BDSM 101

Kitty discusses the reluctance female submissives have about buying their own set of BDSM gear

Just to clarify: This article was written from my experience as a submissive female, and is intended to shed light on why female subs don’t generally have their own BDSM gear and why they should reconsider.

Sometimes I look at my giant pile of BDSM gear and think about how unusual it is for submissive girls to have their own gear bag, and I wonder why that is.

It’s no secret that I have a gear fetish and I’m super spoiled by my Dom who enables said gear fetish so that’s a big part of why my pile has grown so large. That said, this giant pile truly makes me happy in a way that goes beyond the fetish and the materialistic aspect of just having a bunch of really nice, “things.” In a way, the gear validates and empowers me as a submissive.

My gear is a visual representation of my fetishes and what I’m all about in general. Every piece has a function, tells a story, and is a part of the very complicated web of kinks that has rendered me nearly impossible to fuck without the right combo. Its shows my evolution as a submissive and at the same time it makes me feel owned, cared for and secure in my submission.

A big part of the validation comes from the gear being mine, and only mine. It’s my own personal collection and that’s empowering. I’m not waiting around for a knight in shining armor to ride in with a leather hood so I can indulge in my hood fetish. I already have a hood, and it fits how I want it to fit, and I can use it whenever I want to. That’s empowering to me.

When you look close and see that my cuffs and collars are broken in and have scratches and stories to tell it will give you a sense that this isn't my firstBDSM rodeo. I’m graceful with the buckles and straps, and comfortable with how everything should fit and function, thus my years of real life experience show through in those moments and I find that validating as well.

Thinking back to my early days in BDSM I remember there were things I was interested in (like gags and collars), but I was still sorting out who I was as a sub and wasn't quite ready to hook up with a Dom. So, I had these things I wanted to try, but I sure as hell wasn't going to hook up with someone for the sake of trying it and the drive wasn't strong enough at that point to go shopping for it on my own. I honestly didn't think it was an option for me to go out and buy my own stuff. It seemed weird, and I certainly didn't see any other subs doing it. So I think that slowed down my process of self discovery in that time.

In the past I read my fair share of “newbie sub advice” articles that told me all the things a “good sub” should do. They mostly revolved around the cliche that my submission is a gift (thanks for deciding that for me), how to choose a Dom (Because apparently only a small percentage aren’t serial killers), and vague advice on how to stay safe in a scene. So the basic themes were: guys are bad, and I need to protect my virtue. Which is exactly how the vanilla girl articles read but with different vocabulary. How progressive.

Oddly, not once was it ever suggested that I go buy some bondage gear to play with on my own as a way to understand myself better, learn how bondage works, and learn what turns me on. You know- practical stuff that helps you grow as a person. Bondage is a pretty big part of play so I think that subs should be encouraged to explore their options since they are the ones actually wearing the gear. I also feel like subs are obligated to have a sense of how things work just for safety reasons, and nobody ever really talks about that. If you never tried playing with any gear on your own you might just assume your Dom is the knower of all things and go along with every idea he has… and let me tell you- I’ve seen Doms have some pretty terrible ideas.

We can all agree that a lot of BDSM is pretending like the sub suffers endlessly, lives only to serve, and never gets what she wants, but a good Dom is going to care about your preferences and want to work them into play. If you have a little pile of things you know you really like then that will give him a starting point. You will be able to skip over a lot of trial and error that new relationships have to go through and can get right down to business expanding on those fantasies together.

It’s generally accepted that the Dom needs to have all the gear which is fine, but keep in mind all of his fetishes may not be yours and vice versa. For example, maybe you like gags a lot, and that’s not at the top of his list. So I guess that means you get to spend the whole relationship with a sad wiffle ball gag, and nobody wants to experience their fetish that way. It’s easier to just have a gag you love and not have to spend time convincing every new person you play with to upgrade their collection to meet your specific fetish.

I can understand for girls that a lot the BDSM exchange is based on emotions and connection.. So, playing with gear in absence of a Dom overseeing it might seem a little weird and may not feel as sexy at first. I think having some alone time with your gear helps you learn how things work when not already in subspace, and is a good way to get a working knowledge of how BDSM gear functions as well as gain some experience if interested in switching. You can know what realistic time frames are and what features (padding, buckle type, material) make something more functional and comfortable.

   

When you’re shopping for yourself you can get gear that’s the right size for you, as well as learn what styles you like. It seems that most of the standard sized cuffs you get from a store are “boy sized” meaning even the smallest set of cuffs don't fit most girl’s wrists perfectly, and that really does make a difference when playing. Having things that fit your body perfectly will always function better and feel better. After trying a few pairs of cuffs you might decide on a specific style you like for a particular type of play. Maybe something more padded and bulky for lots of struggling or cuffs that are low profile and slim. I have different cuffs for different types of play and they all have benefits.

Speaking of comfort, you can include the little things that make bondage scenes more comfy for you. Maybe you know that handcuffs always end up hurting your wrists, so you have a set of cuff wraps in case that comes up during play, or maybe you know that kneeling and crawling is a challenge for you so you have some knee pads or a matt. Those are the little details that can make a scene more fun overall if you’re not hurting in a way that not intended by your top. Additionally, you might have an aftercare item that you really like - a fur mitt for petting or a hello kitty blanket to snuggle with.

Another benefit of having your own gear is being able to weed out fakers. I’ve talked to a lot of Doms and they all talk a big game. You can get a sense of his real world experience if he’s saying stupid shit like,“...then you’ll be gagged and plugged for the rest of the day.” You’ll know that gagged time is gonna be about 30 min at most, so you’ll be able to ask him appropriate follow up questions to gauge where he’s at with his expectations, and make sure everyone is on the same page..

This applies to plugs and dildos too.. It is always better to have a sense of the sizes that work for you. If a Dom starts showing you the “ass blaster 3000” plugs in his collection you can put the brakes on it faster, and insist he only use the ones you bring that work for you.

Sadly, relationships don’t always work out, and when you have your own gear you won't be back to square one should that happen. You wont pine over the specific bondage combo some ex-Douche-Dom had that the new guy doesn’t.. Not to mention- good luck explaining to new guy that you need him to go buy this grocery list of stuff so he can bang you as good as the last guy did. Having your own gear takes a lot of the emotional attachment out of it in general. You won’t feel like you can only do certain things with certain guys and it empowers you to learn what you like and ask for that. You won’t have a bunch of feelings attached to a certain object, and you will feel like you can always just “take your ball and go home” if things aren’t going right, and you don’t have to be all.. “Well, If I break up with this guy I guess I don’t have a hood fetish anymore.”

Having your own gear is helpful for pickup play at dungeons. It’s easy for the other person to jump in and do what you like, and you can feel safe with how clean it is. You can also limit what things enter a scene by just saying this is what he has to work with, and that will make negotiating easier.

I’ve personally come a long way in my BDSM journey so it’s easy for me to identify all the reasons why having gear is helpful because I’m sitting here with a mountain of toys, but we all have to start somewhere. Here are some of the more common reasons I can think of why girls might be reluctant to buy their own gear, and some possible solutions:

   

-Feels pretty slutty. I think this is uniquely a female sub problem because male subs don’t seem to have a problem buying themselves 5 different cock cages for their Dommes to choose from. Like it or not, girls are still raised to think that, “being slutty” is bad. When you’re a female sub buying a bunch of fetish gear becomes physical proof you are interested in these naughty things that only sluts would like. Combine that with the standard fetish shame people have and I think that discourages subs from buying things at all. One solution would be for Doms to start gifting their subs a few pieces of gear here and there. Things she can keep that become hers forever. She can blame the Dom for making her like slutty stuff but the idea of having her own toybag becomes and option.

-Doms might not like the gear and wont want to use it / feels like a waste to buy it at all. If a Dom has a problem with you having your own gear then thats a big red flag about his insecurities. As far as I can tell, any Dom would be thrilled to find a girl that has a bag of toys that really does it for her. You might not use every piece of your gear you have with a Dom, but that doesn't mean you shouldn’t have it if you like it.

-Feels like topping from the bottom to direct what you want. As long as you’re not mid-scene and directing which collar to use, that’s not topping from the bottom. Think of it as part of the negotiation process and you’re just being a super helpful sub to give your Dom/Top some ideas to start with. Then once the scene starts they decide what’s going to happen.

-Don’t know where to shop. For some reason it seems pretty hard to find good quality BDSM gear shops. As a general rule, you should always avoid regular sex toy shops when looking for bonadge gear and find places that specialize in it. We’ve done a lot of shopping and these are a few of our favorite places that will never let you down: Mr-S Leather, Top-To-Bottom Leathers, Church of Sinvention, Fragile Desires, Restricted Senses, Bitches Love Leather, and of course the Discerning Specialist. This is by no means a complete list as there are many other great stores that specialize in specific item types, I just like leather a lot :)

Keep an eye out for pieces you like when browsing sites like Fetlife or Instagram, and inquire with the person who posted the pics. Most people will happily tell you where they got something, so don’t be shy. Also keep in mind that if you are shopping for a super specific item you can always reach out to a bondage gear review site like this one for some guidance.

If you still can't find what you are looking for, definitely consider commissioning a custom piece from vendors on Etsy. Starting the process is usually as easy as just sending an email and it’s not as weird or creepy as you might think. When I first started getting custom gear I was kinda shy and felt weird requesting things, but rest assured that whatever custom thing you want couldn't possibly be the weirdest request they've ever gotten. Do however try and pick an appropriate vendor for the project you want to do; keeping an eye out for similar items they have already made so a reasonable starting point. Also be prepared to communicate all your needs such as sizing, hardware placement, etc. Not everyone will need to make a CAD drawing, but a sketch can go a long way helping communicate.

I also wanted to mention that if you happen to find a shop that hasn't been recommended to you and they seem to have nice gear, but you don’t know anything about them or their reliability you can shoot them a quick email and get a sense of their response time and customer service before you start shopping. If still concerned then make your first order a small one and see how that goes.

-Too expensive. Getting really nice bondage gear can definitely be expensive, but keep in mind that when you invest in the higher quality gear you will have a better experience overall. It really does make a difference. You wouldn’t wash your hair with dish soap and then wonder why it looks horrible, and you can’t do anything with it. That applies to bondage gear as well. If you buy the cheapest version of the toy you're shopping for then you will have a bad experience. Best case scenario you will have to re-buy it from a better store, and worst case you will have such a bad experience that you give up on something that’s actually super fun. You set the bar high with everything else in you life, so I would suggest doing the same when it comes to this.

-Worried it won’t feel as special when a Dom collars you. Play collars and cuffs are really just tools, so I promise that getting that special collar from your Dom will feel every bit as special as intended. If anything, it will ensure you don’t get an awful petsmart dog collar if you already have a fancy collar you got from somewhere else. He will know you are a lady with standards.

In conclusion, I hope this has helped to inspire subs to do some shopping and start a toy bag of their own. You’re the one that’s going to be wearing it, so there’s no downside to having a set of gear that’s comfortable, and is only used by you. Doms/Tops will appreciate having a place to start with the scene planning, and you won’t lose every piece of gear you’ve gotten used to should you move on to a new play partner. It’s unlikely that your fetishes are going to go away, so it only makes sense that you have toy bag that reflects your kinks instead of trying to convince each play partner to buy stuff for your fetish.

 

 

 

 

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