Rules aren’t sexy but then neither is nerve damage – whether physical or mental. Whatever aspect(s) of BDSM you like to indulge in, whether you have known your fellow player(s) for years or minutes, these are some of the the tried and tested rules of play that can help inspire trust and keep you safe.
The safe word is a word that has nothing to do with sex and indicates that play stop altogether. It’s a word that would be useful in the ‘nilla world as no doesn’t necessarily mean no. On the brink of climax some people shout yes while others shout no – maybe out disbelief it is happening. It could also be used in roleplay. So having a word that would never be uttered in the throes of passion is useful. If you are to be gagged in any way then work out a sign: thumbs up or down works well. And if you are gagged and bound then pre-agreed grunts or stamps could indicate when you’ve had enough. Finally, if you cannot think of a word or forget to contract (see below) then the traffic light system is pretty universal amongst seasoned western players. Green means keep going, amber or yellow means steady on and red means stop.
No boundaries does not mean no trust
I have met people who do not believe in safe words and thrill at having their boundaries pushed to the limits is overpowering. That said, I’ve still seen play tempered by some of these people. We all have our limits. This includes the top. If you dominating someone and they want you to go further than you like, you can also use the safe word. If you are playing with someone who has a death wish – the only real non-boundaried situation in my opinion – I would recommend stepping away.
As a safety conscious therapist I believe the safe word is a fundamental part of any contract (even the decision not to have one is contracting). Some people go further in discussing their edges or likes. You may hate your feet being touched, or find your mind wonders unless you are wearing a butt plug. Some people give a tick list to their partner of all the things they like to. This can make for intimidating reading for some while others welcome it. However you decide to negotiate your play – whether with a contract or by feeling your way as you go along – be open to what the other person is doing. Remember your kink may not be everyone else’s kink and, even if you have the same preferences, there are many nuances within these.
Once you’ve made the contract, your need to care doesn’t stop. If you’re tying up your partner, check their hands and feet regularly: if they start to turn blue or cold then you need to loosen the bonds or untie them completely. If your partner is silent, they may be happily enjoying themselves or they may be getting stressed. It is up to you to monitor this. Quite often I hear bottoms are worried about giving feedback to the tops as they are trying to be obedient but I would urge you to do so as this is meant to be pleasurable for both of you (even if your pleasure translates to humiliation and masochism). And those who enjoy topping from the bottom, remember you aren’t the only one with bad buttons that can be pressed.
Cut it out
With any sort of bondage it is a good idea to have scissors on standby. Always check feet and hands to see if they are cold and turning blue – this is a sign your bonds are too tight. If you need to make a quick release – whether it’s a heart attack, a panic attack, they’re bleeding or the house is on fire, safety scissors can help set them free. These differ from normal scissors in that they have a blunt end so you are not in danger of stabbing someone during a getaway.
If you enjoy fire play, smoking play (including using the bottom as an ashtray) or love playing while illuminated by candle light, make sure you have a fire extinguisher to hand. Also a first aid kit for blisters is good. For more tips on fire play check out David Walker and Robert J Rubel’s Flames of Passion: Handbook of Erotic Fire Play
Ok I understand many a hedonistic session has involved inebriation. But I am a therapist and am therefore here to preach safe practise. If this was not on the list, I would feel like I have not done that fully. If you are under the influence you will likely be less in tuned to your partner. Of course it is find to zone out during any sexual activity, but if you are inebriated you will feel pain less and also have less control over any pain you dispense. I’ve heard horror stories of people in heels being tied up while standing and just toppling over. And as for alcohol-filled enemas, these are ridiculously dangerous and can lead to alcohol poisoning.
The hit list
When flogging, caning, spanking or using whatever other implements you may come across to inflict pain, it is best to stick to the fleshy bits. And always avoid the kidneys. As a therapist I am well versed in both forms of CBT – both cognitive behavioural therapy and cock and ball torture (I will never ever tire of people getting them mixed up). If you are thwacking someone’s ball, do so from the front and in a short sharp move so as not to distend it.
Whether you are moving a sex toy (or vegetable or remote control…) between bottom and vagina and/or mouth of the same person, or are lucky enough to have the orifices of several people at your disposal, it is important to sterilise your toy. Do not do this with anything you wouldn’t put up you (no bleach please). Having a bucket of boiling water is good but for the love of God make sure it is cooled enough before use!) You can get sterilised toy wipes or cleaner. You could also use a cloth with a bit of anti bacterial soap but make sure traces of it are gone unless our bottom likes a good sting. If you indulge in needle play, scarification or any sort of cutting, tools and skin must be kept clean and sterile. And if you're into messy or sploshing play where the fluid and gunk is all over the players and the floor, do avoid wearing high heels as you're likely to slip over.
If you have had an intense scene where your sub has gone to sub space, has endured pain or has been tied up for some time, they may well appreciate some after care. And intense is an arbitrary word, which I am purposefully not quantifying: basically if after care is needed, then it should be looked after by the other person. Bottoms can drop in body temperature and sugar so juice and a blanket are great tools to have in any play area. Also a hug and a bit of talking may be needed as they come down. The top may also want to check out and may also feel emotional or need for help coming down too. If you feel you have been on any sort of journey together, even if you plan not to see each other again, this is a mindful and caring way to play.
Get kitted out
For any play – not just medical play – it is a good idea to keep a medical kit to hand. Recommended additions are:
· Sterile wipes
· Plasters and dressings
· Safety scissors
This blog was written for fetish networking site iFet.com