With the explosive popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, many Miamians have come to discover that there has been a little kinkster inside them begging to come out and play.
Mitzi Szereto, a widely published erotic fiction writer and editor says, "The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey...helped bring what was initially considered taboo by the mainstream directly into their bedrooms, inspiring people to be more open and experimental with their partners. By demystifying these practices while simultaneously glamorizing them, these books have removed some of the fear from engaging in them."
So let's say you're one of the many who've been inspired by the book, and now you're eager (and maybe a little nervous) about exploring your inner kinkster. You're just not sure how to go about it. Not to worry, Cultist has your back.
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We spoke with some of the nation's leading sex educators and erotic fiction writers to get their advice on how to best explore your new found fantasies safely and productively, while still getting down and dirty.
Follow the jump for their tips on exploring the world beyond Fifty Shades of Grey.
Tristan Taormino, an author and sex educator who has been featured in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, and appeared on The Howard Stern Show, CNN, MTV, and the Discovery Channel, says, "I caution people against using Fifty Shades of Grey as a how-to manual; it's fiction and fantasy. If you want to learn how to do bondage or dominant/submissive play, get a non-fiction book or take a class."
Taormino says that local resources can also be very useful. "I really encourage people to access their local kink community by going to a social event (sometimes called a "munch") or a newcomer orientation. Most BDSM organizations offer educational classes, and that's a good place to learn skills, ask questions, and meet other like-minded people."
"If you're interested in learning more about BDSM, a new book coming out this fall called Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities by Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams helps beginners find and navigate community. It's packed with really useful advice," suggests Taormino.
The wildly popular Alison Tyler, erotica writer and editor of such books as The Big Book of Bondage, Hurts So Good, and Bondage on a Budget, says, "One of the scariest things in the world is to ask for what you want. One of the best things is to have your desires fulfilled. Be bold, be brave, and share your fantasies with a partner. Sure you might want to bite down on a ball gag at some point in the future, but now's the time to find your voice."
Germain agrees. "Communication is the key, as it is with all sexual activities. Don't assume that your partner knows how you're feeling or what you want. That is a great fantasy, but it's not real life. If you need or want something, ask for it."
Adds Tyler, "If you need help explaining what you crave, use erotica. Read a bit of a treasured story aloud -- download an audiobook -- or dog-ear a passage that fills your needs. So many delights abound if you only take that first brave step. The handcuffs, paddles, and floggers can come second."
Germain explains the potential pitfalls for newbie submissives. "Safety is my first and foremost concern. Don't go into a BDSM experience blind. Take things slowly. Ask about people. There are a lot of assholes and masochists who hide behind the dominant label. BDSM is a dance where both partners alternatively have the lead. The submissive has the power to stop things at any time. Don't be afraid to use that power."
Taormino recommends that you use the right equipment. "Metal handcuffs are not safe. They can scrape your skin and cut off your circulation. Padded cuffs and restraints are much better."
"There are a lot of elements to BDSM that you can explore. Power play is a very simple, fun way to enter the BDSM world. It can be as simple as your partner commanding you to do something (like wearing something specific, touching yourself without orgasm or going down on your knees to suck him off) and as complex as creating scenes where one of you is in control," Germain suggests. "Try out as many toys as you can to discover what you like. These can be handmade -- soft ropes for bondage, a leather belt for spankings -- or purchased especially for BDSM play. For some, pain is a large part of pleasure. For others, being verbally or physically dominated gets them off. Discover what you like best, and be sure to tell your partner what does and doesn't work for you."
"Find what pleases you. If being strapped to a spreader bar and having your ass spanked until it's covered in welts makes you wet, then go for it. If simply being cuffed to the rung of a headboard while a lover tortures you with feathers and teasing nips, go for it. Above all, go for what gives you pleasure," advises Delilah Devlin, prolific erotica writer and editor.
Taormino concurs. "Don't get too caught up in what characters did in Fifty Shades of Grey or what anyone says 'real kinky people do.' There is no one way. You write the script, you create the characters, you're in charge!"
We found The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge by Taormino to be the Google of kink. Dan Savage, sex educator and writer of syndicated sex advice column "Savage Love" appearing in the Miami New Times, recommends it to his readers: "This is more than just a guide to kink; it's more than a sex manual. Editor Tristan Taormino has brought the players, thinkers, and rock stars of the kink scene and together they have created a book that not only lets people know where to start, but why to start, and what they'll get out of it."