50 Shades of Consent: An Intro to Kink

It’s that time of year once again: love is in the air, to be followed shortly afterward by discount chocolate sales. For some, this will be just the occasion to spice things up in the bedroom with their significant other(s), but with “Fifty Shades of Grey” being the only mainstream franchise to showcase BDSM and kink (unusual sexual tastes), there is some misinformation being spread. The fact is that there is a way to explore most fantasies that is safe and sexy for everyone involved. So, I have created this handy introductory guide for folks who are interested to follow.




The most important thing to clarify right away is that, with very few exceptions, there is nothing wrong with you for being turned on by something atypical. As long as everyone involved is being safe, sane, and consensual there is nothing to be ashamed of. It does not matter if your kink is being spanked in the bedroom; it does not matter if your kink is one person taking you from behind while another person pisses on your chest as a room full of people watches; it does not matter if you just really like balloons. As long as everyone involved has full knowledge of what is going on and is actively engaged in consenting to it you are fine.

Similarly, preferring to be more submissive or dominant does not demean you. I have heard some people criticize women who enjoy being submissive in the bedroom because they are letting their (usually) male-bodied partner have his way, which is the same kind of logic as people who claim that all men need to be sexually dominant in their relationships or else they are not really a man to begin with. Both scenarios rely on an oversimplification of sexuality and of people. We can’t change what we are turned on by, and repressing that is a miserable experience for everyone involved. Whether or not you want to explore that side of yourself is up to you and your partner(s) and no one else.




Telling a boyfriend or girlfriend about your kink can be a terrifying experience. What if they don’t get it? What if they can’t understand it and end the relationship? Those fears are valid. Ultimately, though, it comes down to a simple decision that both of you must make: are you willing to live without exploring your kink, and are they willing to accept your interest? More often than not even if they don’t understand why you like something they will still be okay with exploring it with you, or with you exploring on your own or with another person. Non-monogamy is not for everybody, but it is always an option (again, based on clear communication and consent). While your partner will probably have hard limits on what they will or will not do, it does not mean that the two of you can’t have fun together within those limits.

When bringing it up to your partner, my recommendation would be to bring it up slowly to introduce the concept to them before sharing your interest in trying it. Let them acclimate to the new idea.

As long as your relationship is happy and healthy, talking through both of your fantasies should be nothing to fear.




Whatever you end up exploring it is of the utmost importance to do so in a safe manner. Everybody has limits on what they are interested in and what they are willing to do for what their partner. The problem is that when your only experience comes from fantasies and “Fifty Shades,” you might not have a very good idea of what your limits are.

Before physically doing anything with your partner(s) it is a good idea for everyone involved to make a reasonably comprehensive list of what they know they like and dislike. When I have done this in the past I have three categories: green light for things I am into, yellow light for things I am open to, and red light for things I will not do. After making these lists exchange them and discuss what is in common and what is different.

When you do begin exploring these things everyone involved should think of a safe word. This should be something unique that would not normally come up, which you can also bring to mind easily; words like “snickers,” “sriracha,” or “chinchilla” are good examples. If you are going to be using a gag or will be verbally impaired in some way then a gesture or particular kind of touch also works. A safe word is important to communicate when you feel that you have reached or are approaching the limit of what you can take. If you have been spanked so much that your ass is bright red then saying your safe word is a sign that you are done. As soon as the dominant hears that safe word they need to acknowledge that play is over and switch into providing aftercare.




Particularly intense play will put the submissive partner into a state called subspace. Subspace is an irrational state of hyper-sensitivity and is the reason why a special safe-word is required. When in subspace you might not think to say “no.” It’s also important for the dominant partner to communicate with the submissive and regularly check on their status, as the submissive is much more likely to use their safe word if they are asked. The scene is over when the submissive says that it is.

Aftercare is what immediately follows the scene. It is important because coming out of subspace can take a lot of energy. Every person experiences that drop differently, but it can be anything from needing to cuddle and feel that affection for a few hours to needing a weekend of constant care and attention. It depends heavily on the intensity of the scene. And it is the responsibility of the dominant to be prepared to provide that aftercare.

Aftercare is also the point where your relationship will grow stronger. Part of what makes this exploration so healthy is that the emotional high points and low points foster deep intimacy between partners. It is a chance to build trust, and to explore yourselves and each other.


So this Valentine’s Day, consider taking your relationship to the next level with matching ball-gags and strap-ons. You might just learn something new about yourself.