Perhaps you will have noticed that the title of this piece does not contain the word “if”. In kink it is rare that something won’t go wrong at some point, and given enough time something certainly will. This can be relatively minor, a flogger swing that goes too high, all the way to scaring someone with a poorly judged whip strike. Today I writing all about when it does go wrong and how to minimize the damage, however this article is NOT about consent violation, that is a very serious topic and it deserves a considered article entirely of its own.
Everyone involved in a scene has a responsibility to be as aware as possible of what they are agreeing to. We, as a top, also have an added responsibility to be confident that everyone involved fully understands the risks involved. There is a disproportionate level of responsibility that we as tops take on being the active participant of a scene. We should also accept that it is an unfortunate reality of kink that at times things will not go as planned. It is entirely possible for two people to do everything with the right intentions and for something to still go wrong.
Put them on the rack
There is a consent shorthand we use on the scene, R.A.C.K. (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). Let us break that down a little.
First is Risk; we need to be honest with ourselves and our partners that there is a risk involved in what we do. If I am going to tie with a rope model who has 10 years of experience and I have tied with before I shall be quite confident when she tells me that she knows all the risks involved. However, if I am tying with a new model who has only done rope a couple of times and never done a suspension before it is my responsibility to satisfy myself that she really does understand the risks involved in what we are planning to do. My risk also goes up when I am tying with a new person, am I willing to take on the added responsibility of an inexperienced partner? I need to satisfy myself that they understand the risks.
This leads very naturally into the second part Aware, does everyone involved appreciate what is planned and what could go wrong? Do we all know what could go wrong and do we all still want to go ahead? Before you go ahead with a scene you need to be confident in what you are about to do. If this is the first time you are doing something your partner deserves to know that, and in return if it is the first time they have ever done something then you deserve to know.
Consensual, this is a term that is hopefully ubiquitous on your local scene. However, it cannot exist in a vacuum. An individual cannot properly consent if they are not informed. Knowing the risks and then communicating those risk has to happen before consent can be properly given. Satisfy yourself that everyone involved is consenting, and everyone agrees on what they are consenting to. Remember that consent does go both ways. If a partner has an issue that they are aware of, an injury perhaps, and they don’t inform me then I cannot give informed consent. If I have a scene with someone who withholds information in the negotiation and consent phase then my consent is violated. I consent to tie with someone with no injuries, but if they have lied about that then it is the same as if I had offered to suspend someone without telling someone I have never done that before, or that I has a sprained wrist.
Finally we have Kink, hopefully this part doesn’t need explaining too much, it is the reason you are reading this article. Kink is about taking risks, the thrill of the extreme, the new, the exciting. Our kinks are important and we should take them seriously so we can enjoy them fully, but we have to be careful not to let them come first.
I have a cunning plan
There is a reason most rope riggers have safety shears on us. It isn’t because we intend to end every tie by cutting our model out of the rope. We have shears for when something does go wrong. It is not a sign of a lack of confidence or a indictment of someone’s skill because they have something to hand in case they cannot get their model out quickly enough.
A rigger who has never had an accident doesn’t impress me, one who knows exactly how to manage it and shows care for their model does. Accidents can happen, regardless of how prepared we are, how hard we try to make sure they don’t. We cannot eliminate all risk, and prepare for all situations, but we should try.
There is a danger in complacency, and it is a risk more often born by the bottom than the top. Even if you start with all the best intentions and planning yet you fall into the trap of thinking that because something bad hasn’t happened it never will you are becoming more and more dangerous. Your partner has not consented to your complacency.
Health and safety madness
A few friends of mine were planning a kidnapping scene for one of their partners. Having never done this before they asked me to step in as a sort of kink consultant. They recognized that is was a complicated scene with a number of risk factors.
The first thing I did with them was to sit down and go through their plan from the least kinky perspective possible. Does she need any medication? What is her schedule like? How are we transporting her? It became a discussion about logistics, not about kinky fantasies.
Kink is often about fantasy fulfillment, responsible kink is about planning before things get kinky.
There is no shame in asking for advice, acknowledging what we don’t know and trying to place safeguards. It is rather the sign of someone who takes their responsibilities seriously.
What happens next
So lets say it has finally happened, despite all the planning something has gone wrong. Your partner has had to safeword, or perhaps you stopped a scene after a swing went wide, or any number of things have gone wrong.
There are a number of articles on this site which will help you plan the practical parts of how to care for your partner, and I encourage you to seek them out. While these practical elements are very important another essential part is the mental process. How you need to think when you are caring for your partner after something has gone wrong.
About the Author
Will Hunt has been involved in the UK kink scene for the last 10 years; running clubs, teaching workshops, performing and generally encouraging naughty behavior wherever possible.