50 Hot Ways to Ask For Consent

Amazing images via my fantastic Twitter followers @KiaFlausch, @FuusPrivateArea, @Galia, and @LouJanae

In the wake of all the recent discourse around #MeToo, assault, and harassment, many questions have been raised about consent.

Some folks on social media shout that they don’t know how to interact romantically or sexually when there’s a perceived rape accusation around every corner, that they’re terrified to make a move now, or that – *melodramatic gasp* – the human race will surely die out as a result of this increased focus on consent.

Nope! The truth is, and has always been: asking for consent is neither optional nor difficult. And though some people whine that direct consent-asks “ruin the mood,” they’re really just demonstrating their own lack of finesse and creativity when they say that. There are dozens of smooth, fun, and hot ways to ask for consent.

I recruited some of my sex blogger friends – Taylor J Mace, Mx Nillin, Sugarcunt, Taryn, and Suz – to help me brainstorm 50 hot ways to ask for consent. I hope these give you some ideas!


1. “I’d really love to…”

2. “How would you like it if I…?”

3. “How would you feel if I…?”

4. “May I?”

5. “Can I please…?”

6. “What do you want?”

7. “Do you like…?”

8. “What would feel delicious to you right now?”

9. “It’d be so hot if…”

10. “Would it make you happy if I…?”

11. “Does that feel good? Do you want more?”

12. “Is this okay?”

13. “I can’t stop thinking about [kissing/touching/spanking] you…”

14. “How can I make you feel good?”

15. “Where would you love to be touched right now?”

16. “Have you ever…? Would you like to?”

17. “Lately I’m curious about…”

18. “What’s your favorite [sex position/way to get off/way to be kissed/etc.]?”

19. “How do you feel about…?”

20. “I bet you’d look gorgeous/hot/cute [kneeling in front of me/pinned against a wall/holding my leash]…”

21. “Right now I’m wondering [how you taste/what you sound like when you get spanked/how hard you like to be fucked/etc.]…”

22. “Could we try…?”

23. “What do you think about [spanking/swallowing/etc]…?”

24. “Where do you like to be touched?”

25. “Call me _________. What do you want me to call you?”

26. “I really love it when you…”

27. “How hard/rough do you want it?”

28. “I have this fantasy where… Would you want to try it?”

29. “What are you in the mood for right now?”

30. “There are so many things I want to do to/with you that I don’t know where to start. Thoughts?”

31. “If you want me to ____, you’re going to have to beg for it.”

32. “Show me how you want to be touched.”

33. “It doesn’t seem like you like this, should I stop?” (If they seem uncertain but are at least partially sending “this is good” signals)

34. “Do you want me to ____ before ___, or ____ and then ____?” (e.g. “have you suck my cock before I finger you, or should I tie you up and then spank you?”)

35. (Teasing tone) “Hmm, what should we get up to first/now/tonight?”

36. “We could do [thing the other person suggested], but I’m really fantasizing about ____…”

37. “I was thinking about buying/bringing a [type of sex toy]. Would you like to try that with me?”

38. “I would really like to ____ right now, [if that’s okay/how does that sound to you?/if you would enjoy that].”

39. “How do you want to get off?”

40. “Tell me what you’re fantasizing/thinking about.”

41. “What do you want to do to me right now?”

42. “You know what really turns me on?”

43. “So, I had this really hot dream the other night…”

44. “I found this sexual fantasies checklist; want to fill it out with me?”

45. “What are your limits/boundaries?”

46. “Are you ready for another [finger/spank/slap/flog]?”

47. “I have this [sex toy], can I show you how I like to use it?”

48. “I really wish I could [kiss/make out/sex act] with you right now.”

49. “I’m not interested in [X sex act] tonight, but I’d really love to…”

50. “Wow, you make me [wet/hard], would you want to [feel/taste]?”

What are your favorite ways to ask for consent?


Contributors to this post (ordered alphabetically), all of whom are rad as fuck and whose writing you should check out immediately:

Mx Nillin is a queer, non-binary, non-monogamous kinkster who blogs about sex, gender, relationships, and much more. Their “Mx Nillin Fucks” series of blog posts is a hilarious and fascinating adventure where they attempt to stick their girl cock into various inanimate objects, ranging from a warm apple pie to a pool noodle to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and review the experience.

Sugarcunt is a non-binary, kinky, queer switch who is legitimately one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met. Their review of misogynist instructional book “Jack’s Blowjob Lessons” is the stuff of legends, truly. They also recently wrote about how to enhance a hookup with pre-sex sexting and it’s excellent advice.

Suz is a queer femme who blogs about sex toys, dating, consent in the age of social media, and more. She’s one of the foremost Tinder experts I know, so her online-dating advice is top-notch and actionable. She also recently wrote about defining casual relationships for Elite Daily.

Taryn is an asexual and biromantic sex blogger who writes about sex toys, asexuality, and (usefully for anyone interested in getting into the blogging biz) SEO for sex bloggers. She does important work, busting myths about asexuality while also providing balanced, entertaining reviews of sex toys.

Taylor J Mace is a genderqueer trans boy who teaches informative workshops about kink and communication, makes super hot porn, and blogs about sex toys, kink, and more. They’re also really, really good at planning group sex, which we discussed with them on The Dildorks podcast.

5 Things I Learned From Getting an Erotic Massage

I recently had the blissful good fortune of getting a four-hand erotic massage from my friend Caitlin and her partner-in-crime Cosmo. Both of them have trained in the therapeutic touch modality known as Sexological Bodywork, a client-centered approach to erotic education that can help combat all sorts of sexual difficulties.

You can read more about my massage in an article I wrote for Kinkly about it. However, even once I chronicled the whole story in that piece, I still had more Thoughts and Feelings about the massage and what it meant to me. Here are five things I learned from my experience…

Asking for what you want usually works quite well. As someone who deals with sexual anxiety and a frequent fear of “not deserving” pleasure, I struggle a lot with asking for what I want. This is especially true for preferences that are specific and unusual – e.g. “Fingerfuck me deeper,” “Only touch my clit through the hood,” or “I like being spanked but not during sex.”

The night before I was to get my ~sexxxy~ massage, I was talking to Bex about it, and wondered aloud if I’d have an orgasm. “Probably not, right?” Bex hypothesized, “because don’t you need pretty specific things to get off?” This is true. It usually takes new partners several tries before they can make me come – particularly clitorally, since my clit is a princess: it knows what it likes, and it’s loath to respond to anything less.

But during the massage, once I was already super turned on and aching to come, Caitlin asked me, “Kate, how do you like your clitoris touched?” and I found myself motivated to explain in enough detail that I’d actually get what I wanted. “Only through the hood, ’cause it’s super sensitive,” I breathed. “In small circles. A little more pressure. A little more. Yeah, like that.”

It was that easy. So easy, in fact, that I had an orgasm just a few minutes later – which surprised me so much that I almost burst out laughing. “Why don’t I always do this?!” I wondered. “Why do I let partners muddle around down there, instead of telling them what would actually work?!” I think, in most cases, partners would be excited to learn the keys to my kingdom, so to speak. So I’m gonna try to get better at handing those keys over.

Accepting feedback gracefully is an art. Each and every time I gave Caitlin or Cosmo an instruction or a request, whether they’d solicited it or I’d just blurted it out, they responded: “Thank you.”

“I love having my hips squeezed.” “Thank you!” “I think I want something inside me.” “Thank you!” “Can you do that a little harder?” “Thank you!”

In my “IRL” sex life, making this type of request gives me hella anxiety. It makes me wince, sweat, and blush. I’m always expecting a grimace, an eye-roll, a resigned “…Okay.” So to receive a “Thank you” instead was, to say the least, revelatory.

The truth is, when a partner gives you this type of direction during sex, you should thank them. They are trusting you with their vulnerability, their bravery, their authentic desires. That is a big responsibility, and a gift. Even if you don’t actually utter the words “Thank you,” that attitude should come through in however you respond to their request. You should prove to them that you want to please them, and that you’re thrilled by any opportunity to do so.

I’ve been pondering how to bring this attitude into my sex life, both in terms of giving and receiving. I think it is going to make big changes for me, and for my partners.

From relaxation, pleasure comes. I learned from the books Becoming Cliterate and Come As You Are that day-to-day stress actually physiologically inhibits orgasm in women. (I would imagine this is true for some people who aren’t women, too!) If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry or sad in your everyday life, it will affect the extent to which you’re able to experience and enjoy pleasure.

I have a high libido and pretty much never say no to sex with pre-established partners unless I’m debilitatingly ill, physically injured, or too depressed to move (and even sometimes then, I pursue sex, because I believe – often correctly – that it’ll make me feel better). But even if my mouth says “Yes please,” my body might not respond with such enthusiasm if I’m stressed. I don’t get as turned on, I don’t get as psychologically immersed in what’s happening, and I’m not as sensitive or as orgasmic. It’s a real disappointment, particularly since sex could be such wonderful stress relief if I could relax into it a bit more!

The first several minutes of my erotic massage were just regular (albeit naked) massage: a combination of gentle and firm touches all over my body, designed to release my tension and get me into a pleasure-receptive headspace. And it worked. By the time we got to the more explicitly erotic touch, I felt I had melted into a pool of hot, sticky bliss. Being so relaxed and receptive made it much easier (and quicker!) for me to get turned on, feel okay about accepting pleasure, and build toward an orgasm. This is useful knowledge for me to keep in mind going forward!

Sometimes practitioners get turned on. I interviewed Caitlin and Cosmo after my massage, and one thing I asked them was – shyly, tentatively, uncertain if I was being rude – “Do you ever get turned on doing this work? I’m sorry if that’s a personal question…”

“Erotic energy is erotic energy,” Caitlin told me. “It’s a beautiful thing. We’re participating with your erotic energy, but we’re not requesting it back.”

“I think anyone who says they don’t feel arousal from playing with erotic energy… I would be surprised. I would be like, ‘You’re lying,'” Cosmo mused.

“And I would question how good they are at their job!” Caitlin added.

Obviously, there are lots of therapeutic modalities where the practitioner getting aroused would be inappropriate, unwanted, and even harmful. But for me, in receiving a Sexological Bodywork massage, I found it reassuring that I could feel the practitioners getting into it. I could hear their breath, smell their sweat, feel their energy intermingling with mine, and all of it was focused on me.

I think if I hadn’t felt those signs of engagement, I would have worried they were getting tired, or bored, or resentful – the same way I worry about exhausting my sexual partners when we’re bonin’ down. That type of anxiety takes me right out of the moment and decimates my capacity for pleasure, so it felt not only acceptable but great for my practitioners to wade into the wilds of erotic energy with me.

Fantasy is an important part of sexual enjoyment. In my post-massage chat with Caitlin and Cosmo, they both mentioned having fantasized sometimes when they were practicing receiving touch in their trainings. At first I bristled, because it’s been so ingrained in me that you’re not “supposed” to fantasize when you’ve got a real live person in front of you, doing stuff to you – but then I realized I had fantasized during my massage too!

Toward the end, when I was starting to get close to coming, I asked if one or both of them could put a hand on my upper chest and press down. This is something I often enjoy with dominant partners: it makes me feel like they’re holding me still, keeping me in place, so I have to take whatever sensations they’re administering to me. There’s no escape. And since there’s no escape, there’s also no room for me to get anxious about “taking too long” to come or being too sexually “needy.” Every moment that they’re holding me down, in my mind, is a moment they want to unfold exactly as it’s unfolding. If they didn’t want this, they wouldn’t be demanding it of me.

I thought about this while Caitlin and Cosmo held me down and fingerbanged me to orgasm. I thought about a partner pinning me in place with one hand while fucking me with the other hand, because my pleasure is paramount to them and they insist I’m not going anywhere until I’ve come at least once. I thought about how delicious it is to be pleasured for someone else’s amusement and not just my own.

Sometime around then, I came – loud, long, and spectacular. It made me think about all the other times I’ve fantasized while receiving sensation from partners. Mostly, it’s not malicious, in the way we often think of it being: “You were thinking about some other dude while I was fucking you?!” For me, I’m often thinking about the person I’m with – just in a slightly different situation. Maybe they’re being a little more aggressive with me; maybe they’re saying filthy shit that this person wouldn’t know to say; maybe I’m even replaying something they did to me a previous time we slept together! It’s all just a mental game that keeps me more engaged, more excited, more interested in my partner, not less.

Now that I’ve pondered this, I think I’m going to feel less guilty about fantasizing during sex in the future. I’ve even been tiptoeing into telling partners what I was fantasizing about after sex – “I was thinking about how hot it would be if you did/said [XYZ]…” – and that’s super fun too, if you can do it in a way that doesn’t feel like a criticism!

Have you ever received an erotic massage? What did you learn from the experience?

Top 10 Reasons You Didn’t Make Me Come With Your Mouth

You didn’t even try. Come on, dude. I blew you for like 20 minutes, and you gave my clit little more than a cursory graze with your hand. I’m not even convinced you’re aware women can have orgasms, ’cause surely, if you knew that, you’d’ve made at least some minimal effort to give me one. Consent is, of course, vital, but you seemed content to touch all my other bits for your own pleasure – you just made no effort to pleasure me. I’m not a Fleshlight or a sex robot. For heaven’s sake. Who raised you?! Who taught you this was okay?!

You expressed zero enthusiasm about giving head. You asked whether I wanted your mouth on me, without indicating at all that it’s something you wanted, too. You approached my vulva with a tentative slowness that made me think you weren’t so keen on the taste, the smell, or pussy in general. (I know it’s not me; my hygiene is impeccable.) Or worse yet, you told me straight-up that it’s something you do rarely and begrudgingly. Once you meandered down there, you neglected to make any noise, grab my thighs or hips, or express any excitement whatsoever. I can’t help but feel like this is a favor you’re doing for me, rather than a mutual pleasure of which we’re partaking together. If that’s the case, why are we doing this at all?

You expressed zero enthusiasm about my body overall. You’ve never complimented my curves, my shape, my bits. You’ve never called me hot or pretty or sexy or beautiful. You’ve never verbally admitted to finding me attractive in any way. Maybe you do, but the verbal admission is important to me; “words of affirmation” is my love language. You might be faceplanted in my vulva with fervor but I’m still wondering if you even think I’m cute. I need clearer signals, bro, or my anxiety will kidnap my orgasm and hold it ransom for compliments.

You ignored my instructions. No, “That’s too intense” does not mean “Double down and go harder.” Yes, I really did mean it when I said “Softer and slower, please.” No, I was not lying when I explained how sensitive my clit is. Yes, “Keep doing that” really means I want you to keep doing that. No, “A little higher” does not mean “Stay exactly where you are.” Are my thighs muffling your ears, or do you just think you know my body better than I do? I assure you, you don’t.

You ignored my nonverbal signals. Hey, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but moaning during sex is usually a sign of pleasure. So is gasping, breathing faster, grabbing at your head/shoulders/arms/hands, grinding into your face, and spreading my legs wider to give you better access. Several times while going down on me, you found a perfect spot, rhythm, or pressure, and I reacted accordingly – but you missed the memo and moved on to something else. There is some value to the “channel-surfing” technique, but once you find a channel I like, I’d love if you could stay on that channel. (And please, for the love of god, if I say “Ow” and pull away, don’t fucking do that thing again.)

You didn’t stay down there for long enough. Sorry, pal – for me, cunnilingus is not a “get in, get ‘er done, and get out” type of activity. You gotta be there for the long haul. It might take ten minutes, twenty, thirty – but I can assure you it won’t happen at all if I feel like the timer’s on. I don’t necessarily need to take a long time; I just need to know that I can. I need to know you won’t be glancing at the clock, rolling your eyes, and sighing dully into my labia.

You have no sense of rhythm or consistency. Okay, I get it; tongue muscles are easily fatigued – but you can exercise them to make ’em stronger over time. Maybe you just have no rhythm; you can practice that, too. The difference between oral sex that feels good but doesn’t get me off and oral sex that feels good and gets me off is consistency. That’s the whole secret. Find a motion and location that seems to be working, and keep at it. Seriously. I’ll tell you if and when I want you to stop.

You attacked my clit too directly. Eight thousand nerve endings, buddy. The clit is surrounded by two sets of labia and a clitoral hood; there’s no reason for you to glom onto my exposed clit directly unless I’ve told you I like that, which I absolutely do not. Drift around the periphery. Lick my clit like you’re coyly flirting with it, not like you’re engaging it in combat. There’s no faster way to desensitize me than to overload my nerve endings with direct sensation; it’s often painful, always uncomfortable, and never results in an orgasm for me.

You didn’t stick your face right in there. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but tongue-flicking from a distance, like they do in porn, is not an effective approach for me. Not only does it feel physically bad, but it makes you seem hesitant to have my clit in your mouth. What are you so scared of? Lower your lips down; close them around the shaft of my clit. Let me feel the warmth and wetness of you on me. Your tongue feels lovely but you have a whole mouth’s worth of other sensations you could give me alongside all that tongue. Besides, when I come in your mouth, I want to feel like I am indeed coming in your mouth.

You put too much pressure on me to get off. Orgasms are fantastic, but they’re by no means a foolproof measure of sexual enjoyment overall. And frankly, the more you tell me you’re definitely gonna make me come, the less certain I am that you’re right. Just tell me to relax and enjoy what you’re doing to me; orgasms do not often result from pressure. Unless we’re talking about the pressure of your lips and tongue on my clit.

5 Awkward But Effective Ways I’ve Initiated Sex

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Being a sex blogger, contrary to popular belief, isn’t all sensual sweet nothings and longing looks all the time. My approach to sex has never been what I would call “sexy.” I am, instead, a dorky goofball in the sack. And fortunately, that’s worked out pretty well for me.

I don’t know how “normal people” initiate sex. Maybe there’s no such thing as “normal people” when it comes to sexuality. There’s only what’s common, and what’s less common – and I’d wager that awkwardness in bed is far more common than most folks would admit.

Below are five actual things I’ve said in an attempt to get the sexy ball rolling. These are all lines that worked, i.e. happy and enthusiastic sex resulted soon thereafter. I share these not so much as prescriptive suggestions, but as a reminder that you can be silly and strange in bed and still be sexually successful (whatever that means to you). If you’re a weirdo and someone is excited to bang you, that excitement is partially because you’re a weirdo, I promise. Own that, use it, and don’t be ashamed of it!

“I kinda wanna cuddle you. Would that be weird?”

A lot of my sexual initiations begin with “I kinda wanna,” actually. It’s less anxiety-provoking for me than a cocksure proclamation of intent, but it still communicates desire. “Would that be weird?” is really just another way of asking “Would that be okay?” or “How would you feel about that?” – a.k.a. requesting consent.

I said this while lying in bed talking with someone who I found intensely attractive but whose feelings about me I wasn’t sure of. I wanted to do much more than cuddle him (and eventually we did), but I figured this request would be a gentle way to test the waters. He laughed and said, “No, that wouldn’t be weird!” and I breathed a sigh of relief as he pulled me in toward him, because I had a much better sense of where I stood.

“Hey, you should spank me, if you want to.”

“You should…” is definitely bolder than “Do you want to…?” or “I kind of want you to…” but I felt okay being bold in this case, because the person in question had already told me he enjoys spanking people. And we had been flirting a bit, so I ventured to guess he’d be open to spanking me.

Knowing this was a ballsy way to phrase my request, I opted to soften it by adding, “If you want to.” This builds consent into the statement. I probably wouldn’t use this approach with someone shy and accommodating, because I’d want to make sure they actually wanted to do it, rather than just agreeing out of a sense of obligation. But the person in this case was someone I believed would state his objections if he had any. Lucky for me, he was on-board.

“I wanna kiss you, but I’m nervous.”

I said this to someone who made me feel even shyer and awkward-er than I am normally. So much so, in fact, that my eyes were squeezed shut when I said this to him. Admitting my desire felt monumental, embarrassing, huge, even though I knew he wanted to kiss me too.

I often find that owning up to my anxiety – speaking it out loud – helps diffuse some of its power. Built into my confession is an unspoken request for validation. An understanding partner would respond with something like, “Aw, don’t be nervous. C’mere.” I think the person in question did indeed say something like that to me. But I can’t really remember; the excellent kisses have blurred my recollections.

“Would you like some boobs in your face?”

I said this to a friend while cuddling with her and another person in bed, and it ended up leading to my first threesome. She had mentioned that cuddling made her slightly uncomfortable because it’s so intimate, and that adding a sexual element can help mitigate that for her. So I offered up a solution that might make her feel better. All three of us knew we were headed toward threesome-town; this was my gentle way of setting that process into motion.

A lot of folks bristle at the thought of direct consent-asks – “Would you like…?” “May I…?” “Do you want me to…?” It’s true that these can sometimes be a bit clunky or unnatural, but I’ve never found that asking for consent “kills the moment,” no matter how artlessly it’s done. I’d always rather be too sure of my partner’s “yes” than not sure enough. Don’t let anyone shame you out of directness; it’s a good, useful, conscientious approach.

“I really liked going down on you and would love to do it again sometime.”

I sent this via Twitter DM, buried in a paragraph of spluttering explanations and excuses, because I was embarrassed by the intensity of my hunger for dat dick. This initiation probably would’ve been more effective if I’d just said it straight-up, instead of insulating it with clauses like “Sorry if this is crass and un-chill, but…” and “Feel free to ignore this if you think I’m being weird.” I already knew this guy liked having my mouth on his junk, so I didn’t need to be so cagey about what I wanted.

Enthusiasm is such a key part of an effective sexual initiation. In fact, I’d say that the basic recipe is “express enthusiasm + ask for consent.” Initiating sex isn’t just about asking, “Do you want to do this?” – it’s also about establishing, “…because I really, really do.”

 

What are your favorite ways to verbally initiate sex? What are the best initiations other people have said to you?

 

How to Get a Vanilla Person to Spank You Properly

Photo on 2016-06-21 at 3.36 PMI date and bang people who are older than me. Always have. They’ve ranged from one month to eight years my senior, with the average coming in at 28 to my 24. When asked why I skew older, I usually tell people, “I’ve always been mature for my age, so I get along better with older people. Plus, they know what they’re doing in bed!”

I’ve been saying this less lately, though, because actually I’ve given a lot of sexual instruction in the past year. It’s not that my partners are inexperienced or unknowledgeable; most are neither. But several of them were of the vanilla persuasion, so they had little to no experience with one of my biggest kinks: spanking.

Let me be clear. Sometimes it is not worthwhile, or even possible, to get a vanilla person on-board with your kinks. It depends on how “out-there” the kink is, how much commitment it requires, and where your partner’s personal boundaries are. If your partner isn’t interested in fulfilling your kink, or if your enjoyment would rely on a far higher level of enthusiasm from them than they can comfortably conjure or feign, then you may need to have a tough conversation about whether the two of you are sexually compatible.

But assuming your vanilla partner is willing to give your kink a shot, there are ways to help them along. I wrote this about spanking specifically, since that’s the proclivity I’ve schooled people in, but I’m sure these tips apply to various other kinks, too, with a bit of tweaking.

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Broach the topic casually and confidently. If you cringe, blush, wring your hands and apologize as the word “spanking” falls from your lips, you won’t exactly set your partner at ease. Granted, talking about what you want in bed is hard, but the more coolly you can approach the discussion, the calmer your partner is likely to feel about it. Remember: there is nothing immoral or shameful about consenting adults participating in risk-aware kink together, and you don’t need to feel bad about wanting what you want.

Identify and address their fears. Do they think they’ll hurt you? Explain that you want to be hurt. Explain how pain can feel good, euphoric, cathartic. Remind them of the existence of “good pain,” like stretching your muscles or getting a deep-tissue massage. Teach them about safewords and check-ins. Practice and drill these skills together. Tell them “no” when you need to, so they know they can trust your “yes.”

Does it baffle them that you enjoy being spanked? Watch spanking porn or read spanking erotica with them. Tell them what turns you on about it. Explain what Jillian Keenan says about the common iliac artery and its role in spanking-based sexual arousal. Listen to “Why Are People Into… Spanking?” together. Explain the emotional and psychological appeal of being spanked. Tell them your specific fantasies. Tell them about a time spanking got you soaking wet, rock hard, or even made you come.

Do they worry they’ll look silly or be “bad at” spanking? Teach them some concrete skills (see below). Watch porn together where the top/dom turns you on, to give them an idea of what you want. Assign them a character or archetype to play, if they are dramatically inclined. Remind them that you’ll be so deep in the throes of lust and carnal gratitude that you won’t be paying much attention to how they look.

Put safety measures in place. So basic and so important. Make sure they know what a safeword is, what your safeword is, and what they should do if and when you use it. Keep post-spanking treatments on hand, like arnica cream or refrigerated aloe gel. If bondage is part of your play, have your safety scissors, keys, etc. at the ready. Make sure your home is stocked with possible emergency aftercare requirements, like blankets, ice cream, Gatorade, and Pixar movies. Be slightly overprepared, if possible; the knowledge of these protections will help your partner feel more confident and capable.

Prepare them for what might happen. When I get spanked, I tend to go into subspace. I get nonverbal, finding it difficult to form thoughts more complex than “Yes,” “No,” “More” or “Stop.” I might scream or cry from the pain, but that generally doesn’t mean I want to stop. And I might get very, very wet. These are all things I tell a partner when they’re about to spank me for the first time, because these are things that could scare or startle someone if they’re not prepared. Whatever knowledge you have about how your body and mind react to being spanked, you should share that information upfront with your partner so they’ll know what to expect.

Additionally, make sure to explain to them what aftercare is, and what specific aftercare you tend to need after a spanking. If they’re a gold-star vanilla, they might never have encountered the concept of aftercare before, so explain this thoroughly – it’s important!

Give them specific dos and don’ts. A spanking veteran might assume that the instruction “Slap my ass!” is detailed enough. But for a true novice, it isn’t. They might not know where to hit you, how hard they can go, how hard they should start, how much to vary the position and power of their smacks, how to hold their hand, how to wield a spanking implement, what to say to you while they spank you (if anything), when to know it’s time to stop, what else to do to you while they hit you, or whether they’re allowed to leave marks on you. And that’s just for starters.

Lay this stuff out really clearly for them, in advance. “I like to be hit here, here, and sometimes here – but never here.” “It’s best if you start off slow and light, and build up from there.” “Don’t hit the same spot a bunch of times in a row… unless you wanna be really mean.” “You can pull my hair/hold me down/call me ‘dumb slut’ while you do that.” “Stroking the paddle over my skin in between hits feels really nice.” Whatever your particular preferences are, communicate them lucidly and with gusto. The better your partner understands what you want, the likelier they are to give it to you, and the lower their anxiety level will be while they do it.

Teach them to use a 1-to-10 scale. This is an absolutely invaluable tool that I’ve used time and time again, not just for spanking but for other things too. Tell your partner to ask you two questions when they check in with you mid-spanking: “Where was that?” (as in, where would you rate that last hit, pain-wise, on a scale from 1 to 10?) and “Where would you like to be?”

This is fantastic because numbers are really easy and quick to say, even when your brain is addled with pain/pleasure and words are hard. It’s also a useful tool because it gives your partner a concrete way to understand how much pain you are actually asking for. I’ll always remember the time a fuckbuddy asked me how hard he was hitting me, and I said, “I dunno, a 3 or a 4?” His eyes bugged out of his head, and he replied, “I’ve never hit anyone this hard in my life!” With the knowledge that he was currently at a 3 and I wanted to reach an 8, he knew with increased certainty how hard he could actually hit me, and didn’t have to be so scared about overdoing it. This tool rules; use it often!

Give honest but affirming feedback. It’s all too easy to lie about your sexual enjoyment level – especially for folks socialized as women, who were taught to be polite and accommodating even at the expense of honesty. But it’s vital that you tell the truth about kink, not only so your own experience will improve, but so that your partner can trust you.

When you’re learning a new skill and you ask the person teaching you, “How can I improve?” it’s because you actually want to improve. So when you’re lying in bed with your partner after a spanking and they ask you (once you’re able to speak and think again) for feedback, be honest and get specific. A comment like “You could’ve hit me a little more on my upper thighs and less on my buttcrack” might sound like nit-picking, but the more you display your willingness to communicate about details, the more your partner will trust you to tell the truth about big and small aspects of your sex life together. And that means they’re likelier to give you the proper thrashing you’re after!

That said, as with any topic as sensitive as sex, you’ll want to be diplomatic in the way you phrase these suggestions. Tell a kinkster-in-training that they did a bad job, and they’ll never want to try again; tell them they did [a, b, c] right but could improve monumentally by working on [x, y, z], and they’ll be eager to give it another shot.

 

Have you ever taught a kink newbie to enter the life less vanilla with you? How did you do it? How did it go over? Got any tips?