A Lighter Shade of Grey: the Beginner’s Guide to Kink

By Dr. Jess Sexual Health

So you’re interested in getting a little kinky, but you’re not sure where to start. Let us inspire you with our Beginner’s Guide to Kink from ASTROGLIDE’s resident sexologist, Dr. Jess O’Reilly.

What does “kink” mean?

As a sexologist, I use the term “kink” to refer to any activities or behaviors that challenge you to push your limits or sexual desire.

You can define kinky sex or kinky activity any way that you want knowing that your desires, fantasies, and needs are perfectly natural. Sex researchers Alfred Kinsey and Wardell Pomeroy summed it up perfectly in their assertion that the only unnatural sex acts are those that you are unable to perform.

If you’re looking to kink up your sex life without building your own red room or dungeon, try incorporating these strategies on how to be kinky from the Beginner’s Guide to Kink into your sexual repertoire:

Talk Dirty

Dirty talk can help to set the scene for sexual exploration by encouraging you to expand your traditional roles. Use dirty talk to:

  • Gauge your lover’s interest in sexual activity (“Do you want to get down on your knees?”)
  • Check in to see how they’re feeling (“Is this too rough?”)
  • Ask for directions (“How do you like it?”)
  • Build erotic role-plays (“You’re a naughty boy and deserve to be punished.”)

Learn To Be Dominant

Taking charge in the bedroom is something that you have probably already tried if you’ve ever initiated sex, given directions, or made gentle (or not-so-gentle) demands of your partner.

To further explore this role, you can try coming on to your partner with a little more aggression. Try holding your lover’s head tightly as you kiss or grab them from behind and whisper in their ear, “I need you now!”.

Alternatively, you can use props as inspiration – blindfolding a partner may help to lower your inhibitions as you feel less self-conscious, or a flat-sided hairbrush might encourage you to be a bit more aggressive as you threaten your lover with a light spanking on their buttocks.

Learn To Be Submissive

When you think of being submissive, you might imagine crawling around on your knees wearing a collar and a leash, but the submissive’s role is highly variable.

No sexual act is universally submissive or dominant, so even if you are accustomed to being in control, consider taking small steps to relinquish the reins in the bedroom once in a while. Submitting to a lover in a consensual, healthy relationship is not a sign of low self-esteem or a lack of sexual self-assurance.

In fact, many submissives are actually quite powerful people who manage great responsibilities in their professional and personal lives. Being submissive in bed allows them an opportunity to play an alternative role and alleviates some of the pressure they face in their everyday lives.

To help get you into the role of a submissive, you can try out these simple one-liners in bed. You may even want to use them out of the bedroom to spark your lover’s interest.

  • Please Sir/Ma’am.
  • Thank you.
  • How can I please you?
  • As you wish.
  • Anything for you.
  • It’s my pleasure.

Use Props

You don’t need whips, chains, and riding crops to kink it up. Common household objects can be used for sensory deprivation, light bondage, and dominance/submission kinky play.

Emery boards provide a rough surface for some teasing or light torture play, while wooden spatulas can be used for a gentle spanking. Plastic wrap, ties, scarves, and belts make sexy bondage tools and bobby pins or laundry clothespins (with smooth edges) can double as nipple clamps.

Get creative and take turns collecting items from around the house that can be used to broaden your sexual exploration in the bedroom. If you’re not the DIY sort, consider these must-haves for your S&M sex toy box.

Add New Elements When You’re Already Turned On

Almost everything feels better when you’re already aroused, so add new kinky things to your sex play after engaging in your go-to routine. Just be sure to discuss your plans with your partner ahead of time. Eventually, kinky sex can become a part of your warm-up regimen or your everyday sex life, but when you are just beginning to explore your kinky side, make sure the foreplay includes activities, positions, and techniques with which you are highly comfortable.

While a certain degree of controlled pain might be part of the thrill for experienced BDSM participants, using appropriate safety supplies including ASTROGLIDE’s water or silicone-based personal lubricant (score your free sample of ASTROGLIDE) is a smart way to ensure that your early experiments with BDSM play bring you pleasure.


Before experimenting with any bondage activities, make sure to read these safety tips from The Little Book of Kink by Dr. Jess. Better yet, pick up her book, which is a great beginner’s guide to kink.


Images are for illustrative purposes only.