10 Tips & Tricks for Anyone Practicing BDSM

Ten tips by Mistress Justine Cross for folks who wanna get down and dirty and dip their toes into the world of kink.

An image of two queers engaging in a kink scene.

1. Ask for what you want and you are much more likely to get it

We’ve all been there...on our backs...or bent over...or ankles secured above our head, silently pleading with our partner to just know what to do next. Unless your partner is telepathic which they are absolutely not—just ask for what you want and you will be much more likely to get it. If you are the dominant, demand your sub to tell you. If you are the sub, ask your dominant to demand more info about what you want.

2. There’s no such thing as “surprise BDSM”

BDSM is super fun and awesome! It’s also not something that you should surprise anyone with! Do not just spring it on someone while they are fetching oat milk out of the fridge. It’s good to preface the conversation with something like, “Hey I want to try out some kinky things together. When would be a good time to chat about that?” Preferably in person or at least on the phone or FaceTime. Refrain from texting for the initial convo, but once you figure out what you both like then you can certainly get down and dirty in the DMs. Well, better to use a more secure app like Signal unless you are into exhibitionism and have a thing for Mark Zuckerberg.

3. Consent

Repeat after me: Consent is Freely given. Consent is Reversible. Consent is Informed. Consent is Enthusiastic. Consent is Specific. Do you like FRIES? Thank our friends at Planned Parenthood for this helpful way to remember all of this incredibly important info for BDSM that *also* extends to any sexual or platonic situation you might be in.

4. Negotiations

Everything in BDSM is negotiated BEFORE it happens. The better job you do with negotiating a scene, the better it will be for everyone involved. The length of time you spend negotiating with someone depends on the length of the scene, the intensity, how well you know someone, etc, but I recommend at least a good 15 minutes.  Here is a thorough but concise Kink Negotiation worksheet to use: https://www.gumroad.com/justinecross

5. Boundaries

Know your boundaries and express them to your partner. Do not engage with people who constantly cross your boundaries. There are 7.6 billion people in the world. There are plenty of people who will but also billions that won’t!  Sometimes you might not know what your boundary is until it’s crossed; sometimes someone will cross your boundary by mistake and you need to discuss what happened to move forward. 

6. Never ever ever leave someone tied up and alone OR engage in heavy breath play

It is extremely dangerous to leave someone restrained and alone as well as engaging in heavy breath play.  Breath play is restricting air flow.  This is how people die every year so please do not engage in these activities because then we get into deathplay and law enforcement tends to consider this murder. 

7. Give yourself space and time to fuck up

If you are new here and just getting into exploring this fun world of BDSM, know that you are going to fuck up. But I want to give you as many tools and considerations as possible so that you fuck up a lot less. The more you practice boundary setting, negotiations and understand consent, the less you will fuck up. And when you do, you will land softer. Do you know jungle gyms used to be high off the ground and cemented into asphalt? Now, they are built low to the ground on a sponge. You just bounce off if you fall. Be the new jungle gym and bounce when you fall. It’s a lot easier to get up and play some more.

8. Have fun!

It’s called play for a reason!  Because you get to play! There are toys!  There is dress up!  That’s why this is so fun.

9. Practice skills

There are a ton of classes, both in person and online, as well as lots of books, tutorials and friends to help guide you!  You can practice with a buddy, on yourself, or an unsuspecting pillow. Get better, get good, get great through practice, practice, and more practice. 

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10. Throw glitter not shade!

We all need more glitter in this world.  When someone is expressing their deepest darkest desires, and it’s not something that makes movement down there, do not scream in horror and run away. It’s rude, hurtful and a very uncool move. If it’s not for you, just say so in a way that holds space for them and makes you not come across like an asshole. Try instead saying, “Thank you for sharing that with me.  I don’t think that particular activity is right for me. How about _______”? 

So who’s ready to get out there and practice BDSM with someone? Or at least wants to read a book? Or wants to practice tying up their teddy bear?  We all have to start someplace - and it might feel scary/intimidating/nerve wracking, but it can also be wonderful/fulfilling/cathartic. So light that candle, put on that soundtrack that gets you in the mood, put on the outfit that is going to make you feel yourself, get those boundaries, consent and negotiations in order and having some fucking fun!

For those of you who are interested in taking things one step further, here are som recommended further resources.


Some queer kinky texts to read and things to watch:

The New Topping Book
The New Bottom Book
Queer Sex Ed
FemZine London’s Queer Kink
bell hooks Hosts an Open Dialogue on Transgressive Sexual Practice at The New School
Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex
Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics, and Practice

A non-exhaustive list of queer BDSM instructors you should follow:

Sunny Megtron
Kinkik
Midori
Marla Renee Stewart
Wiley Wolfe
Jaki Griot
Ana Algos
Luna Matatas
Andre Shakti 
Caritia

Click here to see Mistress Justine Cross' queer BDSM events in Los Angeles