Sex & Power: How to Do It Right
Dom and sub. Secretary and boss. Disobedient student and teacher. What do these sexy role play situations all have in common?
That’s right: an imbalance of power.
In the BDSM community, any situation where one partner takes on a more dominant role than another is known as ‘power play’ - and it’s enormously popular, even in non-BDSM relationships.
Many people have hypothesised about the reasons why transferral of power in the bedroom can be such a big turn-on, but whatever the psychological reason behind it, power play remains one of the sexiest role play characteristics.
But how can you do it, and ensure that everyone remains safe and comfortable, and fully enjoys themselves?
The good news is, there are ways to correctly incorporate power exchange into the bedroom, so that all parties can feel safe 'n' happy while getting down 'n' dirty.
What is ‘Power Exchange’?
The BDSM community (who practise Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, Sadism/Masochism) prides itself on practising power exchange correctly.
Practising power exchange during sex typically means that one partner assumes a Dominant role, while the other assumes a submissive role.
The Dominant partner is in control of what occurs during sex, while the submissive partner relinquishes control.
Often, the submissive partner will adhere to the Dominant partner’s instructions, or defy instructions to intentionally incur a punishment.
This punishment could take the form of spanking, bondage, nipple clamps – anything that both people have consented to.
People typically enjoy power exchange during sex because a lack of control can relieve the stresses of everyday life, while assuming control can increase your self confidence.
C is for Consent
C is also for cookie. But right now, it’s consent that we’re talking about.
All parties must actively consent to any type of power play or BDSM. Every adult involved must actively say “Yes, I am happy to do X, Y and Z with you”.
Always make sure you thoroughly understand your partner’s boundaries, and never assume that someone is ok with a certain sexual activity, just because they don't explicitly refuse.
Someone not saying “No, I’m not okay with spanking, I don’t want that done to me” is not a green light for you to whip the paddle out.
To ensure that everyone’s limits are respected, the BDSM community recommends that you ‘plan a scene’. This is where you discuss exactly what you are both going to do before you even get started with foreplay.
Even if you consent to a sexual act, and have planned the scene together, you can change your mind any time if you feel uncomfortable.
However, the words ‘no’ and ‘stop’ can be part of your regular power exchange – this is where a safe word comes in.
Your safe word is a word you have both selected beforehand, with the understanding that saying this word during your power play means that the activity must immediately stop.
For absolute clarity, the word must be something you would never otherwise say during sex.
Something like “Pickle Rick!” is great (no judgement if that’s something you frequently say during sex, of course).
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No, I don’t mean you should sign up to receive the weekly BDSM email blast (and if that doesn't already exist, it definitely should).
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the intensity of Dominant/submissive roles. So, make sure you ‘break character’ occasionally, and check in with your partner about how they are feeling. Questions like:
“Is this OK?”
“Does that feel good?”
“Do you want to keep going, or would you like to stop?”
This will all help to reassure your partner that they are safe, and that they can trust you.
Trust and understanding are major components of safe power exchange, so diving straight into BDSM on a one-night stand, or with someone you haven’t got to know yet, is not recommended.
The Right Tools for the Job
A craftsman or woman is only as good as their tools, so make sure you have the right equipment for the job.
Decided to bring handcuffs into the bedroom? Make sure they're quick release like these from the Lovehoney BASICS collection.
Or, dip a toe into the world of sensory play with a blindfold.
If you’ve decided that tie and tease is for you, don’t rush out to your local hardware store for sturdy lengths of garden twine.
Stay sexy, and stay safe.
Audrey Andrews is a student blogger for Lovehoney. In her spare time she loves to do craft, but would not advise knitting your own condoms.
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