9 Ways to Get Kinky That Don't Involve Pain

What do you think of when you hear “BDSM”? If your answer is “whips and chains,” that’s fine – that’s what most people think of. But kink is a broad spectrum of interests, activities, and play styles. Pain play and bondage are just two options! 


If you’ve been feeling the urge to get kinky but you want to steer clear of oof!s and ouch!s, here are just 9 recommendations of things you can consider exploring. Just remember to take time to research any new kind of play before actually putting it into practice – and be a good partner and thoroughly discuss your plans ahead of time!


1 Sensation Play

Pain isn’t the only physical feeling you can evoke through kinky play. “Sensation” is the blanket term for everything from light tickles to the strong suction of an effective vulva pump. Sensation play can be used as a precursor (foreplay) or enhancement to other stimulation, or as its own full experience.  


Many sensations are achievable through tools such as feathers, pinwheels, ice cubes, drippable candles, and scratchers. You have plenty of tools at your personal disposal too – you can use your tongue, lips, fingernails, or even long hair to drift over a partner’s skin. 


Need some suggestions for how to explore sensation play yourself? 

  • Use a pump on your nipples to make them swollen and sensitive. Use a tickler until you’re gasping, then move on to firmer stimulation, like vibrating clamps
  • Give a partner a foot massage, but take your time. As they relax into the sensation, move on from massage to gentle finger scratches over their ankle or the arch of their sole.
  • Skim ice cubes over skin until sensitive, then switch to dripping a Temptasia candle in the same place.

2 Erotic Embarrassment/Humiliation 

Have you ever found yourself aroused by circumstances that were awkward or embarrassing, like your crush making fun of you? What about feelings of shame (“I’m such a slut!”) or shyness? In the safety of your own bedroom, embarrassment and humiliation can be exciting tools to play with. 


“The whole idea of BDSM is to explore the taboos, the things that you’re not supposed to enjoy,” points out sex educator and psychologist Dr. Liz Powell in a discussion on erotic humiliation. “So the key to any good BDSM scene, especially humiliation scenes, is making sure that you have a good bond of trust with the person that you’re playing with. That you know that they are going to treat you well.” 


How can you make humiliation sexy? Here’s a few examples: 


3 Role Playing

Ever wanted to be a stern disciplinarian with a paddle? Or everyone’s favorite dual-bunned space general? What about a rockstar being romanced by a pop princess that always gets what she wants?  


“Although on the surface [role playing is] pretending to do or be something or someone else, it’s also a way to experience new levels of intimacy and vulnerability with your partner(s),” I wrote in 5 Ways You Can Role Play in Bed. “Erotic role playing is as vast as it is underrated. It’s a creative medium through which people can express themselves, try new things, and explore aspects of their sexuality that might otherwise go unexamined.”


Some easy role play ideas: 

  • Do you have a favorite movie scene you want to reenact with a little more sexual flare? Watch the film with your partner and map out your version of the scene together… then do it!
  • Dress the part with sexy lingerie or costumes (including cosplay!) 
  • If you’re uncomfortable pretending to be a character, try pretending to be another version of yourself. You from college, or your wedding night, or just getting back from a long business trip (“show me how much you missed me, baby...”) 
  • Focus on a scene, like seducing a promotion out of the boss, impulsively sleeping with a stranger, or being captured by a super villain.

4 Dominance and Submission 

Dom/sub play – which has numerous names, including power play/exchange – is another widely-known part of BDSM. It’s right there in the acronym, after all! But although many folks assume it’s the basis of all kinky play, Dom/sub play is purely optional. But it can be incredibly hot to indulge in, as long as you thoroughly negotiate first


Whether you’re intentionally taking charge, offering surrender, or taking turns with each role, you’re in control of your own experience. Play dom and give a voice to your long-kept fantasies; play sub and bliss out through service or sensation. 


So how can you experiment with power roles through sex play?

  • Have a partner plan out everything you’re going to do during sex: activities, positions, sex toys, who’s getting to orgasm and how (within reason.)
  • Experiment with power-based titles during sex (daddy, mxtress, good boy, goddess, kitten, sir, etc.)
  • Give a partner a set of orders to follow, like self-care things to treat themselves, sexy things they can do for you (like taking nudes), or even mundane household chores with a sexy twist (like wearing a vibrator.)
  • Explore the concept of consensual ownership, like calling a partner “mine” or letting them claim your orgasms (“can I have permission to come?”)

5 Denial / Chastity 

Denial can come in many forms. Sometimes it’s the stern “don’t come yet” command that’s part of edging orgasms – or finally being told “no” and not getting to come at all. Sometimes it’s having to keep your hands at your sides even though all you want to do is touch. Sometimes it’s being locked in a chastity cage until you’ve “earned” your freedom. Denial is a test of your patience and endurance. 


Some whine-inducing ideas you can try: 

  • Wearing a chastity cage while focusing all your attention on a partner’s pleasure.
  • Ruining your orgasm. Bring yourself to the edge with a powerful sex toy, and take it away just as your orgasm starts. Relish in the aching loss.
  • Only fucking with the very tip of a dildo instead of the whole thing.
  • Kissing and licking a partner everywhere but where they want your mouth the most. Enjoy how much they squirm and beg.
  • Plan not to have sex or masturbate until a certain date. Suddenly, it’ll be all you can think about!

6 Piss Play / Bodily Fluids 

Have you ever had a partner intentionally come on your face, or gone out of your way to try to make a partner squirt? You’ve already been playing with body fluids! And if that’s the full extent you’re curious about exploring them, that’s fine. 


Water sports – which, in the kinkster context, is the erotic incorporation of urine into sex and BDSM – is a fairly common expression of bodily fluid play too. “There are many different ways you can integrate an interest in eroticizing piss into your sex play. Watching, wearing, hearing, tasting, etc,” writes sex educator Luna Matatas on the topic of Golden Showers and Pee Play.


More ideas?

  • Tickle a partner until they cry – tears from consensual overstimulation can be highly erotic – or might pee their pants.
  • You or a partner can ejaculate on a particular body part – face, chest, stomach, thighs, etc – and leave it as decoration while you move on to other acts. 
  • Let a partner tease you when you know you need to pee. They can use a stroker or clitoral vibe on you while you squirm and beg for relief.

7 Pet Play 

Pets are often the most beloved, spoiled, and rambunctiously behaved members of our households. Is it any wonder that we might sometimes want to let loose and play pretend as one? 


What does that entail? For puppy play, I pointed out that it includes “performing behaviors one might associate with dogs, particularly the playful attitude and exuberance of puppies. Wearing a leash, eagerly licking a lover, wagging their butt (sometimes while wearing a play tail), and rolling around or play-wrestling are just a handful of ways human pups might express themselves. […] For some, puppy play is animal role play: embodying the social role and mindset of a dog. For others, it’s about playing a part, bringing out their more playful or doting side.”


A few ways to play as an animal or pet: 

  • Having more urge-driven, “animalistic” sex, such as following the desire to lick, bite, and growl.
  • Asking a partner to lead you around on a collar and leash
  • Wearing a tail associated with your pet of choice, like puppies, bunnies, or ponies
  • Doing sexy tricks and being rewarded with equally sexy treats.

8 Service Kink

Service kink is getting the good tingles from doing things for a play partner. Sometimes those things are traditionally sexy (performing oral sex, giving a strip tease, worshipping someone’s body) and sometimes they aren’t (doing chores, running errands, etc.) Everyone enjoys doing nice things for other people – but service kink is really, really enjoying it. 


Service doesn’t have to be submissive. “Service Tops” perform dominance in order to please their partner. It’s all about finding out what satisfies partner(s) and devoting yourself to seeing it through (within reason for you both.)


How can you explore service as a kink?

  • Find out what pleases a partner most – like receiving a lengthy massage, having their nipples played with, or getting a rim job – and devote your whole attention to that.
  • Take full responsibility for sex-related tasks and chores, like ensuring the lube is warm, washing sex toys, laying out a sex blanket, and cleaning up and doing the laundry afterward.
  • Explore an erotic service-based role, like sexy maid or personal assistant dom.

9 Bondage/Restraints 

Yeah, I know – I mentioned this one at the start! But what is a list about non-painful kinky play without bondage?


Whether you’re playing with leather cuffs, rope, over the door restraints, or the classic fluffy handcuffs, being restrained (or restraining a partner) offers up a whole new world of sexual possibilities. 


Being restrained can make you feel vulnerable, exposed, secure, worshiped, objectified, etc. Having a partner bound before you can make you feel powerful, awed, sadistic, protective… You might be surprised at how bondage can inspire your sexual creativity. 


After you do your research on the risks, what are some ways you can play with bondage? 

  • Incorporate a spreader bar into your restraints so partner(s) can have easier access to your body while you’re bound. That added layer of vulnerability is intoxicating.
  • Restrict the senses! Take away your partner’s sense of taste with a gag, the hearing with a pair of headphones, or their touch with some mittens. 
  • Cuffs with a handhold for easier maneuvering!
  • Try wearing detachable cuffs around the house and give your partner(s) permission to come click them together at random for some kinky fun mid-day.
  • Learn a simple bondage tie from Watts the Safeword and practice with a partner to perfect it.
  • Try having sex as usual – but with a blindfold.

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