Power play in the bedroom


Power play in the bedroom

In an effort to explore the non-vanilla side of human sexuality, I devoted my week to talking to the kinkiest I could find. After a week of listening, I have come to two conclusions.

The first: WSU has some serious closet freaks who, naturally, wish to remain nameless. The second: while some people regard their bedroom as a sanctuary, others treat theirs as the Thunderdome.

It turns out that many Americans are getting ‘fifty shades’ of laid.

Following the release the popular book series “Fifty Shades of Grey,” American bedrooms saw a notable increase in ‘kinky’ behavior. Bondage, Dominance, Submission, and Masochism (BDSM) practices entered the homes of regular people and spiced up sexual relationships all over the country. As a firm believer that sexual experimentation is healthy and natural, I saw this increase as a positive change.

BDSM, or power play, involves many different practices but generally focuses on the relationship between the dominant and submissive partner. This week, I sought insight into three specific practices: erotic asphyxiation, bondage and sensation play. I learned about why people enjoy them and the necessary precautions practitioners must take to keep themselves and their partner safe.

The practice of erotic asphyxiation, more commonly referred to as sexual choking, can be traced back to many ancient Celtic and Indian civilizations around the world, according to vice.com. However, the connection between eroticism and strangulation only became common knowledge in the 1600s with public hangings. Men that were hanged would frequently experience erection at the time of their death. As a result, doctors of the time began prescribing light strangulation for male impotence.

Those who engage in the practice generally do so for the physiological stimulation that accompanies hypoxia or loss of blood flow to the brain. Hypoxia creates a lightheaded, pleasurable feeling that enhances orgasmic sensations. Although many people participate in the practice, approximately 1000 people die every year from solo and partnered choking play gone amiss.

While medical professionals maintain that there is no ‘safe’ way to practice erotic asphyxiation, those that do practice recommended that you do so with a trusted partner using a safe word. Of the total asphyxiation-related deaths each year, the vast majority come from males who were practicing alone with a rigged rope or belt-like device. In the event of a disaster, a partner serves as a rescuer. With that in mind, experts recommend that anyone involved in this type of play be trained in CPR.

In her book “Beyond Eden,” author Kele Moon said, “Fear is a potent aphrodisiac.”

Those who enjoy bondage do so for two primary reasons. Most, if not all, enjoy the fear and powerlessness of being controlled by someone else. For the dominant, instilling this fear is authoritative and mentally stimulating. However, certain binding materials can actually be manipulated to squeeze and put pleasurable pressure on genitalia.

Internet images and historical art of bondage often show subjects intricately tied in contortionist positions. I caution: don’t try these things at home. These poses are often only held for a short time for aesthetic appeal versus actual functionality. In short, unless you know what you are doing, keep it relatively simple.

With intricate ties come serious risks. Weight bearing suspension, tight knots or cuffs, and unnatural body positioning can cause joint dislocation, nerve damage, circulation problems, rope burn or splintering, chafing, fainting, and difficulty breathing.

Once again, communicating with your partner is key. Keep them updated on how you’re feeling and tell them if you experience any unwanted discomfort. In the event of an accident, don’t be a fool. Bring a tool.

Make sure that you have the appropriate cutting tool to handle the texture and width of the material you are using close by. For handcuffs, keep the key within reach. You will quite literally leave your partner hanging in the event of emergency.

For many adults, the last time they sported a blindfold they were holding a bat to a piñata. For others, it’s a part of their nightly warm up.

Sensation play is a cornerstone of BDSM practices that relies on intense stimulation from external objects while one partner wears a blindfold. The blindfolded partner trusts the other to touch, zap or clamp different parts of their body with no knowledge of what is coming next.

Commonly used objects include hot wax, ice, feathers, silk, nipple clamps, and whips. Communicating what you like is obviously important, as I mentioned with the two previous practices. However, many couples choose to make a pre-agreed play items list. This way the surprises aren’t too unexpected.

Temperatures, hard whipping and clamping can seriously damage the skin surface. Other than that, sensation play is just that: sensational.

Note that even if you are more vanilla than the extract itself, there are aspects of BDSM that you can incorporate into your own love life; for example, open communication and establishing boundaries have been proven to boost sexual satisfaction across all sexual relationships.

Certified sexual educator and sexologist Justine Shuey recommends that every couple create a “yes-no-maybe” list together. The list outlines practices that you agree to, ones you don’t, and ones you might try under given circumstances. Formulating a list outside of the bedroom helps couples avoid conflict and misunderstanding in the heat of the moment.

With all sex, I lend to the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Great power involves great responsibility.”