Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism (BDSM) refers to a large set of practices that involve power exchanges between two or more people. All BDSM practices should occur between individuals who trust one another and are in agreement that all of their activities will be safe, sane, and consensual.

Individuals engaging in any BDSM practices should be fully informed of how to engage in the specific activities of interest in a way that is safe. The goal of BDSM participation is often sexual gratification. But even when sexual gratification is a goal, it is rarely the only one. Most people who engage in BDSM practices do so for emotional satisfaction as well as a deepened connection with a partner.

Before you engage in any BDSM practices you too should be educated about safe practices. Even if you have been in the BDSM community for a while, you could probably still learn something valuable about safe practices.

So how do I get my partner to consent to BDSM play?

Get educated and clear on your motivation
If you are curious about BDSM practices but have never experienced them, you should get educated about the many practices particularly as it relates to safety issues.

Also, you need to be clear about your motivation. If you have some unresolved childhood trauma and feel like you deserved to be kicked in the balls with combat boots until you are bleeding as a punishment then you need to put the How to manual down and get to a psychotherapist.

Talk about it
Be honest with your partner in letting him or her know that you are interested in specific BDSM practices and that you were hoping that she too would be interested in trying this with you.

Help your partner get educated
If your partner expresses a willingness to engage in any form of BDSM, they too should be educated about what BDSM entails before giving consent.

Try to understand your partner’s hesitance
If your partner is a bit hesitant about trying any of the practices, try to understand. The thought of engaging in BDSM practices is scary. Most people don’t know a lot about it and if they rely on what the media focuses on, they will probably be pretty freaked out. So you need to give him or her some time to let this sink in.

If your partner indicates that he or he needs some time to think it over, give them the time. Don’t keep bringing it up.

Start slow and simple
You should begin with something simple and safe. You and your partner need to practice building trust between the two of you in these types of interactions.

A part of this trust building should come from the practice of using safe words. Whenever one of the partners evokes the safe word-everything should stop. No matter what-the safe word should always mean stop.

A good place to start is with spanking, perhaps with a bare hand or a small paddle. Your first BDSM session should never include scenes such as fire play. It is way too soon for any of that.

Remember always safe sane and consensual
Always, always, always, remember that everything you do should be safe, sane, and consensual.

Consider reaching out to a larger community of like-minded individuals
The National Leather Association has several chapters in cities around the country. Explore their website to find out about events that may be going on near your home at http://www.nla-i.com/.

For more information on how to practice BDSM safely go to the Associate The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) website http://www.actoronto.org/bdsm

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