Whilst many could argue that the nature of BDSM and the activities of Fifty Shades Darker's Christian Grey are somewhat different, this week's release (the film's out on February 10th) might have got you thinking about how a beginner can introduce bondage into the bedroom.
We've picked the brains of a BDSM enthusiast to give you a real flavour of what bondage is all about, so those who want to but haven't can take those all-important first steps.
1. What Is BDSM?
BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.
2. It's not all about pain
A common misconception about bondage is that it has to hurt in order to be enjoyable. Yes, bondage and BDSM can involve elements of pain, but that is only the case if it is agreed upon by the consenting adults taking part and if that's what they want to get out of it.
The pain side of things is what could put people off, but it's not all about inflicting pain, and BDSM can also be a highly passionate and sensual activity that enhances trust and closeness between those taking part.
3. More people enjoy it than you think
Our enthusiast tells us that her biggest bugbear is the way bondage is perceived by the masses. "It is very frustrating that some people feel you are perverted or weird if you like BDSM or bondage; that's not true at all," she said. There is nothing wrong or strange about wanting to experiment with something different in the bedroom, and it could even spice a tired relationship up and enhance the health, close relationship you already have.
So, the next time you think of a cheeky spanking or the idea of introducing handcuffs, feel good knowing you are absolutely not alone in this.
4. It's good to talk about what you might like
The world of bondage and BDSM is broad, so if you're starting out it's important to get talking to your partner first. This will make you discuss what you want to try, where you draw the line and what fantasies you each have that you would like fulfilled.
It's also important to discuss expectations with your partner. If ideas and levels are different to yours, it can feel intimidating, so it's important not only to speak openly about what you want but also to do this with someone you completely trust.
Online browsing is a good way to look for inspiration. Discussing what you want to try opens up a whole new world of possibilities and if you're not sure what's even out there, discovering it together is half the fun.
5. It doesn't have to be expensive
Before going all out and maxing out your credit card in one hit buying bondage gear, think about what's kicking around your house; you may find some perfect props to try before committing to buying the world.
If you like the idea of being tied up, raid the wardrobe for a normal tie or a belt. You can even steal the tie from your dressing gown to get started and see if you both enjoy being in this position.
Searching the house for items to use could be quite playful, and even items like a trusty plastic kitchen spatula could be used as a DIY spanking paddle, ice cubes could be used to experiment with temperature play… the possibilities are endless.
6. It's not all about silk
More likely than not, thanks to Mr Grey's silky rope exploits, most people rush out and spend a fortune on silk rope when in fact there are cheaper alternatives out there.
Yes, it comes down to your individual preference, but take a minute to look around and see what excites you visually. "The image of a rope around your partner's wrists and/or ankles can be just as stimulating as performing the act," explains our enthusiast.
Some people are keen on a traditional brown woven rope, which is harder to touch and can cause marks on the skin. This may be the look you are after, but good-quality nylon rope is available from most hardware shops. This is cheaper than silk and less likely to damage the skin than hard, woven rope.
If you're looking for something completely free, try being put over your partner's knee and spanked… this is bondage requiring no expense.
7. Start soft
When you're first starting out, there are stacks of toys and items you can use to get you started without going all gung-ho (remember the handy plastic kitchen spatula).
You can get your hands on a flogger, which is a great item to experiment with when you're first starting out. These handy little toys are available in low-intensity right up to higher-intensity and specialist floggers once you get more into it.
They give a gentler sensation without creating too much pain, so are a perfect item to get you started.
8. It can enrich a sexual relationship
Bondage is a great way to help enrich a relationship; after all, it relies on trust and respect. Trusting someone enough to allow them to make you vulnerable is very powerful.
"I don't think people realise the love that's required to perform real BDSM," our enthusiast explains.
9. Go with your gut
Like trying anything new, it's important to be comfortable. Following your gut instinct and really responding to what your body wants and how it reacts is a great mindset to have when trying new things for the first time.
It is important to know that some bondage does require a degree of experimentation, but this will help you decide whether you enjoy the feeling and what level you want to take it to.
10. Restraint can be a turn on
Restraint is all about being held in one position and being limited on movement. It may seem daunting at first but the feeling of being powerless and in someone else's complete control can be very enjoyable and erotic.
11. Positions, positions
When it comes to positions, like anything, it's about finding what it is you like. But here are a few recommended beginner's positions to get you started and inspire your imagination…
The submissive position of being on your knees with your wrists tied behind your back and your ankles also tied up. Adding a blindfold will also heighten the senses.
The star: this one is perfect if you want to feel really exposed. This can be done standing up, but laying down is perfect to start. Tie each wrist and ankle to each corner of the bed. Once you get comfortable, under-bed restraints can also be bought to make this position easier to achieve.
Bending over furniture: if you want to, you can decide between you whether you want to tie your wrists to something to restrict movement. You can even add in a blindfold, but this position is perfect to receive spankings or to be teased.
Sex is about enjoyment, intimacy and pleasure, so remember to relax and have fun.
Our enthusiast explains: "I think people worry about what is right or expected of them rather than listening to their body and just losing themselves in the moment. Letting go and embracing the feelings takes the sensations to another level, and to have found your perfect partner who enjoys your sexual mind and fantasies is a very fortunate place to be."
The great thing about bondage is the endless possibilities. There are a host of places you can discover and loads of items you can buy to enrich this area of your sex life. From handcuffs to riding crops, ball gags to restraints, the opportunities really are endless and you have so much scope to experiment and broaden your horizons together.