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Getting Started With BDSM: Older Person’s Guide


Getting started with BDSM for older people – Author M. Christian delves into how BDSM can become an enjoyable part of anyone’s sexual activities, no matter their age or experience.


If I ever got to 100, I’d want to be filled with wonder and wild, adolescent, wide-eyed interest in newness—Tanith Lee

One of the English language’s peculiarities is that, though we know many clichés to be blatantly false, occasionally one reflects a resounding truth. 

Case in point, that hoary old chestnut: You’re only as old as you feel.  Meaning, of course, that no matter what it says on your driver’s license or how much snow you have on the roof, you don’t have to give up trying new things.

This is particularly true of sexual things. Inarguably, in later life bodies may not comfortably do what they once did so effortlessly, but one of the great benefits of BDSM play is that while it can be physical, it also can be exciting, sensual, and even therapeutic without actually touching or being touched by another person.

But what exactly is BDSM, why can it potentially be of such great benefit to older people, and how should you go about getting started with BDSM when you’re a senior?

What does ‘BDSM’ stand for?

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the BDSM community, sexologists, therapists, authors such as myself, and educators in all things kink, a lot of misinformation is still floating around about BDSM.

In regards to those four initials, BDSM either stands for Bondage/Discipline/Sadism/Masochism or Bondage/Discipline/slave/Master or Mistress – depending on who you ask. But what’s truly important about ‘the scene’ (which is another way of referring to the kink community) isn’t what it’s called but the fact that it can cover all kinds of diverse interests and practices. This includes things like fetish play, gender play, age play (where someone enjoys assuming the role of a person whose age is not their chronological one – and never involves actual underage individuals), and so much more.

So don’t worry if the unusual erotic interests you’ve had for a long time – or those you’ve just discovered – aren’t apparently part of that BDSM acronym: as long as you adhere to the three guiding principles you’ll still often be considered part of the community.

Safe, sane and consensual (SSC)

So what are those BDSM guiding principles? They are (drum roll, please): Safe, because emotional and physical safety are the most important aspects of BDSM play; Sane, referring to the fact that BDSM activities should be approached with a clear, rational head (including an awareness that not all fantasies can or should be acted out); and finally Consensual, meaning permission to do anything must be politely asked, clearly given by parties who are all fully capable of doing so, and with the mutual understanding that consent can be withdrawn at any time, and respected, without repercussion.

These nicely combine into a quasi fourth principle: that the end result of every BDSM activity should be for everyone to leave feeling better than how they felt going into it.

Some BDSM practitioners question the SSC guidelines, stating that no BDSM activity can ever be 100% safe because there is always some level of risk involved, and instead work by RACK principles (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). Kinkly discusses this further.

Other ground rules and basics

It’s very important to educate yourself as much as possible before trying actual play. You can read well-regarded how-to books, take online or in-person classes, or watch or receive hands-on technique demonstrations from BDSM educators at community events. Learning, after all, is something the BDSM community enthusiastically emphasizes and supports.

Good communication is an indispensable part of any BDSM play: being able to speak freely and have your words understood and respected – and for things to come to an abrupt end if any of this should stop – should be a key part of every scene.

Part of this is through the use of a safeword, a pre-agreed uncommon word or phrase that, if said, will immediately cause things to slow down, stop, or completely end. Some people use the traffic light system – ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’- instead of a specific safeword: ‘green’ meaning ‘I love this, carry on!’, ‘amber’ meaning ‘I’m a little unsure, best slow down’ and ‘red’ meaning ‘stop everything immediately!’.

Ending this section, I also heartily recommend joining the BDSM community. While not perfect, a great thing about the scene is that it tries to welcome anyone, no matter their experience level, and makes education about BDSM a real priority. As mentioned above, there are also some great organizations that host events where you can take classes, buy equipment, play, or just make new friends.

What can kink do for seniors? The physical stuff

By now your head is probably swimming with all this information (and hopefully excitement) about this new and very sexy world you can jump into. But what, you may be asking yourself, can kink do for me? As this is a broad topic, let’s break down the possible benefits into physical and emotional.

On the surface, BDSM may initially appear to be hard-hitting and, let’s be honest here, scary. But, in actuality, kink is whatever you want it to be: including gentle and soothing.

For seniors dealing with movement difficulties, joint pain, blood sugar or cardiovascular concerns, or other health conditions, play can and should be adjusted to take these into consideration. It can even possibly become a satisfying coping mechanism. Take joint pain: as one who suffers from it myself I often find a gentle flogging on my shoulders can be an effective massage. Equally, I’ve used bondage, as with a corset, to alleviate my lower back pain and adjust my posture.

These are just examples, but what I’m driving at is that by knowing your body and trying out different kinds of play, you might discover enjoyable new sensations that potentially could become new personal favorites.

What can kink do for seniors? The emotional side

Remember how I said that BDSM doesn’t have to only be whips, chains, and stuff-like-that-there? Well, what I was referring to was roleplay: the emotional side to kink.

In essence, roleplay is about putting together fun and fulfilling experiences for everyone. Again, this is up to you and who you play with, but as a chronic depressive I enjoy scenes with a nurturing dominant: someone whose commands are positive, supportive, and kind, as opposed to humiliating or degrading (which some people enjoy).

Discovering possibly enjoyable roles can come from everywhere and anywhere: so let your imagination and desires run free. Conversely, while fiction predominantly does a crappy job at depicting physical play, sometimes it can be a great inspiration for domination and submission scenes.

Just remember that no matter what you like to do, as long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual it’s never freaky, weird, or (heaven forbid!) perverse: if it makes you excited, comfortable, and (dare I say it) happy then go for it!

Making BDSM your own

In the future, I’ll be expanding this older person’s guide to BDSM by digging deeper into play techniques – particularly their unique pleasures (and sometimes serious risks).

For now, though, I hope I’m leaving you with both a reasonable amount of caution and a feeling that kink-play could be worth studying, sampling techniques and toys, and dipping your little toeses into.

Just don’t forget BDSM’s ultimate pleasure: that, beyond its three guiding principles, you can make it totally your own!  Including putting together scenes that work with your body and any limitations you might have or even emotionally and physically celebrate being a senior.

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