BDSM offers lots of fun toys and outfits that personify its sexual edginess, and newbies are often drawn to the cool leather outfits and delightfully uncomfortable looking accoutrément. But, the reality is that while the props are titillating, true Domination comes from the inside and has nothing to do with the fantasy-driven consumer products for sale. Dominance and submission (D/s) is about two people agreeing to a power exchange that goes far deeper than a superficial layer of collars, fabric and leather.
My motto is: If you can’t Dominate in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, then you aren’t a Dom/me.
A BDSM enthusiast also doesn’t need to spend a ton of money on equipment either. You can amass a cadre of toys and more for the cost of an average grocery shopping trip. And where can you find these discount pain-inducing delights? At the Dollar Store. Or the 99 cent Store, or Big Lots or whatever purveyor of cheap Chinese made goods you prefer.
Follow me on a shopping spree that will garner you a collection of products certain to provide you with the restraint, paddling and subzone delight you and your submissive crave.
Rope — If you like to tie up your lucky submissive, you don’t need to spend $20 on bondage rope in fancy colors. Nearly all discount stores have rope. If possible, make an all-cotton choice. Good old-fashioned clothesline works just fine.
Bungee cords — These stretchy cords also have a solid place in bondage play. Whether restraining your submissive to a tree or across a bed, they provide enough restraint, but the flexibility to get out of if your charge is terrified of being left stranded by unforeseen events.
Ace bandages and crepe streamers — These items work much like inexpensive bondage tape. Believe it or not, crepe is surprisingly tough, and yet easy to cut for quick removal.
Hair bands — Different sizes for different body parts. I like the ponytail size for a makeshift cock ring. Bonus tip: The little plastic balls on the end make it easy to snap them for effect.
Saran wrap — As often seen on FetLife videos, clear plastic wrap has been used for years to restrict movement. If you are going to use it across the face, be sure to cut out holes for the nose and mouth.
Duct tape — They’re not kidding when they say duct tape works for everything.
Hairbrush — A classic instrument of discipline since the Victorian era, a hairbrush is a must-have in every domination kit.
Cooking Utensils — For impact play, nothing satisfies like the sound of a wooden spoon smacked a across a ripe, round behind. Plastic, silicone and wood are usually available in different sizes. While there, check out the tongs and spatulas for even more variety. Barbeque season offers super-sized options in glistening metal and wood. Even meat tenderizers can pack a nice punch.
Clothespins — Classic wood clothespins will work in a pinch, although I prefer the colorful plastic ones in different configurations that are terrific for nipples, labia, ball sacks, and ears. Even a little nip on the webbing between toes and fingers has some merit, or use them to pinch a nose, mouth shut or quiet a yapping tongue.
Knives — Knife play aficionados will find butter knives, paring knives and carving knives. Depending on your usage, don’t forget to pick up a sharpener or sandpaper that can be used to refine the edge to scalpel sharp or or dull it smooth depending on your scene. Exact-o knives are usually found on the automotive shelves.
Candles — Wax play is a popular way to playfully torture your submissive, and candles are always available at these stores. While I prefer to use the gentler beeswax candles on my subs, regular wax candles can be substituted in a jam. Just know that petroleum based synthetic wax burns at a higher temperature and can burn the flesh permanently. I’ve used tissue paper on the body first, then dripped the wax on top. which prevents skin damage, but still radiates the same type of heat. Relax with your feet up on your sub's back and read a good book by the light of the taper candle sticking out of their ass. Makes me smile just to think of it.
Shower curtains — Cheap plastic shower curtains are perfect for golden showers or other messy play, and the shower curtain rings can serve a variety of purposes. You can even find douches and maybe even an enema kit on the shelves.
Puppy Play — For canine enthusiasts of puppy play you have all sorts of options. Bowls for food, leashes, collars, chew toys, milk bones, shampoo for cleaning your messy pup. Laser toys are perfect for directing your sub in a darkened room. Extra-large size pet beds provide a comfy sleep and oversized crates are sometimes available for naughty doggies. I have found tug toys made of rope with large knots that have proven to be excellent gags.
Feminization — Fans of feminization should check out the variety of inexpensive make-up, hair accessories, press on nails, hair spray, panties, stockings, tacky shoes and slippers. Feminine hygiene products including pads and tampons can further a trip into sissy land.
Infantilization — Look no further than the baby area. Baby wipes, powder, baby wash, and creams will give the right olfactory effect for your baby. Disposable diapers, pacifiers, baby utensils, bottles, rattles, dolls, stuffed toys, bibs, baby washcloths, blankets and more can complete the ensemble for creating the perfect nursery.
Costumes — During the Halloween season, most discount stores have costume items, from witchy outfits to maid and nurse costumes, not to mention make up kits. I have found some awesome Day of the Dead masks, along with a decent selection of other masks. Glow sticks are some of my favorite toys. Used to highlight and identify specific body parts in an inky dungeon always catches someone's attention.
Candles — Flickering flames create a nice ambiance for your scenes, so don’t cheat yourself out of an inexpensive way to set the mood. Scented or unscented, there are usually unlimited supplies from votives to the religious style glass pillars.
CDs — If you want to further the mood, most discount stores still offer CDs for those who have a player. I have found selections of great music for my dungeon from classical to new age. Hypnosis inducing music is often available and during the holidays, you can find spooky Halloween discs or Christmas classics. Buy ear buds or ear plugs if you want to isolate your charge.
Edibles — I really like teasing my subs with new sensory stimulants or sensations. I like to tease with a variety of tantalizing tastes including extracts, fruits and interesting textures. Ginger is something that can create a delightful stinging sensation and hot sauce is a perennial favorite. For soft porn types, there is whipped cream, butter, chocolate sprinkles, peanut butter, jams, and candies and the list goes on.
Service supplies — Many a dominant enjoys being serviced by their submissive, through bathing and pampering. In the bath area, you’ll find loofahs, brushes, exfoliating cloths, bath bombs, bubble bath, lotions, oils, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, and manicure kits – which are perfect for training a sub on how to give the ultimate pedicure. This has become a lost skill in today’s climate of self-fulfillment rather than service. Start with a foot (or body) massage and then teach them the goal of giving a magnificent mani/pedi. You are worth it!
Storage bins — Keep your toys sterilized and organized. For storing your toys, check out the kitchen and plastic aisles. Plastic ware of every shape and size is available and are very easy to clean and even easier to see through. I’m a fan of those storage cubes that look like old milk crates. (Try tying your sub to one of those in a seated position. It will train their legs to become accustomed to a tucked position by your feet. You can also bungee them to their back as a carrying device.)
Cleaning supplies — A clean dungeon is a happy dungeon. Wash cloths and towels are great for wiping away sweaty pheromone stank. Cleaning products for the dungeon space and your toys abound with everything from disinfectants, sanitizers, Windex, antibacterial dish soap, clothing-changes to washing machine powder. If you are a fan of leather, I always see leather treatments, polishing compounds, wood cleaners, and silicone spray which comes in handy if a hinge hangs up. Brooms and mops can be used for their original purpose, or (after removing the cleaning apparatus) the long handles may be used as spreaders or cross bars.
First aid — Accidents happen, and wounds are frequently on the agenda. Make yourself a first aid kit that includes Bandaids, antibiotic cream, aloe vera for burns, nonpetroleum based salves, bandages, medical tape, ice packs, heat packs, anti-microbial soap, eye drops, razors, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol wipes, tissues and small scissors. Pick up some ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin and Benadryl. Some sealed toothbrushes and toothpaste are nice to have on hand. Store them in hygienically sealed plastic containers away from your other toys to avoid cross contamination.
Hopefully, you are discovering that your unlimited imagination doesn’t require a hefty price tag. This list is by no means comprehensive (I haven’t even got to the automotive area for clamps and tire blocks and such.) We invite you to share your favorite finds at the Dollar Store. I can’t wait to read what ideas you have experimented with including the mishaps. My wish for you is that you find the perfect Dom/me or submissive/slave to share your life. Let your kink shine bright.
Mistress Lila is a Domme with more that twenty-five years BDSM experience both professionally and personally. She resides in Central California where she offers workshops on the subject, and counsels lifestyle couples.