S&M for beginners: Easing into a new situation

After becoming comfortable in a sexual relationship, couples often times decide to become more adventurous, and a common avenue is S&M – sadomasochism – and rough sex.

The term sadomasochism finds its roots in the words sadism, meaning to enjoy inflicting pain, and masochism, meaning to enjoy pain being inflicted on oneself. According to Discovery Health, sadomasochism is most simply defined as the eroticizing of pain during sexual intercourse.

Although this path definitely isn’t for everyone, it is important to debunk the stigmas connected to S&M before providing fodder for ideas. There is a common misconception that sadomasochism is essentially rape, but this isn’t the case, since sadomasochism is fully consensual.

American media also portray sadomasochism in it’s most extreme states, like whips, chains, and handcuffs, but in reality, a couple is practicing sadomasochism if they even lightly bite one another during intercourse.

If you have never indulged in rough sex or S&M before, you’re likely thinking to yourself, “Why would anyone enjoy being hurt or hurting their partner during sex?”

The answer to this question is very simple, biological, and may seem weird: Pain, just like pleasure, releases endorphins, the compound connected to pleasure and enjoyment. The masochist recognizes that being spanked or squeezed is slightly painful, but he or she mostly feels pleasure, causing additional sexual arousal.

Obviously, this branch of intercourse can be very heated and passionate, part of why people enjoy engaging in sadomasochism. Unlike other branches of sex, sadomasochism can be dangerous since it involves pain, so it’s important to do your homework and get consent before busting out the fuzzy handcuffs from Spencer’s gifts.

Tips for everyone

Get consent from your partner. As discussed earlier, sadomasochism without consent is essentially rape. It’s important to know you have the okay from your partner, and having a conscious discussion beforehand can alleviate apprehension connected to sadomasochism and your partner’s feelings.

Some Web pages about sadomasochism, such as AskMen, suggest judging your partner’s opinion by lightly biting them or pulling his or her hair, and then asking if they like it before continuing. In this situation, it’s important to know your partner: Are you dating someone who goes with the flow between the sheets? Or, will your partner go running in the opposite direction if he or she feels slightly uncomfortable?

Create a safe word. Although pain does release endorphins during sex, you will still experience pain, and sometimes it can be too much. S&M experts recommend creating a safe word you never use during intercourse, like “muffin” or “daisy.” Sometimes participants pretend they don’t want to continue with S&M during sex, so it’s important to have a word that means, “stop” for this situation.

Ideas for the curious

If you’re curious about sadomasochism, it’s best to test the waters before you jump in with light S&M like biting, spanking, hair pulling, or pinning your partner.

Biting is an easy starter because most couples already kiss areas like the neck or thighs during sex. Don’t start by intensely biting your partner. Instead, kiss his or neck normally, and gradually start nibbling. If your partner enjoys this, you can bite harder, but remember not to break their skin!

It is most common for the buttocks to be spanked during sex, simply because it doesn’t make sense to start with another body part. Spanking releases endorphins through the body and is easiest during the doggystyle or cowgirl positions for heterosexual couples.

Hair pulling – if done lightly – might not hurt at all and releases endorphins like these other activities. Tugging your partner’s hair during oral sex can be a sign to them that you’re enjoying yourself, causing your partner to be aroused while you are pleasured.

Some couples take this a step further and pull on the female partner’s hair during sex to change her body position, creating new angles of entry and depth.

Pinning your partner down may seem extreme, but can be very pleasurable. This technique gives the top partner a sense of control, while the bottom partner completely gives him or herself away to their partner.

Ideas for the adventurous

If you have already experimented with S&M or you and your partner have discussed adventurous sadomasochism, bondage, choking, and throwing your partner around are techniques you can try out.

Bondage is the area that people most commonly think of when they hear S&M. That’s right: bondage includes whips, handcuffs, restraints, and blindfolds. Bondage takes pinning your partner down one step further with the use of material products. Restraints and handcuffs are useful if your partner wants to be dominated, and adding a blindfold creates mystery.

Using a whip on your partner is definitely a step-up in S&M world and consent is imperative. Whipping is pleasurable because it releases endorphins, just as with spanking.

Choking can be very dangerous and should be practiced with care. The reduced flow of oxygen to the brain causes a hallucinogenic state, but you must be careful to avoid asphyxiation. If you want to avoid this danger, simply holding your partner’s neck can create the illusion of control.

Throwing your partner around can be done as lightly or harshly as you and your partner are comfortable with. Picking your partner up and throwing them against walls or seating them on tables can be very erotic, creating a very enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that this can create cuts or bruises, and also that throwing your partner around can be loud if items fall or break.

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