Buyer’s Guide to Pup Gear

Ever since I started ToyTorture.com I have been asked why I don’t write about pup gear. There were two reasons for that: First I usually don’t write about fetish gear because there is no way to say that a is better than b when b makes you drool and a leave you cold. Second I am not into pup play and since I always try out the toys I write about myself and I don’t get the head space effect of pup toys I found no way to write about pup toys. But the mails and questions especially from kinkster just getting into the pup scene did not stopp. I have been woofed and growled at, my legs have been humped at events while asking for advice and I have been told that it would be totally pawesome if I wrote about pup gear. So as a Christmas treat (ok, enough now of the bad puppy jokes) I spent the last couple of weeks looking at pup gear, talking to pup players and I finally wrote this (Beginners) Buyer’s Guide to Pup Gear.

As always: If I have gotten something wrong or forgot something please let me know and help me improve this article.

Head Gear

What comes to mind first when you talk about puppy gear are the different puppy hoods. They come in two major styles: Full and open hood. Full hood encase the entire head. Since the pup play community has grown there are hoods out there for almost every breed of dog and they are made out of the major fetish materials rubber and leather. While the rubber ones come mostly only in classic black, there is a wide selection of different leather ones out there; just recently Mr S introduced custom leather puppy hoods catering to the most discriminating demands. Open hoods loosely resemble the style of head harnesses. They usually have a snout, ears and sometimes even a collar and come in rubber, neoprene and leather.

Not really specific puppy gear but purposes wise related are muzzles. Designed to keep the mouth of talkative subs or biting K9s shut they are more of a functional toy than designed to enhance the pup looks. You can get them made out of neoprene, leather or rubber, depending on your fetish and play style. The rubber muzzle from Regulation is quite sturdy but if you attach a leash onto it and the pup pulls to hard there is a chance that the rubber will tear. If the puppy is very active, stay with leather. I have talked to some guys who own puppy hoods and muzzles and they said that there are combinations where you can wear a hood and a muzzle. Sadly there is no general rule of thumb so if you want to wear both pieces of gear you have to try it out.

 

Tails

Another distinctive pup play toy is the tail. The most commonly used are tails that are attached to a butt plug. I would recommend the ones from Square Pegs because they are seamless and thus comfortable to wear even for a longer mosh or walk. They come in different tail shapes, colors and butt plug sizes. Choosing the right plug size is a bit difficult. I was told that it is useful to choose a plug one size larger than you can easily take because the tail stays in place even when you wag and romp without having to constantly pinch your sphincter. However the tail is of no use if you can’t insert it at all due to being too big. Another way of keeping the tail in place is wearing a special kind of harness.

This kind of tail has gained quite some popularity in the non-puppy ass play community: When you are wearing a tail while fucking someone the moving momentum of the tail gets transferred to the plug section which than stimulates the prostate.

If you don’t want to wear a plug-style tail Oxballs and Square Peg have recently introduced tails without the plug. The Square Peg one comes with a base and is designed to be put through a hole, or can be attached to a neoprene or leather harness, the Oxballs is designed to be attached to a special harness.

 

 

Collars

The origin of collars in the BDSM scene as a sign of submission and belonging come from the dog collars. So it is only natural that they fulfill the same purpose in the pup play community. Besides being an indicator they are also practical for attaching a leash or a dog tag.

Collars are probably the piece of pup gear with the widest selection of options. They come in nearly every material and color used in kink. Either coordinate it with your hood or harness or use the collar color as a hanky. If you want an inescapable feeling you can get locking ones or if you want some added play value I recommend getting a collar with more than one D-ring.

If the pup still needs training a shock collar might be the item to get. Especially for novice pups I would recommend shock collars made for BDSM purposes. If you choose one for dogs be real careful with the intensity. The electrodes and outputs are designed to even have a distinct effect when going through thick fur. Since with humans the electrodes touch bare skin on high intensity levels they can leave burn marks or cause nerve damage!

Mitts and Knee Pads

Since puppys tend to be on all fours while playing and the human being isn’t really made for this posture, protection is needed. Mitts are a little bit more fetish than security item. Usually a pup can see where he places his palms, so when choosing mitts the appearance is more important. The most commonly used types of mitts are either lockable bondage ones made out of rubber or leather which leave the pup at the mercy of their handler or mitts that have paw-like prints or cut-outs glued to the bottom. On the other hand knee pads are essential for long term pup play. When being on the knees for an extended period of time they provide comfort and protection, especially when walking around outdoor. They might not look sexy and I haven’t found ones yet tailored to the aesthetic demands of the pup community but every pup player I talked to highly recommended softly padded ones for every pup who enjoys kneeing and being on all fours for extended periods of time.

 

Harnesses

Finding the right harness for a puppy is a two step process: First you need to consider how active the puppy is. If you attach a leash to an active puppy via the harness its material should withstand greater forces so I would recommend buying a leather harness. Otherwise you can either choose rubber, leather or neoprene. The second question is the style: For a more “natural” puppy look I was told to rather take chest harnesses instead of full body harnesses. This doesn’t limit your options that much since in the last couple of years a lot of different chest harness styles – Bulldog, Pitbull, English, Top or Hunter – came out. Like with collars you can most of the times add a second color for piping to match the rest of your gear or express a certain preference hankylike.

Accessories and Play Toys

Once the puppy is full dressed in gear the is an endless amount of accessories out there. A good one to start with are dog tags so other pups and handlers can read the pup name. Besides the dog tags traditionally being made out of metal Oxballs designed cockrings with an attached dog tag so you can show your fetish even when being out in a club without and puppy gear.

When it comes to toys for the actual play, the possibilities are endless. The most common are dog bowls, bite and squeaky toys, either made for bio dogs or from special fetish manufacturers. Naming them all is impossible so I recommend going out to your local pet or fetish store.

 

Items designed for bio dogs

Some players want the real deal and buy stuff designed for bio dogs. In most cases they are a bit cheaper than BDSM toys and naturally of cause more authentic. But always keep in mind that they weren’t design for humans. Especially when it comes to collars they are designed to be worn over a thick fur so irritations are possible. If you want real dog gear I recommend trying it out even more thoroughly than you would do with normal BDSM gear even though that might get you some weird looks at the pet store.

What you should never do is eat real dog food! Most dog food has crushed bones mixed into in order to keep the teeth of dogs from getting too long. The human set of teeth and digestion organs are not design to deal with such food! If you want an almost dog-like appeal by dog treats, give the content to a bio dog and put beef jerky into them.

Buyers Guide to Restraints

About every other week I get a message asking me about different aspects of choosing the right restraints. So in order to get back into writing articles, I condensed the collected answers into this piece. If you feel something is missing or have a recommendation, feel free to send me an e-mail.

 

Materials

Restraints can be made out of any material that is somewhat soft and can withstand force. Because of that I will only cover the most common ones you will come across in most stores. Some special kind of restraints like Segufix or everything only made out of metal will probably be featured in a future article.

Leather

It is the most common material to make restraints out of. It is very durable if taken correct care off, will withstand force and is soft and gentle to the skin – if you take the right leather. The right leather means a more softer (and mostly thinner) hide on the inside (mostly calf, lamb or fine cow) and a thicker, sturdier hide on the outside (mostly cow, bull, swine, but also kangaroo or buffalo).

Leather Restraints

Leather Restraints

I would advise you not to be doing too much of kinky on a budget when purchasing leather restraints. First they are an investment that will stay with you for many years and you will use in almost every scene, secondly in recent years east Asian manufacturers discovered the kink market. Their quality of products ranges from shocking to fairly decent. The biggest issue with any leather toys from Asia are that most hides are treat with chemicals like Chromium to save time and money. You will most likely wear this kind of leather on your bare skin which can lead to allergies. And unlike jeans p.e. you can’t wash restraints 10 times in order to get the chemicals out of there. This will not be the case with every leather toy you will get from East Asia but it is something to keep in mind, especially when you shop around on eBay. I would always recommend investing a few bucks more and support a local dealer who knows where is products come from.

Fabric

Most fabric restraints are made out of nylon but I have seen cotton, canvas and even cevlar ones. They are lighter and smaller than leather restraints and are mostly on the lower end of the price range. This makes them good for starters or if you want to keep a little emergency set in your toy box just in case you forget you bondage bag. Depending on the material they are really easy to clean and disinfect.

Rubber

There are two types of rubber restraints out there: the one made out of soft latex that is also used on fetish wear and thicker, harder rubber (in Germany we call them „old tires“).

As much as I love rubber as a material general speaking but for a few exceptions rubber restraints are not made for hard play. You can restrict movement with them but if someone really struggles or fights against them, they will probably break (I have destroyed three pairs so far in my BDSM career). The thicker rubber ones are able to withstand more force but are also stiffer. You can find them for little money on eBay but most of the time they just cut rubber mats in stripes and added a few metal piece. But due to being stiff the edges are hard and can cause bruises when struggling in them. If you purchase such restraints in a dedicated kink store the edges will most likely be deburred which makes them less harmful but they still won’t be comfortable.

If you want more comfortable rubber restraints go for the latex ones. They are as soft as any rubber attire piece. Sadly the comfort is traded in for durability. The manufacturers try to deal with the issue by putting fabric tape between two layers of latex. I am definitely not the strongest sub in the world and a layer of fabric tape between two layers of 0.9mm of latex didn’t stop me from tearing them apart. I have talked to my local kink master mind at Demask in Dortmund and he told me that Kevlar as a fabric is really the only way to make durable simple rubber restraints. But Kevlar is a difficult material to work with as is rubber and latex overall. Thus the prices for rubber restraints are rather high compared to leather ones. However there is a big benefit with rubber restraints: unlike leather they can get a dirty and wet as you want them to be. So if you want to restrain yourself or your sub in the piss area (or nastier places…), I would advise using rubber or…

Neoprene

There a number of different neoprene variants out there all of which I have seen turned into restraints. Covering every one would be too much for this article so please check at Wikipedia which one works best for you. All kinds of neoprene are sturdier than rubber and can deal with dirty, wetness and can deal fairly well even with oils so they are the material you want to use in a gunge or oil scene.

 

Construction

Restraints consist of a body and depending on the closing mechanism also a strap.

The body is the part you wrap around the part of the sub’s body you want to restrain.

There are three ways to construct a body:

  1. One piece non-folded: In this case the body is made out of one piece of sturdy (and hopefully somewhat comfy) leather. When purchasing make sure that the edges are not sharp so there is no injury possibility.

    Fold

    Trice Folded Leahter Restraint

  2. One piece folded: A folded one piece is made of a single piece of mostly a bit softer leather folded at least once so on one side you have a piping-like edge. The other side can feature a piping which is not really necessary when the leather is soft enough. Because a piping is always thicker than just a fold the restraint might look a bit imbalanced with piping just on one side. You will find a seam around the open side, good folded restraints also have a seam on the fold for added stability.
  3. Two pieces: Most leather restraints are a two piece construction with stiffer leather on top and softer leather (or fleece, fur, suede etc. as lining) on the inside. Between these layers padding can be added. Padding does not only make restraints more comfortable for long term wearing, they also can create pressure without cutting circulation when you tighten the restraints using a buckle (see below). Since you have two more or less stiff leather edges, good two piece restraints have a piping running around them to make them smoother. The advantage of piping is that it can be made in a different color this bringing a bit more color into your play bag or displaying your hanky.
Padding

Padding on a Leather Restraint

Straps, buckles, D-rings, etc. are mostly held in place by rivets holding down a leather strap (I have seen them sewed down but I strongly believe that just some thread holding down a d-ring a sub is pulling isn’t a good solution). With every construction but the one piece non-fold it is a personal or design decision if you want the counter part of the rivet touching your skin. Since the rivets are mostly made out of stainless steel there is no medical issue with them touching the skin, but the sensation at least at the beginning is a bit different since they are colder and harder than the surrounding leather. Because of that

most of the time the counterparts are put between two layers of leather or below the padding (a prominent example where it isn’t the case are the Mr S Fetters USA Padded Locking Restraints).

 

Closing

The most common method to close a restraint is using a strap with different types of clasps:

  1. Roller Buckle on a two piece Leather Restraint with Piping

    Roller Buckle on a two piece Leather Restraint with Piping

    Buckle: Probably the most traditional closing method that works like a belt. Good buckles have a roller buckle which makes pulling the strap through the buckle more easily. The hole spacing determines how accurately you can adjust the restraints. If the strap is made out of more than one piece of leather the holes should be reinforced by metal rings so that the pin won’t accidently harm the edges of the hole. This is not necessary if you use a locking restraints with eyelets because the “pin” is round and smooth (see below).

  2. Double D-ring: On the end of the strap there are two d-ringthrough which you thread the strap.The advantage of this kind of mechanism is that the restraints can be adjusted steplessly.
Bail closing with a 20mm padlock

Bail closing with a 20mm padlock

Not a clasp but still requiring a strap are bails. The strap has slots punched into it where you pull the bails through. In order to fix the restraints, you can use a carabiner or a padlock. Since the hole distance is mostly the same than with a buckle strap this kind of restraint is as tight as a buckle one but faster and locking. But you always need some hardware to close it.

If you don’t want to deal with a strap there are some restraints out there using (industry grade) Velcro. The advantage of Velcro is that it is easy to handle, steplessly adjustable and gives especially the newbie a sense of security (if something goes wrong, just pull it open).

 

Attachment Points

Once you have put the restraints on, you need to attach them to something in order to restrict the restraint person’s movements. I have seen restraints with just a leather loop sewed to the restraints. I am not really convinced that this will work because leather stretches out and as written under construction I don’t trust threads with holding down power subs. In my opinion the only real deal are D-rings. Most of them are made out of metal but I have seen ones made out of plastic. Because nowadays there are some amazing kinds of strong and durable kinds of plastic out there, I can’t really say anything against them. But I haven’t tried them out; if you have experience with restraints with plastic D-rings, please contact me.

D-Ring hold in place by rivets

D-Ring hold in place by rivets

The majority of metal D-rings are made out of stainless steel so they won’t break – if they are welded. In order to save money I have seen non-welded ones (on the bottom there is a little gap instead of a weldseam). If the force pulling on the D-ring is always directly opposite of the gap, this is no problem. But in most situation the force will pull on one or the other end thus pulling the D-ring open!

Regarding the number of D-rings that is really a personal choice. For “basic” restraints like wrist and ankle one D-ring per restraint is enough, but p.e. for a thigh restraint I would want at least three. General speaking more is better when it comes to the number of D-rings because it gives you more pervy options.

 

Locking

I know off two ways of building in a locking option into a restraint: the eyelet way and the Mr S way (I call it that way because I have only seen it used on restraints by Mr S). When using the eyelet way there is a small eyelet inside the pin of the buckle where you put a padlock through. The eyelet is usually big enough for a 20mm padlock.

Locking Buckle with Eyelet

Locking Buckle with Eyelet

The big downside of this method is that through the eyelet the pin gets fairly wide thus the holes in the strap have to be larger and can’t be reinforced by rivets. The last point is only a style thing: there is less metal on the restrains and the belt should be made out of a single piece of thick leather (s.o.). The first point is influencing play because due to the larger holes you can’t close the restraints in as fine pitches as with a normal pin buckle.

Mr S has found a solution for that: they take a normal pin buckle and put a stud with an eyelet behind the buckle. Once you have closed the strap in the buckle you fix the buckle in place over the stud and put a 20mm padlock inside the eyelet. Through this combination you can adjust the restraints finely and still lock it.

 

Types of restraints

Most people think of the leather cuffs for wrists and ankles when they hear restraints. But there are a lot of other cuffs out there so you can create a Segufix-like full body suspension: Cuffs for thighs, upper arms and belts for chest and hips. And for special purpose´s there are a ton of different special restraints out there like:

This list makes no claim of being complete because there are a lot of pervy minds out there creating new and exciting kink gear every day.

 

What restraints should I buy?

I have written this article to give a short (and probably incomplete) overview what aspects of a restraint impacts the play so you can make a decision what you want to look for when you shop around for restraints.

Double D-ring

Double D-ring

In my opinion even if you are a rope top you should at least have a pair of wrist and ankle restraints just in case you want to quickly suspend someone. If you are a sub you should own the perfect (and perfectly fitting!) restraints you want to have used on you so there is not disappointment when the top wants to restrain you and his don’t fit.

What specific restraints I would recommend really depends on your budget. You can get a pair of high quality leather restraints for around 50€ (like mine from McHurt), if you can deal with the uncertainty of the way the hides have been treated, pick up the ones from The Anubis Pack because you get entire basic set plus thigh restraints and collar for £56.If money isn’t really an issue I would recommend the locking restraints from Fetters USA from Mr S. I brought them over from the US for a friend of mine, they are great manufacturing and leather quality , are locking and have to D-rings, basically anything I would want in a pair of restraints but that comes with a price: $129.95 for the wrist restraints, $139.95 for the ankle restraints. What I would always recommend is going to your local kink store, try them out, get an experts opinion and buy what you feel comfortable with.

 

If you have any further question, you can always write me an e-mail, send me a tweet @ToyTorture or hit me up on Recon or PlanetRomeo at SubRub.

Rubber 101

About the material

The basic material of rubber is natural rubber which is harvested in form of latex milk from rubber trees (hevea brasiliensis). When drying this milk turns into natural latex. However in this form you can’t work with the material because it is very sticks, breaks under cold and will disintegrate under heat. In order to turn the latex milk into a usable material a process called vulcanization is applied to the latex using sulfur, pressure and heat. During this process the white latex turns yellow due to the heat and the sulfur. If another color is desired pigments are added during the vulcanization.

Material properties

Generally speaking rubber is a very fragile and demanding material.

Latex milk consists of long polymer chains with free molecule endings. This “free” ends will join with the sulfur inside the material under heat and pressure but will stay free on the surface. Usually oxygen will dock on these ends causing redox which will change to color of the latex or can even destroy it (how to prevent this later on when I talk about taking care of you rubber). Also this effect is responsible of the friction when you put on a rubber piece.

Other harmful influences are ozone and UV-light, reactive metals like silver and cooper, plastificantes, oils and fats (this includes deodorant and perfume!) except silicone oil and great force.

On the plus side there is the flexibility and high thermal conductivity. But rubber mustn’t be overstretched because than it will not return to its original form.

The thrill of rubber gear

I am often asked what attracts me to rubber. There are a bunch of different factors. First there is the smell, than there is the touch of the surface, the feeling of the material tightly wrapping around your body. It is hard to put into words why rubber is something special. At best try it on at a local fetish dealer and find out for yourself.

Why is rubber gear so expensive?

Until the 1980s rubber was widely used in hospitals for various purposes like mattress covers or catheter because it was an easy to clean and quite robust material. But with the availability of cheap one-time products the demand for sheets of rubber decreased rapidly. Nowadays sheets of rubber which are suitable for skin contact and well made enough for lasting long are nearly exclusively made for the performing arts and fetish industry which leads to smaller quantities being made and thus increased price.

With its elastic properties rubber is a material which can only be processed by hand so there is a large chunk of manual labor cost in the price which can hardly be driven down with scale effects. Add to that the usual pervert’s mark up and you end with the price of rubber gear.

How rubber gear is made

There are two major ways of making rubber gear: gluing and dipping. For dipping you dip a form p.e. for gloves, simple shirts or a mask into liquid latex, get it out and let it dry. The advantage of this the speed large numbers of items can be made but it is very hard to create an even material thickness.

For any larger and more complex items like suits, multicolor shirts, etc. the sheets of rubber are cut into pieces using patterns and glued together. There are manufacturers who sew rubber together but since this will cost elasticity I would not recommend it.

Another non industrial way of making gear is using liquid latex. You apply the liquid on the body and let it dry a little bit. This can be a nice and very sensual experience especially when done together but make sure that the body area is completely hairless! Otherwise you will rip them out when pulling the rubber off.

Choosing a Style

You can have nearly everything wearable made out of rubber starting with everyday attire over special play wear like suits with codpieces and zippers on important places up to super hero costumes. Since everybody has a different kind and preference I will not recommend something here. However I heavily advise you to not order your first piece over the internet without trying it on! On the one hand some things look better on you in your fantasy than in reality and it sometimes can be quite shocking when you wear your dream piece and it looks horrible on you. On the other hand normal clothes sizes don’t transfer one to one into rubber gear sizes. Depending on the effect you want to achieve – ranging from loose casual fit to skintight – you will need to find the right size for you which again can be a pleasant surprise (when you need an S instead of you usual L) or shocking (XL pants due to your thighs instead of M).

Choosing the Right Material Thickness

This is a tricky decision. Rubber clothing comes in material thicknesses between 0,18mm and 1,6mm which leaves you with a lot of choices.  The thinner the rubber, the better it will wrap around your body and the more you will feel touch through it. Also, thinner rubber is cheaper. However: It will tear more easily when you get stuck on something like p.e. a corner of the bar counter.

Thicker rubber is sturdier; when wearing it you feel the material presence much more and when you go beyond 1mm thickness on a made to measure piece the pressure it applies to your body can be an own kind of sensation during a bondage scene. Also I have made the experience that the thicker the rubber the more intense is the smell but that might be subjective.

But sturdiness can cause problems. The thicker the material to more draft is applied on the glue seams which are more likely to give in when moving a lot or with a lot of force.

Using Rubber

Due to the material properties it can be hard to get into rubber because it will stick to your skin. To prevent this use talc powder or silicon oil on the inside. Both will create a non-stick layer on the rubber. Also silicon oil is used to give the rubber the nice shiny look many rubber fetishists find attractive.

When playing in rubber mind the material properties. Too much draft will cause rips or hurt the glue seams. You will soon get a feeling what you can or can’t do in your gear.

Taking care of your rubber gear

As written above, rubber is a material which needs a bit of care.

Storing Rubber

Rubber is best stored in a dark place on a clothes hanger made out of plastic to prevent exposition to UV light and keep it from getting wrinkles. If you have gotten wrinkles into your gear try a mild dryer program. Sometimes this will get them out. To prevent it from redoxing soak it in silicone oil about once a month. Because especially thin rubber tends to stick together apply talc powder inside and outside on your gear.

Washing Rubber

After each usage wash your rubber with warm water and some form of soap. But yet again, make sure that you don’t use something with oils or perfume in it. The most basic curd soap, non-sented detergents or hyper allergic washing gel are good. There is a special rubber washing solution called Hexi Blue available which was once made for hospitals and is now nearly only used for fetish purposes. It has a bit of silicone oil in it so it keeps you from soaking your gear in it. However Hexi Blue is quite expensive and hard to get.

What if I am a lazy boy?

There is a solution for dealing with the stickiness and partly with the aging and the washing. You can chlorinate the rubber so that the oxygen on the free ends is replaced with chlorine. This will cost you a bit of latex smell for the first months and will alter the feeling a bit since it doesn’t stick to your skin anymore but has the advantage that you can put your rubber on like a cotton shirt, it will not age as rapidly as unhandled gear and doesn’t need instant washing after sessions or stuff put on it for storage. Also you don’t have to soak it in silicone oil as often as normal rubber.

BDSM Home Pharmacy

Even though all BDSM sessions should be RACK or SSC and thus shouldn’t harm the subs (or even the tops) body and soul there is always a slight chance that even in the most safe and controlled atmosphere something goes wrong. Here is a little selection of items I recommend to keep in the house to deal with the most common play related injuries.

But first, a word of warning: Most medicines which are used on the outside contain some form of oils so they can harm your rubber!

Medicine

I presume that every household has some form of basic painkiller like ASS at home. Besides that some form of magnesium is an essential especially after long and hard bondage to prevent cramps. Another way to prevent cramps, to deal with muscle problems or bruises are cooling and heating gels or cool and heat packs (p.e. a grain pillow). They are also handy for first treatment when you’ve got a fracture or got a dislocation.

Not really necessary but useful to minimize the post-session problems is some form of aluminum chloride mono compound solution for gargling after deep throating. If you have swallowed a lot of piss, spit or even nastier things make sure to have something at hand to calm your stomach. I use medicinal clay for it but others use artichoke or some form of tonic preparation. It takes some time to figure out what works best for you.

Bandages

Most BDSM related injuries can be taken care of with plasters. Some pharmacies sell especially thick ones. Have some of them at hand when your nipples are really sore and you have to work the next day.

But sometimes heavier wounds can occur p.e. after a heavy single tail whipping scene or when you have gotten a fracture or dislocation. Both things need immediate treatment from a doctor! But having some bandages at home for a first treatment is advisable.

Ointment

Most sessions end in some sore areas or abrasion. To make them heal more quickly a couple of different ointments are useful. When you have played really hard and the skin is already weeping or shows small scissures you should use some kind of panthenol ointment. If the skin is “just” red after spanking or flogging a salve with urea, tea tree oil and maybe some cooling additive compound like peppermint extract will do the job. Since peppermint extract is quite aggressive do not put a crème containing it on cracked skin!

Especially after anal play I recommend calendula lotion for the anus and the sphincter.

Mental Health

Most Kinkster underestimate the mental impact a session, especially a mental breakdown can have. So it is always wise to have some way to heal a sore soul. The easiest physical thing to brighten someone’s mood is candy, especially chocolate. Sometimes the top has driven the sub so far over the edge that his touch and presence is not comforting but scaring and thus makes the situation only worse. Most subs I have talked to prefer a firm pillow or a stuffed animal in that situation.

Miscellaneous

Just to make this article complete, here a list of items most of us have already at home:

–          Condoms

–          Disposable Gloves

–          Rope cutter

Rough and Safer Sex

On December 1st 1981 AIDS become an official illness. Since then the medical research, safer sex education and awareness for STDs has made great progress. However, still every year people get infected and still people are dying. Not only in poor countries like in Africa or Asia but as well in the so called developed western world.

When talking to people about HIV and STDs before and after my speeches on BDSM I often hear that safer sex isn’t a big issue in the pervert scene because “traditional” sex and thus traditional ways of infection are not as common as in the vanilla scene. This might be true to a certain extend but never the less: STDs and especially AIDS is something that effect everybody, especially gay people and especially the ones living a promiscuous life style. So I would like to honor the world AIDS day by not only asking you to think of the people living with this still incurable disease and remember all the dear friends and idols who have died in the last three decades but also give some advice on safer BDSM sex. This article’s intention is not to make you frightened but to raise awareness for the problem and show you that it is not so difficult to care for yourself and your sex partners.

1. Get tested!

This might sound trivial but it is the most important thing to do. Know your STD status! Get tested on a regular basis, at least once every half year. A test once in a blue moon to calm your conscious doesn’t do any good for anybody.

We are so anxious that our gear is in good shape that we sometimes forget this is not the only thing which can harm someone we at least care about to meet once. Knowing that you won’t harm your bottom when you deep throat him or let him lick the spit from your boots is not only a good feeling but shows that you are a caring master. And as a sub it should be natural that you keep your body in good shape and let your master know about any illnesses right away.

Also, getting a positive test result on any STD isn’t the end of the world and fun. Most STDs can be cured pretty quickly. And if you should get tested positive for the HI virus, it will be hard, but it is not a death sentence anymore. It is you only chance to survive!

2. Get informed and think about the risk you want to take

A doctor of mine told me once: All safer sex is ridiculous if it keeps you from having joyful sex. So get informed about ways of infection, think about what you like to do/ have done to you and where possible infections risks are. Than think about what risks you are willing to take and how to minimize the risks so you have a satisfying sex live without regrets.

3. Keep your toys cleaned!

This also should go without saying but it is worth to remind everyone that uncleaned toys can transfer STDs. Especially after harder sessions with bloody nipples, blood encrusted single tails or everything which enters the body like saliva dripping gags, dildos or dilatators it is vital to clean the toys thoroughly.

4. Be aware of infection risks when exchanging body fluids

Besides traditional vanilla sex like fucking and sucking all sorts of humiliation games involving rimming and consuming of body fluids cause a risk of getting STDs. So here is a short but not complete list of body fluids and some STDs they might carry.

Piss: Gonnorrhea, Chlamydia and Hepatitis B

Saliva and Snot: Usually no problem, but can transfer current illnesses like a flu or cold. If you have an acute infection in your mouth from Syphilis, Gonnorrhea or Chlamydia you can infect someone you give or blowjob or kiss very intensly.

Shit: Hepatitis A and Gonnorrhea or Chlamydia if you have an infection in your gut.

 5. Play Rough! Play dirty! Play safe!

There is no better way to keep your body and your mind healthy than having a good sex life. When you have no oppressed desires you will not engage in risks you would not take normally when you have the chance to live them out. So despite all the fear and insecurity STDs might produce, enjoy life. It is Saturday! Go out and have some fun – as safe as you need and want it.

 

Starting Your Own Gear Collection

In the last couple of weeks I got quite a lot of messages asking me what to buy when getting into kinkier sex. Most of the questions came from the USA because I mainly tested basic gear from German and European stores. They do ship international but shipping and customs duties make them unattractive for someone new to the scene who doesn’t want to spend or wait too much.

For this article I did some research on the US BDSM retail landscape and I got in touch with some friends from the states. They told me that there are very few really good BDSM stores throughout the states and advised me to recommend Mister S Leather’s (online) store in San Francisco due to offering good quality for reasonable prices. Most products featured here were in my hands at least once, p.e. when taking a look at a friend’s toy collection, but I didn’t play with them for an extend period of time. But since a lot of my friends are very satisfied with them and with Mister S Leather being one of the oldest gay BDSM stores in the world, I think it is safe to say that you are buying good quality and reliable toys.

The Necessity of Own Toys

Especially when starting out you ask yourself why you should get your own toys. They are expensive, it is difficult to find the right one and when you are not living alone there is always the threat of someone finding them who is not supposed to know aboutthem.

In spite of all these good reasons I would recommend to get you your own toys. As a bottom you can try out what you like in a relaxed atmosphere without the more or less subliminal pressure of a top who expects a good session. And as soon as you have tasted the sweet blood of pain and bondage you can enhance your solo sex live with solo sessions. As a top it is vital to know your toys; how they work, how to use them, in which condition they are. So bringing your own toys to a session is always better than relying solely on the toys the sub provides.

How to Decide What to Buy

Getting into the kinky scene mostly starts with a distinct experience. You have seen some hard action in a porno and now you are curious to try it out or a date of yours introduced you to some rougher action. Before starting to shop sit down and think about a few questions:

Are you into BDSM or into fetish?

This is the hardest question but it is vital. Most people being into the one thing are also into the other but there is a little group who is into vanilla sex while wearing fetish gear or into BDSM session while being strictly naked. So when looking at a picture of someone being bound while wearing a gimp suit p.e. try to figure out if your arousal comes from the bondage or the suit. Otherwise you will end up with an expensive investment lying around unused. Due to this website being about toys I will mostly focus on toys but at the end of this article you will find a small section about fetish attire.

What turns you on?

Is it being bound and helpless? It is pain? If yes where? Is it humiliation? Exploring your dark desires is essential to getting the right product category for you to start your collection with.

How much money do you want to spend? How much will a wrong purchase piss you off?

When you start shopping it is easy to get into some buying rush because everything is new and tempting. Setting yourself a budget and writing exactly down what you want will prevent you from buying stuff you don’t need or you won’t use. Of cause it is ok to buy one or two items which appeal to you with no deeper reason but buying a small number of high quality toys is better than having a bunch of crap or stuff you can only use when you are an experienced pervert.

Where to Buy

I would always recommend going to a specialized store (and I don’t mean an erotic outlet where straights are buying lingerie to rescue the marriage or “funny” toys for bachelorette parties) where you get a good expert advice and at best can try out the merchandise. However for most people such a store is at least a day’s travel away so you have to stick with online resources. Every good online store has an e-mail help desk which will help you getting the right product for you. Don’t be afraid to ask any question. There are no stupid questions due to the BDSM world being complex and confusing especially for someone new. And since you just started out with your collection they have an interest in creating a loyal customer.

Basic Items

Here are some items which in my opinion are good for a basic BDSM collection. They will enable you to have a fun session and are a good starting point to explore even darker and harder desires.

Restraints

Your first set of restraints should consist out of a pair of ankle and wrist restraints. Material wise I would recommend them being made out of soft leather with a thick and soft padding and a strong welded D-ring. Other features like more than one D-ring, being lockable, etc. are nice to have but will make them more expensive. When selecting your basic set it is always good to take a look at the product range as you might want to extend your set in the future, p.e. with thigh restraints, and it looks nice when they are from the same series.

If you already want a bondage collar take one with at least three D-rings. Everything else makes no sense and is a waste of money because it will be difficult to attach your wrist restraints and a leech on it.

For many people a pair of handcuffs is the first bondage item they get due to being inexpensive and easy to get. Despite these advantages I would disadvise to buy handcuffs for other than fetish or short foreplay action. Handled wrongly they can lead to severe injuries.

Gags and Blindfolds

Soft material (at best leather going with your restraints) is even more important here than when buying restraints in order to prevent injuries and to work properly.

A blindfold should be soft thus flexible enough to seal of your eye socket. Regarding padding I am a bit ambivalent. Padding is good to increase the light sealing but if the blindfold sits too tight it can apply pressure on your eye ball which at best in uncomfortable but at worst can be dangerous. Most blindfolds have a leather strap which is ok when you use padded folds. If you have an unpadded one you should try to get one with Velcro at the back in order to adjust the blindfold tightly enough to seal off all the light.

Your first gag should be a simple bar or ball gag made out of a soft yet firm easy to clean material (silicone or rubber). The diameter of the gag should not be too thick in order to prevent you from chocking but still be thick enough to give you a helpless feeling and enough material to bit on. You should also pay attention that the gag or the strap doesn’t irritate the corners of your mouth.

Clamps

At this point most of you will have tried out cloth pins which are ok for the beginning but specialized toys provide an own kind of pain sensation. Especially for beginners an adjustable clamp is good because you can determine the pressure on your nipples. Only a little bit more advanced and really THE standard clamp are the Japanese clover clamps. If you are a bit into tit pain just get them. You will (learn to) love them!

Spanking and Whipping

When it comes to getting hit by an object many things influence the pain intensity: The target area, the intensity of the stroke and the state of the hitting instruments (p.e. are all tails of the flogger together when striking out). So when getting into spanking and whipping you want to get yourself the “softest” variant out there and increase the pain by technique.

If you want to get yourself a flogger everything under 20’’ tail length is too short in my opinion especially when you want to use it on yourself. As a beginner I would recommend suede as a tail material.

Another basic and very versatile toy is a small paddle and/ or a small slapper which can be used for spanking, tit or cock and ball torture.

CBT

The best CBT toy to start out with is a ball stretcher. A stretcher will on the one hand increase your wanking pleasures by intensifying your orgasm; on the other hand it will get your balls in a nice position for a good beating. Again look for a model made out of soft leather and soft, rounded piping on the edges! Otherwise you will end up with bruises or even wounds on your shaft or balls after a long hard wanking.

Another basic CBT item is a parachute. You can pull or put weights on it or even tight it to your restraints.

If you want it all you can get a combination of a stretcher, a divider which will enable you to hit single balls and a D-ring to put weights on it. But when buying it you should try out the divider. If your scrotum it too big you might not be able to get the strap over your balls.

Fetish Attire

Personally I divide my gear into two sections: Play and pride attire. Play attire enables me to have a good session by granting access to the area the something should be applied on, p.e. clamps on tits. So a (surf) suite with a zipper running from the neck to the rump is a good basic piece. After trying out several suits I would not recommend zippers over the nipples. When you open them, the nipples are anywhere but never under the zipper and when they are closed they irritate the nipples without any play fun. Another good play piece are chaps which allow a good butt spanking and CBT. A harness serves as play and pride attire at least when it is made out of leather. Rubber tears too easily to be made for harder playing.

Pride attire are pieces which are made out of fetish material but are not so good for playing at least as a sub but great for going to a pride event, found raiser or just a night out in a bar; since tops mostly only need something where they can get their dick out of, pride attire is as functional for playing as play attire. A basic pride outfit consists out of a pair of pants and some kind of shirt like a polo. You can also add accessories like a shoulder harness, belt, etc. An everyday pride article is a small wrist band made out of your favorite fetish material in the hanky color of your major kink.

Since I am only into rubber I can’t really tell you much about the material properties of other fetishes. When buying rubber gear you have always to weigh between toughness and feeling. The thicker the rubber the more robust it is towards tearing but you will also feel less when being touched. Also the draw on the glue joints will increase. The best compromise for me is 0,6mm grade rubber. It is robust enough to withstand a small pull but lets through enough touch feeling.

How the Reviews are Made

Some of you might have wondered: How do you test BDSM toys? Well… here is the ultimate answer – at least for this website.

It all starts with receiving an envelope from a mysterious donor which goes straight to my desk for unpacking.

The first thing I find inside such envelopes is mostly something to get me through the stressful and exhausting reviewing process.

Damn, they know my weaknes! 😉

Next up is a friendly and easy to understand notice which should help me reach a verdict matching the superior quality and functionality of the new toy.

Last but not least is the toy itself. And now you know why unboxings will be very rare at this website.

The first thing I do with a new toy is testing it at a uncritical part of my body in order to get a first impression and a feel for it.

From this first test, I take some notes on the initial expressions I got.

Because the initial reaction can be misleading, I let the toy rest a bit. This is why you will rarely find extensive reviews of new toys tight after I got them.

Now also the testing on me and on friends begins – which I am at the moment not allowed to show you. I might update this article as soon as I find a way to do so.

During the resting time, I keep on testing them and get second oppinions, p.e. from friend who come over for a drink and a pretzel…

… or by taking them out to a club in order to get some reallife experience with them.

After I have gathered enough information how the toy performs as a BDSM utensile, the more technical testing starts. How do certain materials influence the experience? Does the toy damage the material?

Next up is the handling test where the influence of gloves and lube on the overall and more important the secure handling of the toy is tested.

Right after the testing, I take some times to try out different probs in order to show the toy in it’s best light when the pictures are taken…

… which takes place right afterwards.

It all ends with the digital production process: Cropping and editing the pictures, writing a review from the notes I have taken, scoring the toy and finally creat a WordPress article featuring the review.

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