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How to Use a BDSM Checklist to Enhance Your Sexual Pleasure

Are you a bondage king or a submissive servant? One way to find out is by filling out a BDSM checklist. Here’s everything you need to know.
Grindr
&
Editorial team
April 9, 2024
May 21, 2024
6
min. read
Table of Contents

Sex is full of surprises. That’s part of the fun. But learning that your partner is really good at dirty talk isn’t the same as a ball gag unexpectedly entering the chat. 

We all have likes, dislikes, curiosities, and a hard no that kills our hard-ons, and our partners should know about them. A BDSM checklist might sound like a very unsexy chore — unless you have a thing for boss-secretary role-play — but it’s a conversation that helps you push your sexual exploits to the limits without souring the experience.

A BDSM checklist isn’t just about practicalities like safe words or defining Dom/sub roles. Think of it more like an erotic menu. It’s a fun activity that will make you consider kinks, desires, and fantasies you didn’t know were on the table. We’ll take an order of voyeurism with a side of mutual masturbation, please.

What’s a BDSM checklist?

A BDSM checklist is a list of erotic acts, kinks, and fantasies that can be played out during a scene. In BDSM-speak, a “scene” is a sexual experience built around a consensual power exchange between submissive and dominant partners. The specifics of this relationship look different for everyone.

Although many people associate BDSM with leather-bound sadism and masochism, there are endless ways to carry out domination and submission. Some Doms prefer a softer approach, whereas others are ball-busting masochists. A sub might like gentle praise or brutal humiliation (or a healthy mix of both).  

If all that sounds vague (hint hint), you will benefit from a BDSM checklist. Filling out a checklist and building your unique BDSM chart helps you explore your interests and boundaries and effectively communicate them to new partners or in established relationships.

Why do I need a BDSM checklist? 

Here are a few ways a BDSM checklist can help you get in touch with your inner kinkster:

1. You don’t know what you don’t know

A great sex life requires lifelong exploration. Fortunately, there’s a vast, gaping world of kinks and fetishes to explore. BDSM covers a huge spectrum of activities, ranging from light bondage and sensory pleasure to more intense impact play and power exchanges. A checklist helps you and your partner discover new interests you might not have considered before, broadening your sexual horizons and deepening your intimacy. 

2. It lubricates kinky conversations

Talking about sexual fantasies and kinks might make you feel a heavy dose of performance anxiety. Despite the gay stereotypes, we aren’t all brazen, Tom-of-Finland-style leather daddies. It’s common to feel embarrassed or hesitant to share kinks and fetishes. 

Whether you’re in a new relationship or spicing up an old one, filling out a BDSM kink checklist sets the tone and creates a space for open communication. It’s a helpful step toward creating a comfortable environment for honest and uninhibited exploration. 

3. Consent is sexy

BDSM communities have developed various philosophies and approaches to safety. Some kinksters want to keep scenes within the realm of safe, sane, and consensual (SSC), whereas others practice risk-aware consensual kink (RACK). Regardless of your approach to BDSM, a limits checklist is always a great place to start.

Explicitly laying out your kinks and boundaries creates transparency that enables informed consent. It helps avoid miscommunications, harmful situations, or emotional distress. When you and your scene partner (or partners) respect each other’s checklists, participants can get freaky with peace of mind. 

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4. A kink checklist is sexually binding

A BDSM scene puts participants in a vulnerable headspace, which means it isn’t the time to surprise your partner. A new request in the heat of the moment may pressure a partner to do something they aren’t totally comfortable with.

You and your partner are bound to your BDSM checklist like a tight leather strap. If you didn’t specifically greenlight flogging or exhibitionism, don’t randomly ask your partner for a spanking on the balcony. 

You don’t have to sign your checklist in blood — unless you’re into that kind of thing — but respect your partner’s desires within a scene. And if a new kink suddenly comes to mind, save it for a follow-up conversation and revisit negotiations. 

5. Ensures everybody’s safety

As a rule, you should discuss the details of any new sexual experience beforehand. But this conversation becomes especially important for sadism and masochism play that involves intense emotions or physical risk. Here are a few types of BDSM activities that require thorough discussion, negotiations, and consent before doing the dirty:

  • Exhibitionism: Discuss the legal and safety implications, get consent from potential observers, and find a comfortable setting. If you aren’t keen on catching a public lewdness charge, showing off the goods at a swingers club or BDSM play party lets you act out your fetish without landing on a sex offender list. 
  • Impact play: Are you a bad boy in need of a good flogging? Before you crack the whip, discuss the impact intensity, body parts, and signals to pause or stop. You should also educate yourself about what body parts are susceptible to serious injury. A good rule of thumb is to start slow, increase impact in small increments, and stick to the squishy bits.  
  • Restraints: Bondage exists on a broad spectrum, from blindfolds to spiked chastity cages. Talk about the types of restraints, duration, and positions that are exciting and comfortable (or pleasantly uncomfortable) for you. Consider toys with quick-release mechanisms, keeping scissors nearby for emergency release, and setting up safe words to communicate distress, discomfort, or hard stops. 
  • Degradation and humiliation: Sexual experiences that tap deep into your psyche, such as cuckolding, spitting, or forced servitude, can quickly cross a line. Safe words give a quick and unambiguous way to withdraw consent if the scene becomes too intense or uncomfortable. 

Discussion and negotiation shouldn’t be reserved exclusively for “hardcore” sadism and masochism. Kinksters exist on a spectrum. What’s vanilla for you might feel unconventional to your partner. The only way to understand each other’s desires and hard-no’s is to have a conversation about it.

6. Promotes self-discovery

A rousing discussion of role-play and bondage sounds like a fun date night idea. But you can fill out a BDSM checklist and build your chart even if you don’t have a partner. Filling it out on your own contributes to your own sexual discovery, encouraging you to reflect on desires, fears, and boundaries.

The more you understand your own sexuality, the easier it will be to find partners who want to share similar experiences. It sure beats changing your dating profile pic to a photo of you in a gimp suit and hoping for the best. Likewise, you might learn other things about yourself that aren’t exclusively sexual, like a desire to dress in drag

You don’t even need a partner to start exploring your fantasies. Trying new sex toys or genres of porn provides an outlet to test your checklist in a safe space before trying a kink out with others. And if you want to keep all the fun to yourself, that’s OK, too!

Sun in bottoming, moon in bondage, rising in exhibitionism

Ready to learn more about your kinks? Use a BDSM checklist to figure out whether you’re a bondage king or a submissive servant.

And if you’re looking for a bae to give you a good flogging, find him on Grindr. You don’t necessarily need to divulge your entire list of yucks and yums in your dating bio; save that for the first date!

Get the Grindr app and schedule a playdate now.

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