and you might not find the right information (although, you might get some fun ideas!)

Electro Stimulation

One of the lesser-known forms of torture play involves zapping your lover using special electro-charged toys. Have you ever received a shock from touching a metal shopping cart or the door of your car? Well, some people get off the to that sensation, and there are a remarkable number of toys on the market that allow internal and external electric exploration! A shock-collar for your penis? That exists. How about a metal dildo that shocks while you use it? Or conduct currents of electric sensation across your submissive’s skin using a Violet Wand.

Wherever your BDSM desires take you, always communicate openly with your partner(s) to ensure a fun and safe experience for all. Giving up power does not mean giving up control. Love Shop does not recommend engaging in any of the aforementioned activities if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Stay safe and have fun!