Last week I went to a spanking class (the things I do in the name of research! Ahem) at Sh! to see what all the 50 shades of fuss was about. The informal class in the basement of the Hoxton boutique was women-only and contrary to my initial fears, we weren’t partnered up and given a good thwacking by a stranger. The staff showed us techniques (from beginners to more advanced), and how to use the different spanking equipment (paddles, crops, floggers etc) on each other – then we were free to try them out. It didn’t feel sordid, silly or particularly sexy for that matter, but I can imagine if you took your learnings home, you could have a rather fun evening exploring your real-life 50 shades fantasies and uncovering your inner top/bottom (dom/sub). So as today is apparently National Orgasm Day (who makes these up?!), we got some top tips from the Sh! experts to help you along your merry way. Enjoy! Sonya Barber
How popular is BDSM/spanking?
BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sado-Masochism) is, for many, a lifestyle, rather than an occasional past-time. Spanking for fun, however, is very popular, especially since ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ brought it back onto people’s radars. We have definitely seen an increase in sales of kinky bedroom accoutrements since the launch of the book. Soft kink is definitely being experimented with – many rosy bottoms, we suspect! The most popular items are luv-balls, crops for spanking, leather blindfolds, wrist cuffs and, of course, erotic books! I’ve read all three “50 Shades” books and found the series really addictive.
Why do you think it has become so popular?
Well, for many reasons; it’s a love story with saucy bits that get your own juices going. Many couples are using the book as a way of opening up conversation about what goes on in their bedroom, about what they’d like to try and what gets their engines running. It’s what fantasies are made of; it’s sexy and it’s easily accessible – you can pick up a copy with the weekly shop!
What would be your top tips for a happy healthy BDSM relationship?
For a happy, healthy BDSM relationship to work (just like any other relationship) there needs to be love, trust and respect in equal measures. There’s a dominant partner, and a submissive partner. More often than not, negotiations take place, just like in the book. A dominant needs to know how far his/her submissive is prepared to go, and the submissive partner needs to know that the dominant won’t go further than agreed before play starts. Trust and safety are imperative in BDSM play. Never play with anyone you don’t fully trust, and always agree on a safeword before your scene begins.
What are the common misconceptions?
The uninitiated often assumes that BDSM is about torturing your partner, but this isn’t the case at all. Sure, some people are extremely hardcore and need/want intense pain, but for many it’s more about sensual pleasure. When done the right way, spanking and discipline is incredibly sexy and can be a massive turn-on for both partners.
What would be your top 5 spanking tips?
1. Practise on a pillow or sofa so you’re sure your aim is true.
2. Agree on a safeword before play starts. This is a word that tells the spanker that the spankee has had enough. Safewords must be honoured absolutely.
3. Start slow, spanking with the palm of your hand. This brings blood to the surface and warms the spankee up nicely. The slower you go, the more turned on your partner will be, the more endorphins their brain will release, the harder you can spank…
4. Get your submissive/bottom/spankee to rate your blows between 1-10. This way you know when to go harder or when to ease off.
5. Arouse the senses. A sharp swat followed by soft fur stroking over the smarting area is oh-so-sexy. Tease your submissive/bottom/spankee. Stroke the end of your crop up and down their body, slowly and deliberately before giving a hard swat… followed by soft fur… followed by teasing…
Can you recommend any other books for people to read?
1. ‘The New Topping Book‘ by Dossie Easton
2. ‘The New Bottoming Book‘ by Dossie Easton
3. ‘The Ultimate Guide to Kink‘ by Tristan Taormino (this book covers *a lot* and there are a couple of chapters at the end that are pretty hardcore – you have been warned).
Want to try out a spanking class? See sh-womenstore.com. Or if you want to purchase any BDSM/Spanking equipment, just say ‘spanking’ and mention Time Out and you will receive 15% discount.