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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Safety issues are biggest concern when contemplating BDSM

Dear Distress Signal,
My boyfriend has been hinting about trying BDSM and I’m a little curious too – but as tantalizing as it sounds, I feel like experimenting would be a huge step backwards in women’s rights and I don’t even know where to start. Do I have to give up my right to vote to have some fun in the bedroom?
-Not sure I bought a big enough paint set for fifty shades

Dear Not sure,
First, let’s define terms. Bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism (BDSM), when practiced properly, is not the same thing as gender inequity (despite what gets romanticized in porn and erotica). BDSM, by definition, is sexual play that occurs between consenting partners and uses temporary power imbalances to titillate.
The difference is that while gender power imbalances happen every day, they happen without the consent of all involved parties.
However, there is some information a beginner needs to know. An interview with the organizer for the Modesto BDSM chapter provided some starting points for the sexually inquisitive.
Master M. (who asked that I not divulge his real name for professional reasons) runs a local group of more than 300 members in an effort to provide community education on a sensitive subject. The first lesson he wants people to understand? The most important element in any BDSM “play” is communication.
“If you can’t talk about it, you shouldn’t even think about trying it,” Master M. said.
Deciding between silk rope or a riding crop? The intensity of sadism in play during sex is something that partners need to prearrange. This is called “negotiation,” and it happens before anything else. At this point, a couple decides who will act as the “top” and who will act as the “bottom” – there is no rule that says either role is gender specific or that the roles can’t alternate.
Standard communication during BDSM play happens by saying the names of colors while “in character.” Saying “Red” means “stop,” and “yellow” means “check on me” or “slow down.” This exchange between partners is vital, as responding quickly and consistently helps to reaffirm the trust between two partners. Using safe words assures that boundaries are not overstepped and that no real harm occurs.
Afterwards, Master M. suggests that couples check-in with each other one more time, to cuddle and remember that it’s only a game.
It might be a game, but some play for a living.
An interview with a voluptuously endowed and turquoise-haired professional Dominatrix (female sadist for hire) named Lady Raven led to more safety information:  Whenever wrists or ankles are bound, it’s important to check to make sure that circulation is still strong and that extremities are not cold or discolored.
“Numbness is something I always watch out for,” Lady Raven said. “Always communicate with your partner to make sure they can still feel all of their body parts.”
As with anything else, read and research. Experimentation that can bring partners closer together should never be something they hesitate to try. Remember to be careful (with bodies and minds), communicate and have fun.
Got a burning question? Submit your relationship issues anonymously at: http://goo.gl/HGAKSL or email the Distress Signal directly at: [email protected]
 

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Safety issues are biggest concern when contemplating BDSM