If you’re curious about BDSM, we’ve got everything you need to know about this exciting sexual practice. Looking for the perfect time to experience kinky play for yourself? July 24 is BDSM Day! Keep reading to find out what BDSM is, how to practice BDSM, and recommendations for BDSM sex toys.

What is BDSM?

BDSM is an acronym for bondage, discipline or dominance, submission or sadism, and masochism (the latter two terms are often grouped together under “sadomasochism”). Sadism refers to those who gain pleasure from inflicting pain, while masochism refers to those who gain pleasure from receiving pain. It’s an umbrella term that covers a wide range of activities, also sometimes referred to as kink or kinky. BDSM can include everything from role-playing and giving/receiving orders to spanking, using restraints such as handcuffs or ankle cuffs, spanking, hot wax play, and other activities.

What is a BDSM safe word?

A BDSM safe word (sometimes spelled safeword) is a word that is used when a participant wants to stop the action. Often, participants will have one word meaning stop, such as “red,” and another meaning pause or slow down, such as “yellow.” Any word can work as a safe word but it should be one that’s easy to remember and not too long, ideally one or two syllables. If someone is gagged or otherwise unable to say their safe word, it’s important to have another method of communicating. This helps ensure that your BDSM play is safe, sane, and consensual.

How do you practice BDSM safely?

Practicing BDSM safely is an important part of protecting yourself and your partner. In addition to using a safe word, everyone involved in BDSM play should pay close attention to their own physical reactions as well as their partner’s. If anything seems uncomfortable or potentially problematic, such as restraints being too tight, you can stop what you’re doing and readjust. Make sure your partner is always able to communicate with you, whether verbally or, if they’re wearing a ball gag or other item that restricts their ability to speak, that you’ve agreed on another way to communicate.

Test any toys you’re going to use beforehand on yourself to get a sense of how they will feel. This is important whether you plan to be on the giving or receiving end.

Check in with your partner about any medical issues or physical problems they may have. You may need to adjust the type of BDSM acts you do depending on their physical limits. This could mean adding a pillow to help support the neck or knees, or simply changing positions. There are numerous ways to adapt your BDSM to accommodate an individual’s particular situation.

If you’re engaging in impact play, meaning using toys such as a paddle, whip or riding crop, or your hand, directly on a part of their body, always make sure you’re striking a fleshy, safe area of the body. You don’t want to strike them directly against a bony area.

While advanced BDSM players may engage in breath play, meaning restricting their partners’ breath, this is not advised for anyone who isn’t fully experienced and knowledgeable.

Make sure to check in with your partner throughout the session to ensure that they are both comfortable and eager to participate. Due to the dominant/submissive dynamic, a partner may agree to something to please the other partner and not realize that it’s causing them undue strain.

See The Beginner’s Guide to Bondage for everything you need to know about exploring restraint.

Does BDSM always involve sex?

No, BDSM doesn’t always involve sex. For some people, the excitement of BDSM comes from the physical sensations and/or mental arousal of their role as dominant or submissive. While you can easily combine BDSM with sexual activity, if you prefer to keep them separate, that’s a very common approach.

Do you have to be a top or bottom in BDSM?

You can be a top, bottom, dominant, submissive, or switch in BDSM. A switch is someone who switches between being a top or bottom (or dominant or submissive) and doesn’t necessarily have a fixed role. How you practice BDSM is up to you and your partner(s). For those who purely enjoy the sensation of acts like spanking, bondage, or hot wax play, etc. they may simply engage in BDSM play for the physical side of it, without adding any role-playing. Some people solely identify as one role that they incorporate into all of their BDSM play. However, even if you identify as a top or dominant, in order to take the best care when practicing BDSM, it’s recommended that you experience some of the stimulation you’re going to dole out by being on the receiving end. That way you can see exactly what a paddle or flogger, for example, feels like depending on how hard they’re used.

What are BDSM sex toys?

BDSM sex toys can be handcuffs and restraints, nipple clamps, spanking paddles, or other items used in the practice of BDSM activities. Depending on the type of kinky play you’re interested in, you may be more interested in a sensual blindfold or tickler, or something more intense, like a paddle or riding crop. You can experiment by combining BDSM toys for added sensations, such as wearing a blindfold while receiving a spanking or being tickled while your wrists or ankles are bound.

Below are some of our most popular BDSM sex toys:

Satin Blindfold Black - Pleasure Bound

Satin Blindfold Black – Pleasure Bound

Enjoy some light bondage by covering your eyes with this black satin blindfold. This simple blindfold is an easy way to get totally in the mood.

Red Furry Handcuffs - Pleasure Bound

Red Furry Handcuffs – Pleasure Bound

These furry handcuffs are easy to use and feel soft against your skin, no matter how hard you strain against them. They’re perfect for beginners to bondage or anyone who wants to look extra sexy while restrained.

Designer Handcuffs - Pleasure Bound

Designer Handcuffs – Pleasure Bound

Take your bondage play to the next level with these designer handcuffs! Use these restraints for kinky role-playing or simply to secure your partner’s wrists in place for a hot time.

Whip Feather Tickler Black - Pleasure Bound

Whip Feather Tickler Black – Pleasure Bound

Alternate between kinky pain and pleasure with this black whip feather tickler! With one side a stern whip that can strike their sensitive flesh and the other a tickler that can soothe their skin, this BDSM sex toy is the perfect addition to any bedroom or toy bag.

Heart Impressions Riding Crop - Pleasure Bound

Heart Impressions Riding Crop – Pleasure Bound
Give or get a powerful whack with this riding crop! This fun BDSM sex toy lets you deliver a strong or light sting and leave a heart imprint when you’re done.

Crystal Handle Flogger - Pleasure Bound

Crystal Handle Flogger – Pleasure Bound

Add some major style to your BDSM play with this Crystal Handle Flogger. This kinky toy makes it easy to deliver a powerful flogging, and is perfect for beginners or anyone looking to bring elegance to their next BDSM session.

Sparkle Collar and Cuffs Set - Pleasure Bound

Sparkle Collar and Cuffs Set – Pleasure Bound

Glam it up with this sparkle bondage collar and cuffs set! Whether this is all you wear or you pair this kinky look with some nipple clamps or lingerie, you’ll be sure to dazzle.

Collar with Nipple Clamps - Pleasure Bound

Collar with Nipple Clamps – Pleasure Bound

This kinky wear does double duty, as a beautiful collar to symbolize submission along with nipple clamps to put just the right amount of pain where it counts. Make this collar with clamps a part of your next BDSM encounter and you’ll both be very pleased.

Red Satin Ball Gag - Pleasure Bound

Red Satin Ball Gag – Pleasure Bound

Give a whole new spin to your bondage play when you fill your partner’s mouth with this ball gag. They can make all the noise they want and it’ll be muffled by the gag, for a totally kinky and hot session.

Silky Sash Restraints - Pleasure Bound

Silky Sash Restraints – Pleasure Bound

Bondage has never felt better! Get tied up or restrain your partner with these silky black sash restraints! You can mix it up and bind wrists and ankles, or use one as a blindfold. Whatever you do, these restraints will feel sensual against your skin while offering you plenty of bondage excitement.

Silky Shackles Bondage Rope Black - Pleasure Bound

Silky Shackles Bondage Rope Black – Pleasure Bound

Make getting tied up even more fun with this sensual bondage rope. Made of material that won’t chafe your skin, with 32 feet of rope with tasseled ends, this kinky item provides plenty of rope for all your bondage needs.

Lover's Submission Kit - Pleasure Bound

Lover’s Submission Kit – Pleasure Bound

Everything you need to enjoy hours of BDSM sexiness is right in this kinky sex toy kit. Enjoy the thrill of the heart impression paddle, the sensuality of the furry handcuffs, all while blindfolded. Whether you use them together or one at a time, they’re the perfect way to get kinky with a partner.

Under The Bed Restraint Kit - Pleasure Bound

Under The Bed Restraint Kit – Pleasure Bound

Your bedroom can become a kinky playroom easily with this under the bed restraint kit! It’s easy to attach these restraints and then fulfill your bondage fantasies. This restraint kit is the perfect way to spice up your intimacy whenever you desire. Just put them away when you’re done for total discretion. Your bondage playground awaits!

Fantasy Door Sex Swing - Pleasure Bound

Fantasy Door Sex Swing – Pleasure Bound

Turn any doorway into a sexual wonderland with this sex swing! This easy-to-use swing lets you discover a whole new range of hot sex positions. It even comes with a blindfold to up the kink factor.

We hope if you explore BDSM you have a totally sexy time! You can check out even more BDSM and bondage gear at Spencers.com.