Power play can be fun, dynamic and exciting. Whether you’re a newcomer or seasoned pro, there are a few things to keep in mind so the experience is as joyful, arousing and enjoyable as possible.
Do your research. Follow some experts and qualified professionals on power play, do a course on it, have a session with a practitioner who specialises in your area of interest. Empowering yourself with knowledge and getting clear on the role you want to play is an essential first step. Do you like being more dominant or submissive? What role do you want to play?
Consent. Just like all other sexual experiences, ongoing and enthusiastic consent is essential during power play. This will include verbal and nonverbal communication before, during and after where you discuss expectations, boundaries and establish safety. It’s essential to think about your boundaries prior, communicate it clearly, hold space and respect each other's consent.
Practice. If you decide you’re going to give it a go, practice it first. That may look like partaking for a shorter period of time, experimenting with clothes on, practising saying yes, no, using the safe word you set prior to engaging and/or practicing the skill or role.
Unwanted pain. For some people, power play can involve experimenting with pain and pleasure. I always recommend seeing a trained professional before experimenting in this way – but the golden rule is that there should never be unwanted pain. If there is, stop.
Check-in after. As important as your prelim chat, checking in after the act is a chance to integrate the experience and communicate about what you liked/didn’t like or what could make it even better.
Aftercare. This could be a cuddle, a shower, a few moments of silence - whatever you feel your bodies need to integrate.
To get clear on the power dynamics at play, it may be useful to first ask questions like:
“Who is this for?”
“Who will be more dominant and who will be more submissive?”
“Do we want to explore both roles?”
“Who is in the giving role / who is in the receiving role?”
From there (and once you’ve followed the steps in our Beginner’s Guide), you may wish to explore one (or all) of the following:
Role Play: An incredibly broad expression, role play can allow participants to adopt a new persona during sex and/or explore power dynamics. Whether it’s discussing a fantasy in bed or getting an outfit/costume, setting the scene or performing, taking on a submissive or dominant character, role play can be as explorative as your imagination allows.
Voyeurism: Placing the power in the viewer’s hands, voyeurism involves one party watching/viewing the other whilst they undress or have sex.
Exhibitionism: Where voyeurism involves the fantasy of the viewer, exhibitionism is about the viewee enjoying the action of being viewed. This person may feel aroused by the idea of being seen naked or engaging in sexual activities (for example, being viewed masturbating).
Sensation play: the act of using different sensory items to awaken sensation, this could involve anything from paddles and whips to feathers and food.
BDSM (Bondage, Discipline/Dominance, Submission/Sadism & Masochism): BDSM is an umbrella term covering a range of activities, from playful spanking to power role-playing (think Dominant/Submissive archetypes) or consensual pain play.
A note on consent: Ongoing consent is an essential, non-negotiable part of sex. These dynamic experiences are no different – there must be clearly ascertained, ongoing verbal and non-verbal consent for the duration of your exploration and beyond.
Lead image via @jxlom