To someone unfamiliar with the fetish world, it may seem like BDSM is nothing more than twisted games for equally twisted individuals. Given BDSM’s association with pain, bizarre outfits and implements of torture, it’s easy to why some people might jump to this narrow-minded conclusion.
While pain is certainly a hallmark of BDSM play, such activities must be carried out in a controlled manner. Anyone involved in the BDSM world understands that rules are the most important aspect of play – no questions asked. Without strict rules in place, BDSM play goes from a mutually-enjoyable experience to something genuinely dangerous for both parties.
This is why there is another acronym synonymous with BDSM, and this is SSC. Safe, Sane and Consensual.
These three rules must be present at all times during all manner of activity, whether it’s beginner exploration or hardcore BDSM kink. Without SSC, BDSM loses what makes it such a unique, liberating experience.
Some people might assume that safety is completely omitted when it comes to BDSM activity, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Indeed, it may seem counterproductive to the purpose of BDSM, but any kinkster worth their salt knows the importance of safety.
Staying safe means having the appropriate response available should an emergency arise. For example, there are many BDSM activities which can potentially result in blood loss for the submissive, which can then lead to light-headedness and even unconsciousness on their part. Staying safe means having band-aids, medical equipment, cleaning equipment and water available should the need present itself.
Safety also incorporates all hygiene aspects of BDSM play. If blood presents itself, it needs to be removed from the scene without delay. All equipment must be sterilized and safe for contact with human skin. Safety is very much the common sense aspect of SSC.
It is very easy to get carried away during BDSM play. As with the rush of any sexual thrill, it can be tempting to demands things harder or faster in spite of what’s truly going on in your body. However, fantasy and reality are two very different things, and BDSM play must be kept in the real world in order to receive a more rewarding experience for both parties.
This responsibility falls on equal parts dominant and submissive. If a dominant believes that their submissive has reached their pain threshold, they will refrain from administering further punishment. Likewise, if the submissive believes they cannot physically handle any further punishment, they must communicate this to their dom, despite what their sense of sexual discovery tell them.
Sane also refers to the mental disposition of BDSM players. If you feel as though a particular play-partner may not be of sound mind, and may become detached from their rational thought process during play, it is not a wise idea to enter fetish territory with them. Unconditional trust is a cornerstone of kinky activity, and must therefore be present at all times.
This goes without saying. Both partners must be willing to participate in kinky activity, otherwise it becomes something else entirely. In some cases, it can even cross over into legal territory as it may border on assault or rape.
In addition, this also means that both parties should have the ability to cease play at any moment. While powerlessness is a major factor in BDSM sex play, it shouldn’t be such a factor that the submissive is entirely helpless in regards to their own well-being. This is where the use of safewords come into play, or, if a safeword isn’t in place, the responsibility lies on the dominant in order to read the submissive’s body language regarding their levels of comfortability.