Q&A: My girlfriend is into BDSM but I’m not

I recently found out that my girlfriend has been looking at BDSM porn. I was a bit taken aback and I don’t really know how she feels about it? Do you think she wants to try it in real life or it’s just a fantasy?  I don’t mind that she has been looking at it, I am just surprised. Does the fact that all of the porn she has been watching is of the same type, women dominating men, mean that this is the sort of role she would like to take? Sorry, for the probing questions. It is just that I didn’t realise just how kinky she was.

If she wants to try any of this stuff out in real life does this mean that she wants to hurt me? I’m not sure how to process this or how to move forward?

Any advice appreciated.


Hi there,

Many thanks for your email.

First of all, you need to consider if this is something you want to bring up – you’re going to have to admit to checking her search history, which she might find upsetting or controlling. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel if she decided to look through your browsing history? We’re pretty sure that you have, at some point, looked at something she might not feel entirely comfortable with…

kinky-banquetSecondly, it may be that watching BDSM porn is her own little secret, something she doesn’t necessarily want to share.

Maybe she knows you’re  not into it and keeps it for home-alone moments? Fantasies can be powerful tools when it comes to building arousal and bringing on strong orgasms, and perhaps she is more than happy for this to stay as a private fantasy. Watching strong women and/or submissive men could be her way of relaxing after a stressful day.

Or – maybe it is something she’d like to try in real life.

Before bringing it up, if this is indeed what you decide to do, why not take some time to consider what it is that turns her on?

BDSM doesn’t have to involve pain – this is a common misconception. A scene (two or more people coming together to do kinky stuff) should be carefully negotiated in advance; this creates a safe framework for your play. This is the time for both of you to discuss and agree on what will and what won’t happen. If you don’t like the idea of being spanked or having nipple clamps used on you, all you have to do is say so. Just like she has the right to refuse any activities that don’t float her boat.

Think about what you might consent to: maybe you’d be up for light restraining with handcuffs? Or using blindfolds? She could then do all sorts of sexy stuff to you that doesn’t involve pain… All you would have to to do is lie back, relax and enjoy. Surely that’s a win-win situation! Take time to really think about it and you might find it becomes a turn on for you too.

There are a couple of really good books on the subject and you might consider reading them to give you a more rounded idea of what BDSM can do for you: New Book of Bottoming and New Book of Topping.

You can send us any questions at

Good luck!

Team Sh xx

All names have been changed for the purposes of anonymity. 

Q&A: I don’t know how to talk to my partner about sex.

Q&A: I don’t know how to talk to my partner about sex.


I don’t know if this a weird problem but I also don’t really know who else to ask. I feel really self conscious about asking for what I want during sex. My partner encourages me to tell him what feels good or if something hurts and I want to tell him. I just feel like I can’t get the words out and I’m not sure why.

I want to tell him what I want him to do to me, or when not to stop, etc but I just can’t bring myself to do it and I have no idea why I can’t. I trust him, and I’m comfortable around him completely so it’s not that at all. I’m sexually shy, I know, but I need advice on how I can be more open about communicating my desires. How to get over this crippling shyness. Any advice is appreciated.


Hey there H,

Almost every week ‘better communication’ is right at the top of our list of advice.

So it’s not at all unusual that this is something you have difficulty with. It can be difficult for us to be comfortable speaking about around sex, we do it every day but that doesn’t mean we never get uncomfortable.

If this is something that you are really struggling with or if you have issues with shyness and anxiety in general it might be worth sharing your feelings with a therapist or looking into CBT and other treatments that can be effective in combating anxiety issues.

The other good way to get comfortable talking about sex is to talk about sex.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about what you enjoy during sex is there a time when you would feel more comfortable? Would you be happier writing your feelings down or messaging them? If you are shy about sex do you find you experience feelings of anxiety during sex? If so this might be contributing to the discomfort you are experiencing. As we always say, if you are experiencing pain during sex, please, please stop. You are exacerbating any existing issues by ignoring them, your partner is understanding and will not be upset with you, this is something you need to tell him you are experiencing. If you are experiencing frequent pain during sex we strongly suggest speaking to a GP who may then refer you to a psychosexual therapist, and possibly dialing back on activities where you are most frequently experiencing pain.

Fun Rabbit Ears VibratorTry and pick a time when you are feeling relaxed and comfortable with your partner, you don’t have to launch into a conversation about everything you do or don’t love in bed, you’re just opening the topic. What sexual topics do you feel comfortable talking about?What topics don’t you feel comfortable talking about? Do you have a toy you enjoy using? How do you masturbate when you’re on your own? Would you feel comfortable showing your partner so they have a better idea what you enjoy? Why is that? Are you concerned about disappointing or upsetting your partner? Do you feel like you shouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to fully enjoy sex? It’s worth considering where these feelings are coming from so you can start to address them,

We hope this helps, take care of yourself.

Team Sh!

Q&A: Help! How do I know if I’m sexting too much?

Q&A: Help! How do I know if I’m sexting too much?


So I don’t really know if I have a problem but I didn’t know who to ask. I think I sext too much. Like I sext my SO when we’re in the same house. It’s not like we don’t have sex, we do and it’s good but sometimes I feel like I’m sexting instead of having sex and I don’t understand why I want this so much. My SO hasn’t said anything yet, I think he enjoys it but I worry that he’s going to get bored of this or start feeling like our real sex life isn’t enough?

What should I do? How do I know if I’m sexting too much?



Hey R,

This is an interesting question! We’re glad you picked us to help talk you this through.

Sexting is becoming increasingly common and, as you’ve discovered, can be a great fun. It doesn’t sound like your sexting habit is impacting on your relationship or your partner has expressed any concerns.

So go ahead, enjoy your sexting, get creative with it, and indulge your habit.

If you have any concerns about how your partner is feeling then ask him how he feels about it, communication is such an important part of sex and relationships. But from your letter it sounds like he’s as happy as you are, so try and bring it up in a low key way, this is not a problem and you shouldn’t treat it as one. You’re just checking in with how he feels and letting him know you’re listening.

However, it might be worth thinking about what you love about sexting?

Not because there’s anything wrong with sexting, but so you can apply what you learn to other areas of your sex life.

Is sexting all about fantasy? Maybe you'd also enjoy reading erotica...
Is sexting all about fantasy? Maybe you’d also enjoy reading erotica…

Is it indulging a fantasy? Would you be interested in reading more erotica?

Do you feel more comfortable expressing your desires through sexting? The fantasy aspect of sexting can make it easier to say or do things we might otherwise feel uncomfortable expressing. Is that something you would like to work on with your partner?

A remote-controlled vibrator can take your sexy 'messaging' into new realms!
A remote-controlled vibrator can take your sexy ‘messaging’ into new realms!

Is it the feeling of having a sly little secret between you? Would you be interested in a remote-control sex toy  that could be operated from a distance by your partner…?

If you get a thrill out of interrupting what he’s doing with a sexy message, then maybe you would enjoy it back in the form of a thrilling unexpected buzz!

If you’re interested in finding out more about safe and sensational sexting you could also join us for our NEW erotic class in September.

The key point is as long as your sexting habit is enhancing your relationship, rather than damaging it, and you always remember to double check the contact before you press send, this is completely a non problem. Sext to your hearts content!

If you have any questions please send them to, if you’d like advice from our sex and relationship expert Sarah Berry please include the subject line ‘Ask Sarah’.

Team Sh! xxx

All names are changed for the purposes of anonymity.

Q&A Your Sex-Questions Answered

Q&A: How do I talk to my wife about pegging?

All Names Have Been Changed for the Purposes of Anonymity

Dear Sh!,

Looking for some advice and not sure how to submit to your advice section.

My wife and I have are both quite open minded and have a good sex life.  We have attended your Spanking and Bondage classes and enjoyed them both very much.

I would like to try pegging and potentially attend your pegging class. I don’t though know how to raise this with my wife.
Can you give any advice? Thanks for your help.


Hi A,

Thank you for getting in touch with us.

We’re so glad you both enjoyed our Spanking and Bedroom Bondage classes.

We know talking about anal pleasure can feel particularly tricky because it’s been shrouded in taboo for so long. But we also know, from talking to our customers,  just how many couples explore and enjoy it (lots!).

Pegging too is enjoyed by many couples (around 40% of our strap-ons are bought by straight couples and we sell a LOT of strap-ons), not for role-play or BDSM, but simply for the woman to deliver intense pleasure to her partner, which in turn gives her amazing pleasure!

So…  Getting back to your question. The good thing is that you both know us here at Sh! and so there will be no surprises when it comes to how we teach our classes and how comfortable we make it to open up the conversation and talk about sex.

Rest assured our Strap on and Pegging class is just as fun, educational and enlightening as our other classes.

Maybe suggest attending another class to your wife, as the others were so positive, and then gently reveal to her that you  would be open to trying our pegging class – she may be interested too but doesn’t know how to bring it up either!

You can use a conversation about our Strap on and Pegging class as a way to gauge how she feels. This way, there is no pressure on actively trying anything just yet and the class will be a fantastic introduction to you both.

We’d also recommend The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure which gives lots of  advice on pegging and how to communicate your desires, along with everything you need to know about the amazing, orgasmic potential male g-spot. It also covers prostate health, so every reason for you both to be interested and it could too help with opening up communication.

Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure £11.99
Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure £11.99

We hope we’ve  helped giving you some ideas on how to talk about pegging with your wife and we hope to see you in class soon!

If you have any further questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Please send your emails to:

Team Sh! xx

advice bondage

How to Play Safely with BDSM

BDSM stands for Bondage, Domination, Sadomasochism and Masochism.

It’s meant to be a little scary but never in a way that’s unsafe.

BDSM can involve as much, or as little bondage, domination, or submission as you like, ranging from a little light bondage to a full-on dungeon scene.

Leather Paddle
Leather Paddle

BDSM can be incredibly intense because it allows the submissive partner the freedom to give up power completely and the dominant partner to take full control.

If you would like to explore power-play, there are a few rules to follow to ensure both players physical and emotional safety.

Listen & Trust Your Instincts

This is our number one piece of advice.

You know how far you want to go. Never push your own or your lover’s limits in a BDSM scene.

Agree on Safe Words to use with the BDSM scene

Safe-words to control or stop a “scene” are an essential part of BDSM safety.

Agreeing on the safe-words, before you start playing and honouring them within the scene, is the only way to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the submissive player. Safe words shouldn’t be any words that you might use during your game.

Using words such as ‘stop’,  ‘no’ or ‘please’ are not recommended as BDSM safe words.

A common set of BDSM safe -words are: ‘YELLOW’ which means ‘Ease Up’ – I’m not ready to stop but am feeling a bit unsafe’ and ‘RED’ which means ‘Stop now’.

Good communication is crucial

Honesty is the best policy is good advice, and never truer than in a BDSM scene.

Any BDSM scene based on power can resurrect buried feelings, especially in someone who has been abused or raped.

It’s important to communicate any no-go areas and vital that boundaries are agreed upon before the a BDSM scene commences.

The emotional safety of both players is as important as the physical safety.

Physical Safety with BDSM Scenes

 Never restrict your submissive’s nose AND mouth within a BDSM scene. Never tie your submissive face down on soft furnishing.

Never leave your submissive tied-up alone. This is basic safety advice to ensure your submissive can breathe.

Rubber Wrist Cuffs
Rubber Wrist Cuffs £20

Check regularly throughout the BDSM scene that extremities such as toes and fingers are not numb or cold as these are signs that blood has stopped flowing to the area and its time to untie.

Use wide, strong bonds like these Wrist Cuffs and Ankle Cuffs. Silk scarves may seem less threatening but they can tighten in the throws of a BDSM game, without anyone noticing, and can cause pinched nerves, or even permanent nerve damage.

Get Informed & Inspired

There are plenty of great BDSM advice books that tell you how to keep your BDSM scene safe. The internet is also a great resource for BDSM advice and ideas to keep your BDSM play both hot AND safe.

advice sexual etiquette

Sexual Etiquette

Certain things are just ‘de rigour’ when it comes to sex – like a positive attitude to personal hygiene, for example!  But what else?

We posed the question on Twitter and what came back was a guide to good sexual manners…

Sexual Etiquette of Sex Toys

There’s two different sexual etiquettes surrounding sex toys and it all depends on the kinds of relationships you have.

  •  If you are serially monogamous (i.e. have one relationship  at a time, which tends to last for a while) then sharing the toys you enjoyed with a previous lover can be insensitive to your new beau. Sex toys can have very personal memories attached to them. Toys are, by their nature, very intimate and can stir up feelings of insecurity or even jealousy…
  • However, if you are more ‘sexually festive’ –  have more than one lover or tend towards shorter affairs – then it’s not  always necessary to invest in new toys every time  you have a new partner, as that can get pretty expensive!  So, it’s probably okay to open up your  well-stocked toy box during more casual relationships…
  • With the exception of anal toys – sharing old butt plugs with new lovers seem to be taking it a step too far.


Ejaculation Etiquette

  • Let your new partner know if you are a gusher.

Many are massively turned on by female ejaculation, but some people may be unaware that it can happen so will be taken by surprise by generous amounts of bodily fluids flowing onto the bed. Bringing it up by whispering  “it’s likely to get really wet when I come” is often all that’s needed. And a couple of towels within easy reach.

STI Etiquette

  • Having an STI  doesn’t have to put a stop to sexy adventures, but mentioning it to a new partner before a sexual situation occurs is vital.

That way you can both prepare by stocking up on condoms, dams and lube, and enjoy play without worries. Safer sex is hotter sex, after all.

Other Sexual Good Manners

  • Giving guidance = communication, which is a good thing. Criticising a new lover less so, and it could have negative consequences for your future sex life with this person.
  • Pointing out that you have metal in hidden places (say, a pierced clit for example) could save a cracked tooth, and letting your lover know that you’re on your period is also good manners.
  • Enjoy having sex in the great outdoors?  Great!  But please choose your spot carefully as  most won’t want to catch you at it, especially if they have accompanying children.
  • Anal play isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so never slip in by ‘mistake’. It’s really not acceptable and you’re unlikely to get invited back.
  • Don’t ejaculate on someone’s face unless you’ve been given express permission. The same goes for any kind of kinky play. Don’t impose your exhibitionist side on anybody else, unless they want to be the voyeur. Consent and communication are key.

  • Opening up your relationship may be the right thing to do,  but really needs to be discussed and negotiated with your partner beforehand. If you neglect this essential step, you are in cheating-territory which you partner may object to…
  • One thing most of these points have in common is the importance of communication. Always make sure your partner has all the information they need and check in to make sure they are enjoying things as much as you are.

Saying Thank You Is Good Etiquette

Sending a ‘Thank You’ letter after a fantastic encounter may be over the top, but a text message saying you had a great time is always appreciated – and will start building anticipation for next time.

And talking of ‘Thank You’s’ – we’d like to say Thank You to our Twitter friends who took part in the #Sexual #Etiquette discussion – your input is, as always, valued and much appreciated!

If you have just read this and want to share your thoughts on the topic of Sexual Etiquette, just head over to Twitter where you’ll find us @ShWomenstore We’d love to hear if you think we’ve left anything off the list.