BDSM Safety Tips: What You Need to Know

The following guidelines will help you have an enjoyable, safe, and educational experience with BDSM for the first time.

Be clear about your expectations and ground rules up front with your partner. There should be no pressure on anyone to play a certain role or feel compelled to participate in BDSM play in order to engage in healthy interaction. Prepare for experimenting by discussing the roles you’re drawn to with your partner in an open and honest manner. Consider watching a light BDSM erotica with your partner to broach the subject if you’re afraid to bring it up directly and curious about your partner’s interest levels.

Choose a word that you feel comfortable using. BDSM is built on the principles of trust and mutual agreement between one or more partners. Even so, it may be difficult to tell the difference between banter and a genuine request to slow down or stop the session in the middle. There should be at least one safe word for every BDSM practitioner and their partner to use to signal when a boundary has been crossed and a break is required. Your partner can pick two safe words with you: one that signals a stop to action, and the other that signals you’re about to cross a boundary, in which case you should back off or change directions.

Make a list of roleplaying game concepts. Think about some roleplay scenarios that can help jumpstart the action if you’re unsure how to start a BDSM relationship with your partner or self-conscious. Any role that allows you to distance yourself from the situation is a great way to overcome stage fright and relax so that you can fully enjoy yourself. Examples include boss and employee, teacher and student, doctor and patient, or two strangers.

Begin with a small goal. Do not buy a leather outfit or an elaborate rope system if you are new to the game. Instead, take it slow and see if this style of sex play works for you two. Start with simple BDSM activities; many D/s sessions only require two willing participants and a little imagination. Try them out. Even if you don’t intend to participate in hardcore BDSM activities, purchasing a blindfold and some wrist restraints can be a good investment.

Recognize the danger. The “safe, sane, and consensual” (SSC) model and the “risk-aware consensual kink” model are the two main schools of thought on how to handle risk during sessions (RACK). If you’re an adherent, you’ll stick to activities that you both agreed were “safe” before starting. According to the RACK model, the word “safe” is problematic because most BDSM activities are inherently risky, and emphasising safety restricts participants’ freedom to assess risk on their own or engage in higher-risk BDSM play. Individual responsibility for risk assessment and comfort is a hallmark of the RACK model, making informed consent all the more critical.

Following-up is critical. Sexual activities, especially BDSM sessions, can be physically and emotionally taxing for both partners, necessitating post-sexual aftercare. As a way of helping everyone wind down and process the session, having conversations, cuddling, and cleaning up together is beneficial. These activities promote calmness as well as physical and emotional well-being.

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