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How to go from Vanilla to BDSM and Kink

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How do I go from vanilla to BDSM?” (Vanilla means plain, normal, or boring.) Usually the person who asks is already in a relationship, and wants to start incorporating kink. It can be hard when you are already married or dating and you want to switch to a Dominant/submissive lifestyle (D/s). It is possible though to make the change (my husband and I are proof).  Here is how to make your kinky journey successful.  Be sure to learn the BDSM essentials first by clicking here.

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Start by communicating

One of the awesome things about a D/s lifestyle is that there is usually a whole lot more communication than a vanilla one.  Start by telling your partner what you already like about your relationship.  Then you can begin to tell them things you want to maybe try or are just curious about.  Ask them what their kinky fantasies are.  This may take a few tries so keep things positive and be patient.  Saying the word “BDSM” may scare them off so maybe just talk about the aspects of it you like.  This can be things like bondage, spanking, and control.  Sometimes a person has to get comfortable just talking about things before they feel they can start doing them in real life.  Read articles on domsubliving.com together and keep your conversations light and fun.

Make a kink contract

Contracts don’t have to be for hardcore D/s couples.  Experts say that talking about sex openly and writing it down in a contract is good for even vanilla relationships.  If you need somewhere to start, download a free template here.  Contracts can include roles and what those involve (even if it’s just that the man is the husband/boyfriend and the woman is the wife/girlfriend).  Other things to cover are limits (the kinky things you or your partner won’t do), safewords, rituals, and if/what discipline is acceptable.  Don’t be embarrassed or take yourself too seriously.  Have fun discussing your contract and check in regularly to see if it’s working or to renegotiate.

When things don’t go as you hoped

Whether you’re vanilla or practicing BDSM, you shouldn’t expect perfection from your partner.  Resentment builds when one person starts to feel like the other isn’t fulfilling their role.  In D/s this could be the Dom feeling his sub isn’t being submissive enough, or the sub feeling her Dom isn’t being dominant enough.  What should you do when this happens? As always: communicate.  If talking about it makes you feel uncomfortable or you’re hitting a brick wall, a journal can be a safe place to express your feelings freely.  Journaling is great for any relationship, vanilla or kinky.  You can download a free journal here which includes prompts to help you start.

Make the switch from vanilla safely

You may be tempted to jump right into a kinky lifestyle but start slow.  In the BDSM community “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” is extremely important.  If not practiced correctly, a D/s relationship can be dangerous, both physically and emotionally.  However, when it is enjoyed in a healthy way it can be extremely fulfilling.  I hope with these suggestions all who want to can go from vanilla to BDSM and kink successfully.  🖤

Have you tried making the switch?  What challenges have you faced?  Let me know in the comments.

Keep reading: Creating Your Contract  »

10 thoughts on “How to go from Vanilla to BDSM and Kink”

  1. My fiance, husband in my heart n vice versa, & I want 2 explore this lifestyle. He knos more about it then I do, but has never actually been a D. From what I’ve read so far I thnk i like being a switch & he ok w that. We cant b 2gether at the moment &dont kno exactly when we can 4 complicated reasons. Is there somewhere i can go 2 “learn ” more about this by chance? I do better hands on. Ty

  2. Me and my partner are wanting to make the switch to a Dom/Sub lifestyle but are wandering how to go about it as we have 2 kids in the household?

    1. Hi Carol! I have two small kids myself at home so I know how challenging it can be. You can still live a Dom/sub lifestyle but you have to make sure they’re not exposed to the kink part of it. Sometimes you have to get creative to still play and have punishments. I truly believe though that living this lifestyle sets a good example for our children. They get to see how much a couple loves and respects each other when one is dominant and one is submissive. 🖤

        1. You’re welcome, Carol! There are lots of ways to still have punishments when you have children. I cover that exact issue and share ideas of how to do it in detail in Lesson 6 of “Dom Sub Training”.

          But make sure you’re also focusing on the basics of punishments, so they’re more successful. You can check out this article to help you here.

          Have fun!

  3. So I have past experience in D/S relationships I have been both for a long time ago. I brought up some of my needs that havent been meet by the most amazing man I just married we have talked about making the switch and he is willing but we need some advice or tips on how to help him be my D for his time

  4. I have recently started seeing someone. And it was very Innocent at first just flirting at mutual friends houses. He would drop little hints like oh you like s&m, referring to my favorite Metallica album. When we started seeing each other it was spanking and telling me I am a good girl and need to be rewarded or a bad girl and needed to be spanked. It is all very new and I am wondering if this excitement and curriousity is the “sub frenzy” taking over. My question is as a sub do I tell him what my needs are outside of the bedroom? Or is that against the rules of a sub? Do i have to be a sub out side of the house or can part of our contact be that I am only his sub in the house? Genuinely thank you for this website it was so much better and knowledgeable than what I had read previously or watched. It eased my mind and have me things to think about. My last question is, is it appropriate to ask how experienced he is in being a Dom, how many subs he had had?

    1. Hi Miranda! Those are great questions. It is totally appropriate to tell him what your needs are, as long as you do so respectfully. And you can be a sub outside the house or just inside, it’s totally up to you and what you’re comfortable with. You can include all that in your contract. And it’s pretty common for a sub to ask a prospective Dom what their experience is. If he seems pretty clueless to all of this then that’s a good sign he probably needs some education and training himself. Stay safe!

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