10 vital BDSM rules that you need to know to help keep yourself safe
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10 Vital BDSM Rules That You Need to Know to Help Keep Yourself Safe

AD | Since the first 50 Shades of Grey film was released in 2015 there has been an increased interest in BDSM. Whatever you think of the films or the books it has definitely brought the world of BDSM to a much wider audience. Personally, I don’t feel that they are a good representation of the lifestyle at all. I know I am not alone in my thoughts either. However, that isn’t what I want to talk about today. What I do want to talk about is what you can do to keep yourself safe if you are thinking of trying BDSM at some point.

First and foremost, what exactly does BDSM stand for?

BDSM is an acronym that stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism. It can be a lot of different things to different people because everyone has different preferences. People may fall into one or two or more of those categories. I couldn’t possibly list everything because there are just so so many variables. I’m not here to kink shame, anyone, either. Each to their own from Master/slave, Femme Dom, sissy BDSM, Daddy/little and many more, as long as it’s legal, safe and consensual.

Speaking of which there are some acronyms & statements that you need to know:

  • SSC (Safe sane consensual): Safe, sane and consensual emphasises that activities be safe. That consent is given and that the participants are actually of sound mind to give consent and take part. It’s supposed to be an easy way for non-BDSM folk to differentiate between BDSM and abuse.
  • RACK (Risk-aware consensual kink): This acronym has mostly replaced SSC. It acknowledges that like a lot of things, BDSM can’t be 100% safe. It comes with risks and you should be aware of them in order to consent to any activities. Basically, there is ‘safer’ and ‘less safe’.
  • Hurt not harm: This one just acknowledges that whilst someone may be hurt during BDSM, it should not result in any long-term harm.
10 Vital BDSM Rules That You Need to Know to Help Keep Yourself Safe

BDSM Rules to Help Keep Yourself Safe

1. Consent, Consent, Consent

Did I stress consent enough? Good because I still cannot stress how important consent is in BDSM. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to and have NOT consented to prior to any BDSM play. If you have already said no to something and then midway through the scene someone tries to force or coerce you to say yes to it, know that this is ABUSE, not BDSM. No matter if they say different. It is abuse. Pure and simple. Hopefully, you will never ever be put in that position but it can and does happen.

2. Be Sure to Have Safe Words

It’s really important to agree on safe words that you can use during play or a scene. Should you suddenly feel unsafe or it’s just not going how you anticipated. Maybe it’s too painful or you’re just not enjoying it. Use your safe word. You could be reaching your pain threshold, again, use your safe word. Keep them simple and easy to remember. The most common one is the traffic light system:

  • Red – Reached your limit, crossed a boundary and all play stops immediately.
  • Amber or Yellow – You are near your limit and to proceed with caution.
  • Green – You like it, give me more, please!

As you can see, the traffic light system works exceedingly well and is very straightforward for everyone to remember and understand. The safe words are there for a reason, so use them if you need to.

Handcuffs - 10 Vital BDSM Rules That You Need to Know to Help Keep Yourself Safe

3. Vet Thoroughly Before You Do Anything

If you’re looking for someone, be it a Dom, submissive or basically anyone that you want to scene with, vet them thoroughly. By that, I mean over a few months. Yes, I said months. If you don’t know the person then you need to make sure you will be safe. The vetting is as much for them as it is for you. You both need to find out if you are compatible with regards to likes and dislikes. I would also suggest you contact former ‘partners’ and if they have nothing to hide, they should have no issues with you contacting them. In effect, you are asking for a reference.

It’s not public knowledge, well it wasn’t, but I’m actually a submissive myself. I have been a submissive for the last 10 years but wasn’t actively in the lifestyle until about 7 years ago. So, speaking as a submissive if you are looking for a Dom be aware there are men out there who are not dominant but hide under that guise only to abuse women. If a Dom tells you not to talk to other dominants, or that you should have no limits, that you don’t need a safe word with them or that you can’t be a proper submissive if you don’t do what they want, RUN!

If they are insistent on meeting somewhere private the first time, insistent on play, which they say MUST include sex – RUN.

A genuine Dominant would not suggest these things for a first time meeting. Plus, sex isn’t always part of a BDSM scene either. Which people don’t seem to realise. It really isn’t all about sex for everyone. Sometimes it’s purely PE/TPE – power exchange or total power exchange. It’s not just Doms who can be fake, anyone can be. So vetting is ultra important for safety alone!

10 Vital BDSM Rules That You Need to Know to Help Keep Yourself Safe

4. Find A Local Group

Find out if you have a local BDSM group near to you. Fetlife is probably the easiest place to find this information as it’s a social network for the BDSM, Fetish & Kinky communities but you can also use Google too. Then see if you can find out when their next munch is – a munch is a very vanilla meet up at a bar or restaurant. It’s very casual and everyone dresses very normally, so it’s a good place to get to know people. This should honestly be your starting point. You might even find yourself a mentor to help guide you.

Maybe this isn’t your first rodeo though or you can’t find a local group near you. If this is the case, then you could try one of the BDSM dating sites that cater to many kinks. Just remember to stay safe if looking online for a partner.

5. Know Your Own Body & Your Limits

If you don’t know what you like, you can’t really expect someone else to, can you? Yes and no. You can experiment safely to discover what turns you on, and just as importantly, what doesn’t. You might not know your limits, say with regards to how much pain you can tolerate. If you even like pain, you might not. That is perfectly okay because not everyone does. This is why it’s so important to get to know a potential BDSM partner. They get time to know what you like, might even suggest things to try. One thing I discovered during my time is how much discussion there is, or at least should be. This leads me to the next point.

6. Open and Honest Communication

As I just said, there should be a lot of discussion between BDSM partners of any kind. You HAVE to communicate openly and honestly for things to work. It’s one aspect of BDSM that I absolutely love. I’ve discovered so much about myself as a submissive. I like to talk, a lot, about anything and everything but sex and why people enjoy certain things has always been interesting to me. I want to know why my Dom enjoys doing certain things as much as he wants to know what makes me tick and I just love that. It’s always exciting and a journey of discovery because no two people are the same and neither are the dynamics.

Restraints

7. Don’t Drink and Kink

Absolutely under no circumstances should you participate in any BDSM play if you are under the influence of anything that affects your judgement in any way, shape or form. Taking drugs or alcohol before a scene is a no go. Doesn’t matter if you are the bottom or top. Your judgment will be impaired and that is never okay.

8. Have Patience – Start Light

It’s always best to start light when you are doing your first scene. You can gradually increase the intensity of play as and when you want to. Even though you might feel like you can just dive into an intense scene, that is never a good idea for your first time. You need a lot of patience and if you don’t have that patience then BDSM might not be for you.

9. Research & Be Prepared

Do your research, read recommended books, talk to people about the lifestyle. There is so much to learn and it never stops. Another aspect I love about BDSM. You are always learning.

Before a scene, always make sure you are prepared for the worst because you just never know. By that, I mean, have 2 sets of keys on hand for cuffs, something to cut through any bindings quickly if needed. Whatever you need to get free immediately should the need arise, no matter the reason. Also, make sure to stay hydrated.

10. Aftercare

Aftercare sometimes gets forgotten I feel. To me, this step is crucial and just as big a part of the scene as the play. It’s important to remove any restraints and then tend to any bruising or inflamed skin immediately afterwards. Take care of the physical things first but don’t forget the emotional aftercare. I find discussing the scene together and what we enjoyed about it etc really helps. There’s always an incredible closeness and bond that forms during this time. That’s my personal experience at least. It can be in the form of snuggling under a blanket or cuddling. Anything that comforts you really. Either way, aftercare really is very important. Both of you need to take the time to come back to reality though. However, there are a few people that are completely fine without any aftercare.

I also want to mention sub drop and that it isn’t just exclusive to submissives. Dominants can feel that drop too. If you’re wondering what sub drop is, some people feel a dip in mood and have heightened emotions resulting from the drop in endorphins and adrenaline after play. It can happen a few hours to a few days after the BDSM play.

BDSM isn’t for everyone but if you try it and like it, it can bring a lot of pleasure and self-discovery to your life. I know my life is all the better for it.

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10 Vital BDSM Rules That You Need to Know to Help Keep Yourself Safe
10 Vital BDSM Rules That You Need to Know to Help Keep Yourself Safe

Sarah loves creating beauty content but also writes about health & lifestyle. She has several chronic illnesses that impact her life in many ways. It's made her a big mental health advocate.