There are many different starting points for the journey into your own landscapes of desire and, hopefully, the exploration will be fun and insightful. It might also bring up some uncomfortable feelings or some difficulties as you experience and feel the gaps between where you are and where you might want to be, you may discover tensions and/or mismatches with a partner or partners or even just come across words, ideas and thoughts that are new, confusing, exciting or, perhaps, uncomfortable.
The key will be to take your journey at your own pace. You will need to give these issues some space and also gave your self time to think further, read, listen, watch, explore, and discuss.
There are some recommended further readings at the bottom of this post as well as resources for support. I am happy to support people in beginning to sketch out their own landscapes of desire so please do get in touch if you would like to discuss any related issues in a confidential, welcoming and judgement free space.
Below are some signposts for certain parts of the journey. It is by no means exhaustive, it really is just a starting point. Please feel free to suggest more or ask me a question if you are not sure about anything. And, before you start, please remember to:
Take it slow
Explore YOUR needs and desires independently of others. It is fun to share and discuss with partner(s) but start with YOU… what do you need and like? How difficult is this for you to do? Be kind if it is unfamiliar… I still find setting time aside to think about my own needs really hard. Writing things down in a journal or drawing or just staying in bed and pondering, watching some clips, looking at photos can be a good start.
Take it slow
Discuss what you are thinking about with trusted friends. Frame it as a space that you need to share without judgement – if you do not know anyone who can provide this space, take a look at sites like Pink Therapy or get in touch with us at Alethya Wellbeing via email.
Take it slow
Listen to a partner without judgment, take time out and be calm when looking at and discussing your own feelings. Really listen to each other and know that neither of you will not and should not be expected to anything that you are not comfortable with.
Take time out when needed and take care of any difficult feelings and seek support if needed.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF / THINGS TO CONSIDER
1. EXPLORING DESIRE
- How do you feel about your current desire levels and your sexual life?
- What fantasies do you have? Are there any recurring sexual images or ideas that you have or enjoy?
- How often do you masturbate and how does that make you feel? Are you experimental with yourself or hesitant? Is it something you find easy to prioritise for yourself?
- What, if any, porn or other erotic media do you like to look at or read / write? How do you feel about these and do you feel like you want to or are able to share or discuss them with people?
- What do you feel most enthusiastic about when it comes to sex / desire and play? How might you communicate these to a partner or partners?
2. COMMUNICATION, CONSENT AND CARE
- How might you communicate your feelings about sex and desire? Do you feel able to? If not, why might this be?
- How much do you know about:
– Safe words
– Boundaries and limits
– How to communicate clearly
– Saying no or stopping something / ending an interaction
– After care and support
– The role community plays in the BDSM world (see: munches, etc…)
- What support would you like to have? How able are you to listen reflexively and discuss these areas?
- How readily do you question what you read or see to make sure it is the right thing for you and your partners(s)?
3. MEETING PEOPLE AND EXPLORING BDSM
- What do you know about the person you are thinking if playing with? Basics you should know include their name, age, sexual health and relationship status and some background.
- Do you trust them? What is this based on?
- Have you met their friends or other people that know them in or outside of the context you met them in?
- At events, do you have a check in time (with yourself and/or other’s) arranged? Have you made contingency plans should you feel uncomfortable or wish to leave? Have you considered who to say no or not right now?
- Are you aware of the end to be safe, sane and consensual?
- Do you feel able to communicate discomfort as well as know how to deal with a situation you are not happy about?
- What socials and munches (kink friendly get-togethers) have you been to? Do you have close and trusted friends you can discuss your hopes concerns and fears with?
The Alethya community was created to support people considering or making these journeys – you can find more in our About Us section.
Useful books, links and resources
“Rewriting the Rules” [Routledge, 2014] by Meg-John Barker
“More Than Two” [Thorntree Press, 2014] by Franklin Veaux
“The State of Affairs” [Yellow Kite, 2017] by Esther Perel
“The Ethical Slut“[Ten Speed Press, 2017] by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton
“The New Topping Book” [Greenery Press, 2011] by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton
“The New Bottoming Book” [Greenery Press, 2011] by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton
https://the-intimacy-coach.com by Dr Lori Beth Bisbey