The EDGE Blog

BDSM Problems – When Things Don’t Go As Planned


“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“Well that’s not how that was supposed to go.”

“Huh.”

Chances are if you’ve tried something new, whether in the dungeon or the bedroom, you’re no stranger to the above statements. In all reality, new scenes rarely go as planned. Here are some tips for navigating BDSM problems.


Own your feelings

Give yourself some time after the scene to get in touch with your experience. What did you feel during the scene? Instead of labeling it as a botched experiment, try regarding it as a learning experience. We are always learning, hopefully always improving. Constructive reflection is part of that process.

“I statements” are crucial for recognizing, owning, and communicating your feelings. Replace, “It really sucked when you did that,” with, “When you smacked me with that one thing, I felt startled. Even though we agreed to try it, I was taken out of my headspace and didn’t know how to cope.”

No shame

Shame has no place in BDSM. (Well, except for when it’s consented to as part of a humiliation scene.) But out of scene, don’t shame yourself or your partner.

Let’s be honest; this is about adults playing! Our games may be seedy or devilish in nature, but they are games, nonetheless.

Check in with this mindset frequently throughout your reflection. Regard your experiments and curiosities with kindness; laugh if you can! It’s okay that you want to do naughty things that would make your forebears roll in their graves. In fact, it’s fantastic. Misfires and curveballs are just a part of it. Imperfection is what makes it perfect.

Oftentimes, naming the feeling is enough to resolve it. Consider the power in saying, “To be honest, I was really embarassed when our anal play got messy. Underneath it all, I was worried that you wouldn’t find me sexy anymore.”

Or, “When my back went out I felt like such a lame dom. Like how am I going to rock my sub’s world when I can’t even make it through a flogging scene?” The loving partner will respond to such vulnerable shares with compassion and understanding.

No blame

Blame is toxic. Period. If you blame yourself, you hurt yourself. If you blame your partner, you hurt your partner. Blame has no place in constructive conversations.

There is a distinction between blame and requesting accountability for a transgression. Blame sounds like, “It’s your fault that this scene sucked,” or “I can’t believe you let me do that.” Requesting accountability sounds like, “This is what our agreements were, but this is what you did. I’d like to get on the same page about what happened.”

Ask yourself, are you trying to make your partner feel a certain way? Or are you trying to come to an understanding?

Do we want to try again?

Give yourself and your partner plenty of time to reflect upon your feelings. Recap what attracted you to the idea of the scene in the first place. Was it a specific sensation or power dynamic that you wanted to try? Was it a kink that you’d seen others enjoy? Or were you ultimately hoping to strengthen your connection as a couple?

Once the air between you has been cleared, you are ready to broach the question: Do we want to try this again?

It’s okay to say, yes, no, or I don’t know. It’s okay to put the topic on hold and revisit at a later time. More often than not, the answer is yes, if . . . The if’s are where the conversation becomes constructive and even creative. If’s can sound like, “I’d like to try again, if you give me a warning before you ________,” or “I’d like to try again once we get some input from your mentor.”

Utilize your resources

Mentors and community can really save the day when it comes to BDSM problems. Post in forums (respecting your partner’s identity) and ask personal friends, “Have you experienced anything like this before? Do you have any advice?” It can be incredibly comforting to hear the voice of another share their story, especially someone to whom this is all rather normal.

Back to the good stuff

Whether or not you come to an agreement on how to proceed, it can be beneficial to reaffirm your love for one another. Set aside some time to cuddle and shamelessly delve into pillow talk. Eat yummy food, watch your favorite movies, express what you love about each other. Commend yourselves on trying something new, and do your best to have a good laugh. There’s always next time, if you want there to be.

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