Whether you’re a long-time kinkster with decades of experience, a brand-new kinky babe, or something in between, you ALWAYS have room to learn and grow. Much of what we do in kink and BDSM requires skill, precision, and deliberate action. This is true of impact play and other games, as well as relationship skills, communication, and elements of your power exchange dynamic. What follows are some tips and tricks for approaching your learning process as you educate your way into the sex-life of your dreams.
Write everything down. As you scroll through the internet, watch your favorite sexy videos, chat with other kinksters, and experiment with your own desires, journals are great way to keep track of all the new ideas you’re having. Write down words that are new to you, journal experiences you have (or would like to have), and keep a list of toys, implements, books, and other tools-of-your-trade that you have your eye on. You can keep separate journals for different types of information (as laid out below) or one big journal like a vault for all this wonderful information. Journals can be handwritten or they can be typed. They can be something you physically possesses and share in a book or on a thumb drive, or they can be stored online and shared long distance! Bonus point for my littles and other submissives…. Journaling (potentially) means fancy pens, washi tape, and *stickers*!
As you move through your kinky journey you will encounter a lot of things you like to try (and probably many more things you never want to ever do). But, sometimes the first time you do something, it’s not quite right. Don’t give up! Keep at it. A lot of kink stuff is skills based, which means you have to learn and practice these skills. A great way to do this is to treat it like anything else you have to practice and set aside time just for that. I heard another educator (whose name escapes me) call these Sex Labs and it stuck. Essentially, a Sex Lab is the time you take to learn your new sex skill and chart your progress. So, let’s say you’re a Top who just bought a new flogger. Floggers might look intuitive, but to have the ideal experience for you and your bottom, you’ll discover quickly that you need to practice. Even if you have been using floggers awhile, you’ll find that they all differ in a number of ways (e.g., weight, length of tail, feeling in your hand, material they’re made of, sensation on the receiving end) and so you’ll want to practice every time you get a new one. Set aside time that’s not part of your regular play time or some other sexy scene for just that. First practice alone, then practice with someone on the receiving end. Every time you practice, use your journal to take notes on how the session went. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Chart your progress. Keep track of how you feel, and how your bottom feels, as sessions progress. Continue journaling when you do finally integrate this new implement into your playtime, so you can track how it’s going. Maybe you like this brand or you hate the material. Maybe it makes your bottom cry (do you like that or not?). Sex Labs are all about mastering your skills in a low-pressure space. Trying to learn a new technique in the heat of the moment is ripe for mistake-making. Depending on what the new skill or technique is, these mistakes could range from simply silly or embarrassing to downright dangerous. Sex Labs are a wonderful place to take the pressure off your sexy time and learn in a safe environment where the “success of the scene” is not at stake.
You and your partner(s) are exploring together. You have your own thoughts and feelings, your own desires and needs. Use your journal to write down how you feel about where you’re going and where you’ve been. Use it as after-care to process emotions as you both come down from a scene (this is good for people on both sides of the D/s or M/s slash). Consider having two journals: one that’s only yours where you can dump all your deepest, darkest secrets or wildest fantasies, and one you share and can write to each other. Journaling is also a great way to process heavy emotions before discussing them, to give yourself a chance to set your thoughts in order.
Communication and Negotiation
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can be hard for me to keep a straight face when I want to admit to my partner that I have a desire we haven’t explored together yet. I am fine to talk about sex in general terms, or to listen to clients share details with me of their own lives, but when it comes to my personal desires, I am nervous. One way I’ve found to alleviate that and really open up is through journaling. Many folks in power exchange relationships use journals as a communication tool. For example, a Dominant might ask their submissive to keep a daily journal. That journal includes activities the submissive engaged in, rules and guidelines in your protocol, chore lists, their thoughts and feelings about their life and the dynamic, and an opportunity for the submissive to share things with their Dominant. Maybe a submissive uses it after a scene or punishment, to share how that made them feel or talk about what they’ve learned. Maybe they use it to share fantasies the Dominant can pull from when the Dom is planning scenes. This can also be a way to have a conversation about things you both want to try – or if there are more than two of you, a way to keep track of things the group is interested in. Perhaps one of you really wants to try a specific kind of scene. You can research it and put all the details in the journal, and then you can all discuss it from there! Depending on the type of relationship you have, or want to have, a journal can be a really important key to communication as you negotiate your power exchange.
Use your journals to keep track of date nights, budget for new gear, schedule trips to local munches or the dungeon… sky’s the limit. Your journal is a perfect way to organize your thoughts and lay out practical lists.
If you need help setting up your journal, I suggest doing some google searches for bullet journals and seeing if anything strikes your fancy. Or, task your submissive to do it! You can shop for journals together online (I’m personally a fan of Leuchtturm brand dotted journals – they come in a wide variety of colors and sizes – and they’re felt-tip and fountain pen friendly) or take a trip to your local book or stationary store to get started immediately.
*This article first appeared in the January 2018 KinkCrate handbook. For more information or to subscribe to KinkCrate go to