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'So, um, how does it work?': The anatomy of a BDSM, Kink, or Fetish session

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One of the most frequent questions I get from newcomers to kink is often asked sheepishly: 'How does it work? What happens in a session?' It's a hard one to answer, because the specifics really depend on the activities discussed, the tone of the session, and where the session occurs, but for those nervous newbies who are wondering, I'll try to explain the skeletal basics of what to expect from a BDSM session. I suspect that it's not terribly different to a 'vanilla' sex session, but then that's not my area of expertise!

One of the things I think frightens people away from BDSM sessions is the perception that the etiquette around kink play is not accessible to them, or that they just won’t know how to behave. I think some imagine that they’ll turn up and be taken immediately into bondage, or expected to jump right into a particular role. Whilst this can be negotiated for some sessions, in my experience most people prefer to have a bit of time to ‘drop in’ to the session, and that tends to be how I practice (with a few exceptions).

The session really starts well before we've made the appointment, when we do the groundwork for the play. I generally ask potential playmates to email me their initial inquiry, and have a few questions on my website I require them to answer. Over the course of a few emails, we generally determine the type of session content we're going to engage in, the client's experience level with that type of play, any roleplay or tone requests they'd like me to consider, and any other details that might help me to conduct the play safely and in a way that’s exciting for us both.

When the time comes to session, whether I visit the client or they visit me, we will usually have a brief chat about the play we’re about to engage in, and any last-minute considerations, including their health and general physical and emotional state on the day. They then will have a shower, at which point I ask them to start to try to transition into ‘scene’ space. In BDSM and kink play, the ‘scene’ is the physical, temporal, and mental space we’ve constructed in order to conduct the play. A scene is a sort of ‘container’, which allows us to shed inhibitions, inhabit other selves, and just generally relax and enjoy the sensations and connectivity that are present in the play.

Some play starts abruptly from the time the client is finished with their shower and any other preparations they need to make. Other times, the process of ‘dropping in’ is facilitated by me, as I guide them into the play we’ve planned. For those who enjoy things like bondage or fetishwear, this might also be their opportunity to dress for the session. Others may choose to do this as part of the actual play. If there’s a roleplay, we may also use the transitional time to get into ‘character’. Other times, we’ll have discussed a scenario / script that we can play out at the beginning of the session to set up the roleplay. Each session is different in regards to how the scene is set. Some clients prefer the same sort of transition and scene start each time we play, and use that as a sort of ritual to settle in. Others like to mix it up.

The bulk of the session time is then spent in play. If I’m playing with someone new, I’ll often check in with them throughout the session to calibrate the intensity of the play. If it’s someone I know well, with whom I’ve done especially elaborate pre-session communication, or with whom non-verbal communication is more accessible, I may say less, using their physical cues as an indicator of their response to the play. Sometimes my sessions are very verbal, and other times they’re almost completely wordless, instead using breath and movement to communicate. Whilst this of course is the most interesting part of the session, there’s not much I can really detail about it here, because it’s so different from client to client, session to session.

As our time together draws to a close, I bring my playmate slowly out of the space we’ve co-created, allowing them some time to ‘come down’ and to integrate their experience. I try to leave a few minutes at the end of every session to chat about what worked and what didn’t, and how we might expand upon the play in a future session, or take a different route altogether.

Hopefully that de-mystifies the structure of a BDSM, kink, or fetish session. Because each session is so different, though, the best thing to do if you’re concerned about the way the session will run is just to ask! Just remember that a practitioner does deserve a level of trust in her intentions and skills. Keep your questions relevant and don’t ask her to run a play-by-play of the session - it’ll just take all of the fun out of it. Ask what you need to know, and leave the rest in her expert hands!
SCARLET BLUE.
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