If you’re interested in kink but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. In fact, you’ve already started the first step by reading this article. It all starts with research–whether that’s through more articles like these, specific kink guides, books, podcasts, or videos. After you learn the fundamentals, you can negotiate your scene with your partner and take it from there. Let’s walk through the process.
The first step of getting into any kink is to do your research. While porn can certainly be a great tool for seeing what’s out there and what interests you, it’s not a formal guide to kink or sex and shouldn’t be used as the primary source of your information about any particular kink. Instead, you should branch out and see what educational resources are available on the topic of your choosing.
You’re going to want to find out if there are specific safety precautions or risks associated with the activity you’ve chosen to try. If you’re new to kink in general, you should first learn some key concepts from general beginner’s guides to kink. Whether you’re brand spankin’ new to BDSM or just testing out a new fantasy, there are loads of great resources to help guide you through it. I highly recommend taking some form of instruction before picking up any kink toys, as tempting as it might be to dive in head-first. Here are some of my favorite kink resources to help you get started.
- Be sure to check out my free online kink guides
- Sexual Alpha has a list of kink blogs you can look through
- Sinclaire Sexsmith has a list of BDSM articles on their blog, Sugarbutch
- Kinkly has a directory of sex and kink blogs you can peruse for new content
- Kinkly also put out an article with an overview of kink for beginners
- Kate Sloan has kink content on her blog, Girly Juice
- NPR put out an article on consent communication within the BDSM community
- Glamour has an A-Z article on different kinks that can help you start thinking about things you want to try
- There’s a pair of BDSM intro books called The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book that are great for a couple to read together
- Tristan Taormino has a beginner’s book on BDSM
- Two Knotty Boys put out a beginner’s guide to rope bondage and a follow up guide
- The Big Workbook for Submissives is a good place to start exploring your submissive side
- Midori, a popular kink educator, put out a book called Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink
- The Heart of Dominance by Anton Fulmen is a how-to guide on consensual dominance
- The Ethical Slut is mostly about polyamory, but it has a good amount of information about the communication culture in BDSM
- My (retired) podcast, Platonic Pillow Talk, has some episodes on kink and BDSM
- The Dildorks are two close friends who discuss lots of subjects about sex, dating, and kink
- Two Hyp Chicks is a podcast all about erotic hypnosis
- DISIRability ALT is a podcast about sex, kink, and disability
- Disability After Dark is a podcast by Andrew Gurza on disability, sex, and BDSM
- Black People Kink (retired) is a podcast on race, sexuality, polyamory, and kink
- Two Knotty Boys have a non-explicit YouTube channel for bondage tutorials
- Blush University has free online workshops about sex toys, sexuality, and kink
- Wicked Grounds hosts live kink events in San Francisco but during COVID-19, they’re hosting lots of online workshops and classes
- Kink University has (sexually explicit) videos on BDSM skills that will educate and arouse
- The Sexplanations channel on YouTube has some videos on Bondage 101, Negotiations, and Sexual Discipline
Negotiation is an important process for kinksters because you’re dealing with things that may cause physical or psychological harm if done incorrectly or without proper communication. It’s an important step to clarify exactly what you want and exactly what you’re not comfortable with. The negotiation process establishes your limits as well as the general goals for the scene. It is the roadmap for your kink journey–one you cannot begin a scene without.
For your negotiation, it’s important to be direct, be honest about your desires, and make sure you and your partner are making informed decisions. If you’re proposing something like this for the first time, be prepared to educate your partner on a few things right from the beginning.
A lot of folks don’t have a realistic idea of what BDSM consists of due to misrepresentations in the media. If you use terms you’ve learned during the first step, you’re going to need to explain them to your partner. Talk about your desires, lay out a general plan for what you and your partner might want to try, and take the time to walk them through your research. Be sure to show your partner that you’re educated on any health and safety concerns they may have.
I highly recommend looking up a Yes/No/Maybe list or a compatibility program. These tools often use a spreadsheet program to give you a very large, detailed list of kinks. From there, you and your partner separately fill out how you feel about each kink. You’ll mark things that are limits, things you might want to try, and things you definitely think you’d be into. Once you both fill in your sheets, exchange your results and discuss them with each other as you go down the list together.
From there, you should have a good idea of what you might want to try and what kinds of things to definitely avoid with your partner. Make an outline of some loose goals you’d like to achieve in your first scene, even if they are very simple. Things like, “I want to be spanked with your bare hand, lightly teased about getting so wet, then given an orgasm with a vibrator wand,” can make for a great starting point. Take it slow, establish achievable goals, and don’t try to cram 50 different kinks into your first scene. There’s always time to add new things to the next scene, after another negotiation.
Don’t negotiate while actively turned on, as you’re more likely to make impulse decisions. You should plan in a rational mindset, not in the heat of the moment.
This is probably the scariest step: doing the thing for the first time. There’s usually a lot of anxiety the first few times you try something new and that’s completely understandable, even if you’re also really excited. Take things slow and be sure to communicate your needs and concerns as you go.
You can set a specific time/date for your first scene or you can pull out the toys when the moment feels right–just make sure you’ve gone through the negotiation stage before springing a surprise scene on your partner, and be sure to get a verbal confirmation of consent before you dive in.
A lot of people may find that dressing for the part or having some kinky props and mood lighting can help set the scene. Keep in mind that kink toys don’t have to cost a fortune, especially when you’re just starting out. In fact, a pair of comfortable cuffs or a starter paddle can cost less than a dinner out together and can be a great way to explore without investing a lot into a collection of toys you’re not sure you’ll like. Once you become accustomed to your chosen starter set, you might want to level up and invest in something a little nicer but until you feel comfortable with your starter toys, there’s no need to put a lot of money into your collection.
Checking in during a scene is very much encouraged, especially for beginners. Establish a safeword but also be sure to initiate a simple check-in in case your partner is too nervous to speak up for themselves (this is a skill everyone should develop more as you explore). This check-in can be a simple, “Is this okay?” or “Does this feel good?” or you can use the traffic light system to designate colors of a traffic light to quickly communicate your comfort level with the scene.
The amount of communication required in a kink scene may seem like a lot to beginners, but all of these concepts eventually become second nature to you. Having a good understanding of concepts like safewords and checking in for ongoing consent can be very beneficial in vanilla (or even non-sexual) contexts, as well as the things you explore in kink.
Directly after your first scene, you should shift into aftercare mode, which consists of whatever your partner needs to feel grounded and back to their usual state of mind. Aftercare might consist of getting your partner a drink or snack, cuddling, giving them a sensual massage, or simply discussing the scene. Regardless of what you and your partner need to feel grounded, there should always be a conversation about how the scene went so you can better understand each other and improve your skills.
When you’re first starting out in kink, you might want to make a specific list of questions to go over after every scene so you know all your bases are covered. Once you’re more comfortable with your scenes, a more open discussion may be easier. Here are some suggested questions you ask your partner after a scene:
- “What was your favorite part of that scene? How did it make you feel?”
- “Did anything we do touch on a limit or make you uncomfortable?”
- “How would you rate the intensity of this scene on a scale of 0-10? What would have been an ideal intensity?”
- “If you could change anything about that scene, what would you change?”
With proper communication after each play session, you should be able to adjust the things that need adjusting to plan even more enjoyable scenes in the future. Feedback should come from each partner involved in the scene to ensure everyone’s needs are being met.
It might seem scary at first, but the more openly you communicate, the easier it’s going to be to get the most out of your play. Don’t be afraid to reach out to folks in the community for advice but don’t rely on a single source for all of your kink education. The best approach to introducing a partner to kink is doing your research first, keeping an open line of communication, and to keep yourself open to constructive criticism as you navigate unexplored territories together. Good luck!
This article was sponsored by Naughty Betty’s.
As always, all writing and opinions are my own.