[Kink Product Review] Lovehoney Take Control Bondage Kit

I often groan at the idea – and the reality – of sex toy kits. Too often, they’re lots of cheap and bad quality things shoved together in a pretty box and sold for a premium. If pressed for an opinion, I’ll nearly always tell my readers to forego a kit and spend a bit more on just one or two quality items. However, I try to keep an open mind, and occasionally something surprises me. The Take Control Bondage Kit from Lovehoney pleasantly surprised me.

Through the eyes of a beginner…

I’m practically a kinky veteran at this point. I’ve been practicing BDSM for about a decade and have accrued a sizeable collection of toys – expensive leather floggers, my fabulous vegan leather collar, the gorgeous hand-made whip I gave Mr CK last Christmas, our electro-play kit, and more. So beginner kits are not something I would ever normally buy for myself. Therefore, I am trying to step back in time ten years or so and view this kit through the eyes of someone who is just starting out in their kinky explorations.

Inviting and Fun Packaging…

The Take Control Bondage Kit comes in one simple box, with all the products clearly displayed on the front so you know exactly what to expect. The packaging is bright and fun, which I suspect is a deliberate choice to make it non-intimidating to the new and nervous.

There’s a LOT of information on the box, too. I really like the way that there’s a brief description on how to use each item on the back, and also that they pay attention to safety and consent! The box reminds you to use safewords, never leave a bound person alone, and have a non-verbal safe signal if someone is gagged. In this regard, I’m really impressed. It’s pretty 101 stuff, but safety/consent 101 is exactly the information that the target market for this kit needs. A+ for that.

The unboxing…

I wasn’t delighted with the way the box was packed – everything was just sort of piled in, each item wrapped in a cellophane wrapper. It would have been nicer to have an inner tray with slots for everything. Some little storage bags for the items would also be a welcome addition. Assuming you don’t want to throw everything back in the box when you’re done playing, it’s not an ideal storage solution.

With that said, I was immediately pretty impressed with what was inside. Some (many) beginner BDSM kits are filled with things that are dubiously even safe, let alone of good quality.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside, shall we? Just for fun, I’ve included a fun tip or an idea to try with each item.

1: Blindfold

This blindfold is super comfy. It’s nice and thick and padded, and I couldn’t see a thing when it was on. The band is stretchy, too, so it should fit most people comfortably.

Pro kink tip: blindfold your partner and stroke different things across their body – a silk scarf, a piece of velvet, the tails of your flogger – and make them guess what each item is.

2. Nipple suckers

I really liked these! They’re a great gentle introduction to nipple play, and perfect if you want some sensation but without the pain of clamps or clothes pegs. I have pretty small nipples on fairly large breasts, and I found these stayed in place very nicely once I’d suctioned them onto my chest.

If you flick or hit them too hard, they will fly off, but they can withstand some gentle playing and wiggling.

Pro kink tip: tell your partner to fetch you something from another room with these on. They’ll have to move carefully… they’ll be spanked if one falls off!

3. Ball gag

Full disclosure: I hate ball gags. I fucking hate them. They make my jaw hurt, they make my face contort into an expression that no-one could possibly find attractive, they make me drool, and I can’t kiss my partner when I’m wearing one. I. Hate. Them.

With that said, this is a good one if you like that sort of thing. The holes make it breathable, and being silicone it’s non-porous which makes it hygienic. The holes do make it somewhat of a pain to clean, so take extra care when you’re cleaning it. Warm water and gentle soap is the best way to go here.

I also like how adjustable this gag is. With 9 buckle holes, it will fit most people comfortably.

Pro kink tip: make your submissive try to repeat words back to you (try phrases like “I’m a dirty little slut”) while gagged.

4. Flogger

This is a stingy little bastard! Don’t let the small size fool you, it can pack a wallop. The falls are made of thin rubber, which delivers a vicious sting when you put some force behind it. If pain isn’t your thing, you can drag it sensually across the skin for a gentle tickle. I would have liked the handle to have a bit more width and weight to it.

Pro kink tip: Try – gently – flogging the vulva or penis if your partner is up for it. Remember to clean your flogger thoroughly afterwards.

5. Wrist and ankle cuffs

These were the weakest part of the kit by far, for me. They’re quite thin and made of nylon, with no padding, which means they chafe if you put any pressure on them at all. They’re fine for exploring the feeling of being restrained, but if you’re into rough play and would be wanting to pull against them, they’re not a good option for that.

Try restraint with these, by all means, to see if you like it. But then ditch them and get some proper cuffs. And I hope it goes without saying that you should never, EVER suspend from wrist or ankle cuffs. These are not designed to take any real weight.

Pro kink tip: Restrain your partner then make them watch you masturbate in front of them.

6. Under-bed restraints

These are great, except for the tiny detail that they don’t fit on our bed! We have a Super King bed (which is the best thing ever, seriously. I always tell Mr CK that my relationship with him and the bed is polyamorous in itself.) Turns out these restraints fit up to King Size. So they’ll be fine for the vast majority of people, but if you have a ridiculous bed like us, they may not fit.

That said, they’re still a great addition to the kit. They’re strong, durable, and easy to set up… and tuck out of sight when you’re done, if you want to. The little clips mean you can easily add different cuffs to them, so when you ditch the rubbish cuffs in this set and get some better ones, you can still use them with this restraint system.

Pro kink tip: when your partner is restrained, run a cube of ice along their body… or drip candle wax onto their skin (read up on how to do wax play safely first, of course!)

7. Silicone suction-cup dildo

Do my eyes deceive me, or… no, it’s actually a body-safe dildo in a BDSM kit! With an insertable length of 6 inches and a diameter of 1.5″, it’s perfect for vaginal play. It’s possibly a bit ambitious for first-time anal sex or pegging, but most people could easily work up to it with a bit of time and warm-up.

The slight curve makes this dildo feel delicious for G-spot or prostate stimulation, and the silicone is super soft and silky. The suction cup is also a nice addition and makes this toy more versatile.

It’s even got a convenient hollow in the base where you can slip the bullet vibe that comes with this kit to turn your dildo into a G-spot vibrator!

Remember to use water-based lube with your silicone dildo for the best experience.

Pro kink tip: tease your lover’s entrance with just the tip of the dildo. If they want it inside, they have to thrust on to it!

8. Strap-on harness

This is actually the same harness that I bought as part of a pegging kit a few years ago. I’ve used it many, many times to top for both vaginal and anal penetration, and it’s still my favourite harness. It’s comfortable, the dildo stays in place well during thrusting, and the rings are interchangeable so you can use it with any dildo with a flared base.

Pro kink tip: If you have a vulva, put on a wearable vibrator before you put on your harness, so that you get some clitoral pleasure while you fuck your partner.

9. Wired bullet vibrator

This was the biggest surprise in the kit for me. I was fully expecting it to be awful. While it’s not the strongest vibrator in the world, it’s not a bad little bullet for the size. I was able to orgasm with it quickly and easily. It has a number of patterns as well as steady vibration speeds.

I didn’t love the wire element, but you cannot expect to get a wireless bullet for this price-point. It’s long enough for one partner to comfortably have control of the remote while the other holds the vibrator against their genitals.

Pro kink tip: switch it off just when your lover is on the edge of orgasm. Make them beg for release.

Other things to note

  • The bullet takes 2x AAA batteries, not included.
  • There is no real leather in this kit, making it entirely vegan-friendly.

Overall Verdict: do I recommend it?

On the whole, a very solid kit for the price. I wouldn’t recommend it to folks more experienced in kink and BDSM, but for those of you who are new and looking to explore different sensations and types of power-play, this kit is a great starting point.

The Take Control kit retails for £79.99 ($109.99 US) which is a reasonable price for the quality and variety. As you get more into your kink and discover what you like, I’d encourage you to drop more money on single items if you can – a quality, handcrafted whip or flogger will last you a lifetime, perhaps, or some really high quality natural fibre rope? But to get you started? Look no further.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Take Control Bondage Kit in exchange for an honest review. If you choose to purchase this or anything else from Lovehoney, please buy through my affiliate links – it supports the blog at no extra cost to you!

 

5 Pervertables You Probably Have in Your House Right Now

Hey, did you know October is Kink Month? Join the conversation over on Twitter!

Pervertables are basically innocent everyday items, reimagined for naught and devious purposes. As today’s 30 Days of D/s prompt is all about pain, I thought I’d tell you a few of my favourite household pervertables for sadomasochistic purposes. They’re great if you want to get your kink on but you’re on a budget, if you want to try a new sensation without blowing loads of cash, or if you find yourself somewhere without your toybag and want to have some fun.

Three kitchen utensils including a wooden spoon on a bright blue background. For a post about pervertables

Clothes Pegs

Clothes pegs are amazing! Plastic ones with soft pads on the teeth tend to be a bit less vicious, whereas wooden ones are often more pinchy. This can vary enormously so do test them sneakily on your finger before buying if you can.

Use them on nipples, labia, clits, cocks, or most sensitive fleshy areas (keep away from the face and neck.) Try putting a line of clothes pegs along your masochist’s back, tying them all together with string or twine, and pulling them all of at once. (Don’t surprise someone with this the first time you do it – it’s quite intense and not for everyone. Consent, y’all.)

Pro tip: if you leave them on for more than a few minutes, they’ll hurt like a motherfucker when you take them off. This goes for any type of clamps.

Wooden Spoon

Arguably the ultimate household spanking implement, wooden spoons deliver a surprisingly sharp whack. Much like with canes, the pain comes in waves – initially when the blow hits, and then a few moments later as all the nerves fully register the impact. Implements like this are pretty safe when used on fleshy places like butts, though do start slowly and gently. You’d be surprised how much one of these can hurt!

Hairbrush

Traditionally associated with over-the-knee spanking, hairbrushes remain ever popular hitty implements. Different sizes, shapes and materials feel really different. Make no assumptions, build up slowly and communicate lots with your partner about how it feels. One brush will not feel the same as another. Use the back of the brush (i.e. not the bristles) and bend your sub over the bed or your lap for a delicious sexy spanking.

Ice

Ice is brilliant! You can run it over the body for a cold tease, press it to a nipple or clit, trail icy droplets over them, or even put a small piece of ice into the vagina (make sure they’re well lubricated first, or the ice can stick. Not what you want!)

Ice play doesn’t have to be painful and can be quite sensual, but it definitely can be painful if that’s what you want. Typically, ice in very sensitive places will become painful quite quickly. You could also try pressing it to one spot for a few seconds. Don’t let your partner get too cold, though – get them dry and warm after ice play.

Kinky item of the day: I just listed them! Go forth and pervert. (And tell me YOUR favourite pervertables in the comments or on Twitter.)

Ginger

At some point I’m going to write a whole post on figging – the practice of sticking a piece of peeled ginger up someone’s butt. But for now, just believe me when I tell you, that shit is INTENSE. The best description I can come up with is that it’s an intense burning sensation.

Some people love it, some hate it. If you’re curious, give it a go, but don’t expect to be able to keep it in long… and remember, the burning can take a little while to fully settle down even when the ginger is removed. (On my first experience, I had some discomfort for about an hour afterwards, which settled down a lot when I took a really thorough shower.)

Kinky item of the day: They’re all listed above! Go forth, pervert innocent objects, and don’t forget to tell me your favourite pervertables in the comments.

The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

It’s Okay to Play When You’re Depressed

It’s #KinkMonth! I’m celebrating by writing a post each day inspired by Kayla Lords’ fab 30 Days of D/s. A week in and I can say that it’s been a brilliant and enlightening experience – I’m already thinking about things I hadn’t considered, or hadn’t considered in a long time, and looking at approaching them from different angles.

Today’s prompt is all about negative emotions:

How do you handle negative emotions like anger, jealousy, and fear now? How do you expect that to be different in D/s?

A cute black dog looking up at the camera. For post titled It's Okay to Play When You're Depressed - the dog refers to the Black Dog metaphor for depression.

If you’ve been doing kink for any length of time, you’ve probably heard “don’t play when you’re depressed,” “don’t play when your mental illness is flaring up,” or some variation thereof. While the sentiment kind of makes sense, I don’t think this is useful or even realistic advice. Let me tell you why.

For some of us, managing our mental health is a daily reality.

Statistics state that 1 in 4 adults will suffer from a mental health condition during their life. For some of us, these conditions are permanent. I have depression and anxiety which, well-managed though they are, aren’t going away.

It’s actually really ableist to imply that someone who is suffering from a mental health condition can’t engage in kink, BDSM or sex. Why should only neurotypical people be able to enjoy kink? Why should mentally ill people only be able to partake in it on especially good days?

For some people at some times, playing can actually help.

Sometimes, when I’m bone-numblingly depressed, a good hard fucking or a nice cathartic spanking – the kind that makes me cry – can really help to lift my mood. It could be the rush of endorphins. It could be the feeling of being wanted. Maybe it’s the sheer release that comes from being pulled out of my head and into my body. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all of them in some combination. All I know is that sex and kink (including masturbation) can be really wonderful tools in managing my mental health.

Only you know your own limits.

Having said all this, there might be times where your mental health is in a place where playing really isn’t wise for you, but you’re the only person who can make that decision! You know your mind, your body and your condition, if you have one, the best. You know what types of scenes will work for you and what is likely to trigger you or be mentally unsafe, as well as if there’s a point where you can no longer meaningfully consent. No-one else knows these things as well as you do.

“Don’t play when you’re depressed” is vague and subjective to the point of meaninglessness. Different people’s definitions of “play” (as well as their definitions of what constitutes a good or bad mental health day) vary wildly.

Instead: cultivate self-knowledge and communication.

Learn your triggers, your tipping points and your safe limits. Look out for your partner’s best interests and expect them to look out for yours. Communicate, communicate and communicate some more!

Be excellent to yourself and to each other.

Kinky product of the day: A classic Wartenberg Pinwheel, which is great for sensation play and less scary than it looks! (It doesn’t break the skin. Promise.)

Note: this post was not sponsored. The above is an affiliate link and if you buy through it, I may make a small commission. All opinions are and will always be my own.

The image featured in this post was offered under Creative Commons licensing.

How to Get Started in BDSM

It’s New Years Eve, the time of new beginnings and new adventures. This is the very first post on this blog. So how better to get started than with some handy hints and tricks on… getting started? That is, of course, dipping your toe into this thing we call kink, BDSM or ‘The Lifestyle.’

First: Get a Fetlife Account

If you have not yet stumbled across it, Fetlife is absolutely the place to be for all things kinky. It’s not a dating site, though people do use it that way for better or worse – it’s a social networking site for kinksters. The ‘Facebook of kink,’ if you like.

It’s free to join Fetlife and you can give as much or as little information as you like. I’ll do a separate article on getting the most out of the site soon, but for now:

  1. Do not, for the love of all that is holy, use your real name or give out any details more personal than which city you live in. (You can even lie about that if you’re really cautious, though I don’t recommend it because finding local people and events is a big part of the purpose of Fetlife.)
  2. Put up a profile picture. It doesn’t have to be a face pic, but something that speaks to you or represents you is good (don’t steal other people’s work, though – that’s not cool.) Your genitals are NOT a good profile picture, however proud of them you are.
  3. Join some groups related to your interests. Read lots. Listen. Learn. Don’t believe everything you read – the only One True Rule of Kink is that there are no True Rules of Kink beyond “informed consenting adults.”
  4. Reach out by message to some people local to you, particularly if they run events or seem very active and respected in the community. Remember: the goal is to make friends and find community at this stage, not hook up.

Okay, you’ve got a Fetlife account. Good. Next step: READ READ READ.

Read posts on Fetlife. Read as many articles, essays and blogs as you can find (on kink in general or on your particular areas of interest.) Read books – check out The Bookshelf and my favourite resources list for some recommendations.

This isn’t a “one shot and done” homework assignment. I hope you will keep reading, listening and learning for as long as you’re doing this thing we call Kinky Fuckery.

If you’ve already got a partner/partners

If you’re single, you can skip this section as this is written for folks already in a relationship (or several – we’re poly friendly here!)

Firstly, if you haven’t already, you NEED to talk to your partner about your interests.

I know how tempting it is, if these desires have been burning inside of you for months or years, to go out and explore them on the sly. We have a word for this, however, and that word is cheating. Most folks in the BDSM community take a dim view of lying and cheating, because they go against the central ethos of informed consent.

It doesn’t need to be a big sit-down drama-filled conversation. How about just, “hey, honey? I was thinking it would be really hot if you could be a little Dominant in bed sometimes/if you let me spank you/if we explored tying each other up/-insert your interest here.- How do you feel about that?”

Hopefully, if your partner is communicative and sex-positive, they’ll be happy to have a conversation about it. That doesn’t mean the answer will be “yes,” necessarily, but you’ve opened up a dialogue and that’s a huge step.

If they seem curious excited to know more, talk to them about some of your fantasies and encourage them to have input with things they fantasise about. Explore this through sexting/cyber-sexing if it’s too scary or embarrassing to do it face-to-face at first. Read some erotica or watch some porn together that ticks your kinky boxes. Show them Fetlife, blogs, books and any other material you’ve found helpful. Go to a munch, talk or workshop together. Explore a few light things first – always with a safeword, of course – and see how you go. Moving slowly, with lots of check-ins, negotiation, love and care is the way to have some really positive kinky experiences. Everything you want to try will still be there weeks, months or years down the line. You don’t have to do everything now!

Get out into the community and make friends and build a kinky support network. More on that coming up shortly…

If your partner isn’t open to exploring things with you, don’t push or pressure them. Give them time and space to process, ask open-ended questions and express yourself honestly. If they’re not interested, is there any other way you can get your needs met? Perhaps with other partners, if you’re non-monogamous, or through opening up your relationship in some limited way if you’ve been monogamous until now? Perhaps with a professional?

If they are insistent there is no way your kinky needs can be met while in this relationship, I’m afraid you may have a very difficult decision to make – one which no-one else can make for you.

If You’re Single

If you already have a partner or partners, you can skip this bit as this is written for the single curious kinksters out there.

If you’re single, it can be really tempting, when you discover this kinky thing, to dive right into trying to find a partner to explore it all with. However, if you do that, you’re missing out some really important steps.

Hopefully you’ve started off your explorations with joining Fetlife and doing plenty of reading and learning. Perhaps you’ve even reached out to some local people. Brilliant!

Remember: your goal right now is to make friends and build a community. Partners and opportunities to play will follow. A bit of patience right now will set you up well in the long run, I promise.

Go to a munch, class, talk or workshop (more on this coming up in a minute!) Ask a trusted friend to go along with you if you’re scared.

Get Off the Damn Internet – Getting Out There In Real Life

Yep. After extolling the virtues of Fetlife and all the great material you can find on the internet, I’m now telling you to get off the web and out into the world.

Find an event near you. A munch is ideal – a munch is an event held in a vanilla location like a pub, in acceptable-for-general-public dress, where kinksters meet up to socialise, hang out and make friends. Most major cities have at least one, and many small towns have them too. Search Fetlife with the name of your city or town to find out what’s going on. If you’re nervous, message the organiser – their Fet name should be listed – and ask if they’d mind introducing you to a few folks. Munch organisers typically do what they do because they love the community and want to give back to it, and most will be delighted to help you find your feet.

Other good events to go to are talks, workshops and classes on your area of interest, or even a kinky conference like Kinkfest in the UK or ShibariCon in the US. These are often a greater time and financial investment than a simple munch, though, so you might want to wait a while before making this leap.

Going to your first event is scary. The golden rules, though, are simple. Follow these and you’ll be fine.

  1. Dress and act appropriately. Basically, at a munch, if it’s okay for a generic pub it’s okay here. Leave the whips and the leather corsets at home. A t-shirt and jeans will be fine in most places, as will a nice shirt and slacks, a cute dress or skirt, or whatever you’d usually wear to meet people in a pub. Don’t try to play at a munch unless it’s specifically advertised as one where that’s okay. If in doubt, most events will have a dress code and possibly a code of conduct available online, or you can ask the organiser.
  2. Don’t be a creep. Don’t latch on to that one cute young just-barely-turned-18 girl. Don’t only talk to people of the age, gender and body type you’re attracted to. Don’t ask people to play immediately or ask overly intrusive questions. People will notice and I promise, it’ll piss them off.
  3. Be yourself! Talk about your hobbies, your work, your family, how you came to kink… take your cues from others and just make friends the way you would in any other setting.
  4. Don’t get too drunk.
  5. Don’t touch anyone without permission. Kinksters are often a touchy and huggy bunch, but remember there may be relational contexts you’re not familiar with. Always ask before hugging or otherwise touching anyone.
  6. Don’t be a dick. This covers so many bases. Be friendly, open and welcoming to everyone and don’t be afraid to admit you’re new, nervous and not sure what the protocol is.

Most of all, remember to have fun. If you can, gather the Fetlife names of people you talk to and ask their permission to friend them. (You can always follow up with a PM – “Hey, we met at the ABC Munch. I really enjoyed our conversation about XYZ. Would you like to be friends on here?”

Et voila. You’ve got the beginnings of a kinky community and circle of friends. Now – rinse and repeat. You’ll soon learn who your people are, who you really click with and who you don’t much care for. You don’t need to like everyone but you do need to be polite and civil to everyone (unless, of course, something serious like a consent violation occurs, but that’s beyond the scope of this particular post.)

And there you have it – you’ve made your first steps into Kinkland! Doesn’t it feel great? Now go forth and be kinky, my friends.

Happy New Year.