What is a BDSM Checklist?

Basically, a BDSM Checklist is an extremely long multiple choice questionnaire of kinks, from mild to wild, and you indicate on the list two things for each item. 1) Have you ever done the activity? 2) How much you like or dislike (or THINK you will) the activity?

The last checklist I filled out had 255 items on the list, and I’m sure that there have been additions over time. That’s the great thing about us kinky folks. We’re pretty damned creative.

Who should fill out a BDSM Checklist?

As with all other aspects of our chosen activities, completing the BDSM checklist is completely up to the person(s) involved. It is a GREAT tool for both Topfolk and bottomfolk alike. During the negotiation process for play and BDSM relationships, this can simplify the conversation, and give both (all) of the players a black and white reference for where the current boundaries lie.

I encourage Topfolk to complete the checklist as much as bottomfolk. After all, limits aren’t the only thing the checklist can be used for!

What do you DO with a Checklist?

  • You can negotiate a scene with your checklist, efficiently providing the list means that the Top/bottom gets an overview of what you like and don’t. It’s a great starting point for negotiations.
  • You can negotiate D/s relationships with your checklist. Much the same as for a scene, but far more involved. After all, you do NOT want to end up in a long term relationship with someone who insists on being pissed on in the shower every time you come home from work if you abhor water sports and can’t even use the urinal if someone else is in the public restroom.
  • You can surprise your partner with something they love love love, but you’re only lukewarm to. They could possibly turn the tables and do the same for you!
  • … What do else do you use YOUR list for???

What if things change?

You always knew you would hate having someone bite you. You’ve seen a million and one vampire movies and you know that the moment someone bites you on the neck, you’re going to smack them senseless. You put this on your list as something you haven’t tried and you don’t have any real desire to try.

Then, one day, you’re in the middle of a scene and your partner nips you on the neck. Still TECHNICALLY biting, but nothing like you thought it would be. It blows your mind and suddenly, you want to be bitten. You want it soft, hard, in between, and it’s your new fun thing.

The beauty of our kinks (and sometimes the bane) is that things fluctuate. For women and for men. Depending on the time of the month, the mood you’re in, the phase of the moon, whatever… you suddenly love things you’ve always been ambivalent about and you are ambivalent or downright dislike things you used to love.

My recommendation, for what it’s worth, is that you update the list once a year. If you tried things that you thought you’d like and hated them, update. If you tried things you hated with a different partner or a different situation and find that you love it now, update.

Remember, people grow and evolve and change. So do relationships. It’s natural to assume that your likes and dislikes will do the same.

I’m in! Where do I get this BDSM Checklist?

**Updated Links** You can find BDSM Checklists all over the internet, but here is the most concise one I could find.

Well, what do you think? Do you have or use a checklist? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.



This is a guest post from Xanny, a submissive male who has been active in the lifestyle for about a year and a half total. He brings a unique perspective to the BDSM Starter Kit blog and I’m thrilled to be able to share that perspective with you.

When I first started down the path of BDSM, I knew very little and what little I knew I had gathered second-hand from a friend of mine. I began doing some reading and exploring on my own, and eventually I found myself in a position where I had an opportunity to play for the first time. I don’t remember details as this was a long time ago, but one thing I do remember is coming down and then driving home. I was visiting a friend in Michigan and living in PA at the time. I played, then the next morning I was in the car on the way back home. I was fine for a while, but then eventually I began getting upset and depressed for no apparent reason. I had to pull over and stop for a few minutes as emotions overwhelmed me. I came home and immediately set out to figure out what happened to me, and I found out what it was: sub drop.

So, what is sub drop? Rather than bore you with a textbook definition, I’ll give you my definition and thoughts on it. Sub drop is the emotional (and sometimes physical) ‘drop’ or let-down that a sub / bottom goes through anywhere from a few hours to a few days after a scene. It can be very light, maybe just a slight feeling of depression, or it can be heavy to a point where you become physically ill. I personally have never become ill, but I have become quite depressed, and it’s not a lot of fun. I’m slowly learning how to deal with bouts of drop that hit me. I’m finding that the severity of the drop decreases and in a lot of cases never happens if I get a lot of aftercare in the form of cuddles and positive reinforcement. I’m not saying that it’ll help you, but there are some things that you can (and should) do.

First, check in with the person you played with. Find out how they are doing, and let them know what you’re going through, if anything. Talk to them, and most times they will be able to help you through it. Next, after the scene and you return home, make yourself comfortable. If you have a favorite comfort food or drink (preferably non-alcoholic), have some of it. Try not to reflect on any of the negative things that may have happened in the scene, think back about what went on as a whole. Write about it, if it helps you. I tend to write about my scenes a few days afterwards as a way of chronicling my journey. You can be as descriptive as you like, however you decide.

Can sub drop be prevented? Some people may not experience sub drop, others may no matter what they do. It will all depend on what you personally need and how you handle the end of a scene. If you aren’t currently in a relationship, or you don’t have regular play partners, you might find yourself affected a bit more by sub drop. Remember that there are resources out there, such as your friends, the community and of course the various sources of information on the internet to help you through. I just hope that if you’re new to everything that I’ve enlightened you a bit on the subject of sub drop.

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It occurs to me that some of you stumble across this blog because you’re hoping to find a definitive list of “Must Haves” for starting to build out your BDSM Toy Bag. I don’t have the perfect list for what YOU should have. But I can certainly share with you the items I started with in my toy bag.

The Basics:

These may seem like an odd place to start, but first and foremost your health and safety (and the health and safety of your submissive/slave/bottom/play partner) are the first priority. Before you insert anything into your partner, or allow them to insert anything into you… make sure it’s clean and covered. Before you tie the first knot in the rope around his/her wrist, make sure you’ve got scissors on hand in case the worst happens. Safety First applies everywhere, not much for “vanilla folks”.

The Impact Play:

It’s been said time and again that the best instrument is your own mind and your own body. Your hands are very versatile for bdsm play, but it’s always fun to have a few implements of pain on hand in case you need them. I don’t recommend that anyone start out with a flogger or a whip. It’s my suggestion that you start smaller. Lightweight paddles, a belt you have hanging in your closet, and even wooden spoons from the kitchen will all work nicely.

Non Impact Play:

Clothes pins come in a wide range of tensions. Make sure you test them out and see which ones aren’t too tight or too loose (use your finger… don’t clip em to your nipples in WalMart) before you buy them. Nylon rope is pretty slippery and can tighten dangerously if you’re not careful. It’s best to get rope made of natural fibers. As for the rest… just use your imagination…

This isn’t a huge list, but it wasn’t meant to be. These are “MY” essentials for getting started. My imagination, safety items, and a few choice toys can turn any scene into something to remember forever.

What’s on your Must Have list for your toy bag? Please share in the comments!

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When I joined the BDSM 101 Yahoo Group, I received a fabulously informative email from the administrators.  They titled it “Good BDSM Summary”.  While there is a lengthy explanation on the email about the copyright claims on this particular information, I’ll leave it at this: Like millions of other articles and chain letters, and written documents that have been forwarded, modified, edited, and claimed since the beginning of the written word, this has been around for a LONG LONG time, in more than one format.  I have no idea who the original author is, but I agree with the owners of the Yahoo Group, it’s good information that I think you’ll benefit from.

•BDSM is not an aberration. BDSM is a sexual orientation that is found in a substantial percentage of the population. Various surveys have shown BDSM behavior practiced by 5 to 20% of the population, with interests at up to 50% of the population. Just look at the interest in movies, books, and other artistic expressions with BDSM as a common theme. Historically, BDSM behavior was listed as a psychological problem, as was masturbation and homosexuality. Today, however, these various orientations are not considered a problem unless the person is deeply unhappy about their interests.

•BDSM is not new. BDSM activities have been performed in many religions and cultures. Early Christian mystics used it and Native Americans continue to use it for vision quests. Fakirs from India use it. That same energy can be used for spiritual journeys, sexual ecstasy, or personal bliss.

•BDSM is not just fetishism. Fetishism often substitutes an object for relationship. BDSM can involve relationships like D/s (Dominant/submissive) or M/s (Master or Mistress and consensual slave).  And BDSM is often about enduring power exchanges, even with a ‘contract’, ‘collar’, and often very ‘marriage-like’. In fact, good BDSM requires trust and open communication as well as the development of good relationship skills.

•BDSM is erotic psychodrama. The exchange of power in BDSM is a framework for risk taking and trust. The shared reality created by BDSM gives the participants the permission to explore their erotic fantasies by fooling the intellect to free the libido. BDSM has often been referred to as high-tech sex. The experience is incomparable.

•BDSM does not feel like what it looks like. Often in the popular press, the dominant or sadist does as he/she wishes, without regard to the needs and desires of the submissive or masochist. In practice, it is the submissive or masochist that has the final say by negotiating limits. BDSM teaches the needs for good communications up front; the use of “safe” words that will stop the action if the submissive ever feels the ‘scene’ is not working; and a time for communication afterwards so that both parties can learn and make it even better.

•BDSM is not especially dangerous. Some BDSM activities are more athletic than others. For more strenuous activities the individuals should be in good physical shape, just as for any other ‘sport’. For most BDSM activities the players must know what they are doing. The shared education and experience of other players can be invaluable.

•BDSM is not sexist. Sexism tries to impose dominant-submissive roles according to gender. In BDSM roles are chosen according to our inner feelings. BDSM is honest, shared eroticism which includes men and women who prefer either or both roles.

• Sometimes BDSM is done in a brief scene with a stranger. Sometimes it is a full time relationship. Usually BDSM is done in negotiated episodes (or ‘scenes’) between people who know and like one another.

•BDSM is not repressed anger or covert hatred. Actually it is impossible to do good BDSM with someone you do not like.

•BDSM takes a lot of energy, preparation, time, and attention. Many practitioners do a lot more of “vanilla” (i.e. non BDSM) sex than they do BDSM.

•BDSM is as much an attitude as it is action. When traveling, the dominant may wish to drive the car in order to be in control and express their power; or the submissive may wish to drive the car as an expression of taking care of their dominant. Who IS in charge is far from obvious. It is a ‘dance’ involving both parties.

•BDSM people come from all walks of life. Some from abusive backgrounds and practicing BDSM can be part of their healing. Most come from healthy families and are looking for self fulfillment. Some identify as “lifers” having BDSM fantasies from their earliest memories. Still others are new to the concept and felt a connection when they tried it. BDSM people come from all genders and orientations. As a result, BDSM groups have been on the forefront of establishing common ground between heterosexuals, gays, and lesbians.

What are your thoughts?  We’d love to hear them, so please comment.

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Let’s start with the basics.

Lady Julia of LadyJulia.net defines a Munch as:
“A munch is a gathering of people who are interested in D/s and BDSM. (D/s = dominance and submission. BDSM = bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism). As a rule, the meeting is held someplace casual, like a restaurant. People come dressed in their every day clothing (no extreme fetishwear). The conversation is relaxed and non-threatening. Dom/me and submissive alike interact, sharing thoughts about the lifestyle and mutual interests.
If you’re new to the lifestyle, attending a munch could be a great first step in learning more.”

This is the basic definition of a Munch. Some munches are held in different locations with different guidelines. However, the vast majority of munches will stick to this format.

Almost 5 years ago my Master and I attended the Atlanta Regional Munch at 1763 and someone made an announcement asking for co-hosts to help start a new West Atlanta munch. Since we live on that end of town, and really wanted to see education make a comeback in the community, we contacted the guy who made the announcement. The original guy ended up not being able to spearhead the new munch, but Maddog and I went ahead with the idea and launched a munch. We started a Yahoo! Group and polled the people in our community to set a date.

From the outset, our priority was education. Master wanted to create a group where people could come and learn to do different types of play, protocols, and general etiquette. We had guest speakers, munch topics every single month, and a demo-style play party after the munch. Even now, after Master and I have handed the reins of the West Atlanta munch over to some fabulous people, the focus on education is still there.

There are quite a few munch groups in the Atlanta area. Some are education focused. Others are solely focused on giving lifestyle people a secure, relaxed atmosphere to get to know others, welcome new folks into the community, and share the wealth of knowledge that each individual person brings to the community. The purpose is no less noble than education… and truly… some people aren’t so much interested in the demos as they are getting to know people and enjoying the company of other likeminded people.

Whether your ideal munch is primarily social or educational (or both), you’re probably going to be looking for a group that is 1) close to your home and 2) convenient to your schedule. The dates, times, and locations for the various munches should be included in the gathering announcements, the mailing list home page (if the group has one), or any other way that the munch group gets the word out. Make sure you pay close attention to the details.

If the group isn’t a good fit for you, based on the information you find, you do have other options. :

  • Choose another location, even if it’s less convenient
  • Start your own munch and run your group the way you want, at the dates and times most convenient to you
  • Get over it and do your best to blend in with the group you have access to

  1. WHIMPER Munch- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WHIMPER/
  2. Littles Munch (age play) – http://www.littlesmunch.com
  3. BDSMpets Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AtlantaBDSMpets
  4. Cherokee Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cherokeeMunchGroup
  5. C.R.E.A.M Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CREAMmunch
  6. Dekalb Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DekalbMunchGroup/
  7. Gwinnett Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gwinnett_Munch
  8. Whippersnappers – http://www.whippersnappers.ws
  9. SAM (Southeast Atlanta Metro) Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoutheastMetroMunch/

  1. North GA Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/North_Georgia_Ms_Ds_Munch
  2. Athens Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Athensmunchgroup
  3. Lanier Munch – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lanier_munch/
  4. CUFF- Columbus – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CUFF-ColumbusBDSMclub/

I’m sure there are far more than I have listed here, so please feel free to add your listing to the comments. There is a full catalog of munch, dungeon, and group listings coming up as a full section on this website. If you would like to have your group listed, please please please leave a comment with the information.

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I have been asked many times about my techniques for “reading a bottom” during a scene.  What does that mean?  Are there techniques one can use to better understand the person that you are playing with so that you can provide a better experience?  I will attempt to put a few thoughts on …well, the blog, so that you can see some of the ways I do it.

“Reading” is essentially a way to monitor the physical and mental reactions for your play partner to know when to “heat” things up a bit more, or cool things off.   Successful “reading” techniques

Examine the book cover and liner notes

When you purchase a new book (not that your play partner is PURCHASED mind you) what are some of the things that attracts you to the book?  The two things that most people look when they see a book is the cover and the liner notes.   How does this translate in to a scene?  Examine the physical attributes of your play partner.  Ask them about any physical issues before play.  This is important to know so that you can craft a scene where they are comfortable…well as comfortable as can be when you are bruising their asses!

Scan the page

One of the techniques for speed reading is a quick scan of a page then to go back and drill into things that you need to comprehend more.  This is a perfect technique for “reading” your play partner as well.  Keep your eyes moving over the bottoms body.  Are you noticing damaging marks?  Do you notice twitches?   Have you seen that body “relax totally” signaling the onset of subspace?   After each strike of the cane/paddle/flogger look over the body and look for those tell tale signs.

Turn the page slowly

There are a couple of ways that I like to prolong the tease and torment during a scene.  One way is to introduce to your partner the “implement” that you will be using on them.  When I start or switch to a new implement of ahem…pleasure, I usually introduce that device gently to the area being played with.  The bottom can detect the change…understand that it is now a cane and not a paddle and adjust accordingly.  Use sensual teasing as you switch from one implement to another…

Read the BOOK dammit!

D/s play with another is one of the most intimate things anyone can do.  PAY ATTENTION to the person you are playing with.  Just as reading a book, it takes time to get “back into the story” when your reading is interrupted with something.  Scening is the exact same thing.  Focus on your bottom/submissive/top…don’t get distracted.  It is rude!

Close the book HARD!

Well, perhaps this is just MY way of reading a book…but I ALWAYS like to close that cover hard.  The harder I close…the more I enjoyed the story!  While this may not be YOUR way of reading…well, it is mine!

Now…with all of the talking of reading and D/s…I need a good hard book to read…sunshine…let’s read!

 



What is a Safe Word? If you’re just getting started in BDSM, you’ve probably heard or read these words and wondered “what’s that all about?” A safe word is a word or phrase, not typically used in sex or play, which the participants of a BDSM “scene” or “play session” can say to stop the scene.

Is It Always The Same Word?

For public play scenes, House or Dungeon Rules generally use a standard set of safe words:

  • Red = A limit has been reached. Stop the entire scene immediately.
  • Yellow = A limit is close to being reached. Slow down or change to another activity.
  • Green = YES YES YES! Keep doing what you’re doing.

For private play scenes, it’s quite common for the participants to choose different words, such as Petunia, Green Bean, or Packing Peanuts. As with most everything else, your personal preferences and negotiation points are the only real rules for determining the safe words you choose.

Why Use A SafeWord?

A Safe Word is just that… a word or phrase to keep you safe during a scene. In our lifestyle, it’s common to be tied up with rope, handcuffed, and/or blindfolded while being struck with canes, paddles, floggers, whips, or poked with knives or needles. The list of possibilities is endless. This means that, at any given moment during a scene, your safety is at risk. You are literally putting your life into someone else’s hands (or taking their life into yours). If the ropes slip, the knife digs in too much, or the paddle strike is too much pain for you to process, you have to have a way to communicate that it’s just too much. And, as you will no doubt hear more than a million times during your journey, “ouch is not a safe word.”

Are Safewords Just For Submissives?

Are Safe Words just for submissives? HELL NO! Safe words can be used by any scene participant whose limits have been reached. Period. If the Top has reached their limit during the scene, or has an unexpected negative reaction to a stimulus, he or she has every right to safe word as the bottom does.

Can a bystander safe word on your scene? According to some moron on Wikipedia … yes. According to every public and private play party I’ve been to… uh… NO. Just because YOUR limits are being breached by people in a scene does not mean that you can stop them. Their limits are not negotiable by YOU as long as all active participants are consenting adults. If you don’t like what’s going on… find a DM (Dungeon Monitor).

Does Everyone Use Them?

In a word… no. Everyone does not use Safe Words. Many long term couples (triads, quads, etc) don’t use safe words, because they’ve been playing together long enough that they’re not necessary. Some people don’t feel the need for safe words, under any circumstances (not recommended!). Some people in long term relationships participate in “no limits” arrangements, where there are no safe words at all. There are also people who don’t have formal safe words set up, but do acknowledge that even though “no” and “ouch” aren’t safe words, “I’m going to kill you in your sleep motherfucker” are. ;)

So, there you have it… sunshine’s take on Safe Words. What do you think?



(this is written from a female slave to a male Master perspective)

When new to the lifestyle for me there were a lot of questions about what makes a Master a Master and what distinguishes a Dominant from a Master and a Top from a Dominant and so on. All the terms can be somewhat confusing at first.

One of the first things i learned is that just because someone calls themselves Master does not mean they are one. i can call myself Miss America but it does not make it so. Please keep that in mind.

i wanted to at least throw out some of my own perceptions of Mastery and what it means to me and what it does not mean to me.

Just because someone can manipulate others who might be younger, less experienced, needy or broken does not make them a Master. What someone does to others does not make them a Master in my book. Unfortunately many that come to know the lifestyle are so very broken. Many have had rough childhoods, gone through nasty divorces, have been cast out from society due to their own unique differences. Many submissives come into the lifestyle looking for a savior and this can be dangerous.

Many that practice BDSM speak harshly about the submissive or slave that questions the Dominant or Master but if you are not owned then you ask whatever questions you need the answer to so that you don’t wind up in a relationship with a “Master” that come to find out is no Master at all.

Back to my original point…. What makes a Master a Master? If someone were to ask me i would have to say that a Master is Master over Himself. The perfect Master (if one actually exists) to me would be one that is in complete and total control of His actions, His thoughts, His life, His well being, His family, His finances,  His profession, His spirituality etc. A Master to me is able to help a slave or submissive be a better person. A Master teaches not from just words but from actions. Does He do as He says? Does He have your best interest in mind?

Most Masters are still a work in progress just like the submissive or slave is. They are still learning and admit to this. Most Masters learn from their submissives or slaves and vice versa.

Believe me there are plenty that can manipulate, coerce, brain wash, convince, etc.

But that does not make them a Master of anything except deception. A Master does not lie a Master does not cheat a Master does not manipulate for His own gain.

Just a word of caution to those who are new. Remember just because someone says it is does not always make it true.



i was thinking about compromise.  When i was new to the life choice and was anxious to do just about anything a potential Dom was telling me to do so that i would please him i found that there were times i was compromising in areas i should not have. 

There were times where i was on the phone at work when i should have been working but i would never not take a phone call from him.  This could have interfered with my job and got me into a lot of trouble.  Instead of being my normal level headed self and explain politely that personal calls are frowned upon at work i took the risk. Luckily i didn’t loose my job but at the time i wasn’t thinking clearly enough to even make the decision.

There have also been times i participated in things that i should not have. i now harbor regrets for doing so but it is sooo easy to get caught up in the moment. Also keep in mind the Dom get’s a thrill when he knows you are doing something that is pushing your limits or that he has such control over you that he can get you to do things you normally would not act on.

It is so easy to sit here in my armchair now and look back and see with clarity where some things i did were just not good decisions. No need to rehash all of them. If you are doing things that compromise your ethics or your integrity or your better judgment, you know what those are.  Now i know in a D/s or M/s relationship there are going to be things that you do simply beacause you have such a huge desire to please your partner but you should keep in mind that if you are being pushed to the point of tearing away who you are then you might be miss matched.  Remember that there are a lot of potential partners out there. You might really like the one you are first talking too and really begin to enjoy the rush of the control you are giving to another. Those are good things but always speak up if there is something you are being asked to do that is not in line with your principles.  If you are not owned then everything is still a negotiation.  If the Dominant does not want to hear it or does not like you voicing your concerns… again possible red flag.

A good potential Master or Dominant should listen to your concerns and discuss them with you. Also a good potential Master or Dominant will know how far to take things before you even meet.  It seems like every one that you talk to on line instantly want a picture of you naked.  My answer to that is simply no. Why would i just throw out naked pictures when i have talked to you once.  They could take those pictures and post them as porn on other sites. Or they could be collectors of naked pics where it is more of a game. The computer really makes things less personal but think of it this way. If you just met this person for the first time. Spoke to the person for a few minutes or so in person would you strip naked and let them take pornographic pics of you? Probably not.  Again this is just my personal take on the whole thing.  Another thing people get sucked into is performing on cam. Not performing as in singing… well you know what i mean.  i completely understand wanting to see someone on cam and actually recommend it so you can verify who you are speaking to but i don’t need to see them naked. Many Dom’s on line would ask for my cam but not show their cam… it was broke or not on that computer or they didn’t have one. Whatever!  Then if i showed my face on the cam then come the orders… take off your clothes…. blah blah blah and my cam would go black. If i am going to perform on cam for a complete stranger then i am going to get paid for it at least. Why should i be free porn? It is also a pretty good test to see what the person REALLY wants because many i would never hear from again once their free porn show was denied. 

i know all of this is probably old hat but i am just thinking back to my first days… maybe things have changed (i certainly hope so).  i fully admit to making many mistakes and really wish i had read something beforehand that would have given me to encouragement of saying no to compromising my beliefs. 

Remember, it does NOT make you less of a potential slave or submissive to another to say No.  In any good Dominant or Masters eyes it would actually make you much more of an attractive potential for them.  (note.. i said “good”)



If you ask someone who has been involved in WIITWD for any length of time the question “Where Do I Start?” you’ll find two recurring themes. The first, as you may have guessed, is often “Go To a Munch”. But what if you’re not the kind of person who learns better by research than by talking? What if you’re too shy to really ask the questions you want to ask? You’ll likely benefit from the second theme… “Read These Books”.

I’ve personally read several of these books, and heard nothing but wonderful things from others about the rest. Have other references you like? Leave suggestions in the comments!

Have you read any of these books? Let us know what you thought!

If you enjoy what you read here, please subscribe to the RSS Feed, or get it emailed directly to your inbox. Share the links with people you think will enjoy or benefit from them. Most importantly, don’t forget to share your thoughts with us in the comments.