Tired of the 'Same 'Old, Same Old'? Get to Know Your Alter-Ego

You've all by now heard of 50 Shades Of Grey ad nauseam, the best-selling book by E. L. James and sadly lousy major motion picture. With over 100 million copies sold worldwide and translated into in 32 languages it has opened up the masses to the BDSM--bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism--world, albeit in a Danielle Steele-inspired romance novel setting. We only hope that Part 2 will be a better movie.

That being said, as a self-proclaimed Fetishist, I have educated myself for more than a decade and lived a D/s relationship for four years and am well versed in BDSM lifestyles, from 24/7 relationships to power-exchange relationships. By pseudo I mean we still had a "vanilla" life, too, so the D/s dynamic wasn't around the clock.

Having read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy by EL James, it's a great attempt to popularize a still difficult subject but, still, there are some things best learned from the real BDSM community.

BDSM is about so much more than sex and, if your curiosity is piqued, then educate yourself first. Discuss your fantasies with your partner, be open and set limits of what is acceptable in a scene, but challenge yourselves, too. That's key. Straying a bit out of your comfort zone--together--will be thrilling. Learn the rules and etiquette and always be respectful of the other person's limits. For those who get into extreme play, always use a "safe" word. The importance of that cannot be over emphasized. Let's say your partner, who's on the receiving end of a single-tail whipping (punishment?) session, has just reached their emotional or pain threshold on the last strike. One more crack and you can quickly ruin a great time. Now, if it's a part of "real" punishment in a 24/7-type relationship, then the Dom, Master, Domme or Mistress should be experienced enough to know when to stop and not cause lasting harm. If not, then you need to stop and learn, too.

BDSM is similar to extreme sports in that we challenge our own ability to overcome pain, endurance and enjoy the chemical reactions our brain produces with the added benefit of sexual excitement. It can be both an aphrodisiac and something deeper psychologically and a combination of both. And let's face it, the outfits are H-O-T.

And if you think you're too old to start, well, think again. Jane Fonda has been quite vocal this past year about having the best sex of her life and she's in her 70s. The owner of one of the largest fetish clubs in Chicago says more than half their members are older than 50. I've attended many events with the bulk of the attendees were well into their 60s. Everyone is welcome in Kinksterville.

Whether in private or at fun fetish parties, take the opportunity to experiment and challenge your norms. One of the benefits of parties is meeting like-minded people, making friends and learning from others where you'll be able to explore your more daring alter ego for a night. Open up the hedonist in you. Sex doesn't end at menopause, or man-o-pause. The key to lasting great sex is truth, honesty, no shame, no guilt and fearlessness. If you need help "breaking the ice", I highly recommend the best game for initiating a threesome/group sex which is Couplicious. These people really nailed it and it was focus grouped and tested over three years by some of the leading lifestyle party planners in the swing world. They plan on releasing a card set for BDSM as well and the game has so many variations it never seems to get old and is a ton of fun for laughter to getting busy later on. You can really have fun with this game! It's also great for couples getting to know each others likes sexually.

Share your fantasies with your loved one--it may just turn out to be 50 shades of awesome.

If you would like to learn more, I recommend a book on BDSM (Amazon) or join the free site FetLife.com that's a great place to start and meet like-minded members from all continents, find local "munches" (public meet 'n greets) and parties. Just ask anyone a question. Almost everyone is there to support your interest.