Kink and Sex Education Blog

Gift Ideas for Your Dominant or Submissive

Gift giving is a love language – and in BDSM it’s also a common practice between play partners. Just like in vanilla relationships, a gift can be symbolic of your relationship and a way to show your affection to your partner. The following guide will cover some of the most common gifts to give to your dominant/submissive partner.

 Gifts For Your Dominant

You may want to find a gift for your dom that shows your dedication and affection. After all, they protect and tend to your needs. So it’s only natural that you want to return the favor. While they invent new scenarios for you and fulfill your kink needs, a dom also has their own needs.

  • A Toy They’ll Love to Play With

Giving your dom a toy you know that they will love to use on you is a great way to introduce something new into your relationship and show your appreciation. Whether they love a little pain and would get a lot of enjoyment of something like glass jacks to use with rope or they would love the idea of teasing you in public with a remote controlled vibrator.
A toy with a thoughtful note shows your appreciation and invites more play between you – so it’s hard to go wrong!

  • A Massage/Spa Package

Being a dom can be a lot of work. You are looking out for someone else’s well being and doing a lot of the heavy lifting (sometimes literally!) whether they tie you up on a regular basis or you are in a more 24/7 relationship where they are dominant over you most of the time. It can be easy for your dominant to not focus on themselves enough – so a gift like a massage package or a spa day can make sure that they are getting the self care they need as well.

  • An Aftercare Kit

Aftercare is not just for subs! After intense play everyone can use a little pick-me-up. Talk with your dom about what they want most after an intense playtime, as everyone has their own preferences. Whether they like to have some time to themselves to read a book or just cool off, or they want your affection and reassurance.
Once you know what they want after play, you can build an aftercare kit for them with some of their favorite things or get one from us. Gifting an aftercare kit can also help you build a ritual in your relationship that helps you wind down from more intense activities. Whether you end up enjoying a cup of Bottega Nera’s exclusive Aftercare tea or you give them a bottle of their favorite whiskey and some body care products to help with their aching muscles.

Gifts for Your Submissive

Gift giving to submissives can be highly symbolic, and also be part of your D/s (dominant/submissive) relationship. Whether you like to dress your submissive up as a doll or you want to symbolize your relationship with the right piece of jewelry, there are many ways to show your appreciation to the person who places their trust in you as your submissive.

  • Collars

A collar is one of the most symbolic and commonly gifted items in D/s relationships. Some people consider a collar as important as a wedding ring – so you should give this carefully with negotiation beforehand about what it means to your relationship! There are many collar types to choose from. Some are much more overt like a dog collar or a locking steel collar, and there are also much more subtle options that look more like a necklace.
A well-made collar can be the symbol of your love to each other that you can wear proudly in and out of the dungeon. It’s also one of the most common gives from a dominant to a submissive.

  • Lingerie

A beautiful set of lingerie is a gift that will make almost any submissive swoon. Not only do they get something that many women and men absolutely love, they get to wear it out to kink parties or in bed with you. Lingerie is also excellent because as a dominant you can choose something that appeals to you and shows your submissive in the best light, accentuating what you love about their bodies.

Sub-drop can be a serious issue for BDSM play. Sub drop is a dip in hormones after intense play that can cause almost “hangover” symptoms – like tiredness, depression, and also the physical symptoms like bruises and sore muscles. Having an aftercare routine that works for both of you is critical to care for other people when practicing BDSM. Gifting an aftercare kit to your submissive shows that you care about their well-being and gives them a set of tools that they can use to help reduce any uncomfortable feelings after play – which is a great benefit to you as well, because they will want to play more if they don’t feel bad after each session!

If you’re not sure exactly what your partner will like or you’re building out your own toy box a gift box from Bottega Nera is an excellent option for a gift. Our gift sets include everything that you need to create your own bdsm scenes. Having a set of toys exclusively for your relationship is another beautiful symbol of the affection between you and your submissive.


I Feel Ashamed of My Sexual Fantasies …

So you had a daydream or saw something in a movie, and suddenly you have a burning desire to have your partner tie you up. Or you desperately want to try what it would be like to feel some pain during sex. And with that desire, you have completely conflicting feelings of embarrassment or shame. So you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your sexual desires. What should you do about it?

Modern society has told us many stories about what sex and sexual desire “should” be. We have expectations about who we should be attracted to and how we should pursue sexual interests. We see romances on the TV, and, for the most part, they are vanilla. Depictions of sexual fantasies were relatively taboo until recently – the gay community helped bring some of these more into mainstream culture (think San Francisco Leather Daddies). However, more heterosexual-leaning people are often still behind in their ideas about what sex should and shouldn’t be.

We often get questions about if a particular interest or kink is “normal” or not. With the societal pressure to behave a certain way and not a lot of information about anything other than vanilla sex, it can often feel like a fantasy or an interest is “wrong.” The truth is, human sexuality is much more complicated. Recent studies have found that women’s sexual desire and interests are much more fluid than initially thought. Your interests can change wildly throughout your lifetime – from who you’re interested in what sort of sexual activities you prefer. And that’s totally and completely normal.

Feeling some amount of shame about your sexual interests is also quite normal. We have pictures of what we should like, and when we find that we want something completely different, it can feel like something is wrong with you. Think about it like coming out, in a way. You may be heterosexual, but admitting even to yourself that you like bondage or being dominated can feel shameful if you have a story about what you should like. So how do we get over that? Read more to find out.

Is Liking ___ Normal?

Before we get started, there are some important topics we should cover about safe sex and kink. While some are more socially acceptable than others – if it’s legal, consensual, and ethical, then having an alternative sexual interest is safe to explore. Whether or not society says so, your interests are defined by a complex net of experiences in your life. Being sexual is entirely natural and good for your well-being. That being said, some sexual activities are illegal. While this means we wouldn’t include them in our legal, consensual, or ethical list, these things change over time. In some places in the United States, anal sex is still illegal, among other “Non-Vanilla” sex. While at Bottega Nera, we don’t agree with some of these antiquated laws; other laws are in place to protect minors and other vulnerables. It’s essential to check your local area and understand how you can explore what you want to within the law’s boundaries.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way – chances are, whatever you’re interested in has other people who like it too. It’s prevalent for people to be interested in being tied up/subdued or into sadism/masochism. We’ve heard people relate their first stirrings back to old Batman cartoons or some other innocent impression (helloooo Indiana Jones). Ever heard of weighted blankets? It’s a similar concept; there are real physical benefits to being tied up. Many people find the “weight” or pressure calming – it allows them to let go of their current worries and just experience sensations. The desire to feel this pressure is so common that we would say it’s becoming mainstream now.

When you think about how these kinks pop up – it’s no surprise we see them. While Batman didn’t mean to be kinky, it was. Our seeds of interest are hidden in everyday life. When they come up, it’s a perfectly natural path for our brains to take.

Kinks vs. Fantasies

As humans, we are deeply imaginative – and as a result, we also can have daydreams or fantasies quite often. When people begin to be more open to these, they are sometimes surprised at what they dream up and what excites them. Our imagination can go a lot farther than we may be interested in going in real life – and that’s also totally normal. When you’re daydreaming, there are fewer limits, and you don’t need to match those daydreams in real life.

If a daydream you had about an anonymous threesome is great but is too risky for you in real life – that’s completely fine! This relates to what is ethical, consensual, and legal. You may daydream about something that doesn’t fit within those bounds – rape fantasies are very common. However, you shouldn’t act out those fantasies in their true form. There are ways to explore a fantasy or some elements of it within the consensual and legal bounds. That is what a lot of roleplaying is based on.

A Little Embarrassment is OK

Feeling embarrassed about your sexual interests is totally OK. We all sometimes feel unsure about what we want. When asking a partner to engage in something different, it can feel scary and uncomfortable. Knowing that almost everyone goes through this can be a comfort. Even the most practiced BDSM players were probably unsure or embarrassed about what they like at one point in their lives. There are some ways to overcome this if you choose to and move into exploring what you want. Here are some of our top tips:

  • Research what you’re interested in. Luckily, many alternative sex blogs cover almost any topic you could be interested in. They cover how to practice safely, what to expect, and much more. This knowledge can be vital, just like understanding the basics of safe sex are crucial to your health.
  • When you’re ready, talk to your partner if you have one. Let them know that you’re interested in something new. Remember that it’s OK if they don’t feel the same way. Though you may be surprised at how open they are to trying something new. Novelty is essential for long-term relationships, so trying something new and having a partner who is open to experimenting can be great for your relationship.
  • Explore your feelings around shame and embarrassment. Emotions aren’t “bad” or “good” – you need them all! Often your resistance to feeling shame and embarrassment can make those feelings worse. If you feel like your quality of life is affected by your emotions around the topic, we recommend trying therapy with a kink-friendly therapist.

Suppose you feel ready to experience your fantasy. In that case, Bottega Nera’s Gift Sets can be an excellent way to get body-safe toys in a curated set based on themes or interests.

 Other Resources:

Kinky Sprinkles – A blog that covers topics in kink and polyamory from beginner all the way to advanced topics

XCBDSM – A BDSM blog that covers the ethics, how-to’s, and learning resources for kink

7 Ways to Deal with Sexual Shame – An excellent resource by Pleasure Centered Sexology AU that breaks down the psychology and how to cope with severe sexual shame

What Does Body Safe Really Mean for Sex Toys?

Luxury boxed adult toy sets

We built Bottega Nera on the dream of offering body safe, beautiful sex toys to new audiences. So what does body safe really mean for sex and kink? Why is it such a big deal?

Finding Body Safe Sex Toys

At Bottega Nera, we carefully choose all of the products we stock on our website to make sure all of them are as body-safe as possible. That means countless hours of researching materials, reading expert evaluations, and discussing which products are indeed the best. We care about this because shockingly, the sex-toy industry is mostly unregulated in both the US and Europe. That means toxic materials, improper manufacturing, and downright dirty toys are out there on the market. Low-quality toys contain substances like phthalates, which are banned in the production of children toys and can leech into the body, potentially causing health problems.

Not many people are aware of the risks that they are exposing themselves to when they are searching for the perfect new toy. Other than unregulated materials, resellers like Amazon sometimes will sell knockoff products or toys that have been opened or used. Yuck!

We find toys from companies who test their toys carefully and are honest about the materials. So you don’t have to worry about what you’re putting into your body and can enjoy your pleasure. 

What are Body Safe Sex Toy Materials?

Luckily, there are many body-safe toys on the market as well as bad ones. While there are many body safe materials, we exclusively carry toys with the following materials due to their reliability and great look and feel:

Medical-Grade Silicone
Silicone is a compound mostly made out of silica (sand) that is highly resistant to heat, is flexible, non-absorptive, and isn’t easily damaged. It’s one of our favourite materials for sex toys as it is easy to clean and very body safe.

Silicone sex toys can be made into almost any shape and can have any colour. Your silicone dildo or toy (without a motor or electronic elements) can be put in an empty dishwasher or even boiled to sterilize it. They last forever and have a nice skin-like feeling.


Sparkling, jewel-like, a work of art. Glass toys are beautiful, along with being durable and non-porous. The firmness of the toys results in more intense sensations that many people swear by. Glass is also straightforward to maintain and doesn’t absorb unwanted scents.

Companies That Care

We look for companies that care about the quality of their toys – beyond body safe to creating the best functional designs and taking care of their customers. From their packaging to how they handle defective products, we look for the cream of the crop to stock at Bottega Nera. 

See Our Body Safe Toy Selection:

Further Reading on Body Safe Materials

Dangerous Lilly – Dangerous Lilly is one of the go-to resources for knowing what toys are safe – and which types of toys to avoid.

The Sex Toy Collective – Has a comprehensive guide on dangerous sex toy materials to avoid

Women-Owned Startup Encourages Kinky Exploration Through Luxury Sex Toy Sets

Press Release

Brand launches to encourage adults to play on the wild side with guided gift boxes

Bottega Nera wants you to spice up your love life. Founded in 2016, UK brand Bottega Nera is inspired by the wish to get away for a weekend and try something new in style. BDSM is becoming more acknowledged in mainstream media, but high-quality toys are hard to find for curious beginners.

Bottega Nera wants to introduce the world to real kink with luxury gift sets. The founders discovered that many couples and individuals were interested in spicing up their sex lives, but didn’t know where to start. Many sex shops only stock novelty toys and low-quality gag gifts, which make it difficult to get the full-on experience. Bottega Nera boxes are curated to include just the highest quality BDSM toys and sex toys. Along with tantalising new treats, the beautifully designed boxes include tutorials on how to play with the implements inside and introductions to negotiating kinky play.

The company went live with six limited edition boxes in late 2018. The boxes range from a shy introduction to BDSM to the True Kink collection which features some truly wicked toys appropriate for the regular dungeon-goer. The selection of high-end boxes range from 150 GBP all the way up to 1400 pounds and include items, such as designer lingerie, premium bondage rope, and high-quality toys for all orientations. The toys in the boxes have been chosen to be so beautiful they could sit on your mantelpiece or bookshelf when not in use and to last a lifetime of experimentation. The company is expanding its collection to include smaller gift sets and Hen/Bachelorette party gift boxes in early 2019.

“Our brand is all about empowering people to celebrate their sexuality and use body-safe products and methods to do so. Experimenting should feel luxurious and fun, and our kits allow you to have that full experience without the stress of trying to find new toys by yourself” – Mary Maskovas, Head of Marketing and Creative at Bottega Nera.

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Start Here: How to Choose Sex Toys

Maybe you saw Venus in Furs or Fifty Shades of Grey – perhaps a post on social media of a woman in latex. Something piqued your interest, and now you want to try something new. Looking for vanilla sex toys alone can be overwhelming, so finding kinky toys can feel like too much to process. Here are some helpful tips on how to get started:

Pick a Sensation

BDSM is all about sensations. Many common kinks revolve around either restricting sensation (like blindfolds) to heighten others or are about eliciting new novel sensations. Here is a short list of some sensations to pick from:

Bondage or Restriction

Bondage is about restricting movement – the feeling of helplessness. Bondage is one of the most popular types of kinky play, and many playtimes that involve other things also have some level of restriction. If you like being wrapped tightly in your blankets with your sheets tucked in, hugged tightly, or held down during sex, you might like some bondage implements.

Heat and Sensation

Wax play is darn sexy! Shows like Game of Thrones even feature a little bit of wax play (Daenerys’ brother and her handmaiden in the bathtub). Wax play is about the sensation of the warm (or sometimes hot) wax dripping on your body and then the fun of taking it off again.

Other sensations include tickling and touching with different toys. Sensation play is extra fun with a blindfold to enhance the other senses. If you think you’d like to try something gentle like some blindfolded tickling our Little Luxury set would be perfect for you.


Pain is still a sensation, but we put it in its category because of the intensity. When many people think about BDSM they immediately think “painful” while we hope that our other sections have shown you that isn’t always the case, pain can be extremely pleasurable as well. Pain can be safely created using spanking, paddles, whips, rope, and many more implements. If you’re interested in experiencing some pain, it is best to start slowly and build up, and always carefully negotiate what you’re OK with your partner beforehand.

Our boxes with the best toys for exploring pain are our True Kink set and The Classic set. The Classic includes a split-ended paddle and a flogger, and the True Kink is full to the brim with all sorts of sensation toys.

Sex Toy Selection

Vibrators, dildos, plugs, and more. How on earth do you decide what your body will like best? Finding quality toys is difficult; the toy market is crowded with a vast range of types, brands, and prices. Bottega Nera carefully selects only body-safe brands to stock. Purchasing toys from a reputable source is the first step to choosing sex toys that will be right for you. From there, here are some tips on how to select what type of toy might be interesting for you:

Types of Vibration

If you have had any experience at all with vibrators, you may have noticed that not all buzz the same. If you haven’t tried a vibrator yet, don’t fret!

Rumbly – Rumbly vibrators have a rougher feel and usually a more significant vibration area. The Doxy Wand is an excellent example of something rumbly.  Rumbly toys are generally more powerful and can be used over underwear as well as directly.

Finer Vibration – Toys with finer vibration will be more concentrated in their vibration, perfect for intense clitoral stimulation. The Crave Necklace is a fine-vibration toy.


If you’re interested in trying anal, you should select a toy made explicitly for anal play. This is important! Anal toys will have a base on the toy so that it will stay securely in place – anal toys shouldn’t be inserted beyond the base. If you want to try an anal toy make sure to slowly warm yourself up to it first and use a quality lube.

Dildos and Insertables

Insertable toys such as dildos are good for more manual stimulation. Some of them vibrate as well like the classic “rabbit” toy. If you’re looking for a more filling feeling and like vaginal stimulation, an insertable toy would be a good option for you.

Choose a Boxed Set

A sampling of goodies to try is always an excellent way to test out many impressions and toys. It’s one of the reasons we love getting subscription boxes! Bottega Nera has many boxed sets that cater to specific interests. If you know that you’re interested in bondage already, then the Pretty in Pain and Pleasure could be a good fit for you. Our boxed sets contain a variety of toys for you to try and come with scenario suggestions. We put together our collections so that you have a whole story to play out with the items inside, and we make sure that the boxes check off several types of play so that there is a full experience in each one.

5 Things to Expect at your First Kink Party

So you finally bought the tickets and set aside the time – you’re going to your first kink/bdsm party. You might be nervous or not know what to expect, and even after reading over the event rules and dress code it can be a bit overwhelming. Aside from making sure you have a beautiful outfit and toys from Bottega Nera, here are some of our top tips for what to expect when you arrive at your first party.

1. Rules and Dress Codes

The most reputable kink events will have a set of rules and a dress code that is sent out before the event. Read the rules very carefully, as clubs enforce them and will remove you from the event if you are being disrespectful. Look for events to attend that list they will have dungeon monitors at the party and/or security. This means the event is looking out for you! The DMs will be friendly, personable and will answer any questions you might have. Some events will also have a required orientation at the beginning of the party if you haven’t attended before. The orientations are mandatory and are an excellent way to get settled into the environment before the party is in full swing.

Dress codes vary from event to event. Most parties will have a list of options from formal wear to kink wear. Rarely are you required to wear something sexy or kinky, so if you’re nervous about what to wear normally a nice ‘going out’ outfit will be perfect for your first event. The event organisers will be happy to answer any of your questions ahead of time, and often are quite forgiving about the dress code. The dress code is there to set the mood for the event, not to be excluding. If you aren’t comfortable in lingerie or nude, don’t worry about it! You will get an idea about how people dress from your first party and can decide what accessories you want to pick up for the next time.

2. Everyone is Friendly

A dungeon can sound intimidating in name, but the reputation doesn’t carry over to the party-goers. Most kinky people are extremely friendly and happy to meet new faces. Unlike your typical cocktail party or dinner event, the group will be much more mixed. Different classes, ages and demographics will mingle and give up their daytime personas to be free for the night. It’s not uncommon to meet a politician and then a truck driver on the same night.

If you see someone with an interesting outfit or kink they will almost always be happy to tell you about it and answer your questions as well. Just make sure you wait till they are done playing to talk to them. You will probably leave your first kink party knowing much more than you came in and probably have a few new friends as well.

3. Drinking is Done in Moderation

Depending on the event, alcohol and drugs may or may not be allowed. Some events will not allow any drinking, while others might have some champagne or BYOB policies. Drinking heavily, however, is frowned upon. You will notice that at parties where it is allowed most people choose not to partake. Compared to a regular party or night out kink parties are relatively dry affairs. The reason for this is that to be consensual and safe, it is best not to drink before playing or engaging in sexual encounters. Bottega Nera recommends that you stay sober at your first party, as you won’t need anything to dull your nerves once you see how vibrant everyone is, and you won’t want to miss out by being asked to leave if you have a few too many!

4. People will Bring A Lot of Toys

BDSM parties are BYOT events (bring your own toys) for the most part. You will see people show up with rolling suitcases or duffle bags full of sex toys and other goodies. Everyone has a different toy collection with their own favourites. Furniture for play like benches and crosses are supplied by the event space or the party organisers, and everything else will be carted along to the event. Many party-goers are happy to give you a tour of what they like in their toy set and explain why they like them. Getting a tour of a toy bag is a great way to start to explore what you might like to try.

If you’re ready to start building out your toy kit, you can get a complete set like our specially curated Kink Party Box set and wow people with your impressive collection.

5. Nudity and Sex

Depending on the event and the local rules there will be nudity and sex at the party. Most first-time attendees report after their first party that it felt surprisingly normal to see people naked and playing in sexual ways. The environment of the party is so respectful and open that there isn’t any awkwardness to go around. You might see things you’ve never seen done before, and that is part of the fun of attending a kink party!


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How We Curate

Bottega Nera curated gift collections are developed by a team of professionals who carefully search for the best sex toys, BDSM implements, and lingerie that the industry has to offer.  Each curated set has a story behind it and is meant to be a full experience for the user. We have partnered with international kink presenters, small-business craftspeople, and top luxury designers to make sure our boxes have a realistic peek into the world of kink.

Uncompromising Quality

The toys that you will find in a Bottega Nera box are made from the most body-safe materials and are the top-rated toys on the market. We want our sets to be a pleasurable experience that is meant to last and will never leave you with novelty products.  All of our suppliers are reviewed by our team to make sure they meet our high standards for product quality both in design and materials.

Fraulein Kink Golden Python Cuffs – Get them in the Pretty in Pain and Pleasure Set

A Well-Rounded Set

Our boxed sets are meant to be a full experience with multiple scenarios that can be played out by the user. Our boxes all include what we consider to be a useable set of playthings to get your creativity flowing and hopefully introduce you to some new ways to play with your partners or yourself. Each box includes a restraint style toy, a sex toy (vibrator, anal plug, etc), premium lubrication, a wearable like lingerie, and a romance kit with chocolates. Many of our kits also include a small scenarios list for your try and the basics of negotiation. Our hope is that you’ll never be bored in the bedroom when you have a Bottega Nera set at your side.

Limited Edition Collections

The stock of our curated collections is extremely limited, and a gift set you may see on our site now may not return in future months. The reason for this is that we want to make sure we continue to include the latest styles, newest toys and continue to tell new stories with our sets. We are always in the pursuit of the unknown rising-star brand or the new definition of high-quality. Therefore we don’t live in the past and will release new collections regularly and retire old collections.

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A Short Introduction to Kink


So what is kink really? If you google the definition you will come up with something like “abnormal sexual interests.” At Bottega Nera we think kink is the acceptance of sexual interests of many different kinds, and the celebration of sensation. Kink is about feeling and experiencing new feelings and playing as an adult. Sexual exploration and the normalization of sex has a positive impact on society and can help us have a positive relationship with ourselves and our partners. The BDSM community revolves around careful negotiation and an acknowledgment of consent.

To begin understanding the world of kink, there are a few key definitions that you might find useful. So many acronyms and terms are thrown around when you first start exploring, and we know it can be a little overwhelming!

Stands for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, and Sadomasochism. Yes, we know it should be BDDSM but that sounds a little funny doesn’t it? The acronym encompasses some of the key elements of Kink, including the roles you can choose to play with and some of the types of play. Of course, this list doesn’t encompass everything within the “kink” community, but it’s a good start.

Bondage – Simply put bondage is the restriction of actions or movement of a person. Some common types of bondage are rope, handcuffs, straps, and harnesses. Bondage can create a feeling of restriction that is comforting or arousing, and many people enjoy being bound or restricted. Think about the weighted blanket craze – a heavy blanket for sleeping and relaxation that supposedly reduces anxiety. Many practitioners of bondage would say that they get a similar feeling from being tied.

Kink – A more all-encompassing term that refers to anything beyond typical sexual interests. The term can be used when referring to a person’s specific interest “They have a kink” and can also be used to describe the whole genre of sexual exploration.

Fetish – A fetish is a specific sexual interest. The term can be used to describe a certain interest that a person must have present to be sexually satisfied, and also can be a thing that turns them on but they don’t always need to be aroused. You could have a foot fetish where feet must be present always for you to be sexually interested, or you could just sexually interested in feet but not need them to get off.


All of these definitions can be intimidating. You may have found something that tickles your fancy and you don’t know where to go from there. Our boxed collections can give you a whole package of toys and experiences to try, curated so that you know you are getting the best quality toys possible and skipping over the cheap novelties at the sex shop.

Articles written by Kinky Sprinkles

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