50 Shades of Safe, Sane, and Consensual

[Content warning: sexual references]

If you’re reading qmunicate, I doubt 50 Shades of Grey was your introduction to BDSM. Five years of Tumblr gifsets down the line, you think to yourself, why not? Why shouldn’t I try it?

Enter…this safety briefing! This is in no way a comprehensive guide to safety in BDSM but I hope it acts as a useful starter pack.

To ensure physical safety, always be sure to conduct thorough research before
experimenting with anything. For bondage, it is important to know where not to tie your rope, because restricted blood flow and nerve pinches could result in lasting injuries. If you are very keen on throat constriction, always adhere to the ‘two-finger rule’ where you make sure two fingers can fit between the bonds and your partner’s throat. With impact play, e.g. flogging and paddling, you must learn exactly where not to strike, and warm-up properly before a scene. Places like the lower back (kidneys) and joints are incredibly vulnerable and must never be struck.

Certain safety equipment is worth the investment. For example, a sharp pair of shears
should be close to you whenever ropes are involved. Of course, no one likes to have their
ropes cut, but never hesitate in an emergency because nothing is more valuable than your safety. Getting sex toy cleaners that are appropriate for the material is paramount, too. Clean your instruments carefully after each scene, and this includes ropes and flogs. Know the materials that make up your equipment and how they react with one another.

Because BDSM is such an intense experience, it is crucial that you take care of all parties’
emotional safety; establishing safewords and setting limits before a scene is essential.
Submissives are sometimes known to enter a headspace called ‘subspace’ where they
might be especially vulnerable. Have regular check-ins during a scene, and always provide tender aftercare for submissives. This can take the form of a gentle debrief, a warm blanket, and a cuddle.

Last but not least, learning from experienced kinksters can help you create safer scenes.
Believe it or not, there is a strong community for this. You can create an anonymous account on Fetlife and check out some of the local play-free workshops. Sometimes it’s just good to have a friend in the know who can check in on you. The extensive reading materials should also provide you with valuable information going forward.

[Ka Leung – she/her]

[Photo credit: Espressolia]

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