A BDSM (definitions of this term and the controversies surrounding it are in the glossary) relationship is a consensual exchange of power. An individual agrees to submit to the power and control of another for the purpose of mutual pleasure though not necessarily through sex. Prior to that, there is some understanding as to what each side expects out of the relationship or encounter. To have that consent and understanding, the person surrendering power must be able to give consent and come to an understanding. The cred of 'no one unwilling, underaged or unstable' is at the heart of these relationships. If there is no consent, what happens in an encounter can be viewed as assault, battery and rape.
The intensity of play in these relationships can range from the sensual where the biggest threat is denial of orgasm, to the infliction of agonizing pain. There may be definite, assigned roles during play. There may be nurturing or humiliation. There could be a mix of styles and intensity. It all depends on what has been decided between the persons who are participating. What may look like an abusive relationship to an outsider, may be heaven for those involved.
While BDSM relationships are the place for exploration of sexual boundaries, to work well it requires some sexual sophistication. The participants should have some knowledge of who they are and what they like sexually before entering into such a relationship. They should be open, honest and as articulate as possible about needs and desires. When these simple guidelines are followed, incredible revelations and pleasure await.
Toys and Equipment
The web sites and books listed in this primer will give an exhaustive look at the options available in all levels of play and how to best use them. I recommend the web sites because they have photos or illustrations of each item. I would also suggest that you go to an adult store or visit a friend into the scene so that you can see how it feels to hold the items in your hands, and as much as is comfortable, experience the feel of the item.
There is no one definitive set of toys a Top must have. Toys, like clothes reflect the kind of play we are interested in. Here is a list of very basic items.
• Restraints (could be leather cuffs, handcuffs or even silk scarves)
•Condoms, lube, other safe sex materials
These items don't have to come from an adult store. Household items can easily be used for the same function. Hairbrushes make great paddles, clothes pins make for very persuasive nipple clamps and let's not forger what Dr. Ruth said about cucumbers!
Tops store their toys and equipment in all manner of ways. They can be in a special drawer or they could be in a battered cardboard box in the closet. How they are stored says a lot about the kind of Top the individual is. Often it is the task of the slave to keep the implements of his/her torture clean and in good order. The laying out of the toys is often used as preparation of play. Cleaning them and putting them away is used to cool down from the scene.
Like toys, the choice of play clothes is as varied as the individuals playing. It can be anything from the full leather ensemble with chains and hooks to nothing but a whip and a naughty smile. The web sites and books in this primer are an excellent resource for seeing all the choices available to a Top. In addition to those, I'd also recommend InternationalMale.com for sexy and flamboyant clothing for male characters.
The thing to keep in mind with play clothes is that they should make the wearer feel sexually potent and desirable. So whatever does that for the Top and makes the bottom believe it is a valid choice. If a sub is allowed to choose the clothing for play, the same rule applies - whatever makes the individual feel sexual and desirable is a valid choice.
Be creative and have fun!
Definitions of Terms