Bound Together
One couple’s insights into BDSM

Basics

6 Questions to Ask Before and After a BDSM Scene

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Open handcuffs with the text "wanna play?" written in the middle

Beginner BDSM guides often make it seem like filling out extensive negotiation checklists and spreadsheets before playing is an essential step. But do you really need to catalog everything you plan to do in granular detail each and every time you decide to do a scene with someone? Probably not. In this post, we’ll break down the essential questions you need to consider for BDSM scenes whether you’re playing with someone new or a longtime partner.

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2023 BDSM Year in Review

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2023 highlights

As we speed toward 2024, we thought it would be fun to end the year with a roundup of some of the best and weirdest BDSM highlights of 2023. Remember the Armie Hammer #metoo scandal? That was reexamined this year through a BDSM lens. BDSM also sparked outrage on a college campus in Tennessee. And a much beloved kinky cafe in San Francisco closed. There were also a number of new books, movies, and studies about BDSM that came out this year. Read on to get the full 2023 recap.

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The Truth about Punishment in BDSM

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Woman pouting

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One of the most common BDSM aphorisms is that there’s “no one true way.” Yet if you search for “punishment in BDSM” online, you’ll come away with the opposite impression due to two ubiquitous assumptions. The first is that punishment is a given in every D/s dynamic, and the second is that it’s real and leads to true behavior change. Our take? Nope and nope. If, like us, you find yourself not agreeing with these two common assumptions, you’ll be hard pressed to find any BDSM resources to back you up. This is why we’re providing one!

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BDSM When Life Gets in the Way

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Two people clasping hands

Over time, most couple’s sex lives ebb and flow—and the same is true with BDSM. Grief, illness, and other stressful life events can and do interfere with BDSM. This was our situation recently after the death of an immediate family member followed by illness. Even though these kinds of lulls are inevitable in a long-term relationship, we didn’t want to let the BDSM spark fade completely because it helps us sustain the romance, fun, and connection in our relationship. We came up with a few ways to keep our BDSM dynamic alive when life gets in the way, which may work for you as well.

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A guide to BDSM Safety for Bottoms and Subs

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Man and woman facing each other; woman's hands are handcuffed behind her back.

If you’re a bottom or a sub, you may think your job in BDSM is to follow your dom’s lead. After all, you’re not the one tying people up or dishing out the punishments. But just because you’re not in charge of the scene doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for understanding what’s happening and doing your part to ensure it goes smoothly. These BDSM safety tips will help you play more safely, stay informed, and have even more fun in your scenes.

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Playing It Safe: The Ins and Outs of Safewords

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Stoplight

Originally posted on March 4, 2019; updated on May 16, 2023

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(at no additional cost to you).

From vanilla women’s magazines to online forums about kink, the first piece of advice that newbies to BDSM often get is to use a safeword. But the discussion about safewords often stops there. Let’s take a closer look at this often cited but poorly explained mainstay of BDSM.

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Essential Rope Bondage Tips for Beginners

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Woman's arms and upper body tied up with red and black rope
Photographer and rigger: Vagabond; model: Mimsy

When people ask for beginner rope bondage advice, the response is often that they should pay to join an advanced shibari tutorial website. While information on the intricacies of shibari and rope suspension may be useful for people who are farther along in their rope journey, this isn’t an accessible entry point for those who are just starting out. Here, we’ve collected some essential, user-friendly tips and tutorials for rope bondage beginners.

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There’s No One True Way to Do BDSM

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Scissors cutting a piece of paper with the word RULES on it

When I first realized I might be kinky and started researching BDSM, I wondered whether the abbreviation described me. I knew I was sexually submissive, but I wasn’t a masochist, nor was I interested in a 24/7 dynamic. Yet everything I read online led me to believe those were natural, if not essential, traits and goals for a submissive. It took some time for me to realize that many BDSM “requirements” aren’t requirements at all and that beyond a few basic principles, there’s no one true way to do any of it.

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The Biggest BDSM Beginner Mistakes 

Blocks that spell out Do's and Don'ts

Once you realize you’re kinky, it can be tempting to dive headfirst into BDSM without taking the time to learn some basic do’s and don’ts. We certainly made our fair share of missteps in the beginning! We’ve grouped some of the most common BDSM beginner mistakes into four categories: basic misunderstandings, too much too soon, unsafe practices, and fear of failure. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

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Bound Together
One couple’s insights into BDSM