Osuga is a woman-owned sexual wellness brand founded in 2015 and based in Hong Kong. Their Cuddly Bird toy for people with vulvas has won awards including a Bronze IDEA Award (2020) and a Golden… More
As many of you know by now, I’m a big proponent of making quality sex toys more affordable. There are still too many poorly made, poor quality toys on the market, many of which are made from harmful and toxic materials. That’s why I was excited to try the BMS Steven, part of the new Addiction realistic dildo range.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll also be reviewing the Edward and the Luke from the same range in partnership with The Pleasure Garden, a delightful woman-owned and inclusive online sex shop.
Meet Steven: Materials and Design
Addiction by BMS is a new range of realistic dildos made from 100% silicone. Unlike the TPE, TPR, jelly, and mystery materials that make up many cheap realistic sex toys, silicone is non-porous, non-toxic, and completely body-safe.
The silicone used for this toy is particularly matte and very flexible. I have to admit, when I first took it out of the packaging, part of me was questioning whether it was really pure silicone at all. It feels very different to any silicone toy I’ve encountered before. I flame-tested it to be sure (don’t try this at home!) and luckily it passed, so you can rest assured it’s definitely silicone. The things I do in the name of sex journalism!
If you’ve used TPE/TPR toys and enjoyed the texture, this would be a good upgrade. You’ll get much of the same squishiness and flexibility, only in a non-porous toy. If you prefer very soft, silky or smooth silicone, this toy might not be for you.
It also attract lint (and, in my house, cat hair) like whoa. Always give it a wipe down or a quick wash before use.
The Steven is a straight realistic dildo with impressive detailing including lifelike veins on the shaft, a contoured head, and textured balls. It measures 7.4″ (19cm) in total length, of which around 5″ are insertable, and measures 1.5″ (3.8cm) in diameter at the widest point.
It also comes with a suction cup base, and with an accompanying single-speed miniature bullet vibe (which requires 3 LR44 watch batteries, included.) There isn’t a slot to insert the vibe into the toy, so it needs to be held and operated separately.
I found the BMS Addiction Steven easy and comfortable to insert and use. Its flexible shaft means you can angle it in exactly the way that works for you as you insert it. Because the silicone is so grabby, I recommend using a LOT of lube. I used Promescent aloe lube because it happened to be the nearest bottle to the bed at the time, but any water-based lube will work.
Personally, I don’t love the shape of the Steven. I much prefer curved toys for internal stimulation. Straight toys like this one tend to poke my cervix (ow) more easily than they hit my G-spot.
I also found it quite hard to angle the Steven once it was inserted as it’s so flexible. I like my toys to have some flex (erm, there are exceptions) but there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. The Steven was too bendy and not firm enough for me.
Of course, bodies are all different! This isn’t a judgement on the toy’s quality, just on how well it worked for me. If you prefer straight shaped toys or lots of flex, it might be the perfect match for you.
The accompanying vibe is, I’m sorry to say, a complete waste of time if you like anything other than fairly weak and VERY buzzy stimulation. It only has one speed and offers that infuriating, numbing, surface-level vibration that puts many clitoris-owners off vibes entirely. I don’t really know why the manufacturer felt the need to include it, especially now you can get powerful bullet vibrators at affordable prices.
Can I use the Steven realistic dildo in the bath or shower?
Yes. 100% silicone toys without motors are completely safe to use in water. Remember: you still need to use lube! Oil-based lube is great for playing in water. The accompanying bullet vibe isn’t waterproof.
What’s the point of a suction cup?
Suction cups allow you to fix your toy to a solid surface (like a wall, mirror, floor, or the bathroom tiles) and use it hands-free. The Steven’s suction cup is impressively strong and stays put very nicely, even during vigorous use.
Is the Steven harness-compatible?
Yes… kind of. The suction cup base means you can use the Steven realistic dildo in most strap-on harnesses. It wouldn’t be my first choice for harness play, because the suction cup is quite flimsy and the toy is flexible enough that getting the right angle while thrusting could be difficult. But yes, you certainly can if you want to.
Is the Steven anal-safe?
Yep. The balls and suction cup create a large enough base to make the Steven A-okay for anal play.
How do I clean by silicone dildo?
Your best bet is to throw it in a large pan of boiling water for a few minutes. Failing that, use a 10% bleach solution and rinse thoroughly, or use a sterile medical wipe followed by gentle soap and warm water.
Ultimately, my verdict on this one is landing on “perfectly fine but not a great fit for me.” The BMS Addiction Steven is an affordably priced and body-safe realistic dildo, and I’m really glad it exists. Any toys that steer beginners or those on a budget towards body-safe choices can only be a good thing.
The shape and level of flex didn’t really work for my body, but that doesn’t mean the Steven couldn’t be a great fit for yours!
The Steven retails for £24.88 from The Pleasure Garden.
Thanks to The Pleasure Garden for sending me this toy to review. All views are my own. If you use the affiliate links within this post, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Once in a while, I check the search terms people use to find me. For the last few months, the term “praise kink” has popped up again and again. Which is interesting, considering this is something I’ve never actually written about!
So I thought it would be fun to talk about it. What is a praise kink, what are some praise kink phrases you can use, and what do you need to know about this incredibly popular fetish?
Let’s dive in and find out!
What is a Praise Kink?
In short, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Someone with a praise kink gets off on being praised, complimented, or receiving verbal approval.
“But doesn’t everyone love praise?” you’re probably asking. And yes, many of us do! But having a praise kink isn’t quite the same thing. For people with this kink, receiving praise might elicit a sexual response, send them to subspace or Topspace (yes, it’s more common amongst submissives in my experience, but Tops and Dominants can have a praise kink too!) or otherwise have an impact beyond just “warm fuzzies from receiving a compliment”.
I don’t think there’s any actual data on this (can someone finance this study immediately please?) but I suspect there is a lot of crossover between those who enjoy praise in a kink context and those who have words of affirmation as one of their primary love languages.
Praise kink is often seen as being part of the softer, gentler type of BDSM. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be! As with all kinky things, it can be whatever you make of it.
Do You Have a Praise Kink?
You might be reading this article wondering if this description applies to you. Sorry, I can’t answer this for you! The only person who knows for sure if you have a praise kink is you.
But consider these questions:
Do you enjoy sex or a kink scene more when your partner gives you lots of positive verbal feedback?
When you think back on your hottest sex/kink scenes, do the complimentary things your partner said to you stand out as one of your favourite parts?
If any of these sound like you, then you might have a praise kink!
It’s important to note that praise kinks can be very contextual. While some people might find it hot whenever anyone gives them praise or a compliment, others find that this desire is specifically directed towards those with whom they have some kind of attraction, sexual relationship, or kink dynamic.
Some Praise Kink Phrases You Can Use
Ultimately, the best way to learn what praise kink phrases will work for your partner is to ask them. Communication, understanding one another, and listening to feedback will get you further than a list of ideas ever will.
But if you’re not sure where to start, here are a few to get you started.
- “You’re such a good… [girl/boy/slut/pet/their favourite term of endearment]”
- “You’re doing/you did really well.”
- “You look so beautiful/handsome/sexy when you… [insert activity here]”
- “I’m so proud of you.”
- “I love how well you took that spanking for me.”
- “That feels amazing, keep doing that.”
- “I love it when you… [insert action or activity here]”
- “I can’t stop thinking about when you [insert hot or sexy thing they did here]”
- “Your ass looks incredible in those knickers”
- “You’re so good at [eating my pussy/sucking my cock/fucking me/insert activity here]”
- “I can’t wait to show you off to everyone at the club”
- “You’re strong, I know you can take it for me”
- “You’re so loved and cherished
These are all just ideas and you will undoubtedly come up with your own as you explore. Remember: the only right way to do it is the way that works for you and your partner.
Do you have a favourite praise kink phrase? Share them in the comments if so!
This post contains affiliate links. All views are mine.
Sometimes the simplest things are the sexiest! And the brand’s elegant simplicity is one of the things I love about Tyes By Tara, a woman-owned company in the US selling a wide range of wearables, accessories, and other fun femme things. Today I’m trying out the Bombshell Bratye, part of the Bratyes range of cage bras.
My order from Tyes By Tara arrived beautifully packaged. The items were wrapped in pink tissue paper and tied with ribbons, and came with a handwritten card from my contact and some additional information about the company. This level of customer care and attention to detail is great to see.
What is a Bratye?
Bratyes are open cage style bras (or harnesses, if you prefer) that accentuate the wearer’s breasts without covering anything up. They are made of elastic, lace, or chain, depending on the design.
I received the Bombshell Bratye. This bra is made of soft, elasticated straps and is available in either black or white. The straps frame the breasts and the centre point is adorned with a pretty black satin bow.
It closes behind the neck in a halter style with a clasp, and at the back with a simple hook-on fastening.
Aesthetic and How to Wear
The Bombshell Bratye is wonderfully versatile. You could wear it over a tight dress or top for a risque twist to your night out look, add it to your favourite lingerie set, or even wear it by itself.
I also tried it with some nipple pasties I had in my collection (no, I’m not sharing that picture!) You could also complete the look with a set of Pastyes. Pair it with some kitten ears for pet-play, add matching cuffs and a collar for a submissive look, or slip it on over latex or a catsuit for a Domme vibe. The possibilities are endless.
To me, the look is soft-bondage influenced while still being feminine. The bow softens the harness aesthetic, giving you a kink-inspired yet flirty and fun look.
Sizing and Fit
Bratyes are one-size-fits-most and are adjustable. The back strap features a simple slider adjustment, and the neck clasp features nine different loops for maximum adjustability. The elastic is also very stretchy.
Exact sizing info (i.e. minimum and maximum sizes) isn’t listed on the website. I’ve fed this back and suggested it, as I’m sure this would be useful to lots of you. To give you an idea, my current bra band size is 34″ and the Bombshell Bratye could easily go much bigger or smaller than this.
Since this bra/harness is open-cup, I did not run across the predictable “my boobs don’t fit” issue that comes with trying to wear one-size lingerie when you have G-cups. The stretchy elastic straps were more than adequate to frame my breasts. The beauty of this sort of design is that it’ll work for just about any chest size, whether you’re an AA or a GG.
Naturally, this style of bra doesn’t offer much in the way of support. But that’s not really the point of it! It doesn’t have any wires and, thanks to the softness of the elastic, is comfortable to wear.
When I looked at the Bratyes on the website, I was a little unsure. I loved the aesthetic but really didn’t think they’d fit me (or work on someone with boobs the size of mine.)
I’m very happy to be proven wrong, because the Bombshell Bratye is gorgeous. For me, it’s just the right combination of femme and kinky, as well as being well-made and comfy!
A super-sexy and versatile piece I’m sure I will wear again and again. Tyes By Tara have knocked it out of the park yet again.
The Bombshell Bratye retails for $28 (about £21) and you can get 10% off this or any other order at Tyes By Tara by using my discount code, “coffeeandkink”.
Thanks to Tyes By Tara for sending me the Bombshell Bratye to review. All views are, as ever, mine. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy through them or use my code, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I’m delighted to be reviewing more Tyes By Tara products this week. This award-winning, woman-owned brand makes beautiful accessories, adornments, and other wearables that are both cute and sexy. I received the Sex Kitten Tyera to try.
Sex Kitten Tyera
The Sex Kitten cat ears headband is part of the Tyera (tiara – get it?) headwear collection. It’s a headband featuring a pair of black kitty ears.
The headband itself is made of a rigid but flexible material (I’m assuming plastic) and is coated in black fuzzy material that looks, well, a little like a cat’s fur! Each ear is adorned with a little black satin bow.
I was initially worried that the black fuzz would shed but, after several outings, I’m pleased to report it looks and feels good as new.
You know when you wear an item of clothing or an accessory that just feels perfectly “you”? That’s how I feel when I put the Sex Kitten Tyera on!
Cat ears have been part of my signature look for years, and they’re one of the main things (along with the purple hair) that people remember me for when I meet them at events. I’ve tried many different cat ears headbands and some clip-on cat ears over the years, some of which I’ve liked more than others.
The Sex Kitten Tyera is the perfect balance of playful and sexy. The little bows give it an adorable femme twist. By the way: they also go beautifully with pieces from the Bratyes line, one of which I’m reviewing later this week, or with the Vixen Tyecuffs for a kinky edge.
I’m not much of a pet-player myself, though the idea does somewhat appeal to me. But if being a human pet is your thing, these ears are the perfect accessory to tap into your inner kitty. When I slip them on, I just want to go out on the prowl…
Comfort & Wearability
As someone who is prone to headaches, comfort is of paramount importance for anything I wear on my head.
I have a lovely pair of glittery ears that I bought in San Francisco, but the headband is metal so I can’t wear them for too long or they start to cause me pain.
Fortunately, the Sex Kitten Tyera is super comfortable. The band is flexible enough that it will fit most people, and it doesn’t dig into the side of your head. I’ve happily worn it all evening long on several occasions without pain or discomfort.
Whether I’m feeling high femme or femme fatale, playful kitten or fierce feline, or these ears are a fun way to accessorise an outfit for a night out (or in!) I love them!
The Sex Kitten Tyera retails for $20 (that’s around £16) and you can get 10% off your entire order when you use my code “coffeeandkink” at checkout.
Thanks to Tyes By Tara for sending me the Sex Kitten Tyera. All views are, as ever, mine. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy through them, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I love purple and its variations, and I love femme things. Is it any wonder, then, that I spotted the Peony range at Lovehoney and knew I needed to try it? The range is available in both black and lilac. I received the Peony Sheer Mesh and Lace Crotchless Body in lilac.
Peony Crotchless Body: First Impressions and Aesthetic
The Peony Sheer Mesh and Lace Crotchless Body is actually really a cross between a bodysuit and a babydoll. It’s an all-in-one garment made of pretty floral lace and sheer mesh with spot detail.
When I took it out of the packaging, I was immediately impressed with the softness of the materials. Lovehoney lingerie tends to offer a good combination of affordable prices and quality materials, which I love.
The top part is a halterneck bodysuit with a deep neckline, plunging to the elasticated waistband which is adorned by a bow in the same organza as the halterneck and back tie. The half-covered crotch gives way to adjustable straps which sit at the point where butt meets upper thighs. A flyaway half skirt finishes the look.
The Peony Crotchless Body in lilac is a classically feminine look. My inner femme loves it! If you like the shape but pastels aren’t for you, the black version is sexy in a different way.
Comfort, Fit, and Boob Coverage
The Peony Crotchless Body comes in two sizes: one size standard (for UK sizes 8-16) and one size plus (for UK sizes 18-24.) Because it’s adjustable, this piece is fairly flexible in terms of sizing. You can tie the halterneck and back tie as tightly or loosely as you need. The leg straps are also adjustable.
I’m about a size 12 and I found the Peony Crotchless Body to be a comfortable fit in most areas. The one downside is the boob coverage. I’m not sure if it’s due to the halterneck design or tie fastenings, but I found that this piece offers significantly less coverage than some of the more traditional bodysuit items in my collection.
The Peony Crotchless Body contains my G-cups somewhat when I’m standing upright, but as soon as I lie down (or more around too much) they haven’t got a prayer.
I like the piece enough that I’ll probably still wear it occasionally anyway, but you should be aware of this. I’d speculate that anyone larger than about a D-cup might have this issue.
The Peony Crotchless Body is non-wired. That and the soft fabric makes it comfortable and enjoyable to wear.
A mixed verdict on this one. It’s pretty and fun in that flirty, feminine way I enjoy. It’s soft, comfortable, and fairly easy to take on and off. But the boob coverage (or lack thereof) was a significant downside for me.
Gorgeous, but maybe better suited to those with smaller chests than me.
The Peony Crotchless Body from Lovehoney retails for £29.99. Don’t forget to use code coffkink10 at checkout for 10% off your entire order!
Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Peony Crotchless Body to review. All opinions are mine, as ever. If you use my affiliate links or code, I make a small commission that helps keep the blog running.
I first spotted this piece when my partner sent me a link to this Instagram post. As soon as I saw the Moonflower Lace Strappy Body in emerald green from Lovehoney, I knew I had to own it! Happily, my friends at Lovehoney HQ were able to hook me up.
How did I get on with it in reality?
Moonflower Emerald Green Lace Strappy Body: Aesthetic
This one-piece bodysuit is made of lace and mesh in a gorgeous, vibrant shade of green. It is wire-free and features a plunging V-neck and criss-cross detailing at the front and back. It is nipped in at the waist with a broad ribbon accent, and features a popper opening at the crotch.
I really love how this piece looks. The colour is beautiful and unusual, making a change from the more common blacks, reds, and pinks of the lingerie world. The delicate floral lace is lovely, and the strappy detailing at the back is super sexy.
I love this type of shape on my body. I think my hourglass waist is pretty much my best feature, and this style shows that off. A plunging neckline will always be sexy, and the criss-cross straps across the cleavage add an eye-drawing touch.
Sex-appeal wise, this one scores top marks from me.
Fit and Comfort
I gravitate towards non-wired lingerie for two reasons: it’s far more comfortable (you will not convince me that anyone finds being poked in the ribs with a wire pleasant!) and it’s far more likely to actually fit me.
The Moonflower Lace Strappy Body is a one-size piece, which you’ll know by now I don’t love as a concept. People come in such a variety of shapes and sizes that the idea of “one size” is a little absurd to me. The Moonflower Lace Strappy Body is supposed to fit sizes 8-16. There’s also a plus-size version for sizes 18-24. (Side note: Lovehoney are killing it with their plus-size lingerie offerings at the moment!)
I’m currently a size 12-ish and I found the Moonflower Lace Strappy Body to be a pretty good fit. The fabric and waistband are somewhat stretchy, and both the shoulder straps and waistband can be adjusted using the sliders.
As is often the case with standard lingerie sizing, this piece only “sort of” contains my G-cup boobs. When I’m standing up or lying on my back, it’s fine, but as soon as I lie on my side or raise my hands above my head, they pop out. Not a big problem, but something to be aware of if you’re well endowed in the chest department.
The Moonflower Lace Strappy Body is made of super soft fabric that feels lovely to wear. This isn’t cheap, scratchy lace. It feels sensual and luxurious against the skin.
The Moonflower Lace Strappy Body is a winner! It’s very hard to get one-size lingerie right, and inevitably it won’t work for all bodies. But overall this piece is pretty, sensual, comfortable, and flattering. Yes, yes, and yes!
I feel gorgeously femme in this piece and I can’t wait to show it off at a sexy party when we can go to those again.
The Moonflower Lace Strappy Body retails for £32.99. Don’t forget you can get 10% off this item and any other purchase at Lovehoney using my code coffkink10 at checkout.
Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this item to review. All options are, as always, mine. Affiliate links appear in this post.
Today’s guest post comes from a new-to-C&K writer, Kara Bringewatt (they/them.) Regular readers will know that shining a light on the intersection of sexuality and mental health is super important to me, so I am thrilled to be running this story on dissociation during sex. Grab a coffee, settle in, and enjoy!
Navigating Dissociation and Sex by Kara Bringewatt
What is dissociation exactly? In short, it’s a way of coping by detaching from the body and from sensory experiences. This can feel like extreme numbness or a lack of connection to yourself, your body, your senses. It can feel like you’re watching a movie of your life or that everything’s being interacted with through a film or barrier. It may feel like you’re floating somewhere above your own head. Your voice might sound odd and distant and in extreme cases you might actually lose your bearings of where and who you are.
This is a natural reaction to experiences that turn on our fight-or-flight response. When we are in danger, not having to feel the panic can help us to manage our reality more easily. But when this is happening due to smaller, more mundane triggers, it can make life more difficult, particularly as it can make it difficult to communicate.
Dissociation can happen due to sexual triggers that bring up past sexual trauma (which many of us have) or due to ongoing experiences of mental illness that includes symptoms of dissociation. These experiences are incredibly common. My belief is that we’ve normalized having really dissociated sex. Which isn’t just not as much fun (hello, diminished sense of touch when you’re trying to get off!) but can be really dangerous and become a retraumatizing scenario in and of itself.
So what do we do exactly? Firstly, if you are dealing with dissociation, or think you may be experiencing dissociation, trying out professional mental health services of some sort is a really great first step. There are some really amazing therapists, psychologists, coaches, and sex therapists out there, and it can be really worth it if you can find someone who’s a great fit for you.
Having a professional who is knowledgeable around mental health and who can serve as a neutral party to speak honestly with and get validation from can be a game changer for many people. So can medication. Don’t skimp on getting the professional help that works for you. This is of course your choice, and there really are barriers out there. But I would be lying if I said that the therapy I’ve had and the medication I’m on haven’t helped significantly.
So the next big piece of navigating dissociation and sex is being able to recognize when it’s happening. This can be really fucking hard if you’ve not practiced it. Paying attention to what’s going on for us emotionally and somatically in the moment can be tricky no matter what the situation, but dissociation poses a double challenge since part of the experience is extreme disconnection from our self and our environment.
On the plus side, we can use this to our advantage. Take time to notice what it feels like to be detached from your experiences. Next time you’re dissociated (or think you might be), intentionally “save” that sensation in your memory so you can start to notice when similar physical sensations occur. I know I’m dissociating when my vision gets a little blurry. I also notice myself staring off into space a lot, my breath gets really shallow, and I have trouble speaking. You might notice entirely different signs, but start learning them! Bonus points: if your partner suffers from dissociation, learn their “tells,” too!
Of course, the critical piece that almost all sex advice comes down to is this: communicate with your partners, including hookups and casual encounters. Speak to your partner about dissociation when you’re not having sex. Explain what it looks and feels like to you. Ask your partner what it looks and feels like to them. Check in regularly during sex. Pause and take two minutes to both just share what’s going on emotionally and physically in your bodies. This practice can build a LOT of awareness if you take the time to make yourself slow down and take those breaks.
Establish verbal and nonverbal safe words and commit to using them if you are beyond a threshold of dissociation that you feel comfortable with. This may be any dissociation particularly if it’s related to a trigger or flashback. But you may also experience dissociation regularly and feel like it’s not gonna stop you from having sex. Great!
It can be useful to calibrate your current dissociation level using a 1-10 scale and then decide on what level of intensity requires stopping or pausing sex to reregulate a bit. For me, I check in with partners and let them know if I am at a 6, pause and regulate at a 7-8, and stop altogether if I’m at a 9. Your tolerance and dynamic with your partners may look different. And these numbers might skew lower for casual interactions.
Find ways of regulating during, before, and after sex. Dissociation is just dysregulation at the end of the day. It is your body shifting into flight or fight mode rather than staying in a relaxed space. We must find ways to get ourselves back to that resting place and to grow our confidence in our ability to regulate for ourselves.
Some useful regulation practices might include sensory bathing, grounding exercises, and paced breathing. Also, definitely try using a dry brush and taking a shower (with some good smelling soap or essential oils!) This is a bit of a trial and error process, but learning the things that work for you is key to navigating these situations with more ease. Enlist partners in this exploration and make sure to communicate things that you do know to be helpful so that they can remind you if your dissociation is making your thinking a bit sluggish.
This takes practice and dedication so be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Self-care after the fact, too. Oftentimes I don’t even notice how dissociative I was until later when I “pop out of it”. It is very easy for me to ruminate on the issues this symptom is causing, and sometimes this leads into panic attacks or intense self-criticism manifesting in self-harming behaviors or urges. Be kind and understanding with yourself and with sexual partners when you don’t realize until after the fact that you’re dissociating. Self-care can help stabilize you and keep you from spiralling right back into dissociation or other intense emotional experiences.
This all takes practice and time, and there’s many more discussions to have on these topics, but starting to have open conversations with yourself and your partners is a crucial step to handling dissociation and increasing our pleasure and communication in relationships.
About the Author
Kara (they/them) works in the interstitial spaces of identity, composition, spirituality, mental health, and somatic/sexual healing work. They are particularly fascinated and critically engaged in the desires and needs of trans* and disabled bodies, the impact of internalized shame around queer sexualities, and kink as a practice of liberation.They enjoy reading and writing endlessly, lingerie and tea on rainy nights, sharing exceptional food, and warming conversations.
I recently put out a call for guest bloggers to write about aftercare in BDSM from the Dominant’s perspective. I published the first post earlier this week. Today’s, by Kelvin Sparks (he/him), is the second. Kelvin has written for C&K once before.
Aftercare for D-Types: Mental, Emotional and Physical by Kelvin Sparks
Aftercare—the activities and/or attention given to a partner after sexual, BDSM, or kink experiences—is something widely discussed within kink communities. However, a lot of the discussion of aftercare focuses on aftercare for submissives, bottoms, and masochists (who I’ll collectively called s-types). This seems intuitive at first—they’re the person being acted upon, after all—but it’s important not to dismiss the importance of aftercare for dominants, tops, and sadists (who I’ll collectively call D-types).
Why Do D-types Need Aftercare?
Just as with aftercare for s-types, aftercare for D-types incorporates three kinds of well-being; mental, physical, and emotional.
Leading a scene can take a huge amount of mental energy. While the power exchange within D/s scenes is mutual, it’s tops within a scene who have the greater responsibility when it comes to managing risk. Being a D-type in a scene involves practiced and involved skillsets—such as using impact toys with accuracy, assessing a bottom’s emotions during a scene, and assessing risk and safety both pre and mid-scene—and the attention, careful observation, planning, and empathy involved in topping and/or domming can easily lead to mental fatigue after a scene is concluded.
Depending on what kinds of play partners are engaging in, topping can also be physically exhausting or taxing. It can be easy to think of the physical impact of BDSM scenes being only pain and/or injury, and that this is something limited to s-types, when in reality that’s not the case at all. For one, dominants can be bottoms, but it’s also worth noting some forms of play can be physically taxing on tops as well as bottoms. As an easy example, for people new to strap-ons, topping during play can be physically exhausting, as it uses muscles that they may not have used much before.
Finally, aftercare is important for emotional wellbeing. “Drop” is a well known phenomenon in kink circles, referring to the period after a emotional/endorphin high during a scene. Sometimes specifically called sub-drop or top-drop depending on who it’s used to refer to, it can happen immediately after a scene, hours later, or even days later, and is characterised by intense negative feelings.
In dominants or tops, the emotions of drop can be intensified or informed by the cultural conversation around dominance and sadism. Feeling a sense of guilt at one’s actions and desires—even after risk-aware and consensual sex—isn’t uncommon, and these feelings can be intensified for marginalised D-types. In my own experience, the guilt I sometimes feel after SM play is impacted by the cultural perception of trans people and masculine queer people as sexually predatory. As another example, some of my sadistic Domme friends have expressed that their feelings of guilt after a scene are sometimes mixed with a sense of shame for their deviance from a lot of the gendered expectations around dominance.
What Does Aftercare for D-types Look Like?
Aftercare for D-types is as varied as it is for those on the other side of the slash. Different scenes can feel intense in different ways and to different extents to different people, and what people enjoy and/or need as part of their aftercare can vary from person to person. Depending on your wants and needs, aftercare for you may look like administering first aid, having a snack and a drink, praising your partner(s) for what they did during a scene, watching a film together, having some alone time, or creating a “buffer zone”—a period of time spent with your partner/s doing something unrelated to BDSM.
I’d also like to emphasise debriefing as a kind of aftercare in itself. Once both partners are grounded, talking over what went well (and not so well) in a scene doesn’t just help when playing in future, but can alleviate the guilt that contributes to top-drop. Hearing that their partner loved being hit and why, for example, can work wonders in alleviating the guilt somebody may feel around enjoying hitting their partner.
If both sides of the slash need aftercare, and it’s just as important for D-types as it is for s-types, how do you navigate situations where these needs are in conflict? This is why aftercare is just important to bring up in negotiation as what players are looking for in the contents of a scene. If a submissive prefers to have alone time following a scene, but the dominant person they want to play with needs cuddles and affirmations, then it’s best if these things are worked out in the discussion stage.
In some cases, conflicting needs when it comes to aftercare can be solved by delegating aftercare to a third party person, or by players compromising some of their wants so all players have their needs met. In other cases, vastly different needs when it comes to aftercare means players aren’t compatible, even if they’re otherwise agreed on what they want from a scene. It may suck finding out you’re not compatible with somebody you want to play with, but it’s far better finding out before you attempt to play together than after.
About the Author
Kelvin Sparks (he/him) is a bisexual trans man who writes about sex on the internet. You can find him at KelvinSparks.com, or at @Kelvinsparks_ on both Twitter and Instagram.
I love porn.
People are often surprised when I say that. As an outspoken and unapologetic feminist, surely pornography would be against everything I stand for? Well, not exactly.
It’s true that the mainstream porn industry has a lot to answer for. Too often, the large “tube” sites profit from stolen content or non consensual content, including revenge porn and child abuse material.
But there’s an alternative. If you’ve never explored ethical porn, you’re missing out on something that can be a wonderful addition to your sex life.
Today I’m spotlighting Bellesa Plus, a porn streaming platform that calls itself “The Netflix of Porn” and offers a “pay what you can” model costing from as little as $1 per month. The higher prices offer special perks, such as free sex toys and gift cards to the Bellesa Boutique (BBoutique), but the low entry point means you can enjoy more ethical adult content even if you’re on a budget.
But What is Ethical Porn?
As with many of the things we consume, from food to media, people are becoming more and more concerned about the ethics behind their porn. Untangling exactly what constitutes ethical porn can be a minefield, especially given that the porn industry is still often defending its right to exist at all.
Here are four things that I believe go into making porn ethical.
This might seem like a bare minimum standard, but it’s missing from a shocking amount of mainstream porn. 100% of Bellesa’s content features consenting adults having consensual sex that has been consensually filmed.
Performers have the opportunity to negotiate with their partner before filming starts, exploring their likes and dislikes. If a scene involves roleplay, performers will be briefed on their role in plenty of time to ensure they’re comfortable with it.
And if, like me, you’re squicked by all the pseudo-incest (think: “step sister”) content that pops up on mainstream sites, you’ll be pleased to know Bellesa doesn’t do any of that.
Chemistry and Connection
When I watch porn, I often gravitate towards amateur content because it feels so much more authentic. Whatever the specific acts that they’re engaging in, ultimately I want to watch people who truly like (or even love) each other, having hot sex that they’re genuinely enjoying.
Many mainstream porn studios don’t give performers much choice who they work with. Bellesa pairs performers who truly have chemistry and actually want to have sex with each other. Because real connection and attraction makes for much hotter content and a much better working environment for the performers.
Women as Subjects, Not Objects
One of the things that will turn me off the fastest in any porn scene is seeing women being objectified. This is apparent in everything from the naming of scenes to the ways in which female pleasure is explored (or, often, ignored.)
Ethical porn puts the pleasure of all participants front and center. In ethical porn, the women being depicted are full human beings with their own desires and erotic agency. In other words, subjects of pleasure, not objects to be acted upon. Bellesa porn is directed and produced by women, headed up by the inimitable Jacky St. James.
A Safe and Respectful Working Environment
Making pornography is work, and performers deserve a safe working environment just as much as employees in any other industry.
This can be as simple as prioritizing their comfort on set, such as making sure they’re well fed and hydrated. Sexual safety is important too, whether that’s ensuring plenty of lube is used or carrying out rigorous STI (and now also Covid-19) testing. And, of course, performers must retain the right to say no or to call “cut” on a scene for any reason. This goes back to consent.
Performers should also be fairly compensated for the work they do. Making porn can be huge fun but it can also be physically and emotionally taxing at times. Performers are workers and deserve to be paid a fair rate.
How Ethical Porn Can Enhance Your Sex Life
Despite what naysayers might say about it, I believe that porn can be an extremely healthy and positive addition to your sex life, whether you’re single or partnered. When you make a point of consuming ethical porn, you can feel good about your viewing habits.
Here are three ways ethical porn can enhance your sex life.
Get New Ideas
I recently experimented with a new kink activity with my partner. Why? Because I saw this specific act in a porn clip, thought it looked hot, and asked him if he’d be willing to try it with me.
Good porn has the potential to introduce you to new kinks, activities, and ways of having sex that you might never have thought of before. While you might not want to try everything you see, some things are sure to resonate.
One of the things I love most about human sexuality is its infinite variety. Every single day, people are having sex in endlessly creative ways, many of which I’m sure I’ve never even thought of – and you probably haven’t, either! Ethical porn gives you a consensual window into other people’s bedrooms and allows you to draw inspiration from what you see.
Enjoy Things You Can’t Do in Real Life
Perhaps there are things you fantasize about but can’t (or don’t want to) do in real life. For example, you might be a bisexual person in a monogamous relationship with a different-gender partner. Watching porn can allow you to express your attraction to same-gendered people without changing the relationship you have with your partner.
Or maybe you have a particular fetish that your partner doesn’t share. If your relationship agreements don’t allow for getting that itch scratched with others, porn featuring your kink is another ethical and safe sexual outlet.
It’s also valid to enjoy things in fantasy that you don’t want to do in real life. Let’s say you fantasize about gangbangs but consider the idea too risky to carry out in reality. Ethical porn is a wonderful way to enjoy your fantasies in a safe way that doesn’t carry any of the real-world risk that might come with realising them.
Boost Your Desire
For many people, including me, arousal begets arousal. In other words, the more you masturbate, have sex, or consume erotic media, the more you’ll want to. The anti-porn crowd would say this is a bad thing, but I believe it can be just the opposite! After all, sexual pleasure is healthy and orgasms are good for us. Why not seek a little more of both in your life?
So if you’re looking to get in the mood more often or more easily, pulling up your favourite steamy scene can help make that happen. Whether you watch alone or with a partner, the right porn can help to fire up your libido when it needs a little extra help.
Want to Explore Ethical Porn?
If so, grab yourself a Bellesa Plus subscription. You’ll get access to top content from 50+ premium porn channels, unlimited 4K streaming, access to interactive sex education content, and unlimited access to over 600 erotic stories. You’ll also enjoy 24/7 support, discreet and secure billing, and an ad-free viewing experience.
Best of all, you can get off to some of the hottest content you’ll find anywhere, and know that you’re supporting a company doing good in this industry.
FYI: this post was sponsored by the good folks at Bellesa. All views, as ever, are my own.
I recently put out a call for guest posts on aftercare in BDSM from the Dominant’s perspective. I received a few great pitches and ended up commissioning two. Today’s piece from Bethany Baker (she/her) is the first. The second will follow later this week. This is Bethany’s first piece for C&K.
Aftercare for D-Types: The Care and Feeding of Your Sadist by Bethany Baker
Aftercare is vital in BDSM. The focus of aftercare tips is usually on submissive types, who have experienced very intense sensations in the scene and who may experience sub drop even days later.
I’m here to talk about aftercare for the person who took the dominant role in the scene. This applies to Dominants, Tops, sadists, and so on (D-types for short) including those who identify as switches.
What is sadism, really?
Sadism is one of the Ss in BDSM. There’s a perspective on sadism that I’ve found very helpful to understanding dominant/sadistic types, which I discovered through Carolyn Elliott’s book Existential Kink and which she attributes to Tani Thole and Leslie Rogers of the Light/Dark Insitute: “Sadism isn’t necessarily the desire to inflict pain; it’s the desire to inflict sensation, to make oneself felt.”
This insight is what fully unlocked my sadistic kink. It helps to explain why kink without pain is still so, well, kinky! And when the submissive type enjoys pain, that makes it an extra fun sensation to inflict.
So, as someone who loves to inflict intense sensations of various types, what kind of aftercare is most helpful?
Tell me how it felt
I want to know that I have been felt. Did you love it? Love to hate it? Was it exquisite torture?
The dominant person in a scene is usually doing a lot of reading-between-the-lines. Submissive types are often either non-verbal (due to subspace, literally being gagged, etc) or are contrary or facetious on purpose (such as in the case of bratting). Pre-negotiation of the scene and safe words create guardrails, but the dominant person in the scene still has to steer between those.
So while aftercare for a submissive (especially after intense scenes such as humiliation play or hard impact play) involves explicit confirmation of “I am affectionate towards you, I regard you positively,” this type of explicit confirmation can be important for the D-type as well. Messages like “I love what you did to me” and “I want to do more of that” are affirming and restorative. (Always be honest. More on constructive feedback below!)
This doesn’t have to be immediate. It’s natural for it to take a day or two (or longer) for a submissive type to collect their thoughts, and in my experience, being genuine is more important than being prompt. What might that look like in practice? My partner recently said to me about a scene where he was submissive, “I love being the subject of your creativity.
Angels sang. My heart is soaring, just remembering him saying that. That is the sort of thing that goes into my mental bank of quotes to pull out on bad days. That kind of genuine feedback easily refills my bank of motivation to take the reins in the next scene. Speaking of that bank…
Dom debt and the energy bank
I’d like to put forward the idea of “Dom debt” as a counterpart to sub drop.
While submissive are generally experiencing a lot of intense sensations, Dominants are making a lot of intense decisions. We’re expending emotional energy, especially if we’re affectionate Dominants closely reading a submissive. When a dom spends more energy than they have, that incurs “Dom debt”.
My Dom debt tends to feel like overwhelm, exhaustion, withdrawal. It’s a “I just don’t have it in me today” kind of feeling. So, what to do about it?
Research shows that a small blood sugar boost (think: a light snack, a piece of chocolate) can replenish the brain’s decision-making capabilities in the short-term. Other effective strategies are adequate sleep, exercise, and relaxation (think: yoga, meditation, hot bath.)
Interestingly, if a D-type can be impulsive in a scene, this can actually help alleviate decision fatigue. So, the better the members of the scene know each others’ boundaries, the more impulsive the D-type can be, and the less decision fatigue they incur. This is another reason that feedback is crucial!
Check in on how to give feedback
Affirmation is important, and so is constructive feedback. As a submissive resurfaces from subspace, it may be intuitive to share feedback with a D-type as it comes to mind. This might work well for some people, but not for everyone.
One way to care for a D-type is to check in with them on when and how to give your feedback. At the end of an intense scene, the D-type may be feeling sensitive themselves, or may be emotionally tired and have a harder time remembering or processing feedback. If that’s the case, try jotting that feedback down and then sharing it as you’re planning for the next scene.
Additionally, the aftercare that is good for S-types is often great for D-types too! The cuddling, checking in, gestures of affection — these are verbal and nonverbal ways to affirm the mutual positive regard in the relationship.
Curious for an inside peek at a dominant headspace in action? Check out The Art of a Bad Day, an erotic short that I wrote for Pride Month 2021.
In conclusion: want to give a dominant type a little extra love? Tell them how they made you feel, buy them sweets, confirm how to best share feedback, and most importantly… behave! 😉
About the author
Bethany Baker (she/her) writes erotic romance that blends the familiar and the fantastical, the erotic and the emotional, the silly and the sexy, into one downright tasty concoction. You can read her novels and short stories for free on bakecookieswritesmut.com because she’s just a little slutty like that, and feel free to reach out on Twitter @BakeSmut.