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In-Depth BDSM Checklist & Why You Need One

A checklist for BDSM activities? That sounds more like coursework than fun intercourse. However, hear us out! A BDSM checklist can be a practical way to communicate your desires and experience levels to your partner — and to learn theirs in turn. Of course, filling out a checklist for BDSM can also be fun and can introduce you to new activities to try!

Why a BDSM Checklist? 

A BDSM checklist can be a useful tool in your relationship. That’s exactly why we created this one that you can fill out with your partner.

Obviously, it helps you and a new partner get on the same page. You’ll know one another’s interests and experiences.

If you’re a BDSM beginner, the options available to you might be mind blowing, and a checklist is a great place to start so you aren’t too overwhelmed. 

But a BDSM checklist is also helpful for existing partners. It might unveil an interest or highlight an activity that you’re only doing for your partner. As interests and experiences change, you can update your BDSM checklist and check in with one another. You might decide to try something new or scale back from an activity that neither of you really enjoys.

This doesn’t mean that you need to have a partner to get use out of a BDSM checklist. As a single person, you can discover more about yourself and perhaps focus on what you really want from sex and/or BDSM partners in the future.

Note that you don’t necessarily need a checklist. Some people have fewer BDSM interests, and they’ve discussed those with their partners. You may have been together long enough that you don’t think filling out a checklist will be a good use of your time. That’s okay. You can also skip sections if you know you have no interest in them whatsoever.

Some BDSM couples use a modified checklist as part of their BDSM contract. This list is usually shorter than the one you’ll find below and may simply be a list of those interests that you’re not interested in, also known as limits.

Not Just for Submissives 

A BDSM checklist, like a safe word, is sometimes painted as something that’s only useful for people who identify as submissive. But I don’t agree with that! A dominant person may prefer to try or avoid specific activities, which could be a problem if you only like leather but your submissive partner loves rope bondage. Plus, some people are switches.

So go ahead and fill out the checklist no matter how you identify!

A Checklist Just for Sex 

Furthermore, you don’t need to be into BDSM to have a sexual checklist. You can do something similar with a sexual checklist. Simply enter activities such as anal, or vaginal sex and your interest and experience levels with each activity.

You can copy this BDSM checklist below to your own Google account and edit it to become a sexual checklist.

My BDSM checklist view only, so you’ll need to copy the file to your Google Drive or download it to your computer to use it.

Both you and your partner can copy the checklist to fill out your interest in specific activities. If you’re someone who is interested in being both a dominant and submissive (a switch), you can use the comments to specify which activities you like, in which role. 

The comments section for each line might also be useful if you need to remark on any health issues. Perhaps you like tying rope knots but have arthritis.

Use comments to let your partner know if you’ve had a negative experience with an activity in the past but are still interested or want to try again.

If there are any activities you don’t see on this list, you can add them in the “Comments” section at the bottom of the document.

Ready, Set, Fill 

You probably don’t need any instruction from here, but I have a couple ideas that can make filling out our BDSM checklist more fun, interesting or sexy.
  • See who can fill out your form first.
  • Provide access to your spreadsheet so your partner can view your answers in real-time.
  • Fill out your form and report to your partner with the one BDSM activity you want to try immediately (perhaps tonight!)
  • Complete the BDSM checklist in the same room as your partner. Verbally answer the line together before filling it out on your own device. This encourages discussion, but don’t forget to finish the checklist!
  • Assign the BDSM checklist to your submissive partner as a task.

When dominants make filling out the BDSM checklist an assignment for their submissive partners, it can help the submissive partner to open up about needs or desires that have been difficult to talk about. This brings me to my next point.

Honesty Is Key 

When we answer questions about ourselves, we often have a tendency to paint ourselves in the best light. You’re not necessarily lying because you’re doing this on on a subconscious level. But it’s something you want to stay away from when it comes to BDSM, which can potentially be risky.

When filling out our BDSM spreadsheet, be sure to be completely honest about your experience and interest. Otherwise, you might find yourself submitting to an intense flogging because you said you were more experienced than you were. How would your partner know? You can always increase stimulation as you go. But you could be mentally or physically hurt if you start too soon.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t express interest in any activity if you’re not actually interested in it. If you won’t ever try an activity, it’s okay to list it as a hard limit.

You’ll also find that one of the options for interest level in the BDSM Checklist is “may try for a partner.” It shows that you’re willing to try, but you don’t find the activity personally appealing. Once you try, you might realize that you do like it, be willing to continue doing it because it’s your partner’s kink, or not want to do it again. At this point, you can update your checklist.

However, you need to have discussions about these things as well. Do not rely on your checklist solely as your method of communication. 

Finally, this checklist doesn’t negotiate the use of your safe word during a scene. A safe word lets your partner know if you’re okay, need to stop or want to slow things down (or keep them at the same pace/stimulation level). Just because you’ve expressed interest or even a predilection for a certain BDSM activity doesn’t mean you always want to do it or desire to do it intensely.

Using a safe word is one of 8 BDSM rules that keep things safe, sane, and sexy. Discover all 8 BDSM rules here

Comparing Your BDSM Checklists 

Once you’ve finished filling out your checklist and your partner has done the same, you’ll want to compare them. 
  • Don’t be alarmed. You’re bound to have discrepancies. It’s nearly impossible to find someone who has identical sexual/BDSM interests, let alone someone who has the same experience level.
  • You might like something that your partner has no interest in, and the opposite is also true. It’s important not to shame your partner for his kinks. This could lead him to shut down and shut you out in the future.
  • You don’t have to try everything on your partner’s list, nor should you expect him to try something just because it’s on yours. 
If your BDSM checklist looks nothing at all like your partner’s or you both prefer to be on top, you might have issues. You might not be sexually satisfied if he can’t be a powerful dominant, for example. However, this checklist can be the catalyst for a conversation that helps you better meet each another’s needs.

Remember, you don’t need to try everything on your checklist immediately. Take your time. Even if you’re excited to get started changing your “interested but not experienced” entries, these activities take research and practice to get right. BDSM tools and items can also be pricey. You don’t want to run up your credit card bill only to realize how much you’re really not into mummification or full-body suspension.

Your BDSM checklist can be a useful tool, perhaps one that you keep hanging on the refrigerator or someplace a little more discreet ;). Refer back to it and update it as your preferences and relationship changes. But if you don’t need a BDSM checklist, you can skip this step as long as you play safely. 

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