BDSM Tips for Beginners

With the release of the third Fifty Shades of Grey film, many of you might be eager to try your hand at some whips and chains, a la Christian and Anastasia. But before you go diving into the BDSM scene headfirst, here are a few tips to ensure that your foray into bondage is safe, sane, and most importantly, consensual.

Talk About BDSM Rules

As with any healthy adult relationship, good communication is key here. Before you and your partner embark on BDSM play, the two of you need to have a sit down. Discuss what it is you want, and even pull out a piece of paper and take notes. You need some guidelines that you can both refer to and to agree to what you’re willing to try, what you don’t want to do, and any maybes you both might have. We call this discussing your limits. Firm ‘No’s are known as Hard Limits, ‘Maybe’s are called Soft limits. But remember –if you’re unsure about something, make your uncertainty known. You both need to be 100% on board as BDSM is about trust. 

Research

When you’ve established your baseline rules, don’t feel you have to jump right into it. Now that you know what you and your partner are wanting to try, crack open your browser and do some research. I highly recommend this blog post by Debra Macleod. She gives some great tips that allow you to dip your toes in the water without getting soaked.

For more intensive research, ask questions on the FetLife Message Boards. These can prove to be a great BDSM resource with people who are in the inner circle. You can also look for local workshops, and maybe find a ‘munch’ nearby (a Munch is a vanilla meet up for people who live the BDSM lifestyle, but the meet ups are more for asking questions and networking).

Start Small

A blindfold is such a simple thing, but taking away one of you or your partner’s senses will enhance the others. You could also buy a simple pair of bondage cuffs (not handcuffs, see BDSM tips below). Simple restraint of the wrists, either alone or with a blindfold, is a good starting point.

If you want to try more, add a feather to your repertoire, or maybe some ice for sensation-play. If you or your partner are interested in trying out impact play, start with a spanking. Many times that’s more than enough to excite you both, and you can easily judge how light or how hard your strikes are – something that can be difficult with a paddle or a flogger.

Safe Words and the Stoplight System

For beginners it’s best to avoid a safe word and use the stoplight system throughout any type of play. ‘Green’ means continue, of course, ‘Red’ means stop, and ‘Yellow’ means ease up, or check in on how either of you are feeling. Even the person who is topping can call out red or yellow if they feel uncomfortable at any point. Lastly, always listen to your partner. Do not ever continue play if red is called, and stop and check in if yellow is called.

Once you get more experienced in BDSM play, and have done more research, then safe words may be used instead of the stoplight system. Always make sure you pick a word (or words) that won’t accidentally be called out in the heat of the moment. And it’s also recommended that you ask the person bottoming what their safe word is regularly through play, to make sure they are still cognizant enough to USE it if they need to. Being the top or dominant partner holds a lot of responsibility, and the bottom or submissive partner needs to feel as if they can call a halt or a slowing down of all play if they need to.

As you continue to spice up your BDSM play, make sure you also do your research. If you find that either of you aren’t really into something, don’t feel bad or try to force anyone into doing anything not within your comfort zones. Also keep in mind that bondage might not be the right fit for you. But if it is – Happy Playing!

More BDSM Tips:

  • Handcuffs are not good for beginners – not even furry ones. If used improperly, one can actually damage the nerves in the wrists. Instead, invest in a nice set of padded bondage cuffs. You don’t have to spend lots of money on them, but you definitely want to make sure that whoever is going to be wearing them is comfortable.
  • If you or your partner find that impact-play (for example, spanking) is enjoyable, you could invest in a nice paddle that has fur or velvet on one side. The texture of either is wonderful, and you could choose to run the fur or velvet over your lover’s skin for titillating sensation, or use it soothe after a form paddling. When using a paddle or flogger, however, I do recommend that you test it against your leg so you know what it feels like, and how much force to use. Also, stay away from the spine and the lower back where the kidneys are to avoid injuring your partner in a not-fun way.
  • Nipple stimulation is a lot of fun. There is a huge variety of clips, clamps, and suckers on the market for you and your partner to try. Clips (also commonly called pincher clamps) employ next to no pressure, and many have beautiful jewels and other embellishments attached. If you and your lover decide that you want something that has a former grasp, adjustable clamps are a great option. Just make sure that they have rubber grips, and that they actually open widely enough if your partner’s nipples are on the larger side. Vacuum suckers are also a wonderful alternative to clamps. The sensation is similar, and leave the nipple highly sensitized, but they won’t leave your lover’s nipples sore after they’re removed.
  • Rope is a bit more advanced, but even the tying process can be highly erotic. If this is something you and your lover want to try, I highly suggest finding tutorials on tying online. Also, Bondage Basics: Naughty Knots and Risque Restraints by Lord Morpheous is a gorgeously-illustrated, easily readable guide that offers up a bit of history, step-by-step guides to several common (and not-so common) ties, and different types of ropes used in this art. Also, as I had mentioned above, check out FetLife for rope workshops available by you. Think of these workshops like classes; the people running these events are highly trained, and both you and your partner will be able to practice your rope-tying in a safe, relaxed environment under the watchful eye of someone who knows what they’re doing.
How to Clean Sex Toys

How to Clean Sex Toys

Tips on Storing and Caring for Your Toys

Now that you have purchased a sex toy, you’re probably wondering how to take care of it – or at least, you should be!
Below are several tips on keeping your toy in good condition, and making sure that it is properly cleaned in between uses.

Sex Toy Cleaners
Most of the packaging that a toy comes in recommend you wash your toys with soap and water in between uses. However, what they don’t tell you is that some soaps can actually damage the surface of your toys. When the friendly sales clerk at your local adult shop recommends you purchase a toy cleaner along with your toy, they’re not just trying to make more money off of you. Toy cleaners are specially formulated to be safe for use on all types of materials, and many double as a cleaner for your body as well. But which should you buy? There are tons of options available to you, but here’s a quick guide on the different types you might encounter.

Spray Cleaners
A spray cleaner is your most basic type. Most are antibacterial, which is something you should look for. Some have pleasant scents, like Pipedream’s Refresh Strawberry Scented Toy Cleaner, or Mighty Tidy Antibacterial Adult Toy Cleaner by Jelique. Others have aloe added to their formula, like CalExotics’ Universal Toy Cleaner with Aloe. A note on the latter, however – some women find that they are allergic to aloe, so if you know this to be true about yourself, try their regular cleaner. It works just as well.

To use a spray cleaner, simply remove the batteries in the toy (if it’s battery-operated), then spray the surface of the toy thoroughly. Wait a moment, then wipe the cleaner off. You don’t have to rinse the toy, but it doesn’t hurt to do so.

Foaming Cleaners
The foaming cleaner is a step above a spray. Like mousse, you simply dispense a small dollop on your fingers, then wipe it on the toy. Let sit for at least 30 seconds, then rinse with warm water. System JO Refresh Antibacterial Toy Cleaner is unscented, and one bottle goes a long, long way. If you’re into organic products, try Intimate Earth Green Tea Tree Oil Foaming Cleaner. Not only is it organic, the tea tree oil that it contains is a natural antimicrobial, which makes it an excellent choice for anal toys.

Antibacterial Wipes
If you travel a lot, this type of cleaner is ideal for you! You don’t have to worry about pesky FTA regulations (any liquids in a carry-on have to be 3.4 oz or smaller!) and they tuck neatly away in your purse. While a lot of companies offer wipes, one of the best is Aneros Antibacterial Toy Wipes. Aneros is a company devoted to making male prostate toys, so their wipes are sure to clean your toy thoroughly.

UVee
This is a little different than your usual toy cleaner. UVee is a sanitizing device that uses UV-C light to kill 99.9% of bacteria on pretty much anything you put inside it. Available in two sizes – the portable GoPlay and the larger HomePlay – it not only sanitizes your toys, but is a lockable storage box that offers 1 or 3 USB ports for charging. It’s not cheap, but if you’re concerned about how clean your toys are, it’s a worthwhile investment.

That said, if you decide to use soap and water to clean your toy make sure the soap is very mild. Do NOT use Clorox Wipes or Rubbing Alcohol on your toys!!! Not only will bleach and alcohol damage the toy surface, you don’t want either in your body. No matter how much you rinse, there will still be residue left behind, and the delicate tissues of the vagina can experience dryness or even burning if you use either of these methods to clean your toys.

Storage
Discretion is usually important to most toy owners, and as such, you want to invest in some sort of storage item to hide away your toys. There are several types of storage options out there, but two types are predominant.

Pouches
Most high end toys come with a velvet or satin pouch to store your toys in when they’re not being used. If not, you can usually purchase one from your local adult store. It is recommended that you use these pouches, even if you have usually put your toys in some type of toy box, because different materials placed in close proximity to one another can cause your toys to melt. Of these materials, toys made of SensaFeel, UR3 or Cyberskin are usually the most likely to have this kind of reaction. (As a side note, this is why silicone is so great; it’s far sturdier of a material, and most can be boiled or put on the top rack of your dishwasher for cleaning. Be careful to read the packaging on a silicone toy; if it’s boilable or dishwasher safe, it will be clearly marked as such.)

Toy Boxes
Toy boxes come in a variety of sizes and colors, and most have a combination lock that can be used to keep little fingers away from your toys. If you don’t want to deal with a combination lock, some boxes like the Joyboxx Locking Toy Box use a small padlock to keep others out – just make sure that you don’t lose the keys! Devine toy boxes, while a little on the pricey side, are another non-combination option available, and better still, offer you plenty of room for toys and lube. Just be careful, because they’re pretty enough that someone might mistake it for a fancy makeup case!
The UVee, as mentioned above, is also a wonderful option to store your toys, and allows you to sanitize and charge them all at the same time!

Making sure you keep your toys clean and store them properly will ensure that they last you a long, long time, and therefore protect your investment, and your health!

5 Ways to Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day

5 Ways to Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re happily married or single, there’s no reason you can’t carve out time for yourself this Valentine’s Day. We’ve created this list of 5 ways to treat yourself this Valentine’s Day, so anyone can treat themselves on February 14th!

  • Pamper Yourself

Book yourself some time at your local spa—or, if you don’t have the time (or the funds) bring the spa to you!

If you have a bath tub at home, draw yourself a steaming bath and grab some awesome-smelling bath bombs or bath oils. Light some candles, turn on a favorite playlist, and let yourself soak away stress for a while.

No bath tub?

That’s okay, too. Invest in a nice-smelling, quality body wash and give yourself an extra five minutes in the shower. It might not seem like much, but all-too-often that little bit of extra time is a luxury.

Follow up with your fluffiest towels, some great moisturizer or lotion, and your comfiest pajamas, and you have a recipe for a relaxing evening at home.

  • Flowers

Who says you need someone else to buy you a bouquet?

Check out your local florist (or a farmer’s market—they almost always have gorgeous blooms!) and buy yourself a pretty arrangement. You don’t have to stick with roses, either (unless they’re your favorite, of course!) There are tons of blooms that you can put together for a bouquet that fits your own unique tastes.

Better yet, why don’t you go one step further and look into some easy-to-care-for houseplants? Depending on where you live and availability, you can find something that will provide color and fragrance that will last longer than any cut arrangement.

  • Take a Class

This might take a little planning on your part, but check out your local college or community center to see if they offer any type of fun classes you can take. Cooking, pottery, knitting—learn a new skill, and you might just wind up finding yourself a new hobby!

Google is your friend here; just type in some possible classes you might be interested in taking, and add ‘near me’ in the search bar. Even if you live in a small town, odds are you’ll still find some type of class that will be of interest!

  • Buy Yourself Something Sexy

Now, lingerie might be the first thing that comes to mind here, but there are plenty of options out there. Maybe you buy yourself a new dress or top that makes you feel like a million bucks. Or that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for a while but keep talking yourself out of buying. Maybe you’re feeling adventurous and purchase yourself a new sex toy. Or maybe a steamy romance novel is more your speed. Whatever you choose, as long as it fits your definition of ‘naughty,’ you’re on the right track.

And finally…

  • Galentine’s Day

Yes, you read that correctly. Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with your favorite ladies, whether you’re all single or partnered up.

And go over-the-top.

Make reservations for lunch or dinner at a favorite restaurant or one you’ve been all dying to try. Make them Valentines like you once did in grade school. Buy them each a flower, or chocolates, or something equally holiday-themed. Get all dressed up—even if you’re going somewhere casual.

Have a little fun with your nearest and dearest gal pals, and celebrate the platonic side of love this Valentine’s Day!

5 Holiday Gift Ideas to Spice up Your Sex Life

5 Holiday Gift Ideas to Spice up Your Sex Life

With the holiday season upon us, stress levels are sure to skyrocket as we tackle shopping for our loved ones. Well, before you panic and grab a bunch of gift cards last minute at your local drugstore on Christmas Eve, take a moment to breathe, and read on for some truly outside-of-the-box gift ideas that show a more…personal touch.

Buying a sexy gift for your other half should probably be one of the easiest items on your shopping list to knock out, right? But when it comes right down to it, a great deal of the time you wind up drawing a blank. What do you get that special someone without going overboard? Because it does matter. You wouldn’t buy a guy or girl you’ve only just begun dating something super expensive and over-the-top—like jewelry, which indicates a level of commitment that might not have been reached at this point in your relationship. And buying a woman lingerie is more a gift for yourself, because you’re picking out something that you want to see her in. (Not to mention sizing: not every lingerie manufacturer sizes their products the same, and you risk buying your other half something that either doesn’t fit, or something that winds up offending her.)

So what do you do? In today’s more sex-positive society, think about gifts that will enhance your bedroom activities.

There are tons of options for every couple out there, and for every budget:

  • Massage Oils
  • Flavored lubricants
  • Stimulating Gels for Him and Her
  • Pheromone Perfume and Colognes
  • Couples’ Vibrating C-Rings
  • Toys for Both

If you are so lucky as to have a brick-and-mortar adult store nearby, it is highly recommended that you visit in person. Good shops have staff who know their merchandise, are friendly, and best of all, are patient and willing to help. If not, and have to shop online, don’t just jump onto Amazon and click on the first item that fits your requirements. Not all items shown on Amazon (or eBay, for that matter) are the real deal. Instead, search for the actual manufacturer’s website, and shop their catalogs. Reputable companies abound, and you can be sure that they use quality materials, and you will receive exactly what you ordered, instead of a shoddy knockoff. Impulse Novelties has three gorgeous lines that fit every budget, and not only are their toys made of high-quality materials, they have something for everyone. From the affordable Nina Petite toys (The Nina Petite Pink Curvy G and The Nina Petite Purple Bunny) to the sleek and sexy No. 19 Rechargeable P-Spot Vibe Set for him, to the popular and fun The NEW Jimmee Purple Lightning Rod as seen on Bravo TV’s Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.

There are so many options out there to make the holidays fun and sexy, and relatively stress free. After all, you still have to deal with all those holiday get-togethers and parties—shopping should be the last thing you should have to worry over!

5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Your BFF

5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Your BFF

With the 2017 holiday season in full swing, you’ve most likely found gifts for your family and your significant other (if you have one.) But then there’s that gift for your BFF—what do you get for the person you consider your platonic soulmate?! Well, here’s a few ideas to get you started!

Luxurious Robe
We all need a little pampering in our lives. Whether it’s being constantly on the go due to work or taking care of the family, most of us forget to make time to slow down, relax, and do something nice for ourselves. Gifting your bestie with a high quality, luxurious bathrobe can be your way of giving them an excuse to pamper themselves. Perhaps include some scented candles, or a selection of bath gels or bath salts in soothing fragrances like vanilla and lavender. It might not seem like an extravagant gift, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money to show your BFF that you’re thinking of them.

Sassy Novelty Mugs
Laughter is something that fuels all friendships. Gifting your BFF with a novelty mug is a guaranteed way to elicit a laugh from them, and every time they look at it, they’ll think of you, and your friendship. There are tons of funny mugs out there that will capture the spirit of your friendship, from the demure to the outrageous! For a little extra love, fill the mug with their favorite chocolate or hard candies, and wrap it up with a big bow!

Bullet Journals
If your bestie is the creative type, or one who is super organized and always writing out To-Do lists, a bullet journal is an excellent gift! More than a journal, more than an organizer, bullet journals are a hot new trend that allows the owner to doodle, make lists, and write down their thoughts, all in one place. If you’re clueless as to what a bullet journal is, this article by BuzzFeed authors Rachel Wilkerson Miller and Ellie Sunakawa explains the concept in a simple, easy-to-understand post. You just might find yourself buying one for your bestie—and one for yourself!

Quirky Subscription Boxes
For those of you who want to show your bestie that you care year-round, not just during the holiday season, a subscription service like the ones found on Cratejoy.com might do the trick. There are thousands of subscriptions you can choose from, and they’re all divided into easily searchable categories that will help you narrow down your options to find the one that’s perfect for your BFF.

BFF Jewelry
The adult version of the friendship bracelet, giving your bestie a piece of jewelry that you share or a piece that you personalize with a quote that tells them how you feel (or maybe even an inside joke that only the two of you understand) is still a popular gift. There are plenty of options out there, with varying price points. Whether you decide to go high-end with precious gems and metals, or go with something a little more budget-friendly, the sentiment behind the gift remains the same. You want them to know that you’re always thinking about them, and they can have a piece of you with them always. Especially popular are trinkets that come in pairs (or threes…or more!) so both of you can have that reminder with you always!

When in doubt, maybe go with something you’ve made yourself! If you’re the creative type, paint or draw them a picture and have it framed! If you bake or like to cook, make them a fancy treat or a favorite meal that you can both enjoy. Even if you’re not a great artist or cook or a creative type, something handmade will mean a lot to them. You can’t go wrong when it comes to surprising your BFF with a heartfelt present that tells them how much they mean to you.

What is the most thoughtful present you’ve ever received from your best friend? What did you get them in return? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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