Considering trying BDSM? If you're looking for a beginner's way in, ~handcuffs~ are a really simple and super fun way to start.
"Restraints are a fantastic way to explore the world of bondage and discover a new level of pleasure and play," says Megan McCormack, sex expert for Ann Summers. "Using handcuffs may seem pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few key things to know to ensure you’re getting the most of being cuffed and doing it safely."
When most people think of BDSM, a lovely, gentle chat is probably the last thing that springs to mind. But any form of BDSM play needs to be based on absolute trust and effective communication between partners.
Megan explains, "Establish consent, boundaries, and safe words before you begin exploring. Talk to your partner about exactly what turns you on. Having this discussion through 'dirty talk' allows you to go into detail and build up a scenario to play out later, while building the suspense."
"Set the scene; seduce and relax with your partner," she advises. Don't have too many alcoholic drinks for 'dutch courage' though, safe BDSM play operates on the Safe, Sane, Consensual principle. This basically means you should be in a sensible frame of mind to take part. "Light candles, kiss and build the anticipation of what’s to come. A slow build makes your body more reactive to sensations," Megan adds.
Pick your handcuffs style
There are so many different types of handcuffs and restraints, it's really not necessary to walk away with bruised wrists (unless you're into that, of course). A dominatrix once told me to never, ever use cheap metal cuffs you see because they will cut your wrists up so badly. Avoid them at all costs.
"Always begin with soft cuffs. These handcuffs allow you to explore restraints without having to worry about getting stuck. You can play around with control, all in the comfort of knowing there are no pesky keys to lose." Hypoallergenic silicone is a great and safe material for sex toys and accessories—and they're soft, flexible and strong.
Chinese rope restraints and rope cuffs are also great introductory restraints for first-timers. "They're made from soft, yet sturdy material, and with sliding knots rather than clasp openings," Megan explains. "Buckle cuffs are often the easiest type to use and their fabric or leather straps cause less irritation to the wrist during wear." Plus, they're often adjustable so you can have them as tight or loose as makes you comfortable.
Putting them on
Before anyone gets handcuffed to anything, you need to pick your position. "Whether you want your hands tied above your head, behind your back, or to the bedposts, the options are endless," Megan says. "If you’re the one being restrained, you’ll have to rely on your partner to position you in your chosen cuffs. With your discussion beforehand, you should both be quite clear of what everyone wants and is comfortable with."
"Starting with either yourself or your partner laid on your back, and restrained with hands above your head, is a simple and pleasurable position to start in." Whatever you want to do once you're in position, is totally up to you. But it'll leave you free to get into loads of awesome sex positions.
"It also means that you can explore erogenous zones and both give and receive oral sex," Megan says.
"Reassure your partner by talking to them throughout, and telling them exactly what you’re going to do to them next," Megan says. "This allows them to voice any concerns and can also settle any nerves they may have."
Play with temperature and other accessories.
Temperature play is so much fun, and introduces new sensations to your sex play. "Freezing lube in an ice cube tray is a super fun (and slippery) way to use it. With your lover's hands already cuffed above their head, add a blindfold. One sense becomes heightened when another is taken away. Watch how their body responds as you slide the ice cubes over them—the coldness will also increase skin sensitivity."
Rubbing the frozen lube on their neck, nipples, inner thighs, and genitals will make blood rush to the area, too. "Kissing and licking their erect nipples, or gently blowing on their chilled, lubed neck will be the ultimate tease."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.