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Five Tips for S&M Newbies

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If you've ever wanted to get kinky, this is the weekend to start. Tonight Beyond the Bedroom will host Coming Out Kinky: A Grown Up Comedy at Shine in Boulder; tomorrow it will offer "Welcome to S&M: A Gentle Introduction" at Denver's Dangerous Theater, with discussion/demonstrations of masochism, bondage, discipline and submission. According to Beyond the Bedroom's Daka Dan, "This workshop will help people identify different areas they might be interested in playing with, how to get started with it and to understand that it is completely normal to have these desires."

S&M can be both scary and exhilarating for people dabbling in it for the first time, so here is our list of five beginner's tips for S&M. And a bonus sixth: Make sure to pick out an awesome safe word/phrase like "banana," or "liquid hot magma."

See also: The 10 best BDSM movies (Images are NSFW)

5. Learning is half the battle.

Exploring sexuality should be one of the most pleasurable things ever, and knowing what gets you hot, and what gets your partner(s) all fired-up is a learning process that starts with education -- but should not end there. Learning about S&M in a very practical way, whether it be books, blogs, presentations or workshops, is an excellent first step into the intoxicating world of S&M, and the more you know about yourself and your partner's wants and needs, the better you can rock your favorite -- and incredibly sexy -- new hobby.

4. Check your investments early -- and often.

When you first discover S&M, it is reaaaaaally hard to take things slow and steady, because the delicious rush of endorphins can be downright crazy. Having sound judgment is difficult when you are feeling all the new feels of having nipple clamps on your tators or a leather collar around your neck, but it's super-important to check your wild inclinations against what is comfortable for you and your partner(s). This means try not to rush into spending a bundle on every whip or chain you see, don't rush to meet or play around with anyone just because you are both into kink, and make sure what you are doing is safe and within reason for everyone involved.

3. Meet new people who are into S&M.

Unleashing your inner kinkster is even more rewarding when you have other people to share it with, and there are usually thriving local communities in major urban areas (also check the rural places and suburbs -- you'd be surprised!) with events, meet-and-greets and groups for people into S&M, and plenty of sites, pages and groups on the Internet for folks who prefer to keep out of the public scene. People who are into S&M are not always the ones you would guess would be, and it's a lifestyle choice that encompasses all walks of life, so finding compatible friends and partners is usually only a click or a meetup away.

For more beginners' tips for S&M, read on.

2. Be clear, be present. When asked to give an important tip on how to get started with S&M, Beyond the Bedroom's Daka Dan suggests: "Be clear with your communication. You don't want to start doing something that you aren't having fun with only to be unable to speak up about it. Also, don't be afraid to stop something just because your partner wants to continue."

Clear, open communication is a fundamental part of S&M. Practicing S&M is not without its risks -- these can be emotional as well as physical -- and making sure everyone is on the same page is one of the most effective ways of keeping people safe and happy while they are doing a scene. Being present is also another good way of minimizing unwanted harm through risky play, so resist the urge to get high or hammered, and try to let your inhibitions down easy and naturally while keeping frosty about where you are, what you are doing and how to best give and receive pleasure in the moment.

1. Know your role -- and stick to it.

One of the most-used phrases in S&M circles is "safe, sane and consensual," or SSC, and this means that keeping you and your partner(s) safe, making sure that you are keeping things real and not too off-the-chain, and being 100 percent certain that everyone who plays is willing and able to do so are all absolute musts when making your kink happen. Safeguarding yours and your partner(s)'s emotional and physical well-being is crucial when exploring your deepest, darkest fantasies, and keeping your fantasies do-able in real time will help you create and expand upon them for as long as you like. Consent by all kinky play partners should be given freely and enthusiastically at all times, and respect the safe words -- even if they are just silly like "firetruck" or "meatballs."

Coming Out Kinky starts at 7 p.m. Friday, August 22; tickets are $20, or $25 the day of. For more information, call Shine at 303-449-0120. "Welcome to S&M: A Gentle Introduction" runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 23; tickets are $30 early bird, $35 day of. For more information, call 720-233-4703.

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