Kink 101 + The Nox 'Yes, No, Maybe' List

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘kink’? Black leather? Christian Grey? White-hot pain?

While it’s wonderful that a book/movie series took kink into the mainstream, the idea that you need a bunch of elaborate accessories and/or a special locked room to use them is silly. The idea that kink requires conforming to stereotypical gender roles is 100% inaccurate. Kink can look any way you want it to.

The one thing Fifty Shades actually got right was the idea of a ‘yes & no’ list—an index of all the things you do and don't like sexually, that you have the right to add to or edit any time you please.

The premise behind this list is one of the fundamentals to any kind of kink: communication. In order for kink to work, all partners need to be enjoying themselves. What your pleasure looks like is entirely up to you, and we say that pain doesn't need to be unbearable to qualify as kinky. All sexuality exists on a spectrum, and finding your place on that spectrum is deeply gratifying. 

Whether you’re taking the plunge and buying your first flogger (have you seen Icicles' amazing flogger/dildo?!) or just looking to switch up your sex life by testing out some restraint play, there are a few basics to consider first. 


No matter what you've said yes to before, you can always, always say no. Maybe you thought you were going to love a nice spanking, but it turns out it hurts in a bad way, or makes you feel embarrassed. No matter the reason, you can always pull the plug—no hard feelings! Remember, your partners deserve the same level of respect as you.

Sometimes it can be confusing to communicate your displeasure, especially in the case of role playing fantasies, where theatrics are at play. That’s why you always need a...

Safe Word

An agreed-upon safe word is how you take a time out, especially if the word ‘stop’ is being used as part of a fantasy. All parties involved need to both agree on the word and understand that upon anyone saying it, they need to stop IMMEDIATELY, not just as soon as they’re done.

If a partner says the safe word, check in with them, re-establish boundaries and make sure that they actually want to continue (they very well may not). Choose a word that’s completely non-sexual, doesn’t sound like or rhyme with another common word, and would not typically be uttered in a that setting. (Yelling “PINEAPPLE!” has a way of getting someone’s attention.)


Feel free to explore the edges of your pain/pleasure desires, but there are some basic things you need to know in order to be safe:

  • When it comes to temperature play, there is such thing as too cold and too hot (read this piece for details). You wanna watch it with the candle wax!
  • If you’re new to spanking, try it with the palm of your hand with your fingers held together, and stick to the butt and thigh regions.
  • Keep your nails tidy and remove rings to avoid accidental scratches.
  • If you enjoy breath play, make sure to only apply pressure to the sides of the neck. This impacts blood flow, but not airflow. Your partner always needs to be able to speak. (Pineapple!)
  • If you’re working with restraints, keep a pair of safety scissors nearby. It’s worth cutting up that silk scarf if your partner can’t get out.
  • Always start slow and build up to the harder stuff in order to find your limits. Communicate those limits clearly to your partner.
  • Make time for aftercare. A salve like Bruise Soother is made for the job. If things got a little more heated than that, some gentle touch and positive verbal reinforcement feel good, too.
  • Pay attention and listen! There is no amount of prowess in the bedroom that can replace good, old-fashioned listening skills. Practicing kink takes trust.

If you signed up to receive our Yes, No, Maybe List, you’ll notice we started with the basics, and there’s a reason for that. It’s important to not just discuss the more adventurous things you might like to try in bed, but to first establish the ABCs of what great S-E-X means to you.

Fill your forms out individually, you don’t want to feel pressured or influenced by your partner’s responses.There are no wrong answers and you’ll be surprised how much fun just looking over the results will be. The funnest multiple choice ever!

Be safe, communicate and have fun! 

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