BDSM & Kink

BDSM is an umbrella acronym that is used to describe a wide range of sexual activities which may include but are not limited to leather, restraints, dominance, submission, feathers, spanking, bondage, pain-provoking activities and roleplays. BDSM is word that is also used to describe sexual play which involves bondage, pain, and consensual unequal power relationships. Usually these explore pain, fetishes and/or less traditional sexual-based situations.  When rooted in principles of consent and safety, BDSM can be a very healthy sexual expression for those who want to explore it.

The BDSM community often refers to the principles of Safe, Sane and Consensual to guide activities.

  • Safe means that, though activities may be intentionally pain-inducing, safety practices are in place and no intentional permanent physical harm will be inflicted.  BDSM acts are strictly negotiated between each person involved in the scene, and the limits of every person are respected. All participants are able to end the scene at any time. Emotional care is also generally understood as a principal of safety in BDSM.
  • Sane means that all activities will be performed in a way which makes sense to the participants before, during and after the scene. All participants need to be in control of their actions at all times and be able to stop at any time when requested. There is an understanding that if things do not feel right that the scene will stop.
  • Consensual means that everybody involved in the scene is fully informed, clear-headed, and continually enthusiastic of the activities. If at any time a participant becomes uncomfortable they can withdraw consent at anytime and the scene will be ended immediately.  

Aftercare is considered by many to be an essential part of the BDSM scene. Participants check in with themselves and with the other participants to ensure that everybody is feeling safe and has their basic needs attended to. Community accountability is considered an important part of BDSM relationships, and often participants in a scene will check-in with other community members who were not involved in a scene in order to maintain this community accountability. 

If consent is not given within a BDSM relationship, or consent is withdrawn within a scene and not respected, then the activities are considered abusive and in some cases illegal. 

Respecting the limits set out by the participants in the scene is an important part of physical and emotional safety. Make sure everyone is clear on the use and meaning of safe words and safety signals during the scenes. 

Regular safety measures should be in place in order to reduce the risk of STI transmission or pregnancy (if the scene or relationship involves these risks). Regular STI testing, use of lubricants, and use of barriers such as condoms can reduce these risks.

Make sure equipment used is clean, and safety materials are available which are helpful to the context. For example, some safety supplies would include a first-aid kit, cell phone, and safety scissors. If needles or other sharps are used, make sure there is a box available to dispose of them safely. The particular components of a scene will dictate what other safety measures should be in place.

Use a lot of lubricant when it makes sense to.

As consent is only possible when participants are clear-minded, BDSM activities should not be engaged while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.