Fifty Shades of Grey, since its release, has become the guidebook to all things BDSM. If you were curious and looked up BDSM, you may know that it stands for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadomasochism. It is important to know that all aspects of BDSM are quite interrelated. All of them peep into each other. While Bondage and Discipline are all about restraint, they can include some elements of pain. Similarly, Dominance and Submission are all about powerplay, with one partner dominating the other by use of bondage or pain. Sadomasochism is the more painful part of BDSM. And the purpose of this pain is to derive maximum pleasure.

So, here’s everything you need to know about sadomasochism.

Related: Planning To Try A Little BDSM? Here Is A Beginner’s Guide To Help You Sail Smoothly

What is Sadomasochism?

Sadomasochism, also referred to as sadism and masochism, S&M or S/M, is a form of sexual play. Practitioners of S&M derive sexual gratification from either inflicting or receiving pain. A sadist is someone who derives pleasure from inflicting pain or humiliation, while a masochist is the one who finds pleasure in receiving pain and humiliation. To be clear, the purpose of S&M is not to harm your partner. It is just to add to the pleasure by adding some elements of pain.

How to practice S&M safely

Since S&M as a practice involves pain, ensuring safety is super important. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to reap the full benefits of sadomasochism.

1. Talk about it first


Consent and agreement of both partners are crucial before you engage in sadomasochism. Both partners need to be comfortable with the arrangement. Discuss your terms with your partner. Make sure your partner knows what you are comfortable with and what you don’t want to do. It is not just the submissive who needs to be completely comfortable, even the dominant partner should be comfortable doing what the sub wants to achieve pleasure.

2. Know your hard limits

Since S&M includes a touch of pain, it is important to know what the hard limits are. The masochist partner may be comfortable with the pinch of a nipple clamp or a spank. But they may not want to feel the impact of a cane or a riding crop. Similarly, being humiliated in a certain manner might be perfectly okay with some people but others may not like it. So, be sure to discuss your hard limits beforehand.

3. Start small


If you are just starting out in the world of S&M, don’t be in a rush. You don’t have to stock up on a bunch of riding crops and floggers at the very start. Start small with some restraints or spanking. Slowly build up the pain and pleasure according to what your partner is comfortable with.

4. Know your tools

There are umpteen tools in the BDSM world that can rock your world. It is important then that the dominant person in the relationship specifically knows what each toy does. Just getting a toy is not enough. You need to understand how each toy works, so that you don’t mistakenly hurt your partner.

5. Have a safe word


Safe words are very crucial in a BDSM, especially an S&M, relationship. S&M relationships are built on trust. But, in the midst of all the action, it might be difficult to distinguish when a partner is just playing with you or when their boundary has been crossed. It is important then that you define safe words to signify what you mean. You can have two to three safe words, each meaning a different thing. For example, one safe word could mean that you have reached your hard limit and you need a break. Another could mean that you are about to reach your hard limit and it’s best to switch tactics.

6. Keep safety supplies handy

Since S&M can get a little intense, it’s best to keep all your safety supplies on hand. Whether it is a pair of scissors to cut through bindings or a cool rag to soothe the aches, keep them nearby.

7. Practise aftercare

sexy 50 shades of grey GIF by Digg

After an intense session of S&M, it is likely that one or both partners are feeling a bit vulnerable. It is important then to practise healthy aftercare. You can cuddle together, talk about how the session was, or just clean up together. This will foster a sense of calm and physical and emotional well-being.

8. Don’t forget to have fun

The entire purpose of any sexual activity, including S&M, is to have fun. If you are too worked up or nervous and you are not having fun at all, it is best to take a break. You can decide to come back to it at a later date, or you can choose not to indulge in S&M at all.

Common S&M techniques

There are a lot of techniques that are used in sadomasochist relationships. Here are some of the most common techniques.

1. Temperature play

Remember the scene in Fifty Shades Freed in which Christian decides to eat ice cream off Anna’s body? That’s a good example of temperature play. Temperature play includes drawing sensation across the body using hot and cold objects. This could include ice cubes, cold gels or hot wax used across various erogenous zones.

Related: Heat Up Your Foreplay With Ice: 8 Ways To Use Ice And Other Chilled Elements In The Bedroom

2. Sensory deprivation

Sensory deprivation includes confining one sense to heighten other senses. Borrowing from bondage, this can include the use of blindfolds, rope, chains or spreader bars among other things.

Related: Blindfolds And Sex: Why To Use One And How To Have Fun With It For Maximum Pleasure

3. Impact play

Spank Season 2 GIF by Blunt Talk

Impact play involves being struck with the hand or any other object to heighten the pleasure. This could involve an erotic spanking or the use of a flogger, paddle, or whip.

4. Clamps

Using clamps is another common S&M technique. Pinching sensitive body parts like the nipples can build intense pleasure.

5. Emotional pain

Apart from physical pain, S&M can also include some form of emotional pain. This could include humiliation. Humiliation may include the dominant partner embarrassing the submissive partner or calling them certain humiliating nicknames.

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Related: Power That Leads You To Pleasure: All You Need To Know About Dominance And Submission In BDSM


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