Category Archives for "Kink and BDSM"

4 What does kinky mean and should I try it?

What does kinky mean and should you try it? Sex coach Dawn Serra explores kinky sex and all the ways it can enhance your sex life and your relationship.

My first real foray into kink was when I stumbled across the Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice. I must have been 19 or 20 years old.

My wildly inexperienced but ferociously sexually curious self had never encountered such explicit material before. This wasn’t my mother’s romance novels. This was masochism and group sex and living inside of BDSM 24/7 and pony play and anal play and all manner of public humiliation*.

I never would have had the words for what I was reading back then.

I don’t remember much about that first pass through the books other than feeling really turned on by some of the Dominance play, some of the group sex scenes, and even by some of the public displays of sexuality. But as things got more intense, as the ante was upped in the final book, I know I hit some kind of disgust because I never finished the story.

Kinky wasn’t a word I knew or understood back then. But it was clear that the sex acts in that story were unlike anything else in my world at the time, and that was intriguing. To know such things were even possible as fantasy blew my mind.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I re-read the series. Things that seemed totally foreign and horribly embarrassing to my younger self have now become things I’ve done, enjoyed, or witnessed as part of my sexual journey.

Now I can appreciate the delicious bite of rope, the thrill of being told what to do, the surprising normalcy of being naked in public, and much more.

But that’s my journey, and the beauty of sexual expression is your sexual journey doesn’t have to look anything like mine and it can still be deliciously, beautifully pleasurable and valid. There is no one way of doing sex, of living out fantasies, of keeping things fresh and new.

If that’s true…if there is no one way of doing sex, then what does it mean to be kinky?

Google defines kinky as “involving or given to unusual sexual behavior.”

But what is unusual to me and what is unusual to you are probably different.

For some people, missionary penis-in-vagina sex is highly unusual (in fact, this is a serious kink for some folks because it is so unusual to them). For others, it might be unusual to have their toes sucked on or to have sex in the backseat of a car at the beach or to sexualize needles.

Kink is simply activities that are edgy for you. This broad, fluid definition allows each of us to have our own personal experiences with sex and kink instead of labeling only certain activities as either kinky or vanilla.

Unfortunately, the term vanilla has taken on a somewhat negative or boring connotation. The truth is vanilla is delicious and, depending on what kinds of things you enjoy, vanilla may appear on your menu more or less often than some others.

Most people define vanilla sex as traditional, penis-in-vagina sex, often encompassing a handful of basic positions. But if we apply a similar lens to vanilla that we did to kinky, then instead we might say vanilla sex is the kind of sex that you usually have, that feels normal to you.

Your normal may vary greatly from someone else’s normal.

Kinky is a gigantic umbrella, the vastness of which most of us can’t comprehend.

Needle play. Age play. Impact play. Bodily fluid play. Role playing. Pain play. Sensory deprivation. Public play. Blood letting. Branding. Leather. Sacred sensuality. Humiliation. Worship. Denial. Literally, the list is endless.

That said, often when people are talking about kinky activities, there is a general assumption that you’re probably talking about things like bondage/restraints, Dominance and submission (or power exchange), impact and sensation play like flogging or spanking or temperature, public or group sex, and the community associated with such activities.

And speaking of community, it’s worth mentioning here that there are many communities within kink that have decades of history and protocol that some people consider a core part of their identity.

Many gay, lesbian, and queer folks have found acceptance and family within the leather community. Many people who realized monogamy wasn’t a good fit sought solace in the swinging and poly communities. Many individuals who have complex relationships with their bodies have discovered deep, emotional healing in masochism or other kinds of pain.

Kinky is a personal definition, and one that’s a lot more fluid than some older resources would have you believe. But I also want to take a moment to honor and pay respect to the safe havens that many kinky spaces have offered to marginalized folks over the years.

*steps off soap box*

OK. Back to your regularly scheduled post…so, if kinky sex is sex that is unusual or out of the ordinary, the question is should you try it?

My answer is wonderfully biased and that is a resounding yes.

If you get to define what kinky means to you and your partner(s), then kinky sex means playing with your edges, exploring new things, trying on new identities and fantasies. That kind of playfulness and curiosity will only set you up for a lifetime of interesting and engaging sex.

Of course, anytime you try something new, there are a few basic ground rules that will help set you up for success, even if the act itself is a miserable failure (and that is a perfect opportunity to come together, too).

First up, make sure you and the person you’re playing with both truly want to engage in the activity in question. Let’s say you want to try some rope bondage. It cannot be overstated how important it is for you to allow your partner to choose this for themselves, too. No coercion, no manipulating, just good ol’ fashioned discussions about wants, needs, boundaries, and feelings.

That’s not say you will always be comfortable with what you’re about to do.

Discomfort is natural for new risks, and in fact, you may be trying something that is intentionally awkward, scary, humiliating, painful, or shameful. That can be part of the fun. Being informed and choosing something doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. Play with that edge a little bit. You might be surprised what you find.

Second, safe words are important for a number of reasons, especially if you’re engaging in something potentially dangerous (danger can be physical, emotional, or psychological – you may not be in physical danger during a Dominance/submission scene, but you may be in psychological danger if something triggers or upsets you). Safe words are typically very easy to remember, very easy to say, and decided well in advance of your scene.

Simplicity is important because often when you start doing things that lead to altered states of consciousness, your brain begins to turn off (this can be a yummy, delicious place to be). Remembering and articulating “arachnophobia” may be difficult. The person in the position of giving or topping also needs to be able to understand the word easily.

That’s why some folks like the red, yellow, green method which equates to stop, slow down, and I’m good. Others like plain language and simply saying “please stop” or “slow down”, but depending on the roles you’re playing, this can be confusing.

Finally, do your homework. Some kinky activities are learned skills that can take years to master such as suspension techniques with rope, needle play, or whipping. There are places in most major cities that offer 101 classes and demonstrations. You can find mentors, watch videos, and read books. Safety should always be your number one concern followed by a sense of playfulness and curiosity.

Sometimes people get hurt. This is true of any kind of sexual activity, even the “traditional” kind (I know I’ve knocked my head or stubbed a toe during vigorous sex).

If you’re playing with someone you trust, give them the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t intend harm, but also be clear about asking for what you need to feel safe – that can be stopping a scene, asking for cuddles, or any number of other things.

Kinky sex doesn’t have to be extreme, it won’t ruin “normal” sex, and it doesn’t lead down a rabbit hole of sin and transgression.

Often people jump to the most extreme case when they hear someone say they want to try something kinky. But bondage can be a blindfold and a silk scarf lightly wrapped around your wrists. Sensation play can be an ice cube trailing down the skin of your lover or a feather tickling the inside of their elbow.

And yes, you may have a riding crop which can be a stingy, incredibly painful tool. But who is to say you can’t use the the tip of the riding crop to gently spell out words of love and devotion across your partner’s back? Who is to say that scary knife some people may use to cut flesh can’t simply be used for the coolness of the blade or for an implied threat that never actually touches skin?

Kinky activities can be as innocent and sweet or as dark and intense as YOU decide them to be.

In fact, many people experience kinky sex as sacred, transcendent, and healing. It can be a place to shed the day-to-day and experience your body in a way that is primal, connected, and totally present.

I know that when I receive a flogging, it’s like a sensual massage – every inch of my body is tingly and alive, I’m breathing and connecting with my top, the sensation is flowing through me, and I become utterly relaxed. As someone who is chronically stressed and anxious and in control, surrendering and receiving so deeply is freeing in a way I don’t have words for.

Kinky sex offers many, many tools for your sexual toolbox. And the point of having a diverse, well-stocked toolbox isn’t to use all of the tools all of the time at maximum strength, or to use one tool over and over again to the point of complete boredom, but so that you have many options for the myriad of situations you may find yourself in throughout your lifetime.

The tools you use on a day when you’re stressed and tense will likely be different than the tools you use on a day when you feel languid and sleepy.

Yes, some people organize their entire lives around their kink. Still others dabble in their version of kink once in a blue moon.

Like all things sex and relationships, kink is but a spectrum and you get to decide how and when and to what degree you’d like to use it.

What is something kinky you’ve been curious about trying? What would you like to know more about?

Comment below and I’ll create some blog posts or videos just for you.

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Edited to add this link. This does go to playboy.com, but the video is not racy or sexual and it is REALLY terrific advice about doing kinky stuff safely.

[callout title=”Work with me” link=”https://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Want to explore what kinky means to you? Need help talking to a partner about your desires? [/callout]

*For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, the Sleeping Beauty series are erotic BDSM novels that includes sexual servitude, Dominance, submission, group sex, pony play, public humiliation, forced sex, punishment, and much more.

 

8 Strap-on sex: It’s fun for everyone!

Despite popular assumption, strap-on harnesses and strap-on sex isn't just for lesbians or queer folks. Strap-ons can be a fun addition to any bedroom in any relationship dynamic with any kind of body. Find out how with sex coach Dawn Serra.

The first time I was with a lover who used a strap-on harness, they pulled out a tangle of leather straps, unzipped their goodie bag and showed me three different toys to choose from. Short and thin, long and thick, and something in the middle. I felt like Goldilocks, trying to find a porridge that was just right for me.

Thanks to brave and pioneering shows like The L Word, and more recently Orange is the New Black and Sense8, most people associate strap-on harnesses with lesbian and queer sex. I know I certainly did in my lesbian and trans relationships.

After all, what could a straight couple possibly want with a strap-on harness? It turns out, a lot!

But, that’s part of the fun when it comes to sex – there’s always something new to learn or try. Sex, like life, is a never-ending journey, full of as many adventures as you’d like it to be.

So, we’re going to talk about strap-on harnesses and why you may want to explore one in your own sex life, if you haven’t already.

Strap-on 101: What is a harness?

Harnesses are devices built to hold certain types of dildos or vibrators. They can be worn for sex, for fashion, for your gender expression, or for performance (like the sexy drag kings I used to worship).

There are harnesses you wear like underwear in a variety of styles from g-string thongs to corset-laced hip huggers, harnesses that look like boxer briefs, harnesses you strap around your thigh, and even harnesses you wear on your hand or your chin.

Harnesses come in so many styles, there’s something for everyone these days. Red satin, black studded leather, feminine, masculine, utilitarian. You name it, it’s been made for you.

Most people think of harnesses as being a series of leather straps that wrap around your legs and waist, but my favorite harnesses are made by SpareParts. Their harnesses are washable, soft, sturdy, very comfortable, and most come in sizes up to 3X or 4X, which is perfect for larger bodies.

Harnesses are amazing for folks with varying abilities and bodies, too.

Imagine the power in being able to please a lover using a hand harness if you don’t have mobility below the waist or a thigh harness if you have big belly.

But, if you’re able-bodied and heterosexual, why would strap-on sex ever be something you’d want to explore?

One of the most common questions I get as a sex educator is about pegging.

What is pegging, you ask?

Pegging is when a woman uses a strap-on to perform anal sex on a male partner.

Why would that be fun to try? Let us count the ways:

  • If your partner has a prostate, anal stimulation can lead to other-worldly orgasms. If you’re curious about just how epic, check out Cooper Beckett’s piece on his hour-long prostate orgasm. Wow! Imagine being the person to give that kind of orgasm to a partner.
  • For folks with a penis, sex tends to always happen outside of the body. It’s an external experience. Something magical can happen when sex becomes an activity that happens inside of you. You do NOT want to miss this Charlie Glickman piece on why the world would be a better place if more men took it up the ass.
  • For the strap-on wearer, you find yourself in a position of power. You get to try new muscles – literally and figuratively. You get to take that penetrating energy you probably usually receive and flip it on its head. Now you’re doing the penetrating. Now it’s your energy, your power being used to enter your partner. It’s a lovely way to flip the script on sex.

 

Pegging can be beautifully bonding. If you’re in a heterosexual relationship, pegging launches you into new territory where you get to practice your communication skills and take on different roles. It can be invigorating and enchanting.

But do expect it to be a little awkward the first few times. From finding a toy that’s a size you both like to learning how to thrust just so, learning a new skill can take practice. Be patient with each other, and use loads of lube. When in doubt, add more lube.

(Don’t worry about pegging being gross, either. As long as everyone showers ahead of time, and you slap a condom on the dildo, there’s not a whole lot you’ll need to worry about as far as clean-up goes. But we’ll cover more anal basics in another post.)

And no, anal sex and anal penetration is not about being gay in any way, unless you want it to be. Our anus is loaded with tons of nerve endings, so anal stimulation can feel absolutely incredible. Pleasure does not determine your sexual orientation.

Double penetration: table for two.

I don’t know about you, but most double penetration (DP) scenes that I’ve seen involves three people – the receiver and two penetrators.

But what if you’re not into threesomes? What if you don’t have an open relationship? Is there still a way?

Yes! Thanks to harnesses like the SpareParts Deuce or Sportsheets Menage a Trois, your partner can either use their penis in one hole and add a dildo to the second or put two dildos in the harness and go to town.

Some people may consider this varsity level play time, but it’s still fun to know it’s an option for you.

Breaking the taboo – men can wear a harness, too.

As a society, we place a tremendous amount of importance on whether someone’s penis can get hard and stay hard. It’s a sign of masculinity, of value, of power, and when your penis doesn’t perform the way you’d like it to, it can feel devastating, embarrassing, and like you have less worth in bed and as a person.

That stress, of course, makes getting hard even more difficult. Stress is the fastest libido killer in the world.

So, what if it wasn’t a big deal if a penis isn’t cooperating? What if it was a tiny piece of a much larger, much sexier puzzle?

The good news is it doesn’t have to be a show stopper when a penis goes soft – from hands and mouths to toys and shower heads, there are dozens of ways to please a partner without the use of a hard cock.

But, when you bring a strap-on harness into the mix, things get even more interesting.

Maybe you like experimenting with different sized insertables.

Maybe you like fantasizing you’re playing with lots of different people by having your partner swap out various toys.

Maybe your partner’s body just doesn’t feel like getting hard, but both of you want to have penetrative sex. Strap-on and go to town.

There are countless uses for a strap-on harness, even if you have a penis that gets erect. It’s not about being broken. It’s about being open to possibilities.

When you frame a harness as just another way to add pleasure to the mix, it becomes less about a person’s body and what it’s capable of and more about having permission to feel good and have fun.

One of the most amazing things about sex is that there is no right way to do it. It’s an endless sea of possibilities and discoveries.

As long as you and your partner(s) are focused on maximizing pleasure rather than following a script laid out by someone else, there is no shame in trying things even if they run counter to our cultural stories and expectations.

So, what are you waiting for? Strap-on and have fun!

PS – I do sell the SpareParts harnesses and accompanying toys. If you’d like to learn more, just shoot me a message and I’m happy to hop on a call to discuss the options, sizing, and how to introduce them into the bedroom.

Saying what you want in bed

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A few months ago, I had the pleasure of writing a delicious post for Gina Senarighi’s website Amplify Happiness Now.

Check out the post by clicking here.

The article includes tips for safely exploring kinkier fantasies, as well as sample scripts for how to talk to your lover about these juicy scenes. Because it’s all about finding a fun and safe way to say what you want in bed, right?

I highly encourage you to pop over to Gina’s website. She is an incredible therapist based out of Portland, Oregon and her blog is full of wonderful information for couples looking to strengthen their relationships.

After you check out the article, comment below and let me know what you think.