Bound Together
One couple’s insights into BDSM


The Best and Worst Kinky Short Films of 2023

A woman staring intently at a man wrapping tefillin. From the 2022 short film Good Girl.
From Good Girl (2022).

CineKink, the annual kinky film festival based in New York City, was held in person this year for the first time since before the pandemic, but we were out of town when it happened. Fortunately, they aired all the films virtually earlier this month. Here’s our review roundup of the kinky shorts from the festival in alphabetical order. We also watched a full-length BDSM feature, which we review in brief at the end.

Krush the Wrestler, a documentary, was the best short of the bunch. Good Girl was also quite enjoyable and well made. Read on to see what we thought of the rest.


The Truth about Punishment in BDSM

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!


BDSM Movie Review & Recap: Sanctuary

close-up of a man and woman in tight embrace
NEON Cinema

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Sanctuary (2022), a taut psychological BDSM drama directed by Zachary Wigon, tells the story of Hal (Christopher Abbott), a wealthy hotel scion who attempts to call off his long-standing arrangement with his pro dom Rebecca (Margaret Qualley). But Rebecca isn’t willing to give him up without a fight, and emotional and physical chaos ensue.

As the latest entry into the BDSM film catalog, there’s a lot to appreciate about Sanctuary. It’s clear the filmmakers did their research and portrayed some authentic aspects of a kinky dynamic, even though it’s pushed over the top for the sake of the drama. Perhaps predictably, this is not the film to watch if you want pointers on how to conduct a healthy BDSM dynamic, but it does a number of things quite well if you view it through the lens of fantasy.


BDSM When Life Gets in the Way

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.


A guide to BDSM Safety for Bottoms and Subs

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.


Playing It Safe: The Ins and Outs of Safewords


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

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made via some of the links below 
(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.


The Legality of Erotic Choking


A recent article published by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom provides an overview of the legality of erotic choking and breath play across the U.S. The main takeaway is that breath play in some form is illegal in almost all states. Here are some data points:

  • In only 4 states, consent is a defense to choking someone.
  • In 11 states, erotic choking is legal as long as no one gets hurt.
  • In all 50 states, the following activities are legal:
    • Breath play that involves telling someone else to hold their own breath or cover their own nose and mouth
    • Neck grasping that doesn’t involve pressure and squeezing
    • Gags, hoods, and collars that don’t prevent normal breathing

Check out our detailed guide on breath play and choking in BDSM for techniques and safety tips.

Netflix’s Obsession: A Damaged Story about BDSM

Man and woman about to kiss with the word Obsession below.

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While much has already been written about Netflix’s four-part erotic thriller Obsession, the focus has been on the thin plot, overwrought music, and cringeworthy moments. But what about the BDSM and kink in Obsession that numerous click-baity headlines have mentioned? Just how kinky is this series? And is its portrayal of BDSM and kinky people authentic?


Do “Fake” Doms Really Exist?

Man in a suit holding a mask

There are dozens of warnings in the BDSM community about fake doms* and how to spot them. They’re inexperienced, they’re physically or emotionally abusive, they ignore limits and safewords, they gain submission through fear tactics, and so on. But is it correct to call these people “fake” doms? Or are they bad, real doms? Is there a difference?

Bound Together
One couple’s insights into BDSM