How to Cook Up the Best BDSM Scenes

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Cake in the shape of a triskelion, surrounded by a mug, two spoons, handcuffs, a plate and a knife.

For new doms, creating good BDSM scenes can seem as mysterious as cooking a gourmet meal without a recipe is to a novice in the kitchen. Where do you start? What ingredients do you use? What do you do if things don’t go according to plan? Here are our answers to those questions.

The Basics of Planning a Scene

Mimsy: How do you go about planning and creating BDSM scenes? What’s your thought process?

Vagabond: I do two things. First, I listen to you talk about what you liked or didn’t like about our last scene. This usually happens during our post-scene debrief that’s part of our aftercare. Though I ask questions to make sure you enjoyed the scene, I’m also pumping you for hot tips. Additionally, I listen to whatever wild thoughts go through my mind during the day. Second, I think about what’s plausible and possible for our upcoming scene. I consider how tired we are, how much time we have, and so on. If I want to do a strict bondage scene but we don’t have a lot of time, I’m not going to pull out three hanks of rope. I’ll bind you tightly and quickly in a bed sheet instead. 

I usually start scheming as soon as I know you’re down to do a scene—so maybe an hour or two before I think it’s going to happen. Some people might need less time than that, but I like to think about the “theme” of the scene and what I want to do and say that fits that theme. Do I want it to be degrading, or about ownership, or about you being a whore, or you being exposed? And then I think about how that fits within the context of our play style and what “ingredients” I want to incorporate. For instance, I might decide that I want to make you feel very exposed and to do that, I want to use bondage and sharps. This is all a very fluid process, though. It’s not like I’m using a checklist.

Things Might Not Go According to Plan

Mimsy: How much does your plan end up changing once the scene is happening?

Vagabond: Fifty percent, probably! And often because of ridiculous things.

Mimsy: It seems like that’s an important point: people shouldn’t be obsessed with rigidly adhering to their plan if it’s not working for whatever reason.

Vagabond: Yes, definitely. For example, I might want to do a knife scene, which would require you to stay very still. Even a very obedient sub, like you, might not be able to do that if you got a sudden itch or a cramp. In that instance, I would replace the carbon steel knife with a wooden knife or the wartenberg wheel, which are safer ways to give you similar sensations.

Mimsy: What are some other reasons things might not go according to plan during a scene?

Vagabond: I think the dom’s arousal is something I haven’t heard much about. I might intend to fuck you and make you come a bunch of times, but then I come sooner than I wanted to because you turn me on so much. Then I have to think about how best to continue the scene knowing I need about a 15 minute refractory period. Going down on you is a good way to do that, but I’m not going to tie a futo if I just came. It’s too meticulous and requires too much psychic energy.

Another thing that can change the scene is how dynamic the people are, meaning how much variation there is within their roles. You’re not the kind of sub who’s going to swing from being in full brat mode to being completely obedient, and you’re generally not going to leave an opening for heavy resistance on a whim. But some people do.

Mimsy: We sort of did heavy resistance on a whim the other night.

Vagabond: Yeah, but I feel like it was negotiated with playful pushing and pulling with a lot of foreplay. And it was actually an option that was part of my plan.

Mimsy: I felt like you gave me an opening to resist if I wanted to take it—unspoken language.

Vagabond: And that sort of thing is for people who have played together a whole lot doing acts they’ve done before. 

Listening and Creativity Are Key

Mimsy: Now I’m thinking about my own role in scene creation. I think I give you a fair amount of ideas.

Vagabond: Definitely. After a scene, you tell me, “Oh, I really liked x, y, or z.” And then I’ll do a little more of those things the next time we play. I don’t understand why some people are opposed to incremental growth in this way. It’s so easy to just talk after a scene and say what you liked or didn’t like and use that information going forward.

Mimsy: We’ve been talking about scene creation in the context of our relationship, but when you were new to BDSM back in the day, was your process any different? Did you feel any less creative or confident in how to come up with scenes?

Vagabond: Even if I didn’t know what I was doing, I knew of a bunch of things and would suggest things to try or ask the other person what they wanted to try. I mean a dom wearing a belt has three dozen things they can do to a submissive psychologically and physically.

Mimsy: This conversation is making me think that the key components to creating and planning BDSM scenes are a combination of being a good listener and being creative.

Vagabond: Yeah, but what can people do if they aren’t particularly creative?

Mimsy: I think this is why so many people gravitate toward BDSM checklists. They want to be able to see a list of options they can choose from because they don’t even know what all the possibilities are. But even if someone isn’t creative, if they’re a really good listener, they should be able to assemble some ingredients to make a scene. And at the very least, they should be able to do some self-exploration to determine what they want to feel from the scene and use that as a jumping off point to figure out how to achieve that feeling.

Vagabond: I think the listening piece is key. That’s what being creative in this context is. It’s a lot like being a good gift giver. We hear what our partner wants through written or verbal communication and fulfill the request at the perfect moment.

Subs Can Help, TOO

Mimsy: Right. It’s important to remember that subs can be active participants in creating BDSM scenes by generating ideas. Maybe not during the scene itself, but certainly prior to that. Doms aren’t going to have anything to listen to if the sub doesn’t communicate.

Vagabond: Princess Kali talks about doms getting subs to help them do their job. In most D/s dynamics, it’s appropriate to make the sub choose their punishment, for example, and tell the sub to put effort into telling the dom every little dirty thing they want. I think this is a creative choice that’s good for people who see themselves as uncreative, because all they have to do is ask and listen to get their list of ideas. And that list doesn’t need to be implemented during the next scene; it could be used three scenes down the road.

Mimsy: Any final thoughts?

Vagabond: Don’t worry about having the first scene with a new partner be the best scene of your life. There’s no need to do everything in the kitchen sink. The goal should be to leave them wanting more.

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