If you have been following my ASK BAADMASTER series here on kinkweekly.com, you might conclude that I am over-covering the pandemic on a kink site. I think I would be remiss in ignoring the pandemic as it has affected the kink community on many levels. For starters, live dungeons have been mostly closed. I would hope the new vaccines are a bright light at the end of a very dark tunnel. So I would like to answer questions that prepare us for the non-covid days ahead. Much will be review; so if your were a BDSM player and have not played for almost a year, you might want to go over aspects of play that you might have forgotten. There is never too much knowledge.
Reader: Recently, my kink group has been discussing what to do if something goes wrong or a pre-existing condition manifests itself during a scene. This kind of safety concern is beyond the usual. But, how can you prepare for any eventuality?
As a general rule, it is impossible to prepare for EVERY eventuality. If I could do this, I would be working for President Biden eliminating terrorism. But seriously… Regarding medical pre-existing conditions — you might open a productive dialogue before your scene, especially between first-time players. Make sure the players are aware of any pre- existing conditions and what its symptoms are so you can stop the scene quicker than usual.
Now onto safe words. Depending solely on safe words is not the end-all and be-all to safety. (Although they are definitely better than anything that comes in second).
The trick to using safe words effectively (and this seemingly obvious bit of advice might be extremely valuable to you) is “simplicity.” Although the standard safe word is “red,” many people try to pick out their own personal safe word. They want style. “Greef” might be a cool safe word between ‘Mandalorean’ fans, but when panic time sets in and the mind starts spinning, these words might not be at the tip of the tongue. “Red” works for stop signs. “Red” works for scening. Use “red.”
I also advocate the use of a safe signal. When you use a ball gag in a scene, the bottom –unless he/she is a ventriloquist — cannot give a safe word. So agree on a safe signal based on what type of scene you are doing. A great one is a shaking of the head continuously left to right — like a “no” signal. This is unmistakable, and does not require the hands, which might be bound. Between safe words and safe signals, you have increased safety a hundred fold.
Most BDSM writers always talk about a “safe call.” In this case the old expression –“after all is said and done, more is said than done” — is applicable. Most people never use the safe call procedure. But if used properly, safe calls are really good tools. In this age of the cell phone, it is really easy to have someone standing by waiting for your call to see if all is well – and to arrange for any contingency plans should help be required.
Another safety key is…not playing with unsafe players! Sometimes there are players who have gained a reputation for being unsafe; most times these reputations — if they are widespread and repeated by respected members of the community — have some basis in fact. Stay away. But there are other red flags. When playing for the first time, a big red flag is when the Top says, “I never allow a safe word.” They might rationalize it by saying something like, “I am into TPE and do not believe in safe words.” Well, many in TPE relationships do eschew the safe word. But this only happens after a relationship is established; eliminating the safe word is generally negotiated after playing for awhile. Anyone who says “no safe words” right out of the box really hasn’t got a clue.
As for the scene itself, the oft-repeated advice of planning a scene in advance will add to the safety of it. Some scenes are pretty safe in and of themselves — an interrogation scene, for example. Others — such as mummification or breath play — are much more dangerous. Make sure the skill level of the Dominant (as he/she is in control) matches the danger quotient (D.Q.) of the scene being attempted. If you notice, I would rather head off problems before they arise. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” also applies in BDSM play.
If you have extra time on your hands, I have written a companion piece on safety on this site: https://www.kinkweekly.com/?s=safe+words Play safe when you return to play! And if you have not played in a while, there is nothing wrong in going over safety essentials (as in “Don’t forget aftercare”) before you re-visit your favorite dungeon!
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.