Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step and decided to take the plunge into the kink community. Now what? When one first starts dipping their toes into the wonderful world of kink, it can be easy to think that there is only two possible options: Dominant or submissive. I certainly got caught in that trap when I was starting out. It took me a while to realize that kink is a free-flowing thing that doesn’t come in neat little boxes. Once I realized my infinite options, I was off and running.
As a poly pansexual sadomasochistic switch, I like ALL the things. Yes, I do. Kink is a giant ice cream store and I want to try all of the flavors. The beauty of switching is the options it gives you. There is so much out there to explore. So how does one break free of those narrow two boxes and start coloring outside of the lines?
First, you need to take the time to get to know your needs and desires. This is the most crucial and important step. Sit down with yourself, and get to know YOU. Until you figure out what it is that you are seeking, you will be unable to communicate it to prospective partners. A partner that doesn’t know what it is you want is just blindly flailing around in the dark hoping to hit their target. That is an unfair burden to put on your partners, as nobody is born a mind reader. The more you know of yourself, and the better you are at communicating your needs, the better your chances of getting your needs met.
It might take a while to figure out what it is that you want to explore, and that is okay. Think of kink as an open buffet, and put what interests you onto your plate. You can always come back for seconds if that particular dish appeals to you. Sample all of the things: Bondage, impact play, strap on play, sensory deprivation, sissification, humiliation. The possibilities are endless. If you try something and it does not work for you, you don’t have to try it again. Or maybe it will work for you, but on the other side of the coin. Focus on the things that “click” for you. You will know when something feels right.
Once you have a better idea of the kinks you wish to explore, you have to decide how your play will look. Some people switch fluidly with a partner, both adopting various roles in a single session as the mood strikes. Others may find switching that quickly in such a short period of time jarring, as they can only process one mindset at a time. For some, once they dive into a submissive or a Dominant headspace, it takes them awhile to come out of it. If this is how you are wired, switching in the course of a single play session will not work for you.
Luckily, there is no right or wrong way to switch. You may find that you have strongly submissive energy with one person, and a different person brings out a more Dominant energy in you. Find the people that bring out the energy you are craving, and explore it further.
A word of warning to my fellow switches: it can frustrate some people that you don’t pick a box and stick with it. Like bisexuals, switches are often labeled as “confused” or greedy, unable to make up our minds. We are not confused. Greedy? Perhaps. I am blissfully guilty of greed, and I have no shame in my game. Don’t let one true way purists harsh your shine. There is no one true way to kink. There is only what works for you and your partners. Go forth, and switch it up! You have nothing to lose and a world full of experience to gain.
Rain DeGrey is an international educator and presenter who has lectured at Harvard and Northwestern. She regularly teaches classes on a wide variety of sexual and kink topics, writes a bi-monthly advice column, and blog. For more information, event listings and classes, check out her website raindegrey.com!