New to BDSM? These 3 Sex Experts Describe Their First BDSM Experience

Hey, friends and kinky lovers - have you ever looked up to, admired (and let’s face it, lusted after) some of the people in the BDSM community? 

Whether it’s through porn, Reddit or Twitter, there’s always one thought that likely crosses your mind when you see a domme in a tight corset with a whip in her hands…

How did she get here? How did she become this confident badass you’re watching completely dominate her submissive lover? 
And most importantly: how do you channel that kind of vibe?
How do you become more like her? Or her bratty sub, if that’s what you’re into.

What is BDSM?

For those of us who don’t already know what BDSM is: it stands for bondage/discipline, domination/submission, sadism, and masochism. 

How do you actually define BDSM when it comes to sexual activities? 

Well, that gets a bit more complicated. Bondage can be anything from using those gag-gift handcuffs you got on your 18th birthday to strapping your lover to a tree in your backyard and engaging in some erotic humiliation...and everything in between. 

Meanwhile, discipline, domination, and submission can range from enjoying being bossed around in bed to wanting a dom to control when you eat, drink and go to the bathroom.

When it comes to the world of BDSM, there are countless different activities and countless different ways you can express yourself. In that, there are countless ways you can learn about your desires, your needs, what you like and what you don’t like. 

How does one get started in BDSM? How do I become the leather-clad woman-in-charge of my own BDSM scene? Well, let’s back up a bit…

The first thing you should do if you’re interested in exploring any part of the BDSM world...connect with someone in the BDSM community. 

Did you know, according to this 2015 survey, that nearly 65% of women and 53% of men have reported having fantasies about being dominated in bed? How about the fact that 46% of women and nearly 60% of men have reported wanting to be a dom? 


Stats like these prove one thing: people are interested in BDSM. It doesn’t matter how many people like what you like, it doesn’t matter how “niche” you think your kinks are...there is always someone out there who has experience in or likes the same things you do. Join forums, cruise Reddit, participate in comment sections on articles like this - find someone who has done the things you want to do and just ask questions. This is the easiest way to gain information on a topic you know nothing about - talk to real people who have done it before.

Next, you should probably do some more research. 

Talking to real people who have real experiences doing the things you’d like to do is a great place to start - but there are sexologists, sex experts, educators and therapists out there who have dedicated a large portion of their adult lives to learning about the things you’re interested in. 

Seeking out people who have deep knowledge and understanding about kinks and fetishes (particularly the more dangerous ones) can make you aware of the risks and safety precautions you need to take when engaging in BDSM experiences.

Meet the experts…

And that’s where we come in. Instead of running around to all these different forums and websites to get an inside look at BDSM from the experts, I’ve rounded up a few to give you the scoop on first BDSM experiences, what to expect and how to get more involved in the BDSM community, if that’s what you want. 

Carmel Jones is a sex educator and expert over on The Big Fling.
Suzannah Weiss is a sex educator with a BA in cognitive neuroscience. 

Heather (aka Nookie) is a sex educator and writer, as well as the owner of Dating Kinky.

Together, these sex experts, writers, and kink-positive educators are going to explain a bit about their first BDSM experiences as well as what you should know going into your own first experiences.

Question: What was your first BDSM experience like?

Carmel: My first BDSM experience happened when I was 21 with an NSA friends-with-benefits situation in college. I had never really been interested in BDSM, but when we engaged in sex, it was always rough. My friend-with-benefits was someone whom I wished was more than just a hookup, and I really enjoyed the rough sex.

When he asked me if I'd be interested in trying BDSM as a sub to his dom, I obliged. I don't know that I was totally sexually ready for that, but I was very open-minded, sexually attracted to him, and eager to please. 

The experience was clumsy at best and it didn't involve full roleplaying. I was bound by handcuffs (which he purchased beforehand) while I performed oral sex on him. Then, he handcuffed me to the bed while he performed oral sex on me before performing full penetration. It was fun and consensual, but not executed properly. 

Suzannah: I was at a sex party and a guy offered to spank me. I was a little apprehensive but thought I might as well try it. It was actually really fun. What made it fun was the way he was teasing me (specifically, he said, "you're a bad girl," and I was like "why" and he replied, "you're not fucking anyone!" 

Heather: I was at The Vault in NYC. They had a show where someone was getting flogged on the stage. It was my third time being there after a friend had taken me. I was talking with the people around me as we watched. 

When the show ended, I clapped loudly. The gay man in leather next to me grabbed my hands and insisted they were made for spanking. He called his boy over (who had wandered), and proceeded to show me how to spank a willing bottom. I liked that very much.

Question: How old were you at the time?

Carmel: 21

Suzannah: 29

Heather: 19

Question: Were you in a relationship with the person at the time or was it a casual thing?

Carmel:  It was a casual thing but I wanted something more, so I was eager to entertain his BDSM fantasy. 

Suzannah: Casual, I had just met him.

Heather: Casual.

Question: Was it the beginning of something you now enjoy or was it a one-time thing?

Carmel: It sparked my interest for sure! As I became more invested in my career and engaged in more adult relationships, I learned how to properly discuss and enjoy BDSM with a partner. 

Suzannah: It felt playful and funny. It wasn't particularly arousing but more flirtatious. And yes, I told a new partner about it about a month later, and we developed this fun dynamic where he'd tease me and call me a bad girl and spank me. I did get turned on by that - just by watching him take command like that. 

Heather: It was definitely a clue about my personal leanings and what I liked.

Question: What is something you thought about BDSM that was proven wrong by your own personal first-time experience?

Carmel: I had previously thought that a sub was meant to forgo pleasure in order to please a dom, which is absolutely false. Subs are not always masochists and many doms prefer to please their subs. I experienced a great deal of pleasure during that first experience.

Suzannah: I was afraid it would feel degrading to me as a submissive, especially given the social expectation women already face to be submissive. But nothing about it feels degrading to me...it's more joking about it and playing with a societal dynamic. Everything I've done has been with my consent and with feminist partners who understand this dynamic is only for certain very specific situations. 

Heather: When I was young, I got it into my head that kink was about how you looked and what you wore. The club scene was very S&M (Stand & Model). As I got older, I realized the mental aspect was critical to me.

Question: What would you tell someone who is interested in experiencing BDSM but doesn't know where to start?

Carmel: It sounds preachy, but I always say start with a conversation. BDSM is a complex and serious thing. Consent, preferred roles, safe words, and potential fantasies should all be talked through before entering into a scene. If a couple wants to start somewhere slow or with tangible guidelines, bindings are a fun way to begin the BDSM journey. 

Suzannah: Sex clubs and BDSM clubs are actually a great place to start. You'll find lots of knowledgeable people who understand boundaries and consent.  Or, if you already have a partner you want to explore it with, tell them what appeals to it about you. 

This will make it clear that it's not about perpetuating misogyny or inequality in your relationship but just having fun with power dynamics in the bedroom, and establish boundaries (what you do and don't want, when and how you'd like to be asked to engage in certain activities), and a safe word if needed.

Heather: I would say that you need to get out and meet people and observe for a while. Don't try to do everything all at once, find out who you are and what you like through exploration. Keep an open mind. And learn to spot the danger signs for the baddies that are everywhere.

Question: Do you identify as a dom(me), sub or switch? How did you know what role you identified with most?

Carmel: I have always identified as a sub. It was something that was innate inside of me. 

Even when I engaged in sexual relationships that did not involve BDSM, I always enjoyed having my body taken over by the control of someone else's pleasurable power. I enjoyed being at someone's mercy, which is why I grew to enjoy BDSM beyond my first experience.

Suzannah: I identify as a sub. I've tried it both ways, and being a dom can be fun as well, but the act of surrendering and giving up control just appeals to me more than taking control.

Heather: I am dominant. I run my relationships. I enjoy many types of play, not all are normally considered topping. For a very long time, I thought I was a switch. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I didn't want to tell people what to do all the time. 

I got into a long-term relationship trying to be submissive to an amazing man, and finally realized that I was about to bust out in a big way, so I broke it off when I realized that I was just playing submissive for as long as it was fun, and I was about to take charge. I didn't want to do that to him, so I let it go.

Commonly Believed Misconceptions About BDSM (and the truth, instead)

When it comes to kinky sex, there’s a lot of speculation. 

And where there’s speculation, there’s usually a bit of misinformation. 

While people may not be spreading this misinformation on purpose, it’s extremely important to fact-check the things you hear about BDSM or kinky sex. So, what are some common myths that people often believe about BDSM (and the actual truth behind where those myths came from)? 

Myth: BDSM is just about sex.
Fact: BDSM is an expression of sexual desire, yes - but it can also be an expression of self, an intimate connection between two (or more) people or something entirely different. 

Just because most BDSM activities are classified as sex doesn’t mean that’s the sole intent in participating in these activities. In fact, most sex educators and experts would tell you that TRUST is the core of BDSM relationships. 

The bond between a dom and their submissive, for example. This bond requires intense trust, dedication and a deeper knowledge of not only what that person wants sexually but what they hope to gain emotionally through the experience of their preferred role. You can’t practice safe BDSM with someone you don’t trust - it doesn’t work that way. 

This kind of relationship needs to be with someone who you have created a deep, powerful and trusting relationship with so you can ensure both people’s needs are being met in a safe way. 

When someone is tied up and being spanked, they are putting their trust in the other person to respect their limits, understand their pain threshold and not mess it up. This kind of relationship takes time to establish. 

Myth: People interested in BDSM have experienced abuse in the past.
Fact: BDSM can be enjoyed by anyone for any reason - and emotional/sexual/physical abuse survival doesn’t make you more or less interested in BDSM. 

One of the biggest misconceptions around rough BDSM sex is that in order to like pain or fear during sex, you have to have had a background in trauma or be emotionally scarred in some way. 

However, there is actually a biological reason why all of us can link fear or pain with arousal. It all comes down to what happens in our brains when we experience those types of emotions. 

The relationship between pain and sexual pleasure or arousal is extremely complex, but in simple terms: some of the same hormones (namely, endorphins) are released when we experience both pain and pleasure. Something as simple as this can (and does) explain why some of us like pain during sex - the body perceives the two feelings in a very similar way. 

Myth: The dominant person is in charge. 

Fact: Dominance and submission isn’t a one-way street: it takes two people to ensure a safe, happy and meaningful dom/sub relationship. 

Many people assume that the dom is in control and the sub must oblige. This is a recipe for disaster. Consent is a critical building block on which a happy BDSM relationship needs to be built. The submissive can say no to the dominant and the dominant has to take their submissive’s needs, limits and safety into account. 

In reality, being a submissive does give you a sense of control because you have a safe word or gesture in which will make your dominant partner stop what they are doing. If the safe word is used at any point, the scene ends - there’s no more to it. And the dominant partner must be hypervigilant in regards to the safety and needs of their submissive.

Myth: BDSM is dangerous and scary. 

Fact: BDSM relationships take a lot of time to establish. When you see a porn video where a dominatrix is whipping her submissive partner who is strapped to the bed...there was likely lots of discussion, practice, and negotiation that led up to this point. 

BDSM activities can be dangerous, yes. Breathplay, bondage, blood play, fire play...there are some “intense” ways to play. But all of these are not just things you jump into - they are things you talk about (in-depth) with your partner. You have safe words and safety precautions set in place before anything begins. 

People in the BDSM community emphasize proper BDSM activities using the acronym RACK, which stands for Risk-Aware Consensual Kink. To better understand this kind of situation, let’s take a look at something loads of people do even though there is a chance you could die: skydiving. 

In order to skydive, you take a little course, you’re guided by an instructor, you sign a waiver and you are made to understand the risks involved. BDSM is much the same. Practicing safe BDSM activities should always include consent and safe word conversations, acknowledgment of the risks, back up plans in case something goes wrong and a deep understanding of what is and isn’t allowed.