5 Things You Absolutely MUST Do Before Starting A BDSM Relationship

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It’s fun, but it’s not as simple as you might think.

So maybe you've never been involved in BDSM but have always had a relentless curiosity for it — or you maybe you're new to the scene and wanting to start exploring the lifestyle even more. Maybe you've already experimented but you're wanting to take play that one step further.

Whatever your situation, these 5 tips are a MUST  not only ensure your safety and consent, but to also TURBO CHARGE you're enjoyment and pleasure:

1. You have to negotiate your terms when you're on EQUAL ground.


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I CANNOT emphasize this enough! You must negotiate your BDSM contract with your dominant partner whilst you're on equal par — while there's an equal distribution of power between you two and you're BOTH discussing things (not when you're playing submissive or entering a sub space).

This way, when you're negotiating, you can say what you want and feel and need, and they can say what they want and feel and need. When you try to negotiate contracts in BDSM in the role of a submissive, you run the risk of relinquishing your power and consenting to things you actually normally wouldn't consent to (safe sex measures should also be discussed during scene negotiation). 

2. Use the 'Opt-In' Method.


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Now we're all familiar with the 'opt-in' method when it comes to subscribing to something online, but in this context what the term refers to is 'only what you are going to say YES!!! to'.

What happens normally is we tend to use the 'opt-out' method in relationships when communicating what we want and don't want by saying things like "these are the things I won't do", or  "That's a no", or "That's off limits", or "That's a deal breaker for me". Using this method, you're saying "no" to the things you don't want to do, but then the things that you do want to do or things you're willing to do or you're consenting to, might be a little blurry and ambiguous.

The opt-out method leaves too much room for potential confusion and misunderstanding.

This way if you only opt-in for the things you want to do, and the only things you're going to stipulate in your contract are the things you definitely consent to — there's NO grey area. You know exactly what you want, you know exactly what you've consented to — and only what you've consented to — and so does your partner. You're ensuring the safety of yourself and your partner.

3. Be as specific as possible.


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Now when I say this what I mean is don't be vague in what you're writing or discussing in your contract (BDSM contracts can be written or verbal). Be VERY specific — down to the exact acts and only the exact acts that you consent to. Describe the acts you consent to in precise detail so that way there is no possibility of misunderstanding, and both you and your partner know specifically what it is you are wanting and allowing in this relationship.

For example instead of saying "I want to be restrained," specify exactly what you're permitting in the scene (eg. "I want to be tied up with handcuffs while I am fully clothed." Yes, it may surprise you to know that many BDSM acts are played out while one or more partners are fully clothed, and sex is not always an element in BDSM).

4. ALWAYS use a safe word.


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Decide on a safe word with your partner and agree on it prior to engaging in any BDSM act, that way you are able to  feel safe and assured in knowing you can put the limits on any play that is taking place at anytime by using that word. 

There's also something called a "safety call" or a "safe call". The safe call is a safety measure implemented when you're meeting someone for the first time and planning to engage in a BDSM act. It involves you arranging to call a friend who knows you're meeting this new play partner, at a certain time (when you've arrived perhaps or when you've met them), and during that phone call you say a specific designated code word. By saying this specific code word, your friend is able to know you're feeling safe and comfortable with your new play partner.

If your friend has not received the safety call from you at the agreed time, then they automatically call the police. 

5. Educate yourself on the differences between BDSM and abuse. 


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It's very important for you to be able to recognize whether what you're experiencing and what you're engaging in is real BDSM, or if it's abuse. While there is a very very clear line and such a significant difference between BDSM and abuse, sadly many people aren't aware of this due to incorrect media representations of BDSM.

The more you know and the more you educate yourself on these differences and the better informed you are, the safer and happier you'll be, and the better the lifestyle will be for you and other people as well. To learn of the differences between BDSM and abuse click here. 

As mentioned above, while BDSM doesn't necessarily involve sex, if you are going to engage in sexual contact with your partner, always ensure you practice safe sex.

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