Topic 1 - Safety, well-being and risk - notesSafety has to do with how protected we are against different forms of harm. At first glance it might seem that the ideal would be to be as safe as possible at all times, but by trying to achieve this we can make our BDSM experiences very plain and unexciting. For example, engaging in a flogging scene and trying to make sure that it will leave no scars, abrasions or bruising means that the flogging must be light and very carefully controlled. This is hardly a situation conducive to letting passions run free for either the top or the bottom. The scene itself might be very safe and everyone walks away perfectly fine and fit, but they also walk away unsatisfied.
If, on the other hand, we recognise that there is a chance (or even certainty) of bruising or abrasion and takes steps to deal with these during and after the scene---such as by the use of anti-bruising creams or the use of disinfectant---then we can get much more involved, have a much more intense scene, and we both come away from it feeling drained but happy and satisfied
We therefore need to balance the risks and possible consequences against what we hope to gain from our BDSM adventures. It's certain that in many BDSM activities we will get scraped, bumped or bruised, and we need to weigh the consequences of this---such as having trouble sitting down for a few days after a heavy caning or not being able to wear a bikini for a week due to bruising---against the benefits, pleasures or satisfaction we gain.
It's important to understand that a lot of BDSM can be quite safe. There are, however, some activities which are specifically intended to be risky, with the risk adding to the thrill. These activities are sometimes collectively called "edgeplay", specifically referring to the fact that they are right on the very edge of safe behaviour. What edgeplay means varies from person to person, with the more experienced BDSM folk excluding from their understanding of edgeplay what a lot of less experienced people include. Generally though, basic flogging and rope bondage are not seen as edgeplay, while being suspended by a butcher's hook through your flesh or intense military interrogations are seen as edgeplay because of the increased chance of things going wrong, either physically or psychologically.
Last modified: Monday, 10 October 2011, 4:42 PM