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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.