A burner virgin spills the dirt… BDSM workshops and all. By Fiona MacDonald

Burning Man has never really been my my thing - sure, the week-long cultural festival in Nevada always looked fun, but unlike a lot of my friends, I'd never dreamed of going enough to put it on my bucket list. But for my husband's 30th, all he wanted to do was go, so after 14 months of planning, we piled into a massive extendable RV with two of our best friends (along with 70,000 other people) and headed out to the dried out, salty lake bed that becomes Black Rock City for one week every year.

Looking back, I'm so glad I went into the whole thing with no - or few - expectations, because Burning Man really is an experience unlike anything else. You can't prepare or plan for it too much, it just happens to you. And as every burner will tell you, the burn is different for every single person. The one thing you can count on is that it's going to be intense: I was stimulated and tested emotionally, viscerally, physically, and spiritually in ways I'd never expected, and holy crap, am I glad I made the trip.

For all of those who've ever wondered what it's really like beyond the costumes, celebrities, and artworks - here's what it was really like for a first timer - BDSM workshops and all.

This is what REALLY goes on at Burning Man