Saturday, August 29, 2015

Are You Out?

Sex and sexuality is a huge part of our culture that we don't really talk about, which is a shame. I think we should be talking. Let's take sex-ed for example. My parents gave me the anatomy lesson from Day One, but they didn't talk about techniques, needs, orgasms, prevention, toys, etc. It was basically "this is how a penis and a vagina work together." I went to an all-girls Catholic school for high school; the most sex ed we got was "don't do it." I learned how to use a condom from a knowledgeable boyfriend. I didn't discover the clitoris until I was 19. These are things we should learn at a much earlier age so we can make the choice for ourselves as to how much to incorporate them into our lives.

When you add BDSM into a sex life, it adds a new level of complexity. People tend to have stereotypes and judgements - good or bad - preconceived. I never tell anyone that X is a sub. That's between him and me. Our parents don't know. Our siblings don't know. Our closest friends have a bare-bones idea, but we don't discuss toys or scenarios with them. We're private people and we keep that part of our lives to ourselves. I wouldn't be opposed to talking about my experiences with a girlfriend, but I'd coach it in terms of a "past boyfriend" and not a "current fiance." X never talks about his past engagements unless I directly ask him, and even then he's reticent. A gentlemen never kisses and tells, something like that.

So, are you out? Do you talk to your friends and family about your choice? Is it just something for the bedroom or is it a full lifestyle choice?What, if anything, do you teach your children?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Masks: A Staple

Masks are up there with cuffs: they're pretty much part of the ABCs for bondage. Masks come in all different types. Some have mouth coverings, some have open mouths. Some have removable blind folds, some have padded blindfolds, some have attached blindfolds. Some are made of leather, some made of rubber, some made of latex.

We have two masks and we use one in almost every scenario. The first is a spandex mask. It's stretchy, it's easy to pull over his head. The eyes are covered with a padded area, making it basically impossible for him to see out, but the mouth and nose are just covered in spandex, so he can breathe. I like it because (a) it's very easy-on, easy-off and (b) it allows me access to his mouth. This lets me kiss him when I feel like it. I just roll up the mask and then roll it back down. It also allows him to make semi-articulate noises, which is important if we're trying something new and I need feedback as we go along.

The other mask we use is more of a hard core device, but X likes it better. It's leather. It has a removable blindfold that secures with snaps. It has a removable gag. It secures to the back of the head with several straps that can be buckled at different tightnesses to keep it snug. X likes it better because he really likes the gag. One issue I have with it is that because it's firm leather, it's difficult to get situated on his head. What often happens is that I tell him to put it on and then I secure the gag, thus showing who's boss but still letting him get it on so it's easier on me.

If you're not sure if you want to try a mask, try blindfolding your partner first and see if he likes that. You can use thick ribbon, knee-high socks, or a large stocking hat (although that could get hot). You could also just throw a shirt over his head. The important thing is that his eyes are covered; how you get there is up to you.

I mentioned gags, but there will be a separate post on them. There's a trick to them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cuffs: A Staple

My first set of cuffs was made of soft fabric, like fuzzy felt. It secured with velcro. It had a long length of grossgrain ribbon sewn onto it for securing to bedposts. I thought I was terribly sexy.

The first - and only - time I used the fabric cuffs on X, he strained so hard against them that he broke the ribbon from the cuff. I could have sewn it back on, but why? He'd probably just break it again. So he introduced me to leather cuffs.

Leather cuffs are good for a couple of reasons:
1. Try breaking them. I dare you.
2. Your sub will appreciate the strength of the cuff around his wrists/ankles.
3. Leather cuffs come with rings for attaching to ropes or to each other (best done with locks)

A good set of cuffs is an investment in your sexual future. They're easy-on, easy-off bondage material. You can strap them to the bedposts using ropes. You can cuff them to each other (think handcuffs) using locks. You may be wondering, why not just use handcuffs? They're certainly easy to get access to in any adult book store.

Problems with handcuffs:
1. They tend to dig in and hurt when you strain against them. Even the fuzzy ones.
2. The locks are cheap and either breakable or have release clips on them, which would allow your sub to get out on his own. And we don't want that.
3. They are always linked to each other, allowing for one basic shape. A pair of cuffs allows you to tie down your sub in all kinds of different ways.
4. Straining too hard leaves marks. You don't want to have to tell your sub to simmer down, so why set yourself up for that? 

If you're looking for an intro kit, I recommend the Under The Bed Restraint System by Extreme Restraints (NSFW). It comes with cuffs for both ankles and wrists and has tethers long enough to go under your mattress - a perfect set up in case you don't have a good headboard and footboard to tie someone to.

If you're interested in trying something a little more expensive, but a worthwhile investment, I recommend the Strict Leather Premium Fur Lined Locking Restraints by Extreme Restraints (NSFW). They're the right width and diameter to hold pretty much anyone, the leather is incredibly strong, and the fur is incredibly comfortable. Everyone wins. Strain as much as you want, they won't break or leave marks. 

Wearing cuffs can be a delightful start to foreplay. Leave your lover a note that says "put these on" and the cuffs for when he gets home from work. If you're a vanilla person who wants vanilla play, sometimes just wearing cuffs can give your spicier lover a little thrill, making him happier to play your way.

In short, cuffs belong in anyone's toy box. Get a set for yours.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Article: Finding a Dominant/Submissive Play Partner

Offbeat Home did a great article called "Finding a Dominant/Submissive Partner" which talks about how to integrate BDSM into your sex life. Check it out!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Nipple Clamps and You

Some people love nipple clamps. Some people do not. If you want to try using them with your partner, you need to first establish if he has sensitive nipples. You can do this by playing with his nipples in a vanilla setting first. Try brushing them with your finger, nibbling on them, or sucking on them. Note your partner's reaction. Some people will love it, like X does. Some people, like me, will think you're wasting your time. But give it a shot and see what your partner thinks.

If your partner likes the brushing and the nibbling, you can then experiment with pressure - pinch a nipple and see what reaction you get. You should also try twisting. If your partner likes both of these things, you're probably ready to try nipple clamps.

Note: Start easy on the pressure! You don't want to shock your partner. Go gradually harder, noting reactions as you go. For some people, there is such a thing as "too much." For others, you can't go hard enough. Feel free to ask your partner if it's good.

If you're ready to try nipple clamps, but you don't know what to try, the best thing I can recommend is to pick up some clothes pins from the super market. You can get them pretty much anywhere. The only downside is they come in something like a 20 pack and you only need two. If you can figure out a use for those 18 extra clothes pins, let me know. According to X, the clothes pins are gentle. They also have a broad tip, which is useful for securing the nipple and for providing even pressure.

There is a technique to using nipple clamps. Here it is:
Pinch the nipple with one hand and pull it away from the body slightly. With your clamp, come from underneath the pinch and attach it to the nipple. You want to get as much of the nipple in the clamp as possible and this is the best way I've found to do it.

When releasing the nipple, pinch it from underneath the clamp and hold that pinch as you take off the clamp. Keep the pinch for a few seconds before gradually releasing it. This prevents the blood from rushing back too fast, which can be jarring and even a little painful.

That's it! Give it a shot!

I don't actually have any products to recommend, other than the clothes pins. While X technically has a set of "official" nipple clamps, he doesn't like them very much and I've never used them. But if you're going shopping, look for something with a strong spring and a wide tip.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Do You?

Time to talk about consent. This will be a short post because it's a pretty straightforward concept. Basically both (or more) partners in a scenario must be willing. This willingness needs to be established before playtime starts. It doesn't have to be a written contract. It can be an informal conversation. But you need to actually have that conversation.

If your partner isn't willing and you do it anyway, that's abuse and you need help.

This conversation is especially important if your partner is going to be play-resisting in any way. We all agree that No means No. But what happens when No means Keep Going and Australia means Stop? You have to have these conversations and to establish with your partner what your boundaries are.

Let's say you think your partner will be willing, but you want to surprise him. Spontaneity has its place. Unscripted play sessions can be fun. But the best advice I can give for someone who wants to be spontaneous is establish a safe word or "resistance protocol" (what means No?) and leave your partner ungagged so he has the freedom to protect himself.

What I've found is that conversations about what we'd like to try together can often become foreplay. You want to be detailed so you can make sure your partner is comfortable with the ideas. So you talk about it. You start exchanging ideas. You kiss. And bam, assuming you have a free afternoon, you have fresh ideas and a willing partner. Problem solved.

Get consent for anything you want to try.
Establish what No means.
Your partner always has the right to refuse, even if it's halfway into a scenario.

Have fun!

How To Get What You Want...Nicely

This is a somewhat broader topic, but it applies just as much to BDSM as it does to life. Let's say you want to try something. Maybe it's sky diving. Maybe it's anal play. Maybe it's a massage class. Maybe it's a flogger. Regardless of what it is, you want to try something new. How do you get that to happen?

1. Use I Statements instead of You Statements.
This is something that gets beaten to death in therapy, but they have a good point. I Statements are statements that start with an I - I feel, I wish, I want. They put responsibility on the speaker. They talk about the speaker's needs and desires. By focusing on the speaker rather than on the target, you keep it from being confrontational or about the target. Even if you want something out of the target, you can phrase it in an I Statement.
-I feel sexy when you tie me up.
-I wish you would try these handcuffs next time.
-I want you to spank me.

You Statements are, by nature, confrontational. They put the responsibility and the onus on the target. They put the target "on the spot" and force them to react.
-You should tie me up.
-You should use these handcuffs.
-You should spank me.
They put the target in an awkward place. No one wants that.

2. Be clear about what you want. When you say you want your partner to dominate you, do you mean just tie you up? Do you want to be humiliated? What about role play? Do you want your partner to continue even if you resist (safe words!) or do you want No to always mean No? Be specific!

3. Listen to your partner! Let's say you want to be tied up. The conversation could go something like this:
You: I'd like it if you tied me up next time.
Them: I don't know if I'm comfortable with that.
It's not an uncommon response. But your lover's comfort is incredibly important, so you have to respect her position. Ask follow-up questions: "What about it makes you uncomfortable?" or "Have you tried it before?" And then, listen! Communication and sex are both about give and take.

If you don't know what you want, research! There's erotica. There's porno movies. There's pictures. There's blogs and forums. Start looking around and see what appeals to you. Thanks to the internet, you can be as anonymous as you want, so don't be shy! Start looking for what appeals to you. Approach it from both a scientific and an emotional standpoint - notice your reactions and ask yourself why you're reacting that way. If you're shocked by something you see, is it because you've never seen it before or because it bothers you? If you're interested in something, what about it appeals to you? Is it the fact that the target is getting paddled or the fact that the dom is dressed as a school mistress? Try to come up with specific things you want to try.

Some people have a hard time talking about sex. This is for a number of reasons - social taboo, religious upbringing, naturally shy, etc. It could be the first time you're talking about it with a partner or it could be trying to shake things up in an established pattern. If you're having a hard time talking about it, there are two things I'd recommend:
1. Write it down. This lets you really think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. You can ask your lover to read it without you and get back to you so she has time to process and respond as well.
2. Show an example. Let's say you found a porn video that really appeals to you - why not share it with your lover? Remember to use I Statements - rather than "You should watch this and try it," try "I liked this video and I thought we could try it together."

These communication tips are great for other areas of your life too, not just your sex life. Fighting with your siblings? Same rules apply. Talking to your boss about a raise? Same rules. If you're interested in learning more about how to assertively communicate with someone, the absolute best resource I can recommend is The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships by Randy J. Paterson. Long title, but amazing book about communication. It'll change the way you talk to people about everything and anything.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Easing Into It

So you want to start playing with bondage. You want your partner to start tying you up, maybe blindfolding you. Super! But how do you broach the topic with your partner? Unless you have super-duper mind control powers, or a really adventurous partner, you can't rely on your partner to dominate you on your own. So you need to talk about it.

Here are some basic steps to start getting someone to dominate you.

1. Be assertive. I know - what? I have to be assertive to be submissive? It's true. You have to be clear about what you want and you have to communicate it to your partner. Don't just say "I'm interested in bondage, wanna try it?" That's vague and leaves your partner guessing as to what you actually want. Be clear about what behaviors you want to see. And don't be embarrassed or ashamed! You want to experiment in your playtime. There's nothing wrong/bad/dirty about that.

2. Start small. Sure, in your eventual world, you may want the whole leather-clad kit and caboodle, but start with something small and achievable to get your partner involved. Start with "I'd love it if you tied me up with your belt." or "It would be sexy if you blindfolded me with that scarf you like to wear." Get your partner used to one thing at a time, make it part of your sexy vocabulary, before adding on.

3. Use "I" statements. This is something therapists tell you, but it's true. I Statements talk about your needs and wants instead of demanding something out of your partner that she may or may not be willing to give. Look at the difference between these two phrases:
1. You should tie me up.
2. I'd like it if you tied me up.
#1 is a command and puts all the burden on your partner. All it shows is that there is a lack of something - a lack of tying up. It puts the focus and the demand on your partner in an uncomfortable way. Also, you want your partner to be the dominant one, so why are you commanding her? #2 is an I Statement that talks about what you need and want without putting any demand on your partner. It offers a solution rather than just stating a problem. It also tells your partner how to make you happy. Unless it's a seriously dysfunctional relationship, your partner deep down wants to make you  happy. You're a lot more likely to get something out of your partner if she thinks it will make you happy.

4. Be specific. If you just say to your partner, "I'd like it if you tied me up" (using your positive, proactive I Statements), that leaves your partner wondering "With what?" How? Do I need to know knotwork?" So offer solutions. There are plenty of household items that can be used to tie someone up or blindfold them. Scarves, belts, and ties are perfect intro items. Suggest them. Even better...

5. Supply the necessities. My partner has very particular tastes, but he also has the toy chest to back it up. When he first introduced me to bondage, he already had ropes, cuffs, and locks. I didn't have to do much thinking. I just had to apply them. If you know you want to get into, for example, being tied up, get some ties you don't mind abusing, grab some rope from a supplier, or go for the gold and buy a pair of cuffs. This also saves you from comments like "You want me to do what with this scarf? My grandmother gave me this scarf right before she died! It's an antique and I love my gramma!" Yeah. Just avoid that.

One way to really ease your partner into it is to suggest she do the things you want without props or toys. For example, you want to be blindfolded? Ask your partner to cover your eyes with one hand. Gagged? Cover your mouth. Tied up? If X is on his back and I'm straddling him, I can use my body weight to pin his arms above his head pretty easily, and I'm no body builder. It's all about leverage. Trying any of these things out without props gives your partner the freedom to really try it out and to stop if anything seems weird. It also gives her ability to control the situation a little more - she decides how long to gag/blindfold/whatever for before stopping. After you do these things for a few sessions without props, you can introduce the props as a way of making her life easier. "Hey, you know how I like you to cover my eyes? What if you just use this ski mask I have? I think it could make it easier for you."

You may be surprised what your partner has already thought of or already likes to play with. Remember, introduce the topics in a clear, specific, non-confrontational way using positive I Statements. Who knows where it can go?

Monday, August 17, 2015


Locks are like forks for BDSM - you pretty much need them at every sitting. So why not talk about them?

You need two different sized locks and several of them. The first kind of lock is a standard locker sized lock like this one here.

Note that it's about the size of what you used in your high school locker (if you had one) and it uses keys. I ALWAYS recommend locks with keys. The reason is simple - you are going to be using many of these locks, and probably different ones for each encounter. Remembering which combination goes with which lock when you're in the moment seems daunting. It's a lot easier to just have a key ring with all your keys on it so you can pop on or off a lock with ease. Stick with the keys. You'll go places.

It's also easier when you're getting to know a partner to give them keys rather than give them a combination. X has a single lock with a combination. I have literally never used it. It's just so much easier to use keys.

One thing you can do to make the keys even easier to use is to mark which key goes with which lock. Take a Sharpie marker and make a symbol on each set of key and lock so you can easily tell which key goes with which lock. Got black keys or locks? You can buy silver Sharpies that work great on black.

We use the big locks mostly for locking two things together. For example, if X is wearing two wrist cuffs and I want them linked together, rather than breaking out the rope and messing with knots (that can potentially slip or he could undo) I can just lock them together. I think you need at least two - one for wrists and one for ankles.

The second kind of lock you'll need is luggage sized locks. These are significantly smaller and are used for locking on collars and cuffs. Basically, most collars and cuffs have a small hole on the end of the buckle. You can slip a lock on there and even if your sub can get his hands to the buckle, he can't undo it because it's locked in place. I recommend getting a set (like the one I linked) so you can have one key meet all the locks. In my opinion, you need at least five - two for the wrists, two for the ankles, one for a collar.

Get yourself a makeup bag or other small zippered bag to hold all your locks and keys. This makes clean-up, storage, and travel easy. You can get makeup bags on Amazon or just at your local drug store.

It's a good idea to always have one place to put the keys. You could put them on a necklace and wear them. You could put them back in the bag. You could put them on the dresser. But make a habit out of putting them in the same place each and every time. I like to keep mine in our bag. That way, I always know exactly where they are; when we're done with play, I can let him out immediately or later, totally on my schedule. But it's a relaxed schedule instead of a frantic find-the-keys-in-the-sheets schedule.

That's locks!

Safe Words

Probably one of the most common details of BDSM culture, safe words are words or phrases you can say to alert your partner to a problem with the scenario. Sometimes you have multiple safe words, to indicate levels of caution and comfort, sometimes you just have one to act as an on-off switch. Why do we need safe words? Because in some play, the Sub objects to the Dom's treatment and resists. Some people like this. When resisting and saying "No" becomes part of play time, it is essential to have a real No so you know when to take your partner seriously. We want to push them, but not too far.

A few things about safe words:
1. They should be easy to remember and short. It should be something you can get out in a single breath - not the Preamble to the Constitution.
2. They should be consistent. You want to have your safe word totally and completely memorized so you can remember it if you panic. Changing your safe word often is just confusing.
3. It should be something you wouldn't normally hear in playtime. For example, if your safe word is "bondage," that could very easily come up in play. My suggestion? Countries. Anyone could say "I'm serious, stop!" Very few people will think saying "France!" is sexy. I've heard that the most popular safe word is "silver" but don't quote me on that.

Note that X and I do not actually have a safe "word" for a few reasons.
1. He doesn't resist me. He bends to my will. If he ever actually resists me, I know something is wrong and I change my approach or stop. This is a huge part of our play and our trust relationship. I trust him to only resist if something is wrong and he trusts me to stop when he does.
2. 98% of the time, I gag him or muffle him, so he wouldn't be able to say a safe word anyway.

If we ever try something where he might be uncomfortable, his safe "word" is snapping his fingers. If your partner is often going to be gagged or muffled, think of behaviors they could perform. They could hum the ABCs. They could snap or beat the mattress/wall/floor three times. Whatever it is, make sure it's something clear. 

Before going into a BDSM scenario with a new partner, make sure you know if they like to resist. To be honest, it would be very hard on me if X resisted. I don't like the idea of overpowering him or of forcing him into anything. That just goes against my nature. But some people like that. So make your expectations clear with your partner before playtime. And have fun!

Sunday, August 16, 2015


How we word things is incredibly important in all aspects of life. Do you have a partner? A life-mate? A boyfriend? A theyfriend? A lover? A wife? A spouse? It matters what we call each other and it matters what we call our playtime and our toys.

When you're getting into BDSM, see what names and phrases make you comfortable. For example, I can call myself his mistress or his dom. But I'm not a dominatrix. I'm just not. Likewise, X is my sub or my slave, but never my subordinate. It may seem like a little thing, but what you call each other helps build trust. Pay attention to what your lover wants to be called or wants to call you and see what makes you comfortable.

In the same vein, behaviors can have different names. Let's take striking a partner across the buttocks. Is it paddling? Spanking? Punishing? If it's beating, does that mean you're using an instrument or are you using bare hands? Different phrases have different expectations, so be aware of what expectations you're setting up. Ask clarifying questions to make sure you're on the same page.

When I talk about asking questions, it doesn't have to be anything formal. It can be casual, but still needs to be clear.

Sub to be: Have you ever considered punishing me?
Dom to be: You mean spanking you? Like with my hands?
Sub to be: Or with a paddle.

Notice the set up - the Sub asked for something. The Dom clarified it. The Sub clarified it further. And all done in an informal friendly way. Where you take it after that is up to you.

You will also come across some toys/pieces that could be called the same thing, but aren't the same thing at all. For example, we have a piece of metal that can hold X's ankles and wrists captive in a kneeling position. We call this the stockade. We also have a piece that can hold X's wrists and neck (not to be used at the same time as the stockade). We call this a yoke. Could we technically call the yoke a stockade? Sure. It's similar to a stockade you see at a renaissance faire (because I'm that kind of nerd). But we don't. We call it a yoke and that's its name. Can you imagine the confusion in a scenario if we didn't have these things clarified?

Dom: I'm going to put you in the stockade and you're going to like it!
Sub: Yes mistress!
Dom: Here it is!
Sub: Not that! The other stockade!

Totally ruins the moment.

It doesn't matter if we call the yoke "Bunny Cottontail's Hat." Just pick some phrasing and stick with it. You'll thank me later.


Welcome to my blog! My name is L. To start out with, this blog is about sex. If this offends you, A. see a therapist and B. I'm not sorry. Sex is an important topic that we need to talk about more in our culture. If you're not having it, you've thought about it. You have opinions about it. You have interests, wants, and needs. All of these things deserve talking about.

To continue the introduction, before I met X, I was a primarily vanilla bisexual female. I'd played around with some blindfolds and some "friendly bondage" (silk ties and the like), but nothing serious. Then I met X. He's a monogamous, straight, sub. He is also the man of my dreams. We've been together for four years and we're getting married in less than a month.

When we first got together, he was very upfront about his particular kinks. I had no idea how to react. I wanted to please him. I pride myself on being a good lover and I wanted to be a good lover to the man I was in love with. But a dom? Me? Whips and leather? I'm more the Lace and Roses kind of girl. But I was - and still am - crazy in love with X. I wanted to please him. And that meant learning a little about the BDSM world.

X and I have a loving, monogamous relationship. Not to say that a polyamorous relationship can't be loving, but it's just not what X and I want. We only have room in our lives for each other and we fill all the other one's needs. If you're looking for information about poly or group settings, you won't find it here.

This blog is an exploration into BDSM from the perspective of a mostly-vanilla woman. I plan to discuss toys, attitudes, role-play, outfits, and anything else that comes up. I plan to talk about how we interact and how we compromise to make a safe, satisfying sex life. I'll review products if I feel like it and I'll talk about what we use and how it works for us.