With the popularity of BDSM on the rise, who better than to learn how to navigate the ropes from than a professional dominatrix? This month, we had the chance to sit down with Mistress Bella, long-time professional dominatrix and licensed sex therapist, to candidly discuss the ins and outs of BDSM, getting kinky at Hedo and so much more!

We made a list of questions we were dying to ask Mistress Bella about the world of BDSM from advice for newbies to what happens in her dungeon and as you’ll see, it’s more about pleasure than pain.

What is the best way for a newbie that’s interested to discover if they are into BDSM or not?

My workshop at Hedonism II! BDSM is all around us, from a wife giving her husband a spank while he’s grilling to standing your ground on a decision. These are all forms of BDSM. It’s a shame you don’t get to see more of the sensual part of BDSM in mainstream. My workshops are all about educating people and giving them the resources to explore BDSM in a healthy way.

What can people expect from attending the workshop?

People can expect a very fun, hands-on approach with different themes every day that all come together on the last day with resources they can take home. A lot of people don’t even know how huge the spectrum is from just a little tap all the way up to being a sadist and/or masochist. But it is not abuse, and it does not have to include pain.

How would you advise someone tell their partner they want to explore BDSM?

Have enough education yourself because they are going to ask questions. And don’t take it personal because not everyone wants to be in the lifestyle. Humor is good too. You got to find your way, if you want to, to enjoy it. Compromise causes resentment because you’re doing something you don’t want to do. Instead, I believe in blending. Blending means doing what you want to do and finding where the two can meet somewhere on the spectrum.

What advice do you have for couples where one partner is into BDSM while the other may not be naturally but wants to learn?

For the person who is just starting, you must let them know right up front that they need to sit down and discuss their boundaries and deal breakers. Going to a place like Hedo, just like you discuss whether you are full swap or soft swap you need to discuss if you’re ok with paddles, whips and floggers, but no knives. That’s a deal breaker. And the other person must respect that. You can be a bottom without being submissive.

In your opinion and with your expertise, how can BDSM help a couple?

I do a lot of work with couples on education and setting boundaries. There’s quite a few people that tell me its their foreplay. From relieving stress to having that intimate thing that you do together, finding your role in BDSM can improve your communication and spice up your sex life.

What toys, gear or attire do you recommend for someone who is just starting to explore BDSM?

Now that you’ve started to educate yourself and addressed deal breakers and boundaries, you can start exploring. As far as getting dressed, don’t go crazy. You want the clothes to represent who you are in your role. As far as toys, never start with too high a level of toys or tools. For example, a level 1 is a tickle. Canes on the other hand are a level 10 as they can cut your skin open. Workshops like mine are the best opportunity to learn and try without the commitment of buying.

How does one go about finding their local kink community?

The website/app FETlife is a great place to find people with similar kink interests. I can be found on FETlife as _mistressbella_ where I often answer questions and emails.

What do you wish someone had told you when you first started exploring kink and BDSM?

Two things. 1. There is nothing wrong with you. And 2. Here are some resources.

Join Mistress Bella and Rigger Charlie from June 8th, 2019 to June 15, 2019 to learn about exploring your fantasies, rope bondage, spanking and so much more at Hedonism II Presents: Whipping Up Your Kink.

Book now and use promocode KINK619. Workshops are held in the Social Building Dungeon daily (behind the tennis courts) at 1:45 to 3:15.