#SexColumn: Everything you wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) about S&M
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By Sharon Gordon
Even if you're not sure what S&M actually entails, the letters alone probably conjure up images from movies you’ve seen or books you’ve read: Whips and chains, leather and latex, and all those ties up leashed people you’ve seen online!
It's common to assume that sadism-and-masochism enthusiasts are at best unusual or shocking and at worst downright depraved. But are they really?
Evidence suggests that S&M enthusiasts differ from "normal" people in two ways: They have higher levels of education, are open to new ideas, get bored quickly and tend to be very creative.
S&M is also more common than you probably think; experts estimate one in five couples dabble, and one in 20 engage in serious play.Couples enjoy S&M in part because it lets them explore new roles and visit different places with each other, they have high levels of trust. Pushing the boundaries as far as you want can be an exhilarating release from the routine.
It also can solidify a strong foundation of trust and honest. And if you think you have little interest in S&M yourself, take a closer look at your sex life. Pinning your partner's wrists against the bed, blindfolding, tugging on hair, or biting a shoulder are simply milder ways of expressing desires that eventually lead some people to devote closet space to studded leather.
The trick part is figuring out how — and if — you want to take it to the next level.
The most difficult bit to introducing this type of play into your relationship is acknowledging it to yourself and then discussing it with your partner. It’s scary – after all they might laugh and reject you. So if your partner discusses it with you and its not your thing – be kind in your response.
Most males are raised to think it's never OK to be rough with a woman although our gender based violence stats may disagree! It is okay in the context of S&M play. You have to have consent, it must be sane and it must be safe as a guideline. Once you have those – it’s baby steps. You may eventually like it.
You move at the pace of the most fearful and with the least experience. Start slowly, sitting together — fully clothed, without sex playing any part — and practice using ropes and toys so that neither of you experience unwanted discomfort. Keep your toys in a special box and bring it out for special occasions. This doesn’t have to be an everyday occurrence.
It does not have to be the only part of your sex life. A big fallacy is that if you're into it, it's all you're into. You will probably still enjoy vanilla sex.
Many couples who enjoy BDSM belong to a local club — there are dozens nationwide, easily found by an Internet search — with classes on safe ways to explore kinks, and parties where couples can play in front of other members.
The lines are a bit blurred when you’re trying to differentiate between consensual and criminal sex so it is incredibly important that you and your partner have a complete understanding of what it is, what is permitted and what not. Safe words are essential.
A safe word is a word or a phrase to indicate that you want the play to stop immediately. Do not choose words like yes or no because they may be part of the play. We always suggest the traffic light – green, amber and red. Green for I’m happy let’s continue, amber for I’m not sure this is working for me but let’s carry on and see and red is for stop immediately. If you partner is tied up – cut the ropes immediately etc. There is no negotiation at this stage. Understanding and sticking to the rules will increase trust – so don’t forget them and think you can push the boundary just a little bit further because you want to.
Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find an entrée in casual conversation when your partner says you needed a spanking for being grumpy. It may get you excited, and the conversation can begin.
One way to take the pressure off is to let a movie introduce the subject. With the relatively low-impact play in 9 1/2 Weeks or the more involved kinkiness in Secretary (not to mention 50 Shades of Grey. They are both a bit old now, but I cannot think of better examples. You can broach your desires by first discussing the action on screen.
Point out what you think is sexy, then gauge the response. Drop hints whenever the chance arises. Ask your partner to let you tie his tie, then mention it'd be fun to put it to another use sometime.
In other words, you don't need to sport latex underwear and handle a whip like Indiana Jones to start exploring. Begin with spanking or simple role-playing; look for substitute sex toys around the house. Clothespins can pinch, say, a breast in a way that, when you're already aroused, can be intensely pleasurable. And you can have a lot of fun spanking someone with a wooden spoon and if you like it then pop into the Lola Montez store and get yourself a bling handled flogger and some gauged nipple clamps.
Aftercare is important. Many couples find that this increases intimacy levels. When you have finished play, cuddle, apply cream, add a soft touch and discuss what worked and what didn’t. You’re both probably new to this and need to explore wants and desires. Nobody is going to get it right all of the time.
S&M is a journey with your partner. Start slow and explore. Read more tips online. You can download a fully comprehensive contract on our site www.lolamontez.co.za – it will give you loads to talk about before you embark on the adventure.