Safety in this lifestyle comes in two varieties. The first regards safety when meeting for the first time from the Internet. The second concerns safety between scening partners.
Let us take the first, first! And since the submissive is the one at the “mercy” of the Dominant, this article is directed more to the submissives.
Reality check: you are statistically more likely to be killed in a random convenience store robbery than in meeting a total stranger offline — even from Craig’s List! One is more likely to be raped in a real-time encounter than from an Internet date. Picking up a stranger at a singles bar is riskier than meeting someone online. But do not let these figures make you complacent; there is danger lurking if you aren’t careful. If you follow these guidelines for offline safety – even though some might seem obvious — you should never fear an offline meeting again.
Never meet anyone without talking to them on the phone first – and in both directions. You call them, they call you. With cell phones, there can be no excuse for not talking. You would be surprised how many people meet after just a few e-mails or a series of computer or app chats. This should never be attempted — no matter how many excuses are given, no matter how powerful the real or imagined chemistry is. Remember, tying up someone is part of the BDSM culture. So know who is tying you up (or who you are tying up) before you proceed to play.
Your first offline meeting should be in the middle of day in a well-trafficked restaurant like a Denny’s. Denny’s (and I am not being paid to say this) is perfect. They are all over the place, are usually crowded (for added safety) and are inexpensive (so there is no pressure.) But, no matter what, trust your instincts. If you get a bad feeling for any reason, say “thanks for the pancakes”! (I know a submissive who met mass murderer John Edward Robinson – a/k/a “Slavemaster” – in a Kansas City diner, thought he was creepy, and did not go his “dungeon.” True story.) So, follow your intuition!
Finally, a “safe call” should be pre-arranged with a friend. The basic “safe call” is a phone call that your friend is expecting at the time of your meeting. Your friend should know where you are meeting. You should have worked out some simple code words — something like, “I’ll be back on time” to indicate you are fine. Anything with “Houston” in it – as in “Houston, we have a problem” – should alert your friend that something is seriously wrong. The safe call is very important. Never cut corners with regard to it, no matter how many great offline meetings you might have had in the past. “Houston” will rarely, if ever, be needed; but if it is, you will be glad there is a friend out there to help you. If you are meeting for first-time BDSM play, ideally it should be in a reputable dungeon. There, the owners have your safety in mind and you can play knowing there are “Dungeon Monitors” watching the scene so it does not get out of hand.
Now, onto the second aspect of safety: that between scene partners. Although you likely already know these precautions, it’s worth repeating. Whether it is flogging, paddling, caning, bondage, rope play, hot wax or any number of activities, one should first negotiate the scene with the Top being made aware of what the bottom’s limits are. That established, a “safe word” and a “safe signal” should be agreed upon. If a prospective Dominant says, “I never use safe words,” be wary. Check him/her out carefully.
It should be noted there might be times — most often when in subspace — that the submissive is unable to utter the safe word or use the safe signal. It is at this point where the Dominant should err on the side of caution; do not continue flailing away because you hear no safe word or see no safe signal. Ultimately it is the Dom/me’s responsibility for the submissive’s safety. And to insure the sub’s mental safety, the Dominant should not skip aftercare.
Just because you have heard these admonitions a thousand times, reading them one more time can’t hurt. Remember, the BDSM mantra is Safe, Sane and Consensual. Notice the words “safe” comes first!
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.