How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

This article was co-authored by Ben Whitehair. Ben Whitehair is a Social Media Expert and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of TSMA Consulting. With over a decade of experience in the social media space, he specializes in leveraging social media for business and building relationships. He also focuses on social media’s impact on the entertainment industry. Ben graduated summa cum laude from The University of Colorado at Boulder with BAs in Theatre and Political Science as well as a Leadership Certificate. In addition to his work as CIO, Ben is a certified business and mindset coach and National Board Member of SAG-AFTRA. He is also a successful entrepreneur as the Co-Founder of Working.Actor, the premier business academy and coaching community for actors.

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Are you an aspiring actor ready to audition for your first movie role? It may seem daunting, but even legends like Kate Winslet and Denzel Washington had to start somewhere. First you’ll need to memorize some monologues and prepare your portfolio to show you know how the movie business works, then find a movie casting call and perform before the casting director. If you want to learn more about how to have a great audition for a movie role, keep reading.

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

Ben Whitehair
Social Media Expert Expert Interview. 3 June 2021. You can use video editing software to make your own demo reel, or hire a video editor to create a professionally-polished reel. The entire reel should be no longer than 2-3 minutes.

  • The reel should be as easy to view as possible. Some casting directors will ask you to send an electronic file via email, while others will ask for a hard copy on DVD. Have your reel available in both formats.
  • If you’ve never been in a movie before, include clips from a play you’ve been in that was filmed. You can also include clips from student films.
  • In recent years some casting directors have been asking for clips that cater to the project at hand. For example, if you’re auditioning to play a football team captain, try to send a clip that shows you playing a similar character.
  • Don’t start your reel with an introduction or montage. It should begin with your name, then launch directly into the first scene. [2] X Research source
  • Don’t save the best for last. Casting directors have a lot of reels to review. If yours doesn’t start out with your strongest scenes, chances are they’ll skip to the next person’s reel.

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Holding auditions is relatively simple but without preparation can often go wrong. It is often unimportant what type of audition you are holding, but sometimes there are subtle differences, and different equipment is required. This is universal for most types of auditions

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

Decide whether you are going to hold ‘open’ or ‘set’ auditions.

  • Open Auditions are where you have a start time for auditions and anyone can turn up. This is done on a first come first serve basis.
  • Set Auditions are where you do not list the time or location of your auditions on your advertisements. You just put a contact number up, and when people ring you, you give them more information and a specific time and date for their audition. Though this sounds more complicated, this is often easier and seems better organised. Also, you know how many people are going to show up before they arrive.
  • Posters should follow this guide:

  • What type(s) of performer is required
  • Age and sex requirements
  • Time and Date (optional)
  • Length of audition
  • Contact number, website and email

You’re poking around while job searching and there it is: the dream position.

But, before you can get too excited, you see the requirements. At first glance, based on your degree or work experience, this role looks out of reach. Before you give up, though, know that’s not always the end of the story.

A student from my Code School Capstone course recently found herself in a similar spot. She wanted to become a product manager at a tech company, but she’d spent her career to date at an art gallery. She asked me: “How can I possibly compete with computer science majors—or anyone else with practiced ‘hard skills’—I’m finishing up a product management class now, but still.”

My advice to her was to remember that the best product managers are well-rounded, and that’s true for most roles.

Listen, I understand that you don’t want to waste your time applying for a role you have no shot at. (Hiring managers don’t want to waste their time either.) However, there’s a difference between not being qualified and having strong transferable skills that you’re not even aware of.

Here’s how someone who wants to change careers can decipher between the two:

Step 1: Inventory Your Career “Raw Materials”

Few people appreciate the full scope of what they bring to the table. Get started by listing as many of your experiences, skills, accolades, and past wins as possible.

Go beyond standard resume blurbs like “fluent in SQL” or “graduate of FIT.” (Don’t self-censor; you can pare back later.) Ask yourself:

  • What good things would past supervisors and co-workers say about me? What about friends, mentors, or professors? Who else thinks I’m awesome—and why?
  • How have I contributed measurable results in the past?
  • How have I contributed beyond what’s easy to measure? Am I a natural leader? Have I served on a company culture committee? Have I won awards?
  • What have I accomplished that is generally seen as badass (even if it seems unrelated to the role)?
  • How have I failed spectacularly in the past? Count this as a win too, because a willingness to stick your neck out can be a win if positioned properly (this is especially true in tech).
  • What might my prospective company need based on its unique situation (maturity, industry, stated objectives, culture, employee demographics, competitors, trends) that I might be able to provide, even if it’s outside the official job description?
  • What degrees or certifications do I hold, including online courses?

This is going to be a long list, and that’s OK. I’m not suggesting you send this whole document, well, anywhere. It’s a jumping off point, and so you want the list to be as extensive as possible before you start cutting it down.

Pro tip: Try this exercise across at least two sittings to get the most out of it.

Step 2: Understand What the Very Best People in Your Desired Role Actually Do

To get the full story of what your dream role entails—and get a better sense of if you could actually do it—speak with friends (or friends of friends) who excel in positions similar to the one you want.

To get beyond the job description, ask a lot of questions. Some good ones include, “What do the very best people in this role do that the average ones don’t?” and “What’s required of this role that [company] wouldn’t actually say out loud?” Sniff for the unspoken (and potentially more important) requirements.

If you can demonstrate a better understanding of the role and company than other candidates, discrepancies in experience will matter less (within reason). I’d rather hire a comparatively less experienced person who really gets it than a more experienced candidate who doesn’t.

Step 3: Highlight the Traits Most Relevant for the Role

Now you have the key ingredients: a comprehensive list of what you can do and a long list of everything the company needs in a top hire for the role. Your next step is to draw parallels.

My student who wanted to transition from being an art gallery manager learned that the stated skills for product managers include strong analytical skills, laser-focus in moving key performance indicators (KPIs), working on the big picture and in the weeds, understanding the company’s users, and having an MBA or equivalent. The unspoken skills include instilling confidence in teammates, peers, and superiors, sales skills, strong intuition, solid people skills, resilience, and exceptional listening skills.

Armed with this information, she could match her qualifications (many of which she didn’t appreciate until they were down on paper) with what the company really needed. Here’s a snippet of what that would look like:

Experience/Accolades/Past Wins

  • She managed all aspects of the gallery: website, relationship with Artsy, marketing, and so on.
  • She increased sales 44% over one year by optimizing inventory.
  • She is experienced with day-to-day business realities—beyond theory (this is huge).
  • She’s a triathlete who also swam the bay from Alcatraz. (While unrelated to official job requirements, you could imagine a hiring manager seeing this and saying, “Wow, that’s hardcore. I need to meet this person.”)


  • She’s a high-stakes broker who’s worked with a wide range of (demanding) people including artists and high-net-worth buyers
  • She’s deeply analytical, as demonstrated by the way she optimized the gallery collection based on past sales.
  • She’s a positioning expert (an advanced marketing concept), as none of the high-priced art carried inherent tangible value.
  • She has a professionally trained eye for design and aesthetics.

Note: If you’re missing key skills for the job, focus on plugging those holes before applying. There’s a big difference between thinking, “I don’t have a degree in the desired field” versus, “It says Advanced Mathematics Degree required and I don’t have one.” Or, “I’ve never formally worked in sales, but my all of my jobs have included raising money and identifying sources for funding” and “I have never sold anything, ever.”

Step 4: Check in With Someone Knowledgeable Who’ll Tell You the Truth

You’ve made it this far. Your experience is unconventional, but you’ve done the research and think you’re a uniquely qualified candidate (as opposed to an unqualified one). There’s one more step before you begin your application: Reach out to your knowledgeable contacts and ask them for honest feedback.

Someone with insider info can help you see the difference between stretching and being entirely out of your league. Couch it by explaining that your application is a work in progress, and he or she won’t hurt your feelings.

Then, ask these four questions:

  1. “How would you react to a candidate claiming to have these traits?”
  2. “Is there anything on this you don’t believe or that makes you pause?”
  3. “Can you think of any better words to use than the ones I have here?”
  4. “Are there any red flags or gold stars that stand out?”

Now, incorporate the feedback! After all, you don’t just want to apply, you want to get a call back.

Once your application looks ready to go, put your apprehension behind you. Show the hiring manager that you’re the best choice because of your unique background, not despite it.

Most senior executives understand and generally buy into the famous aphorism, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Prompted by HR professionals or consultants, they often commit themselves to “being the change” by personally role-modeling the desired behaviors. And then, in practice, nothing significant changes. In the research for our book, Beyond […]

Most senior executives understand and generally buy into the famous aphorism, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Prompted by HR professionals or consultants, they often commit themselves to “being the change” by personally role-modeling the desired behaviors. And then, in practice, nothing significant changes. In the research for our book, Beyond […]

Most senior executives understand and generally buy into the famous aphorism, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Prompted by HR professionals or consultants, they often commit themselves to “being the change” by personally role-modeling the desired behaviors. And then, in practice, nothing significant changes.

In the research for our book, Beyond Performance, we found that the reason for this is that most executives don’t see themselves as “part of the problem.” Therefore, deep down, they do not believe that it is they who need to change, even though in principle they agree that leaders must model the desired changes. Take, for example, a team that reports that, as a group and as an organization, they are low in trust, not customer-focused and bureaucratic. How many executives when asked privately will say “no” to the questions “Do you consider yourself to be trustworthy?” and “Are you customer-focused?” and “yes” to the question “Are you a bureaucrat?” None, of course.

The fact is that most well-intentioned and hard-working people believe they are doing the right thing, or they wouldn’t be doing it. However, most people also have an unwarranted optimism in relation to their own behavior. Consider that when around one million students were asked how good they were at getting along with others, 85% rated themselves above the median and 25% rated themselves in the top 1%. Of course this is mathematically impossible. This isn’t only true for students getting along with one another — far more than 50% of people rank themselves in the top half of driving ability, although it is a statistical impossibility. When couples are asked to estimate their contribution to household work, the combined total routinely exceeds 100%. (And most men rank themselves in the top half of male athletic ability, even though that’s statistically impossible.) In many behavior-related areas, human beings consistently think they are better than they are — a phenomenon referred to in psychology as a “self-serving bias.” Whereas conventional change management approaches surmise that top team role modeling is a matter of will (“wanting to change”) or skill (“knowing how to change”), the inconvenient truth is that the real bottleneck to role modeling is knowing what to change at a personal level.

Typically, insight into what to change can be created by concrete 360-degree feedback techniques, either via surveys, conversations or both. This 360-degree feedback should not be against generic HR leadership competency models, but should instead be against the specific behaviors related to the desired changes that will drive business performance. This style of feedback can be augmented by fact gathering such as third-party observation of senior executives going about their day-to-day work (e.g., “You say you are not bureaucratic, but every meeting you are in creates three additional meetings and no decisions are made.”) and calendar analyses (e.g., “You say you are customer-focused but have spent 5% of your time reviewing customer-related data and no time meeting with customers or customer-facing employees.”).

Consider Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer’s approach of asking each of his top 75, “What should I do differently?” and sharing his development needs and commitment publicly with them. Consider the top team of a national insurance company who routinely employed what they called the “circle of feedback” during their change program: Every participant receives feedback live in the room, directly from their colleagues on “What are your strengths?” in relation to “being the change” as well as “Where can you improve?” Consider the leadership coalition (top 25) of a multi-regional bank who, after each major event in their change program, conducted a short, targeted 360-degree feedback survey regarding how well their behaviors role-modeled the desired behaviors during the event, ensuring that feedback was timely, relevant and practical.

While seemingly inconvenient, these types of techniques help break through the “self-serving bias” that inhibits well-meaning leaders from making a profound difference.

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.”

Sometimes you’re an observer of other people’s lives and you think you’ll never experience what they’re living, whether it’s a positive or negative situation. You think, “That will never happen to me.”

Part of the real beauty of life is that it’s unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, everything changes, and of course, a lot of things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. The problem is that we need to cultivate the ability to truly accept whatever comes and embrace it.

We need to develop the habit of looking at whatever happens through a positive mindset instead of a negative, defeatist one.

Of course, life will bring many challenges, such as the death of someone we love, and it’s not easy to embrace them when we’re suffering and wishing those things would have never happened. But if we start cultivating acceptance in our lives right now, we’ll likely cope with future crises in a different way and view them from a different perspective. We will accept instead or resisting.

I am big fan of Deepak’s Chopra’s The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success. He dedicates one complete chapter (Law #4) to how we need to receive with open arms what happens to us, because if we fight and resist it, we are generating a lot of turbulence in our minds.

He explains that we might want things to be different in the future, but in the present moment we need to accept things as they are. That’s the way you can make your life flow smoothly instead of roughly.

During the last year of my life I have learned the true power of acceptance.

The first lesson I learned was last year when my boyfriend broke up with me after three years together. Even though I was reluctant to believe he wouldn’t give me a second chance during the initial months, I eventually realized I had no option but to accept his choice and move on with my life.

I discovered that I was happier and more peaceful when I accepted what had happened instead of constantly fighting to change things.

Recently life has presented another challenge to me.

I met someone a few months ago, and even though it was clear from the beginning that nothing could ever happen between us, love found its way through. I couldn’t help feeling something deep and real for him. I allowed myself to give into the feeling, even though my mind was screaming to get out—and fast.

I have to accept things as they are, and right now we cannot be together for many reasons. There may be hope down the road; maybe someday things might work out. But right now, in this moment, that’s impossible. I have chosen to accept that fully.

Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but a choice nonetheless.

There are two ways out of a problem: accept what’s happening, see the positive, and choose a peaceful state of mind; or fight against it, be miserable, and struggle against the universe.

Even though my two examples are related to love and relationships, I am 100 percent positive that learning to accept things as they present themselves is a helpful tool in all aspects of life.

Whether it’s a family loss, a missed opportunity, or a sudden change in your plans, being able to accept things that are out of your control will help you maintain inner peace and happiness.

Acceptance, in my opinion, is the key to convert momentary happiness to enduring happiness. It helps you move from feeling happy to actually being happy.

Practicing acceptance prepares you to live in this changing world, where you never know what’s going to happen next. Acceptance is like protecting yourself with your own shield.

Let me clarify that acceptance is not at all related to weakness, and is definitely not a synonym of conformity or mediocrity.

We need to learn how to identify when it’s time to persist and when it’s time to accept.

One thing that makes acceptance much easier is to list all the possible explanations for why you’re experiencing something.

For example, I know I met this person to help him go through a very difficult moment in his life. He needed me. He needed to be heard, to be understood. And I was there for him in those ways. I fulfilled a purpose.

Finding the lesson or purpose behind every challenge will help you embrace it instead of fighting it.

Choose not to judge what happens to you. Instead, believe that everything happens for a reason and that better things will always follow. That’s the beginning of true acceptance.

Somewhere recently I read that the important thing is not to understand why something happened. Our understanding can wait, but our obedience cannot.

I translate this to mean that when something unpredictable happens, instead of complaining and over-thinking it, we need to choose to live with it.

I know it’s hard to practice acceptance when you deeply wish things were different. But the truth is, sometimes we can’t change our reality, even if we try.

So instead of staring at the closed door in front of us, or getting tired and bruised while we try to break it down, let’s turn around and see how many other windows we have open.

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

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How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

Ever stumbled across a job title, gotten really excited, and then felt the enthusiasm and energy drain out as you read through the requirements? A job listing’s qualifications can turn a prospective candidate off before he or she has even had a chance to read through the entire list—some of them are just that long and complicated. But, do you really need to fulfill every single thing on the list?

And, if the answer is no, is there a percentage, or a certain number of descriptors you must meet? I reached out to our career coaches for their thoughts on this tricky topic. Although I’ve long suspected that hiring managers put every possible requirement they can dream up on there, with little hope that the right person for the job will have all the qualifications, I never thought of it as a wish list more than anything else. And yet, that’s what one coach is comfortable calling it.

The thing is this: If you believe you can do the job and are a good match, save for this thing or that, you should absolutely put yourself out there. Just make sure you’re being realistic when it comes to knowing the difference between almost qualified and not even close. And know that you’re going to have to take a few extra steps than just clicking submit, such as finding an “in” at the company, completing a pre-interview project, and using your cover letter to make your case.

Read on for advice on being an awesome candidate when your job requirement checklist needs some work.

1. Focus on Your Transferable Skills

The requirements listed in job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. You don’t have to satisfy every requirement or meet every qualification listed. If your skills are transferable and you are in the ballpark with the number of years of experience the company’s looking for, apply. Applying gives you the opportunity to be considered.

2. Complete a Pre-Interview Project

Are you confident you could do the job, and are you legitimately excited about the opportunity? If the answers to those two questions are yes, then do everything in your power to get in front of someone at the company who can refer you for the role. Startups tend to be flexible on some of the ‘requirements’ listed—as long as you can show passion for what the organization is doing and prove to them through a project (or other means) that you’re the real deal. I’ve seen this technique work over and over again. You just have to be willing to do the legwork that your competition isn’t!

3. Find a Direct Connection at the Company

Interestingly, gender seems to play a role in how clients approach this question. In my experience, men will apply to jobs regardless of their alignment with required qualifications. If they want the job, they’ll go for it. Women are much more hesitant, and look for nearly perfect alignment before going for a job. This divide is echoed by research in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. I tell clients that if they are at least 60% qualified, they should go for it—but only if they’re able to network and find a direct point of contact at a company, rather than applying through an online tracking system.

4. Figure Out the Non-Negotiables

What I see hold smart, ambitious job seekers back is not a lack of confidence, but a mistaken perception about the hiring process. A dirty little secret of hiring managers is that job descriptions are more like wish lists than set-in-stone requirements. Err on the side of boldness: If you meet at least 75% of the qualifications, apply—but be smart about sussing out the non-negotiables. Applying online? Keywords are king. Put the job posting into a word cloud application. See what stands out, then make sure your resume showcases your experience using keywords that align with what they care about the most. You’ll beat the ATS and show the hiring manager why you’re perfect for the job. You can also do research on Glassdoor, through networking, or using LinkedIn to get insider knowledge about the company.

5. Read Between the Lines

Honestly, many job descriptions are hacked together, based on what that company saw was listed for similar positions at other places. And in many cases, job descriptions are meant to weed people out who won’t even take the time to apply because they think they’re unqualified. Some qualifications are even contradictory (I remember applying for jobs in college and seeing listings ask for five to seven years of social media marketing experience, when at that point, social media had only been around for four years). Rarely does a person meet every single bullet, so if you feel like you meet the core competencies, you should apply.

6. Use Your Cover Letter to Make Your Value Add Clear

The job description’s basically the employer’s wish list for what the company’s hoping to find in a candidate; it’s not a checklist. An applicant may meet all the stated criteria but still lack some crucial quality that makes him the right fit for the job. If you meet at least some qualifications and are really excited about the position and confident that you would be a good choice, convey that enthusiasm in your cover letter. Draw the reader’s attention to your qualifications and highlight other strengths that make you worthy of consideration. How would you contribute in a unique and positive way? How have you made a difference in other settings? Taking the time to personalize the cover letter can really pay off.

7. Show Your Enthusiasm

I spent 10 years as the director of a nonprofit, and I fielded hundreds of job applications. The people I ultimately chose to hire were not always the ‘most qualified’ or the ‘most experienced.’ They were the people who demonstrated genuine enthusiasm for the organization and our mission. Skills can be acquired. But enthusiasm is either there—or it’s not. I’d say, if you feel genuinely excited about a particular role or company, go for it! Apply! You’ve got nothing to lose—and who knows? The hiring manager might see that ‘spark’ in your eyes and decide, ‘She’s the one.’

8. Check the Match

The thing to remember is that the hiring manager is not always exactly sure (consciously or not) of what he’s looking for, so he’s putting out a description that he thinks will work, casting the widest net, and attracting the most ‘qualified’ candidates. There may be a few hard and fast requirements, but the rest of the description’s a best guess at who’ll be an ideal fit for the opening. If after thoroughly considering and researching the type of company and role that matches with your experience and passion you can make a strong argument as to why you would be a good candidate, you should absolutely apply. Make sure to explain in a cover letter the connection, and try to find a direct link to the hiring manager so you can argue your case for applying.

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

Want to try bottoming or just get better at it? Well dear, now you can with this very helpful and practical guide to taking it like a champ. You’re welcome.

Before we get stuck into sticking it in, we always support and suggest safer sex. Read our guide to PrEP, and always use condoms.

A bottom is sometimes referred to as the passive role or ‘pitcher’ (versus a ‘catcher’ or a top), and is the lucky guy that gets penetrated, gets f**ked, takes it up the rear, gets a cock in their ass, the penis in the anus.

We hope that’s a bit clearer now? Great, read on for all the facts and info on bottoming as well as a debunking of all the common myths.

Genetics or personal preference?

But this is just one study. The actual reason why some people and tops and others are bottoms is way more complicated than that.

Stereotypical bottoms

The most common stereotype for a bottom is a younger guy with little body hair, who is on the camp side of the spectrum. But stereotypes must be taken with a pinch of salt and only account for a small percentage of the truth.

The fact is, anyone can be a bottom and we’d encourage trying it if you’re in any way inclined – after all, a man’s G spot is hidden up there and bottoming is a sure fire way to stimulate it.

Yeah, lots of bottoms follow the stereotype above, but lots of bottoms are big beefy daddies, hyper-masculine military dudes and everything in between.

There is no ‘rule’ that governs who should be a top or a bottom. Hey, why not be both? Here’s our guide to being versatile if you want to find out more.

Reasons why people don’t bottom

“It’ll hurt too much, it’ll be dirty, his dick is too big, I’m not gay if I don’t get fucked.” We’ve heard them all before.

The first three, we’ll deal with. The last one, well that’s more of an internalised homophobia issue.

No pain, no gain – does it hurt?

The first time a man has anal sex is often painful. It’s a totally new thing that’s happening to your ass, the muscles don’t know what’s happening and you don’t know how to breathe into the action or how to relax and contract your ass muscles.

But trust us – bottoming gets easier and more pleasurable the more you understand and know your own body.

How can I be a good bottom?

There are some things about being a bottom that make it harder than being a top.

There’s certainly a lot more preparation to do, and it can be a bit bewildering if you’re new to it. But we’ve got it covered.

If you’re scared about things getting dirty, learn how to douche. You can read more about douching here in this general explainer about anal sex, but in a nutshell, it means washing yourself with warm water.

Either with water from the shower (with the shower-head removed), or with a pre-bought douching device, or ‘bulb.’

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

Diet and exercise

Eating a diet rich in fibre is more likely to make you feel like your bowel movements are ‘complete,’ and therefore more confident about using your ass being clean for f**king.

If you’ve got a hectic lifestyle and daily fibre intake is difficult to fit into your meals, there are a ton of fibre supplements out there to help you out.

If you’re into the gym, do extra squats. You can also practice clenching and relaxing your anal sphincter muscle almost anywhere. Now there’s something to make the daily commute more interesting…

Learning how to take it

We said there was a lot of prep eh? But when it’s actually time to take your partner’s cock, make sure you’re as relaxed as possible.

Do your exercises, and learn to use your ass muscles. When the tip of your partner’s penis starts to enter you, push out your sphincter.

Expand and contract this muscle. Each time you do, you’ll find that his cock will go in a bit more – and most importantly – it’ll go in a bit more easily.

Sexual positions where a bottom leads

Being a bottom doesn’t mean you need to be submissive, or that your Top has to be in control of the situation.

Riding your guy, is a good way to self-manage how you take his dick: how fast, how much, and how hard – it’s all up to you in this position.

How to accept not getting your desired role in a play

Clear communication leads to better bottoming

It’s your ass, it’s your sexual experience. Don’t be afraid to tell your guy exactly how you’re feeling. Tell him if it’s too hard, too deep, too fast or too slow.

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And if it’s not hard enough or deep enough, make sure he knows that too!

Medical issues that might hold you back

Anal fissures, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or genital warts (in and around the anus) could potentially cause you to shy away from anal sex as a bottom. But these things are all treatable.

In the case of IBS, a careful diet and imodium a few hours before your planned session could greatly relieve any pain or self-confidence issues about gas or waste material causing embarrassing problems or discomfort.

For all other enquiries, it’s best to check in with a doctor before you carry on your merry way.

W hile 50 Shades of Grey has brought BDSM into the mainstream, many couples regularly practice the lifestyle, which refers to sex practices including domination, bondage and sadomasochism. But is it healthy to add a little spanking and submission into your sex life?

Dr. Stephanie Hunter Jones, a certified sex therapist, works with couples to introduce BDSM into their bedrooms — and she told Motto that she’s seen the practice completely revive partnerships. “It definitely makes a difference for damaged relationships,” Dr. Jones said.

Dr. Jones spoke with Motto about her work, what impact BDSM can have on relationships and how “vanilla” couples can start getting a little kinky.

Motto: What impact can BDSM have on relationships?

Jones: For couples already involved in it, they’re no different from any other couple. They have the same concerns. BDSM is an expression of one’s uniqueness of their sexuality, and I always find that our BDSM couples are very blessed because they’ve found a partner that is a good fit for them.

But I also help vanilla couples introduce BDSM into their relationships, sometimes, in a bid to save their unions. I recently had a couple come in recently and the wife was in tears. She said she wasn’t attracted to her husband anymore and that she thought their marriage was over. They had been married for about ten years. So I met with them individually and found that their relationship was a total power struggle. He was totally dominating her in the relationship. So I gave them assignments where she would “dom” him in the bedroom. And it totally saved their marriage. And they’ve become lifestylers.

I often prescribe BDSM for power struggles or control issues. Or, if one partner had a bad sexual experience in the past, I prescribe it as a way to give that partner back some feeling of control.

So, how can a couple that’s never tried BDSM before organically introduce it into their relationship?

There’s lots of videos available online. I would check those out and do some research. I also frequently refer my clients to doms, and let the doms show them the safe way to play. You can have a session with a dom, who will demonstrate the ropes and different types of exercises you can do in the bedroom.

Here’s one scenario: one person — playing the dom (the person in power) can pretend to be the CEO of a company and the submissive can be an employee.

There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of when it comes to BDSM. People think it equals pain. But, in reality, BDSM covers everything from playful role-playing to spanking to tying up your partner and teasing them with a feather. You can go as heavy as you want — as long as it’s consensual. But you don’t need to, either. You can always just dip your toe in — and that will still add a level of erotic energy to sex play with your partner.

How can couples stay safe — and consensual — while trying out BDSM?

BDSM play is always consensual. I work with the couples to create a safe word — meaning whenever one of them says that word, what’s going on must stop. No questions asked.

They also are supposed to talk beforehand. The scene played out shouldn’t be organic until they’ve done it enough so they know each other’s limits. When they’re just starting out, they must discuss the scene in advance and lay out what’s going to happen.

How should one partner broach the subject of trying out BDSM?

I’d recommend going to a sex-positive sex therapist and talking it out there. Or if you feel comfortable enough, I would just talk to your partner — and recommend starting out small. Say: “I’m interested in getting a little bit more playful in the bedroom — maybe some role playing or spanking.”

I’m a big advocate for getting help outside the bedroom. I think sex therapists are incredibly helpful. They can really help you get off to a good start.

Have you ever seen any negative effects of introducing BDSM into your relationship?

If a partner is using BDSM to hurt themselves or someone else, that’s not your traditional BDSM relationship. Otherwise, I don’t think there’s any harm introducing it whatsoever.

Some of my more mature couples initially giggle when I give them BDSM exercises to do, but when they report back to me, they love the experience. They say they felt like they were in high school again. They felt it was something new and unique to do in the bedroom, and it’s playful and fun.

Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. You and your partner can totally transform your relationship.

This interview has been edited and condensed.