The BDSM is nuanced, and that’s what you need to remember. There are no ambiguous hookups here – or there shouldn’t be, since consent is a huge, central concern to kinksters – and if you enter into the scene, you should be out to “get lucky.” While including sex in BDSM play is perfectly fine – and a popular part of partaking in bondage activities – it’s never a default. You have to remember to be clear about what you’re looking for, and listen to your partner for the same.
What Is “Play?”
Play is usually a term that refers to kinky activities. For example, you may hear a woman say she’s going to “play” with a friend. That means she’s going to do a scene with a partner that will be dictated by what her kinks and interests are. For example, if she’s interested in rope bondage and tickling, she might be engaging in a scene with her partner where she gets tied up and then gets mercilessly tickled. By no means does this infer that the two participants will be having sex. For some kinksters, play doesn’t always manifest in sexual desire – everyone is different. It’s common to also have lots of playmates, since play can range from very casual to very intense. You might enjoy being tickled, so someone uses a feather to tickle your feet while you’re loosely restrained – this is a bit low key, and excellent for beginners. At the other end of the spectrum, you might have a masochist and a sadist who act out a brutal beating – it’s consensual, but those bruises aren’t fake and safe words matter. The point is that, in all of these scenarios, the people involved are engaging in play, and not sex.
When Sex Is Involved
If you’re trying out the scene in public venues, like BDSM parties and clubs, policies are spelled out very clearly. Some parties advertise themselves as allowing sexual intercourse during play – this is something you should keep in mind if you go to one. The fact of the matter is that sex parties are riskier, solely because you have to be careful about sexually transmitted diseases. Research the reputation of the party you’re going to if sex is allowed and something in which you’re interested, and always use condoms, dental dams, or other sources of protection.
Parties will also often have color coding, where attendees wear a wristband that indicates if they’re open to sex or are just looking to play.