Safe, Sane and Consensual: Safety Issues In Alternative Sexual Activities

Author: ntalia ©

Domination/submission (D/s), or Bondage, Domination, Sadist, Masochist (BDSM) relationships are defined by "power exchange," wherein one partner (the submissive/bottom) surrenders control to the other partner (the dominant/top). For some people, D/s is merely part of sexual play. For others, it is a full-time lifestyle. For those who choose to participate in power exchanges, it is important to understand the basics of  healthy play. The basic rules are to keep activities consensual, safe and sane. 


One of the attractions of D/s is that it allows a person to experiment,or stretch their own limits. If a person enjoys this sort of play, they can naturally find themselves trying more and more new things, accepting greater and greater levels of sensation, doing and feeling more. However, even as a personís desires change and their limits expand, what is acceptable to that person on one occasion may not be acceptable on other occasions. How does a partner know? 

The most important part of any relationship is maintaining open lines of communications. That means discussing before beginning what a person is and is not willing to try,  observing reactions, talking during
and after sex or play about what has occurred. 

A common tool in negotiating what the limits are is a play list. There are many of them available from simple to explicit or partners may devise their own. The play list is a listing of possible activities. Partners
can use this to determine what experiences each would like to try and what experiences are beyond the list of acceptable behavior. 

The most important tool for persons involved in power exchange relationships is a safe word. The word "no"  at moments of arousal should always mean "no," but most of us realize that this is not so. When
passion is aroused, a person will sometimes say "no" and then ask for the activity to continue. A safe word is a word that means: "This is not working! Something is going wrong! I have hit my limits! Stop, now!"
A safeword must be taken seriously. Most experts recommend two safewords. One to mean "Something is too intense. I need you to lighten up but I do not wish to stop," and one to mean "Iím in trouble and want everything to stop NOW!" Whatever safeword a couple chooses, it should be something that would obviously never be used in the context of sexual play. If a person is gagged in the course of play, or otherwise is left unable to speak, a safe signal should be designed to stop activity. Often couples will use the restrained person holding a handkerchief or ball that can be dropped to signal that things are getting beyond his or her comfort zone. 

As in any relationship, communication after the fact is important. This is even more so if a person has used his/her safeword. Both partners need to discuss what happened and why it happened. If at any point a partner doesnít want to discuss what may have gone wrong, or caused a safeword to be used, that person is not trustworthy as a partner. There is potential for abuse when communication is not permitted. 


Safe means free from hurt, injury, danger or risk. Both partners must be responsible to engage in activity while using all necessary precautions to insure their well being, keeping both free from diseases or bodily harm. Exercising safety during sexual play and activity and assuring that no one gets hurt. 

Safe sex practices include limiting the exchange of body fluids. This means using condoms, latex gloves and proper cleaning of instruments, implements and after care. There are many diseases that can be contracted during the sexual play. Using gloves and condoms may prevent most of these, however you canít put body bags on each other for intimate play. 

Diseases that can be contracted during sexual play include: hepatitis, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV. This list is not inclusive. The best advice on sexual play is to 1) avoid contact of skin that appears to be blistered, or which has open sores; 2) wear latex condoms during any sexual activity that involves entry and replace the condom the second time; 3) do not use baby oil or petroleum based products on condoms as they will tear or dissolve; 4) avoid contact with blood during play; 5) never insert anything into the anus and then into the vagina; 6) some reccomend dental dams, of latex, for use during oral sex or cunnilingus on the female; 7) condom use if fellatio is a desired activity 

Using proper lubricants is important. This will help to avoid abrasions that can cause open sores. Bacteria and germs can enter into the body and even the blood stream. Make sure the lubricant is water soluble. Mineral oil based products will not dissolve with water right away. Baby oil or any other oil based lubricant, left in the vagina, can cause serious infections that can lead to sterility. 

Proper hygiene is essential. When experimenting sexually, it is important to wash your hands, to clean and groom your nails. If a person is using hands during play, fisting or inserting fingers anywhere, he/she should wear latex gloves. Like condoms, latex gloves should not be reused and plenty of lubricant should be applied to ensure the risk of tearing delicate tissues is lessened. With fisting, patience is the biggest key, it may take more than one attempt to achieve it. Again, lots of lubricant. 

Safe sex means that you are responsible enough to consider these things and to consider them ahead of time. Being responsible means investigating before getting involved in something one is unsure about. 

BDSM often includes the use of  implements or toys. These may include vibrators, dildos, blindfolds, gags, ropes, whips, handcuffs, clothes pins, nipple clamps and various other instruments that may be used either as props or for increasing sensations. Remaining aware while using toys and instruments is important. Safety also means being aware, sober, straight and thoroughly conscious while using implements. Safety also includes the proper cleaning and storage of your instruments. 

If bondage is part of oneís sexual play, there are several safety rules. 1) Never tie anything around the neck. Collars with buckles are one thing provided breathing and swallowing are not restricted. 2) Watch circulation. If someoneís hand is tingling, becoming numb, or blue, the restraints are too tight. It is the responsibility of both partners to be aware of this. A dominant should be watching for this, but a submissive in this situation should communicate any problems of this sort. 3) NEVER leave a bound person alone! Anything could happen. 4) When using gags, be certain that the person can still breathe from their nose clearly. 5) When using locks and keys or handcuffs make sure you have used the key to unlock the device before you use it. Get extra sets of keys. Some dominants will wear a set of keys to insure that they are immediately accessible if necessary. 6) Inexperienced persons should not be doing suspension. 

Whips can be used for creating erotic sensation. Every person has a different level of sensitivity. Some like more pressure while some need less. Whips are made of many different fabrics and in many different designs. Each has a different density and creates a different sensation. Before playing with a whip on someone else, test it on your own arm or leg. To avoid injury and to create erotic sensation, the skin should be prepared for sensation. Start off slowly, wait for the recipient to relax and become receptive. Avoid hitting a lover in the lower back. There is danger to the lower back and kidneys. Although a very soft whip (like chamois, or silk) touching this area will not cause injury, it is best to avoid danger areas. Other danger areas are the face, inside of joints or bones, genitals (though light whipping may be okay) and stomach (though light whipping may be okay). It is best to remain in the fatty areas. The upper back and buttocks can normally take the greatest amount of whipping pressure and are the safest areas to flog. 


Sane is free from mental derangement. It means having a sound healthy mind. Having or showing reason, sound judgment and good sense. 

Common sense is always used in any type of sexual activity. Consider your activities before engaging in them. Plan your activities. Be aware of the risks. A sane person is a responsible person. It is important not to engage in power exchange activities with a person who is mentally handicapped or deranged. This means that it is important to get to know a person. Observe them. How do they treat themselves? How do they treat others? These are vital clues to how they will treat their partner. Are they compassionate, patient, loving and sensible? 

A perfectly healthy person can have emotional challenges at times. D/s and BDSM and other alternative modes of sexual play should only be explored with a healthy mind. A person who is emotionally distressed or depressed, is inebriated, intoxicated or otherwise emotionally impaired is not a person who should be involved in power exchange. They should be treated with love and affection. 

There are many ways to express love and eroticism. The sexiest and most fulfilling ways involve responsible people taking responsible steps to seek their own and their partnerís pleasure.



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