SERC: Talking With Kids

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Q: I’m interested in trying out some BDSM with my partner, but I’m not sure how to bring it up.

A: BDSM is a wide-ranging set of acts which are outside of culturally accepted forms of sexual expression and turn-ons. It is based on consent, respect, trust, and communication. It can include new sensations (feathers, blind folding, biting, etc), role playing, and impact play (striking the body in controlled ways).

BDSM stands for:

  • BD: Bondage and Discipline
  • DS: Dominance and Submission
  • SM: Sadism and Masochism

People engage in BDSM acts for a variety of reasons: taboos are erotic, it’s exciting and new, it feels good, and it allows people to explore sexuality differently.

If you want to try anything new with your partner, you need to start with a conversation about it. Having an open discussion about boundaries, needs and wants, desires, anxieties and everything else can help both of you understand what the other person wants or needs. You may have to do some research together, and be patient with your partner if they are hesitant at first. If your partner agrees, you will need to develop safety guidelines so everyone’s boundaries are respected. What are the safe words to negotiate how far a scene goes? What word or gesture means an absolute stop to the activity? What safer sex supplies are needed? How will you ‘check-in’ with each other during and after the activity to ensure both of you are physically and emotionally ok? Setting boundaries and safety guidelines before anything happens will help ensure everyone involved has a more enjoyable experience.

There is some argument about whether BDSM is abuse or not. It’s important to remember that BDSM is based on the foundations of consent, trust, and respect. The activities are controlled and can be stopped at any time. Abuse is rejecting another person’s right to consent and autonomy, and ignores the rights of another person.

If you are interested in trying any aspect of BDSM, do some research, ask questions, and talk with your partner about what you want to try! Respect their boundaries and comfort zones. And lastly, keep an open mind to how others express their sexuality.

Information provided by the Sexuality Education Resource Centre Mb. Do you have questions about sexuality? Send them to Visit our website at Also, sign up for our E-News by following the links on our website or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The information provided in this article is not intended as medical advice. Should you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 16, January 4, 2017.