Basics

Intro to BDSM Knife Play

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Knife with damascus steel blade resting on sheepskin.
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Knife play is the use of knives for sensation, fear, or both in BDSM scenes. Sound exciting? It is! But there’s a lot to learn before you attempt this form of edge play. Our guide covers all the basics. 

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What’s the Difference between Rough Sex and BDSM?

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Bar graph showing percentage of college students who categorize certain activities as rough sex. Choking and hair pulling were most popular.

Spanking, hair pulling, slapping, spitting—these are just some of the activities that a lot of people consider to be part of rough sex. But these acts also fall squarely under the umbrella of BDSM. So is there a difference between rough sex and BDSM? If so, what is it? And if there isn’t, then why don’t more people simply call rough sex BDSM?

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Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) BDSM Resources

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This post was originally published on June 21, 2020 and was updated on August 15, 2021.

Black Lives Matter!
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If you’re White, keep reading! Don’t make the mistake of thinking these BIPOC BDSM resources don’t pertain to you. They absolutely do. 

In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people, we, like so many Americans, have joined the effort to prevent such atrocities from occurring in the future. But the changes that need to occur in this country go far beyond ending police brutality. Every community needs to take a step back and reflect on what it can do to not only make space for BIPOC but ensure they are welcome participants and leaders. And the BDSM community is no exception.

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SSC vs. RACK: What’s the Difference?

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Originally posted on October 9, 2018; updated on August 13, 2021

Wooden blocks stacked on top of each other spelling the word "Risk"
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“I am a Dom (switch) and my sub has requested that I drug them and play with/use/have sex with them while they are asleep or near-asleep, in a drugged state. I’m wary . . . but I’d definitely try it if there was a guaranteed safe way of
doing this. . .” —Reddit

Early in our BDSM journeys, we both strongly connected with the popular mantra of practicing Safe, Sane, and Consensual (SSC) kink. We interpreted this abbreviation to mean that BDSM has an advantage over vanilla sex because of the deliberate acknowledgment of safety between partners.

When we first noticed people replacing it with Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK), we were skeptical. The contrast seemed unnecessary, so we imagined these groups just wanted an edgier tagline—”We’re not safe or sane. We’re risky kinksters!” But once we started looking into the history of both abbreviations, we started to feel differently. (more…)

BDSM on the Cheap

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A photo of several wooden spoons, spatulas, and a rolling pin.
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Although BDSM is often associated with fancy leather or latex outfits and expensive equipment, the truth is you don’t need any of that to partake. You can be just as kinky using homemade gear or things you already own. Here are some of our favorite ways to do BDSM on the cheap.

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Misogyny in BDSM Dynamics

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A black woman with hand raised in a "stop" gesture.
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We’re living proof that a couple that is egalitarian in every way can still enjoy hot BDSM play. This even includes fantasy scenes that toy with sexist gender-normative themes such as slut shaming and CNC. But as much as the BDSM scene purports to be feminist and all about consent, the unfortunate truth is that whatever societal ills plague the vanilla world are just as present in the BDSM community, including misogyny.

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The Ultimate Guide to BDSM Dirty Talk

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Man standing behind woman talking in her ear as he pins her hands to a glass door.

The vast majority of people fantasize about dirty talk during sex, especially people who fantasize about BDSM. But turning these fantasies into reality can be a challenge if you don’t know what to say or are afraid you’ll blurt out something embarrassing that will kill the mood. Our BDSM dirty talk guide brings together everything kinky couples like us need to know based on the best ideas from books, articles, classes, and hours of hot (and occasionally awkward) BDSM research.

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A Guide to Spontaneous CNC Scenes

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man holding woman's neck while getting ready to kiss

Aren’t consensual non-consent (CNC) scenes supposed to be carefully planned and negotiated? How can a CNC scene be done safely in the heat of the moment? The answer to the first question is yes! Especially if you have something elaborate in mind. But if you know your partner well, it’s entirely possible to add spontaneous CNC to your kinky repertoire without discussing every detail ahead of time.

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