How to explore dominance and submission play safely: a beginner’s guide to your first session

While very exciting, the prospect of indulging in a session of dominance and submission play for the first time may cause you a great deal of anxiety. Don’t panic!. In this article, the LOVE Team will give you our best advice for a successful, step-by-step initiation to D/s play.

In a Dom/sub relationship, one of the partners assumes the role of the dominant party: often called the "Dom", they exercise their authority over the second partner, the submissive, also called the "sub". This authority can take many forms.

A D/s relationship requires that each partner clearly expresses their consent and indicates to the other the boundaries that they do not wish to cross. Honest communication between the two partners is an essential prerequisite for any relationship of this kind: it allows each partner to trust the other and to prepare themselves as well as possible for this sensual experience.

1. Do a bit of research

The world of dominance and submission is vast, and there are many different ways to express yourself. As a first step, you should explore the many options available to you so that you can prepare yourself as best you can and decide which ones appeal to you.

  • Watch some BDSM porn: Watching porn will allow you and your partner to discover the practices that turn you on the most and to reproduce them during your sessions. Share your impressions, express your desires: your future session will be all the more successful.
  • Do some research online: There are many resources dedicated to the world of BDSM on the web. By exploring specialised websites, blogs and forums, you can familiarise yourself with BDSM games and practices and create the most exciting scenarios.
  • Talk to other BDSM enthusiasts: You'll find a wealth of information in discussion forums and groups dedicated to BDSM. Ask questions and find out more: you'll benefit from real-life experiences and personalised advice from experienced practitioners.

2. Define your roles

Of course, it's important to clearly define the roles between you and your partner and to always respect each other's limits.

  • Choose roles: Who will be Dom? Who will be the sub? Decide which of you will give the orders to the other according to your wishes. It's important to listen to your partner and respect their wishes, remembering that nothing is set in stone: you can swap roles in a future session and give yourselves the chance to evolve.
  • Set your boundaries: This step is essential. Clearly indicate to your partner the limits (physical and psychological) that you do not wish to go beyond, to ensure a climate of total safety during your session.
  • Define safe words and gestures: To ensure reliable communication throughout your session, agree on the word or gesture you will use to signal to your partner that you want to stop. This signal will guarantee your safety and ensure that your partner listens to you, cares about your well-being and respects your wishes.

3. Get some practice in

Don't forget that the main goal of your session is to have fun and discover new sensations. The aim is to familiarise yourself with these new practices at your own pace and without pressure.

  • Use 'beginner' toys: Scarves, feathers or velvet handcuffs are the perfect tools for a gentle introduction. You'll learn to play with these toys without feeling rushed or unsettled.
  • Give simple commands: To avoid rushing the sub from the start, the dom should start by giving simple commands (e.g. undress slowly, get into a certain position, touch me in a certain way).
  • Change your normal routine: Gradually add BDSM play into your normal sex life. This will help you get used to your Dom/sub roles, for example by trying out new positions under duress or forcing the other person to perform oral sex (with their consent, of course!)
  • Pay attention to your partner: If you feel pain, discomfort, or severe discomfort, ask your partner to stop immediately. That way, the two of you will build a balanced and respectful Dom/sub relationship.

4. Try out different types of restraints

Restraints are an essential toy for Dom/sub games. Which will be your favourite?

  • Try out different types of restraints: handcuffs, ankle cuffs, wrist restraints, ropes... There's plenty to choose from and lots of combinations. You’ll enjoy different sensations and different levels of restraint. It's up to you to choose what suits you best.
  • Check out our bondage buyer's guide: The LOVE Team has put together a buyer's guide to help you choose your bondage toys. You'll learn about the different areas of bondage and be able to choose the one that suits you best.
  • Focus on comfort and safety: Your partner should not be put at risk. Make sure the restraints don't cut off their circulation and that he accepts the situation you're putting them in.
  • Communicate: Listen to your partner. Are they enjoying what you are asking them to do? Do they feel comfortable? Do they want to continue the session or change the scenario? During this first session, share your feelings and desires and adapt to each other. This will lay the foundation for a fulfilling and sensual BDSM relationship.
LOVE Team Tip

Don't forget to take some basic precautions.

  • If you're using ropes, always have a pair of round-tipped scissors with you. This will enable you to cut the rope quickly in an emergency.
  • If your partner is tied up, never leave them alone. You must ensure their safety and prevent an emergency situation.

5. Play around!

Once the terms of your Dom/Sub relationship are set, it's time to play! Here are a few games that you can play:

  • Role play: Take on defined roles and make up scenarios. The possibilities are endless and by letting your imagination run wild, you'll be able to create situations that are more exciting than the last.
  • Different orders: the Dom can choose to exercise their authority gradually. They'll start by giving their partner simple commands ("Look at me", "Come here", "Kneel down", "Answer me", "Do it!") and then gradually increase the eroticism of their orders. It will be a total turn-on for both of you!

6. Don’t forget aftercare!

Aftercare consists in sharing a moment after the session in which each partner takes care of the other. There's no better way to release the tension and emotions generated by your session than to give each other some sincere attention, which will help to strengthen your intimate bond. Aftercare is incredibly important for the well-being of the sub. However, the Dom may also take great pleasure in being pampered once the session is over.

  • Physical aftercare: After a session of dominance and submission your sub deserves to be pampered. Cuddle them, massage them and offer them something to eat or drink. 
  • Psychological aftercare: Take care of your sub by reassuring them, expressing your gratitude and showing them your respect and/or love. This will give them the confidence to try D/S play again soon.
  • Dom's aftercare: Often forgotten, the Dom may also feel the need to be comforted after a session of dominance and submission. Let them express their feelings: do they want to repeat the experience? In what way? Are they uncomfortable? What did they prefer? Active listening will enable you to understand your partner better and prepare yourself in the best possible conditions for another unforgettable session.
The LOVE Team hopes that you have an absolutely wonderful Dom/sub experience. Respect for your partner and mutual consent remain essential for a successful session. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us: we’d be happy to guide you in your discovery of BDSM.