BDSM, which stands for Bondage, Dominance, Sadism & Masochism is an acronym for a multitude of fetish play types and scenarios including bondage, power structures, domination/master roles, pain, and other physical and emotional ‘extremes’.  While BDSM is dangerous, there are ways sexy can be safe.

  1. Knowing your Boundaries.

A large part of safe play in BDSM is knowing your personal physical/emotional limits, and not being shy to express them clearly and effectively before engaging in BDSM.  Always clarify the boundaries beforehand, and never engage in BDSM if you are injured, impaired, or emotionally distraught. Remember, just as you an cause physical damange, you can also cause emotional damage.  If you are uncomfortable with some word, scene, act or role-play, make sure you advise the other participants before.

  1. Choosing a Safeword

A ‘safeword’ is a code word used to end play immediately when a participant is hurt, uncomfortable of overwhelmed.  When engaging in bondage, spanking, resistance play or role-paying, it’s often wise to agree on a ‘safeword’. Many people use “Green-Yellow-Red”: Green means “Everything is fine”, Yellow means “don’t stop, but don’t do anything harder than that”, and red means “stop everything right now.”

  1. Equipment

Many people like the idea of tying down their lover, or using gags as a form r restraint but be careful how you do this. When someone is tied up, always be alert for tingling, numbness, or coldness. If you are restrained, and your hands or feet tingle or get numb, this usually means that the restraint is pressing on a nerve and must be moved immediately.  When using gags, do not place anything over the nose and mouth simultaneously – make sure that the nose is always uncovered. Keep a pair of scissors handy at all times – in case of an emergency or panic, it might be difficult to untie knots.  One last tip, never ever leave a restrained person alone for any reason!

Finally, make sure you can trust your partner.  If you’re experimenting with a new partner, always let friends know where you will be at all times.

Matthew Bartolo is a counsellor specialising in Sex & Relationships. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples, and runs the sex education services within Willingness. He can be contacted on

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