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Safety Guidelines

Don't think for a second that just because you are familiar with the safety guidelines on this page that you know everything you need to know for any scene. Also please note that there reportedly have been more injuries due to bondage than sadistic activities such as whipping; activities which pose subtle dangers often result in more harm than ones which have blatantly obvious, and thus easily avoided, dangers.

There are probably exceptions to almost any safety rule. These are guidelines; when you step outside the guidelines you need to take even more stringent precautions which compensate for the particular guidelines you are violating.

You will find some safety warnings here that you are unlikely to find other sites. There will also be warnings on other sites that I have failed to include here.

Never leave a person in bondage alone. They could have a panic attack or emotional crisis, drown in their own vomit, have a seizure, lose circulation, or otherwise be severely harmed. Lots of fantasy material involves leaving someone for an extended period of time (the top goes to the local watering hole for a hour or two or even leaves the sub tied up overnight); this is very risky. If you really want to leave your sub alone for a while, at least consider closed circuit television - with audio; even then, you may not notice problems which you would if you were in the same room (for example, can you tell if someone stops breathing from looking at a video monitor?)

Beware of constricting blood flow or pinching nerves. This can be a danger just from wrist restraints; there are important nerves and veins on the inside of the wrist. The backs of the knees are also problem areas. Make sure all bondage gear is lose enough (you should be able to easily slip a finger under it) and is non constricting.

Arms raised above shoulder height for more than a half hour may not get adequate circulation. Any coldness or tingling of the hands is a very important warning sign which a sub should be instructed to report immediately.

Never tie anything around the front of the neck or which could apply pressure to the front of the neck when things shift.

Don't whip the lower back - the kidneys are very close to the surface and easily damaged. Don't whip where bones are close to the surface without adequate padding (long before you damage the bone, nerves and arteries can easily be pinched between your implement and the bone). Don't whip anywhere where internal organs are not protected by bone.

Before placing any bondage around the chest, have the sub inhale and hold their breath; the chest cavity needs room to expand. The sub may not notice they are unable to breath properly at rest but when their oxygen needs increase due to exertion or excitement they may need more room.

In general, whip only the buttocks (avoid the tailbone!), upper half of the back, and maybe the inner thighs unless you have been properly trained and know where all the internal organs, arteries, veins, and nerves are located. You should familiarize yourself through both medical/anatomical sources and BDSM sources.

The nerves which serve the genital area actually travel from around the midpoint of the spine and diagonally down around the waist and stomach. Even a tight or heavily loaded belt or fanny pack can cause serious damage to these nerves; imagine what kind of permanent damage a piece of rope could cause. This does not seem to be very well known inside or outside the BDSM community.

Use extreme caution when constricting an airway such as the nose or the mouth. Leave at least one of the two open. Even that may not be adequate could be easily blocked by vomit, snot, or other causes.

There is some controversy over whipping the breasts. Some believe it can promote cysts or tumors.

Sanitize whips if there is any possibility that skin has been broken (even if you are fairly gentle, popping a zit is enough) or it has come into contact with bodily fluids.

Sanitize all penetration toys between uses if they are used for more than one person. A condom may be used to "customize" dildos and other toys.

Before blindfolding someone, check if they are wearing contacts; permanent eye damage may occur.

Some candles melt at higher temperatures and will cause burns. More information on candle safety is in the section on Candle Wax.

Ass play has many risks. Fecal material can pose a significant biological hazard even to the person who generated it; the lower end of the alimentary canal harbors many microorganisms which can cause problems if they are introduced to the mouth or vagina. Many diseases, not merely sexually transmitted ones, can be transmitted via fecal material; Cholera is epidemic in some areas with inadequate sanitation, for example. Anal penetration without adequate lubrication can cause not only extreme discomfort (typically not the erotic variety) but also serious damage; use KY jelly or other suitable lubricant and ignore those fantasies you may have read about merely using a little vaginal lubrication. Dental Dams are commonly used for protection during analingus and a piece cut from a latex glove or saran wrap can also be used; note, however, that none of these are as effective a barrier as a condom. The odds of HIV transmission via unprotected anal sex is about ten times greater than via unprotected vaginal sex. Use of a good quality condom (many popular ones are not so good) improves the odds by around a factor of ten, which makes protected anal sex about as dangerous as unprotected vaginal sex.

Golden Showers are considerably less risky than ass play. Urine is normally pretty sterile and has even been used as an antiseptic in third world countries and during wartime when others were not available. There are some diseases which can survive or be transmitted by urine, however; just ask anyone with a urinary tract infection. Hepatitis B, in particular, can be present in urine. The risk of disease transmission may be less than for unprotected vaginal intercourse.

Submissives should take caution when meeting someone they do not know in real life for play. You may well find yourself at the mercy of a predator or someone who doesn't intend to cause harm but does not know how to prevent it. Meet the person in a public place to get to know them before considering play. Get references. Before you meet for play, let someone you trust know who you will be with and where you will be and arrange phone calls and code words to call the police; an organization called safetyNET has some more precautions and may be able to arrange a safety buddy.

Establish safewords.

There is some question about whether whipping or beating breasts can contribute to cancer. Trauma to the breasts or oxygen depravation due to bondage can cause Fat Necrosis which will cause lumps which mimic breast cancer and may need to be surgically removed. Lengths of time you can keep the breasts bound based on the number of fingers you can insert under the rope: 0 fingers - 15 minutes, 1 finger 30 minutes, 2-3 fingers 45 minutes. After the specified duration, the breasts should be unbound for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Don't trust a dominant who is put off by your safety precautions or tells you you are not a good submissive if you don't take risks you are not comfortable with.

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