Bondage is fantastic fun, spectacularly sexy, and often the perfect play to bring any couple closer in quite a number of literal and metaphorical ways.
But when it comes to sharing your love of restraint and sensory deprivation with a new partner, it's not always easy to know how to bring it up.
First impressions of bondage, however, as well as media-reinforced misconceptions, can be far less favourable.
Sharing this kink with a new partner can be highly rewarding, but must be done with due care and sensitivity.
With this in mind, I've created these simple and safe tips to help you introduce your partner to first-time bondage without fear.
So, you're off to university and there are 10,000 things you have to remember to bring with you.
Though you've probably thought about plates, cups, towels, and most of the boring stuff, with all the stress about where you'll be living and how you'll find your course, other details can be overlooked.
And guess what? Your prospective sex life may perhaps be one of those details.
I myself will be starting university in my first year in October and whilst I am of course sorting out accommodation and education-related items, my thoughts have indeed turned to what activities I will be up to when not studying. I have a high sex drive, so intend to engage in as much pleasure as I can.
As such, I have thought ahead so you don't have to! Here are what I believe to be essentials (plus a few optionals) to ensure you can play hard as well as work hard this academic year.
For many people, there are few things more mortifying than the idea of someone hearing them masturbate.
While there's no reason to be ashamed of masturbation at all, the social stigma, fear of a certain reputation and many other reasons mean that most people would rather keep their private pleasure just that: private.
University is a time of juxtapositions. A wealth of nightlife and no money to explore it, a world of academic study and no time to embrace it and, for many, a new horizon of sexual possibilities and far too little privacy to comfortably enjoy them.
Statistically, university is one of the most common times for a woman to start experimenting with masturbation and sex toys, but it is also frustratingly often one where privacy is at an all time low due to the paper thin walls and eternal uncertainty about who's in the house.
That’s where this handy guide comes in, to help you maximise your potential you-time whilst minimising the need to worry about nosy flatmates asking awkward questions.
Ever wondered how erotic fiction writers tell their friends and family what they do for a living?
Nicola Jane, author of interactive erotic novel Follow Your Fantasy, reveals all in this special guest blog post.
This competition is now closed. Winners have been contacted via email.
The day my Facebook status update said "Just another day, writing about cock" was not the day I planned on coming out as an erotic writer to my day job as an educational materials writer.
But, after being on a panel at a materials writing conference, I started getting friend requests and Facebook mails from respectable fellow professionals, none of whom knew my little secret.
I couldn't accept their requests but I didn't want to snub them either. What was I supposed to do?
It is 6 inches and a creamy white plastic, surrounded now by the detritus of its plain brown wrapping. Me and Kate stare, giggling.
Masturbation was about to take a leap into a new and exciting phase.
It’s 1986 and we are just across the threshold into our twenties. Bestest of best friends and flatmates, this purchase with all its glamour of the forbidden, also offered a convenient way to do what we both liked doing.
Because if your hands and arms don’t move in the average way, a session of self-love is not a simple matter.
It had taken several weeks build up to get to this point. Kate saw the advert in a women’s magazine, one of those tiny ads, which exclaim ‘personal massager for all over relaxing relief’.
Guest post by Penny Pepper
Everybody stared at me. It’s what people do when you’re different. I was a wheelchair user, and as I turned 18, I wanted the staring to be for something other than my wheelchair. So I took to punk, in ripped stockings, red hair, blonde hair… hair of multi-coloured styles. Stare on, I declared to the world. I’m here to shock!
But this occasion presented me with a new twist.
I’d left the record shop, clutching a precious 12", and a woman, gawping at me, bent down with a huge grin.
‘I have to ask. Can you… do it?’
My face flushed as red as my hair.
She persisted into my silence. ‘You know, sex. What with your er … situation.’
‘**** off,’ I said with my best punk sneer, and she had the nerve to tell me off for rudeness before stomping off. But inside a mixture of anger and despair made me want to slink into a corner with my Sex Pistols LP.
Guest blog by Penny Pepper
For several years I had been planning a literary novel inspired by my time as a professional dominatrix, a moonlighting I had undertaken to help fund several unpaid media internships. During this time, I had also found myself embroiled in a deleterious BDSM love affair, which almost threatened to ‘unmake’ me.
Then Fifty Shades broke its fervid wave upon popular literature’s shore, and suddenly the market craved erotica.
After writing a small piece for Stylist magazine on sexual submission, I was approached, more or less overnight by Hodder & Stoughton, to write a real-life sex memoir chronicling my time as a professional domme and a personal submissive. I signed the contract, and six weeks later, I had spun out 90,000 words, some filthy, some funny, most cathartic, for I was still mourning the loss of the most exquisite and kinky sex I had ever had.
From using a strap-on on a man, to being spanked to orgasm, Bound to You is the only new erotic book out there exploring the trajectory from dominator to dominated, both psychologically and physically.
In this scene, Nichi finally gets her dominant due. The night before, Nichi and Sebastian sleep together for the first time; desperately, passionately, but not kinkily. But the next morning, Sebastian gives Nichi what she has been craving.
Guest blog by Nichi Hodgson
The Dark Garden was originally published in 2007. As someone who has been involved in BDSM practice most of my adult life, this was a true book of my heart. I wanted to present my perception of BDSM - my truth about what it is to me, the psychology of it, the intensity of kink relationships - in a way readers might find approachable. I wanted to show the sensual side of kink, because it’s not all about whips and chains (although I do have a particular love for chains!). But back to the present…
The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon has given us, the kink authors who are actually kinky, the freedom to write more of these stories fueled by our own experiences, as well as our lovely, dark, as-yet-to-be-met fantasies, and to share that delicious dark side of sensuality with you. The Dark Garden is a fairly even mix of those elements.
As a real life switch, it’s always been a challenge for me to submit. This scene-and in fact, this entire book-is about that struggle to get what we want, but feel we can’t have, for whatever reasons -the fear of losing control no matter how badly we need to. And what can happen when the right man comes along to help us find that freedom.
Guest post by Eden Bradley
I spent 10 years working as a high-class escort, and in 2009 my autobiography The Girlfriend Experience was published documenting my sexcapades. I’m currently working on a sex tips book and a book titled Why Husbands Stray.
My sex experience is literally hands on, and I learnt a lot about sex and what men want during my time as an escort, and it’s probably not what you think!
Guest post by sexpert Rebecca Dakin
The Diary of a Submissive is a true story. Names have been changed and situations and people tweaked a little bit, but the emotional heart of the book, how submission feels for me, the paradox of your brain sometimes baulking at something that your body is undeniably enjoying, is the truth. My truth. Honest in a way that might feel harsh at times - and certainly honest enough that proof editing the book made me blush in places, crazy as that sounds.
When I was first getting into BDSM, I found myself thinking a lot about what I’d done in the day or two after each new experience - usually in that dead time when your mind wanders while waiting for the coffee machine at work to do its thing. In a lot of ways my earliest writing was about trying to explain to myself exactly what I got out of submission and how my mind took a while to catch up with what my body was incontrovertibly telling me was hot.
Guest post by Sophie Morgan