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ContentsSafer BDSM - Basics

At first - let's clear up a few misconceptions about both the practitioners and the practices of BDSM:

BDSM is not just about getting someone into an inescapable situation and hurting them.
People that practice BDSM are not rapists, psychos, or other nasty, monstrous types.
BDSM is all about the fulfillment of deep and primal needs.
It is an act of love, not violence or anger.
There is just something wonderfully sexy about the idea of surrendering or being in control and enacting a fantasy that is "forbidden".

TopChoosing a partner

BDSM is not a solo practice. You need at least one other partner to safely satisfy that urge, whether you are dominant or submissive. Selecting the correct partner is crucial. Make sure that this person is someone you know well and that you trust implicitly. This person should be made well aware of your intentions and desires and should be 100% consenting. No ifs ands or buts.


Proper communication is an absolute must. It does not just start and end before the act. It is imperative that you and your partner/s establish effective means of communication throughout all of it. Make sure that everyone involved is aware at all times of how you feel about what you are doing or having done to you. This is not necessarily going to kill spontaneity or ruin a 'scene' for anyone. Quite the contrary.

Before anything happens, be sure that you have a set of SAFE WORDS and/or signals ready. A safe word, is simply put, a word or signal that has a definite meaning to the person/s that hear/s it, usually when the submissive has been pushed beyond the limit of what s/he finds pleasurable or feels s/he is in danger and needs the dominant to stop or lighten up a bit. If you do not use safe words, you will find that BDSM is suddenly a very dangerous game.

TopMutual Support

BDSM is a highly emotional activity. It pushes both the dominant and submissive parties to their respective emotional and sometimes physical limits. There will be times that both sides need the support, approval and love of the other. Never ridicule your partner for not being capable of performing an act which is beyond their personal limits. Spend time after your session being affectionate and receptive. Likes and dislikes are very personal. Some of us just can't do some things. It's nothing to criticize. Move on to something you BOTH enjoy. Trust me, you'll come upon a situation you personally can't handle, and you'll be glad of having someone tell you that you aren't defective/wimpy/whatever.

TopEstablishing Limits

Everyone has things they just do not enjoy. Make sure you establish a set of limits before you even think about embarking on a session. Be honest with yourself and your partner or the experience will not be all it could. If you dislike being struck a certain way or with certain objects, let your dominant know this. If you don't, you might regret it later.
Discuss these things honestly and openly with your partner so that s/he knows what you do and do not want. If you or your partner cannot honestly set down your limits and respect them, then maybe BDSM isn't for you or them.


REMEMBER: When you dominate somebody, you need to be INCREDIBLY AWARE of EVERYTHING that is happening in the scene. If you slack on this issue, you could end up seriously injuring your partner mentally or physically. Being a TOP does have its rewards, but eternal vigilance is the price you pay for being in charge.

  • When securing your submissive, pay close attention to how tightly you tie them. Make sure that you do not cut off circulation or stretch muscles too much. Ignoring this can lead to embarrassing hospital trips, not to mention possible permanent damage to nerves.
  • When using handcuffs, the standard handcuffs can sometimes cut the nerve of sensation from the wrist to the thumb. Also, handcuffs that do not have a small chain between them (these are usually attached to each other by a hinge that can fold the cuffs together) can be dangerous. If somebody falls while wearing them, they can break a wrist.
  • If using hoods or gags, be very sure that the person who wears these objects can breathe freely.
  • Always use a safe word or signal to halt play in bad situations (If your partner is gagged a little bell in his/her hand can be very helpful). It can save your relationship or even save your life.
  • Never leave a bound submissive alone in a room. Not only is this emotionally dangerous, but physically as well.
  • If your BDSM play includes sex, always make sure you practice safety measures like condoms, etc. Especially when with different partners, make sure you are tested regularly for STDs like herpes or AIDS and that your partner does likewise.
  • When using toys like vibrators or anything that has the possibility of getting bodily fluids on it, make sure you WASH IT after EVERY use. Whether or not you continue to use it on the same partner, you still need to make sure everything is clean. Infection in those "oh-so-tender" areas can be at least annoying, and at most debilitating until they go away.
    If you do have multiple partners, it's a good idea to use completely different implements on them.
  • Alcohol and drugs do NOT belong into a BDSM scene - NEVER scene with a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol - neither the sub nor the Top have a clear judgement and/or control over the situation - physically, mentally and emotionally.

Author: Ashtarot - 01.02.1998
Info: © 1998 Ashtarot/BDSM Backroom
Keywords: Safety Basics Communication Limits Mutual Support

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