A Beginner’s Guide To Bondage

This guide is here to demystify the world of bondage. We will be discussing an introduction to BDSM, Do’s and Don’ts of BDSM practice, how to broach the topic with your partner and the best bondage accessories for you. 

Are you thinking about exploring the world of BDSM but are unsure where to start? You’re in the right place. At Coco de Mer, we celebrate pleasure in all its forms, so let us guide you through the basics and teach you the delights of BDSM - there's a lot of fun to be had. Chances are, you may have already practised a little light bondage. If you like a light spank in the bedroom or enjoy the sensation of fingernails down your back, that’s BDSM.  

The most important aspect of BDSM play is consent and communication. As you experiment with kink, you must do so with someone you trust, and there is open communication and mutual respect. This emphasis on informed and continuous consent is extremely important in BDSM play because BDSM often involves varying degrees of physical restraint, pain and servitude. 

What is BDSM?

BDSM is a term used to describe certain aspects of sex. It can include Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission, and Sadism & Masochism, but BDSM can be about so much more than sex. BDSM practices are often nurturing, emotional and even meditative in nature, allowing people to indulge in their wildest fantasies in a safe and consensual environment. 

What does BDSM mean? 

BDSM is the umbrella term used to describe certain aspects of kink and role play. These include, but are not limited to: 

Bondage & Discipline

This focuses on restraint and sensory deprivation, using tools such as rope, bondage tape, ticklers, and blindfolds. 

Domination & Submission

The act of taking on a Dominant or Submissive role, often but not exclusively using collars, leads, and gags. 

Sado-Masochism

Focusing on infliction and/or desire for pain, using tools such as floggers, paddles, and crops.   

Dom, Sub, or Switch? 

As you begin to explore the delights of BDSM, you may find yourself naturally gravitating towards a submissive or Dominant role in the bedroom. If you’re unsure, or even if you want to try out both roles, you and your partner can interchange and explore what feels good for your relationship. Some people enjoy being Dominant at times, and at other times want to be the submissive, this is called ‘Switch’ and can give you the best of both worlds. With the trust of your partner, you can test each other’s sexual boundaries and discover new turn-ons you’d never have imagined. 

What does it mean to be Dominant? 

The Dominant role (known as the ‘Dom’) will demonstrate psychological and/or physical power over the submissive role (the ‘Sub’). The Dom has an important responsibility to ensure the Sub is enthusiastic and consenting throughout the play, as the Dom is physically and psychologically in control of the direction of the play.

This can be practised at a beginner level with dirty talk, light levels of restraint and pain, or through tease and denial. As you become more comfortable with BDSM and start to recognise what turns you on, you can add to your BDSM mix, trying new and kinkier practices. 

What does it mean to be submissive? 

The submissive role generally follows the Dom’s lead, often being the receiver of restraint, punishment and teasing. Although you are playing a submissive role, it is vital that your boundaries and consent are discussed prior, so the BDSM play is always on your terms. Even though it may not seem like it, the Sub is the one in control. 

Practice being a Sub by starting small at first. Try asking your partner to restrain you, lightly spank you and engage in power role-play. As you get more comfortable with submission, you can expand your repertoire into even kinkier play. 

How to start the BDSM conversation with your partner

Whether you want to try something new or have a specific sexual fantasy in mind, the way you discuss this with your partner is crucial. BDSM isn’t something that should be introduced spontaneously - it involves prior communication and consent by nature.  

Be vulnerable, open, and casual when you come to discuss it. Your way into the conversation can be as simple as; “I’m interested in getting a little bit more playful in the bedroom — maybe some role-playing or spanking.” Using positive phrases such as “I’d love it if you —”, or “It really turns me on when you —” are confidence-building ways to tell your partner how you feel and what you want. You never know, your partner may have secret fantasies and desires that they have been waiting to be asked about all this time. 

Delve into the world of BDSM together, by reading articles and books, watching videos on the topic and attending classes such as our Salons [link to salons] as a couple. This way, you can both get a feel for what you do and don’t like, where potential boundaries may lay and which roles you may gravitate towards. 

How to begin using Bondage Toys 

Once you’ve discussed your desires, boundaries and safe words, it’s time to start playing with toys. Starting with something simple and low in intensity will build your confidence and ease you in gently, allowing you to figure out what you like. 

If you think you may be interested in restraint and sensory play, try a blindfold, feather tickler, and bondage tape. The blindfold builds anticipation as your lover teases with the tickler, while bondage tape is a comfortable way to be restrained at the same time. Taking your time and moving through the gears not only reassures the restrained partner, it’s also a wonderfully tantalising way to tease them to even greater excitement. 

When you’re ready, progressing onto wrist and ankle cuffs, spreader bars, ropes and harnesses opens up a world of BDSM pleasures. 

If you’re interested in sado-masochism, starting with a small paddle or flogger and slowly building intensity will work a treat. Let the anticipation build by adding a blindfold, or pair it with a vibrator for the ultimate balance of pleasure and pain. 

At your own pace, you can start adding more intense bondage accessories such as bamboo canes, whips and crops, building intensity with clear consent and communication. 

The Do’s and Don’ts for a BDSM Beginner

Do practice with someone you trust. 

Do have discussions about desires and boundaries prior to BDSM play. 

Do start small. Before introducing toys or hard-core practices, start with something simple such as power-based dirty talk and role play. 

Do have a safe word and a safe motion. Your safe word should be something unique and clear to understand, and a safe motion (such as two taps on the leg, for example) can be used when you aren’t able to talk (for example, if wearing a gag). 

Do practice aftercare. It is important to show affection; debrief and discuss what you did and didn't enjoy after a BDSM session. 

Don’t cross pre-set boundaries or try something that hasn’t been discussed prior. 

Don’t shame someone for a kink they divulge to you. Their vulnerability in that moment deserves respect, and a simple ‘I am personally not interested in that’ will suffice.  

To Sum Up 

If you’re having a go at bondage you’re presumably looking to have a little fun exploring something that you haven’t tried before. It’s important to remember that, as with all the good stuff that goes on in the bedroom, the top priority should be exactly that: having fun. 

Staying relaxed, going with the flow, being respectful of your partner and being prepared for the fact that everything might not go exactly according to plan will increase your chances of a successful introduction to BDSM, adding an exciting edge to your sex life that will always keep your lover guessing. 

Shop our curated bondage collection and see what toys and accessories could be perfect for you. 

Book an in-person Salon at Coco de Mer and learn how to explore your pleasure from one of our resident sex experts - this is something you can enjoy with your partner.