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BDSM games for beginners (2020)

You can listen to this musing here, or read it below.

Are you curious about BDSM and looking for a way to get started with a partner, friend or lover? As you probably know, BDSM is an umbrella abbreviation for Bondage, Dominance, Submission, Sadism and Masochism, and it connects deeply to various tantric ideas about polarity, presence and vulnerability.

As the subject might seem overwhelming for a beginner, I want to suggest four different exercises to approach the fundamental themes of BDSM. Each activity takes about 1-3 hours, and I recommend that you take time in-between to evaluate your experience. Before we begin, to do the exercises safely, consciously, and consensually, I suggest that you use the concept of “a frame” that I describe in my text playing safer.


The theme of the first exercise is bondage, where the active person will bind the passive person. You can either do it using rope, but then you need some technical skills that you can learn in my online School of Tantric Ropes. Or you can use a plastic-wrap called cling-film that is available in almost every supermarket. The active person will completely bind the passive person, and then stimulate their senses using touch. If you are using cling-film, then make them into a mummy, but avoid the face and have a pair of scissors nearby.

The exercise focuses on the experience of the passive person that is encouraged to surrender to their sense. And the active person is providing that. The polarity created is not between dominant and submissive, but is better described as giver and receiver. Make sure that you go slow, and make the bondage into a little meditative ritual that takes at least half an hour. You can deepen the experience by giving the passive person a blindfold. The touch that follows can be anything that you agreed before, from sexually teasing, to a calming massage. I would suggest avoiding pain, as you will get to experience that in another exercise. Once the receiver is free again, make sure that they drink some water and eat something sweet, as bondage is tougher on the body than many realize.


The next theme is physical domination and submission, where you will make a playful wrestling match, and the winner gets to take pleasure from the looser. Precisely the limit of the prize is something that you talk about beforehand as you define your frame. It can be anything from just feeling them out, to sexual intercourse. You can explore switching here, that means not having predecided roles in the polarity. Or you can decide who wins, and look at the wrestling more as foreplay.

This kind of play is touching upon something called consensual non-consent because there will probably be playful struggling and fighting involved. That means that sometimes the body language will say “No” as a part of the play, and therefore you must keep your verbal exit strategy (your safe-word) in mind. Exploring physical domination and submission will help you develop non-verbal communication where you make little check-ins to ensure that everything is still okay. I describe this as on-the-fly-consent in the text playing safer, so read it if you didn’t already. A fundamental difference between this and the bondage exercise is – now the focus is more on the active person’s pleasure because that is what they’ll take when they “win”.


The third exercise is a classic spanking to explore sadism and masochism. You can use both your hand and some tools. The tools can be something very professional like a whip or flogger, or just whatever you have at home, like a belt or a wooden spoon. The receiving person stands on all fours or lies over the lap of the giving person. The best place to give the spanking is on the buttocks because they are meaty and there is little risk that anything goes wrong. If you build up slowly, it will likely be an enjoyable sensation, even for the most inexperienced. Alternate between spanking and sensually stroking.

The key to this exercise is breathing. Land each spank as the receiving partner is about to breath out, and then stroke gently while they are breathing in. Encourage them to breath slowly – in through the nose and out through the mouth – this will calm down the nervous system. If the receiver is familiar with tantric work, they can visualize each stroke as a wave of kundalini energy travelling up through the spine. Move, shake, make sounds, and work together to avoid tensing up. Always start the spanking with the hand as that gives the most tactile feedback. Later you can try switching to a tool if you need more power. For the receiver, the pain should be an even challenge, so only apply more force when the pain tolerance goes up. For more information, read my texts about pain and kinbaku and pain and breathwork.


The final theme is mental domination and submission, as an opposite to physical wrestling exercise. Here the dominant partner will focus on their pleasure and give orders to the submissive. The key is to be detailed and progress slowly, so you really can enjoy every little bit of your partner’s attention. You can, for example, decide what clothes they wear, to what food they serve and how they interact with you sexually. Start the exercise with a little ritual to establish the power dynamic. You can, for example, prepare the room with candles and suiting music, and then have the submissive wait kneeling to kiss your hand as you approach.

It is essential to positive feedback whenever possible; you can use expressions like “good boy/girl” or showing them using your body language. For the submissive to let deeply let go into the submission, they must be able to trust that the dominant take responsibility for their own satisfaction. Otherwise, the serving partner might end-up in a mindfuck of “Am I doing a good job now? AM I DOING A GOOD JOB NOW?!?!!!” and so on. You can also agree on a punishment if the dominate partner is not satisfied. For example, you can have “a stupid corner” where the submissive get to reflect on their behavior. You can let them kneel on some unboiled rice to add a bit of predicament, but remember that this exercise is not so much about masochism.

As you might notice, the first and third exercise is more focused on the experience of the submissive, while the second and fourth exercises focus on the dominant. Different people enjoy differently, so try out both. If you are new to this, it can be good reading my text about the leader hat and the stop-button, as it talks about how both the dominant and the submissive can be the more active partner. Good luck.