Originally posted on Bustle

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: how to be submissive in bed when you’re just starting to experiment with being dominated.

Q: My partner and I are enthusiastic newbies to the world of power play. I have always loved the idea of being a submissive, but was never able to find a partner who would explore it with me. Now that I’ve got someone who is as into it as I am, how can we expand our horizons? We’ve done basic things like have him take control during sex, but are looking for new ideas. How can we take our power play to the next level?


A: Thanks for your question! Power play is a pretty broad category, and there is a huge world for the two of you to explore together. I’m going to share eight ideas forbringing more dominance and submission into your sex life, but before we get to that, we need to talk safety.

First, Do Your Sexy Homework

Venturing into the land of dominance and submission requires a little research. First, you want to define what you even mean by dominance and submission. Many people confuse kinkBDSMD/s, and power playThis Wikipedia entry about domination and submission and this one about BDSM terms have great overviews of many of the definitions and possibilities. I also recommend The Ultimate Guide To Kink by Tristan Taormino and S&M 101 by Jay Wiseman as introductory guides.

From there, you’ll want to learn how to keep things safe when you bring domination and submission into the bedroom. Even acts that seem straightforward, like spanking, can become dangerous if done improperly (for example, spanking too hard or hitting delicate parts of the body). If you simply Google “how to (fill in the blank) safely during sex,” you’ll usually find decent advice. If you’re using any sort of prop or toy, make sure you read the instruction manual in full.

Power play can bring up emotional issues as well. Even though you’re excited to have found a partner who is into the same things you are, take it slow until you get to know each other better. Power play requires an unbelievable amount of trust, and that level of trust takes time to build. I recommend reading How To Be A Healthy And Happy Submissive by Kate Kinsey, which will help you anticipate some of the dynamics that might come up for you, and learn some strategies about how to deal with them.

Talk Boundaries & Safewords

At the very least, read through this article and talk through each of the suggestions together. Identify some baby steps to take, and make sure you are explicitly clear about your boundaries beforehand. You should also pick a safeword to use any time you’re engaging in power play.

Keep reading

but be sure to come back and check out our full series on Submission!