BDSM & Kink Safety
  • Feb 02, 2016|
  • Caddy Compson

BDSM offers a lot of self-discoveries and personal growth. When finding your way to the kinky side, there are endless things to do and to see. To gain the most from this provocative side of life, it’s important to play safe. Safety ensures that you’ll be able to keep coming back for more. There are a number of things to bear in mind when first finding your way to kink.

So, who do you play with? It’s important to find people who are going to play safely. For the masochists, you want to find someone using the motto of “hurt but not harm.” It’s great to experience all those fun kinky BDSM sex toys, but you don’t want to leave permanently damaged in some nonconsenting way. One of the best ways to find other kinky people is to go to munches and classes. Munches are gatherings of like-minded people in vanilla settings. It’s a way for people to talk and get to know each other while the clothes are still on, and the toys are still in the bag. Most of the time, munches are geared for most anyone to attend (but be sure to check that the one you want to attend isn’t for specific groups i.e. singles, etc.). You can contact the organizers beforehand so that they know you’re coming and can introduce you around. Classes are great, too, because it gives people common ground and you know that both of you are working to better your skills.

Just as in any walk of life, common sense is absolutely mandatory. Although jumping into the deep end of the pool right away may seem fun, there can be serious repercussions to mindless actions. Get to know the people with whom you want to play. If possible, vet new play partners with other people you trust in the community. However, no matter how highly esteemed someone is regarded, make your judgments. Only you can determine a good match for yourself. Just because you’re excited doesn’t mean that you can leave reality and good judgment behind. Having fun with the right people makes the experience all that more fulfilling.

When first venturing into the kinky realm, there are so many new things to try that you may not know all of your boundaries right away. That’s okay. Even if you think you know your limits now, those may change or evolve over time. Regardless, no matter how much you do or don’t know from the start, consider lines that you know you’re not ready to cross yet and lines that are more blurred. Those are considered your hard and soft limits. Hard limits are steadfast and not open to being challenged; soft limits might be gently pushed if the right time and set of circumstances are in place. Be assertive about your boundaries. They’re yours, and any partner you have should respect them. Likewise, be mindful of other’s boundaries. Everyone has boundaries - even the people who claim they’re a “no limits slave” or those seeking a “no limits slave.” Sometimes we forget that tops have limitations, too. Their limits may be kinks that they refuse to engage in or limits of the extent of their skill set. The best rule of thumb is to find people who have compatible boundaries and limits as you. Respect is of the utmost importance. Pushing yourself can be fun and beneficial when done in the right situation.

Now is the time to become comfortable with a safe word. Safe words are used to slow or stop a scene. Moans and pleas are not always regarded as signals to end sexy time. Therefore, you need a safe word that tells your top or Dom to stop. Somewhat universal safe words are “green,” “yellow” or “red.” Like a safety light, green means to go, yellow means to slow down and red means STOP. “Mercy” is also commonly used to communicate stop or no. It doesn’t matter what you use as your safe word as long as you and your partner are well versed in it and can use it correctly. It’s important to use your safe words. Your play partners are not mind readers, especially when first getting acquainted. If, for any reason, you can’t verbalize a safe word (i.e. loud venue or mouth gag), put in place a safety signal. An example of that would be to hold something in hand and at the point where a safe word would be used, drop whatever was in your hand. That is a clear indicator to the top to check in with you and stop if need be. Don’t wait until it’s too late to consider a safe word. Some people play without safewords, but to start in the local fetish community, it’s highly recommended that you use one, especially with new activities or new partners. Safe words are there to protect both bottoms AND tops. A top can only know as much as a bottom communicates to them and it’s important to have active and ongoing communication.

Once you find someone with whom you feel you want to explore, it’s time to negotiate the scene. Negotiations are to protect both the bottom and the top. Has either of you been drinking or doing drugs beforehand? Have you eaten recently? Are you hydrated? Do you have any injuries? Do you have any medical conditions like diabetes, etc.? Do you have any blood borne pathogens? What are your hard limits? What are your soft limits? What have you tried before? What would you like to try? What instruments are acceptable to use? Will there be more people involved? What are your safe words? Will there be sex? What constitutes sex for you? What kind of aftercare do you need? Discuss as many things as you can and talk about anything you feel is pertinent to ensuring a great scene.

One of the most vital things to discuss is triggers. Sometimes a scene brings up a well of upsetting emotions and sometimes those emotions are unforeseen. However, if you’re aware of things that might trigger you, it’s important to discuss those things ahead of time. For example, face slapping is a hard limit for some because it’s a triggering point that brings up horrible emotions for a lot of people. If you’re a top, think about all the things that you want to do that may trigger negative feelings from your bottom. However, no matter how much negotiating went on before the scene, both tops and bottoms need to be prepared that something unanticipated may cause a trigger.

Regardless of whether a bottom is negatively “triggered” or not, a lot of people need aftercare. Because of the great adrenaline and endorphin rush during play, there needs to be time to process and come down from the high. People often forget that tops experience a high, just like bottoms do, and need time to safely come back down, too. This is the time when it’s important for everyone, particularly the bottoms, to rehydrate and/or eat. Sometimes a warm blanket and cuddles are necessary. Ideally, some notion of after care has been pre-negotiated. Most importantly, everyone needs to be of sound mind and in good physical condition to leave the scene or drive home. If a top can not ensure the safety of the bottom with whom they just played, have a backup person ready to take over. Safety is of utmost importance before, during and after play time.

All in all, research is your friend. Educate yourself on things that interest you. There is a wealth of information on the internet, and there are countless books on beginner BDSM to read. Take the time familiarize yourself with what you want and what you don’t want, but be open to new experiences! There are so many new things to try, so many things to do and so many people to meet. Above all else, the one thing to always keep in mind is CONSENT, CONSENT, CONSENT. Do not do things without consent, including touching people or their sex toys. Be a person who gives and expects ENTHUSIASTIC CONSENT at all times (even if it’s consensual non-consent)! Now have fun and get kinky!