Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Do I Get Started In BDSM?

Hi Dr. NerdLove – 
My husband wants to experiment in BDSM play, specifically being dominated.  I’m on board with this but he either won’t or can’t tell me what he wants.  I’ve tried suggesting different ideas but he says no to all of them.  I think he hope that I’ll just do some stuff that he’ll like.  How can I make him understand that none of this can happen without having some frank conversations about expectations, rolls and boundaries?  I need some guidance! 
Domme In Distress

I think your husband has a very specific – and possibly porn-inspired – fantasy about what BDSM is. My guess is that he thinks that if he’s at all involved with the planning, or if he’s aware of any planning at all, that the whole thing isn’t “real”. It’s similar to how couples tend to think that planning when you’re going to have sex makes it less special somehow. In reality, making plans is one of the best things you can do for keeping things hot; not only does it ensure that you’ve reserved time and made arrangements to keep that particular appointment, but you get all of that lovely antici…

…pation leading up to it.

Now, when it comes to BDSM scenes, planning isn’t just hot, it’s goddamn required. To start with, you’re right: you need to know where his yes’, his no’s and hell no’s are. The fact that you’re the domme and he’s the sub doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have boundaries or limits… or control for that matter. It’s a cliche amongst kinksters, but subs are the ones who’re in control of the scene. After all, they’re the ones who have the power to call things off. And it’s important to know what he’s into and not into because you, as his domme, need to know how to execute those fantasies effectively and safely. Kink is a full-contact sport after all, and doing it wrong can cause serious damage. Tie someone’s hands wrong and you can potentially cause serious nerve damage, for example.

So if your husband wants to be dominated, he’s going to need to be a full and active partner in this.

But here’s a way you can thread this needle: tell him he’s going to tell you what he wants. If he’s going to be a good little sub, then he needs to provide his domme with his list of yes/no/maybe. Otherwise, he’s going to have to just sit there and live without… especially if he has to sit there and watch you watch some BDSM porn from Kink.com.

While you’re getting his list, you should do your due diligence too. There’re a number of excellent books to help ease you into the scene; I especially recommend  Midori’s Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink: Educational, Sensual, and Entertaining Essays, Violet Blue’s The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy and Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge. There’re also sites like KinkAcademy that provide excellent instructional videos.

And if you want to stoke the fires a little, consider assigning him some reading material too. There’s a lot of BDSM erotica out there, even if most of it features male doms and female subs; giving him some food for fantasy might motivate him to get you that list and start that conversation a little quicker than just browsing Pornhub on his off-hours. You might want to check out Stjepan Sejic’s graphic novel Sunstone and it’s upcoming sequel Mercy; they’re gorgeous and sweet as well as being almost unspeakably sexy.

But remember: until you two have had that discussion – or series of discussions, for that matter – this can’t move forward. And that means your husband needs to be a good sub and do his part as well.

Good luck.


Hi Dr NerdLove,

I have recently gotten out of a long relationship and have gotten back into the world of dating. Now I have used dating apps before, but that was when I was 22. Being 26 now, I am beginning to feel that the dating world landscape has changed a lot.

I guess I will just start with my main question. How do you juggle chatting and dating multiple people when you are monogamist by nature? What has been happening is that I feel like I am being flooded with messages and likes by multiple girls and I am not sure how to handle it. In the past, it was almost always one at a time as I was not usually getting that much attention. I always though it was somehow associated with being nerdy, but now I am positive it was just my age and lack of dating experience. I have no idea how girls personally handle this, and I don’t think the amount of attention I am getting is particularly overloading, but it already making me a bit stressed.

I know a lot of other guy’s might read this and just roll their eyes, I am honestly am trying to find the right person, but don’t want to accidentally grow attached to someone who is not the right fit while ignoring someone that could be really compatible, just because I am feeling too tired to interact with them. I have already avoided messaging back to people or even viewing the message so that way I can give myself some breather and then try to dedicate the right time to actually get to know them properly.

My second issue is dealing with what will happen when I start going out on a few dates. I know once I start to feel it out I will gravitate towards one person. That means that the girls I have talked to I will have to let them know that I am not interested in that way. It makes me feel terrible, yet I don’t really feel its inherently wrong. If I am lucky, I may not have to deal with that and the girls I don’t have as much chemistry with will feel the same way (cross fingers).

My plan is to just take deep breaths, not worry, and things will probably just sort themselves out over time.

Thanks for listening,

A Monogamous Guy

You’re seriously overthinking things AMG. The fact that you’re getting lots of attention and messages on the apps doesn’t mean that you’re somehow betraying your monogamist nature; it just means that you’re popular and have multiple options. It’s not as though just talking to potential matches starts the countdown to a committed relationship that you can’t get out of; all that’s going on is that you’re starting to get to know people. Maybe they’ll intrigue you enough to go on a date – a date, singular – with them and see how it goes. Maybe after chatting, you’ll realize there’s no real emotional chemistry there.

Similarly, going on a date, or even a string of dates with someone doesn’t lock you in to a relationship with them. You’ve just gone on some dates; until the two of you actually have that Defining The Relationship talk where you both agree that you’re exclusive, then you’re hardly making an unbreakable commitment.

Also: you don’t really need to give all those other women a formal Thanks But No Thanks once you’ve started something committed with somebody. It’s generally accepted that the connections you’re making via Tinder, OKCupid or what-not are weak and without any real expectation of commitment. If you two’ve been talking for a while and have gone on a date or two then yes, it’s polite to say “hey, it’s been great meeting you but I don’t think we’re right for one another. Good luck with your search!” But if it’s just been casual chit-chat that might lead up to an actual date? Then just let things fade on their own. Conversations dry up and people just quit talking; that’s part of the online dating experience. Most people assume that the folks they’re talking to are also talking to other people. Sometimes that means they’re going to decide they’re taking a chance with someone else, and the other conversations just fade away. It’s an expected part of how things go on the apps.

To be perfectly honest, AMG, I think you’re inventing trouble for yourself. You’ve let yourself get so stressed over the things you imagine that you haven’t even taken the first step to deal with the reality of it all. Take a deep breath, check out the profiles of the people who’ve messaged you. If they interest you, then talk to them for a little and see if that interest goes further. If you two get along, propose a pre-date date where you meet for 15 minutes for coffee and see if you two have sufficient physical chemistry to go on a proper date. If their profile doesn’t interest you? Then just ignore the message and move on.

You’ll be fine.

Good luck.

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