Spanking Safety Section
articles and tutorials BDSM Mix Spanking instruction, instruments and devices
Before beginning to play, please review this section about the activities you are planning on doing. They might save you some trouble, an embarassing trip to your doctor, an appointment with your favorite therapist, injury or even death.
In most BDSM type games there is an element of danger, because you are playing games with power. One of you has power, the other has not. This is especially true in bondage games. ALWAYS stop the game if your partner seems to be in trouble. It is better to be safe than sorry. You might ruin a game because you were wrong, but that is always better than ruining a life. Safety must come first.
Disclaimer: Although we try to be as complete as possible on these pages, there is a distinct possibility we have overlooked something. Even if you play by the guidelines mentioned on this page, there is still the possibility something goes wrong. Please note that we cannot accept any responsibility for any injuries or other inconveniences you experience during or after your play. If and when you decide to play, you bear full responsibility for your actions or inactions.
- General safety considerations
- Spanking safety considerations
- Bondage safety considerations
- Humiliation safety considerations
- Miscellaneous safety considerations
- Rules for Safe Play
- Getting started with playing
General safety considerations
- Use your common sense.
If something seems dangerous, it probably is. Don't try it, unless you are sure it is safe.
- Don't believe everything you hear.
The BDSM world is full of tall stories and fakers. Many fakers will tell you unbelievable stories about something amazing they have done or seen. I have experienced this myself when I heard about the shiatsu pressure points used in Japanese bondage from someone claiming to be a neurologist. Later it turned out he was no doctor at all and did not even work in the medical profession. All he told me, was based on something he had "learned" from the Internet. Although later I was able to confirm some of his claims, to this day I am very happy I have not used the "knowledge" gained from this person in an actual game.
- How about health?
I am not even talking about AIDS, although you should of course never forget that it is out there. But have you considered what a gag would do to someone with asthma? Or the possible effect of a hard spanking on someone with a heart condition?
What I am saying is, that you should be aware of the medical problems your partners has. Someone with asthma could easily die if you gag them and leave the room for just 5 minutes. Because 5 minutes without air is more than enough to kill someone. Talk about your medical problems play and make sure you know what to do when problems do turn up during your game.
- Don't drink and play
I would recommend against the consumption of alcohol and drugs during a BDSM game. Both have an intoxicating effect and could seriously affect your judgement. Also, alcohol increases the pain threshold of a person and you might end up playing harder then you had intended, with all the possible negative consequences of that. So think before you drink.
Spanking safety considerations.
Spanking is just about the safest activity you can engage in. Especially if you don't use any tools and stick to just using your hands, there is very little risk involved. Still, there are some things you should consider, especially is you are considering to use tools.
I will briefly discuss the tools, as they have been discussed on the "Spanking Instruments" page.
- The hand:
If you use your hand to spank someone, there isn't much you need to think of in terms of safety. Very long and hard spanking can result in bruising of the bottom, but it is much more likely your hand will hurt more by that time :-)
- The ruler:
Rulers are pretty safe, as long as you don't use old wooden ones, that are splintering. You don't want to be pulling small pieces of wood out of your Bottom's bottom, not to mention the risk of infection. Plastic rulers are sometimes rather flimsy and could break, leaving you with a potentially sharp object. All in all, if you pick the ruler well, you are safe.
Prolonged spanking with a ruler can cause bruising.
- The hairbrush:
If you are considering the hairbrush for spanking, you should pick a large one, made of wood and with a flat or slightly rounded back. These are sturdy and are suitable for the job. This instrument is about as safe as they come, except that prolonged spanking can cause bruising of the buttocks.
- The belt:
The belt can be dangerous, as it is more difficult to control. The belt can whip around the buttocks and thighs and cause nasty bruises where the tip hits. This is because the tip of the belt has more speed than the rest. If used hard, the belt will cause welting and bruising. Be careful, especially if you use a heavy leather belt.
- The strap:
What is true for the belt, mentioned above, is even more true for the strap. Longer kinds of straps are usually heavy and travel quickly through the air. Also, they can whip around the buttocks and the thighs. These kinds of straps will surely raise welts and cause bruising.
The shorter strap is also heavy, but less dangerous, because it is easier to control. Since this kind of strap is often made heavier with metal studs, it is less likely to raise welts, but it will cause bruising.
- The crop:
The crop is pretty safe because it is very accurate. However, it can be used pretty hard and then it will cause bruising and welting. But because you have such good control you can place each stroke with perfect precision. And the crop is also good for soft, correcting taps on the bottom or other parts of the body. A fine instrument.
- The birch:
The birch is a mean instrument. It possesses a powerful, but superficial sting. It sets the bottom on fire. A lasting, glowing pain. The twigs can scrape the skin and leave it raw. This increases the risk of superficial infections. Make sure your birch does not splinter before you use it. Prolonged use can break the skin and cause bleeding. Make sure you have disinfectant nearby if this happens.
- The martinet:
The soft, leather thongs of the martinet give it a rather friendly look and feel. But it can most definitely sting. Sometimes there are knots at the end of the thongs, increasing the sting. These knots can cause small bruises if the martinet is used very hard. Also, because there are many thongs, the martinet can be difficult to control. If you inexperienced with it, make sure your partner has her legs closed, or you could hit a very sensitive spot.
- The paddle:
The paddle is a heavy instrument. Even people who receive spankings on a regular basis fear this one. The paddle, especially the heavy wooden type can cause severe bruising. The are also paddles with holes in them. These holes create nasty blisters on the bottom, and because the paddle moves easier through the air, you can spank harder with them as well. Don't use this, unless your partner can take it.
- The switch:
The switch can be a very mean instrument, especially when used with much force. The thicker, harder variety causes bruising, especially in the area where the tip strikes the flesh. The thinner the switch, the more chance you have of breaking the skin. A cut from the switch can be quite long, and can be difficult to heal. Some people need stitches after a switching. I recommend not using a switch at all, unless you know what you are doing.
- The carpet beater:
Originally designed for beating the dust out of carpets, you can also beat the dust out of a good deal of bottoms too. This is a particularly safe item. Unless you are using an old carpet beater made out of cane, that is becoming moldy or splintery, you can't injure someone with a carpet beater. The carpet beater has a large surface, to spread the force of the blow. This will produce a nice, equal shade of red across the entire backside of the recipient. You can also get them in plastic, but I prefer the ones made out of natural material.
- The cane:
The cane is a very hard instrument. You need a lot of skill to safely use it. This is definitely not a tool for beginners. Even moderate strokes of the cane are painful. If you intend to use it, please practice on a pillow first and remember that the force of the stroke should be in the wrist, NOT in the shoulder. If you hit from the shoulder, you will certainly break the skin. For beginners, leave this thing alone, please.
- The whip:
This can be a nasty instrument to use on someone. The single tailed whip wraps around the body, leaving nasty welts if used with force. The whip could eventually break the skin. But it often depends on the type of whip. There are so many varieties that it is difficult to say which one is dangerous and which one isn't. Please be careful when using a whip for the first time.
Bondage safety considerations.
Bondage, when not done properly, can be a very dangerous, possibly deadly experience. However, the danger can be virtually eliminated if you follow a few simple guidelines.
- Use proper materials.
Don't economize on your materials. Buy the best you can afford. Make sure your rope is soft and doesn't damage the skin. Also, make sure your rope is clean and free of mold or other possible pests.
- Make sure you know what you are doing.
Like I said before, when in doubt, don't do it and hope it will go well. You are playing with a living human being, that trusts you enough to allow you to tie him/her up. You owe it to them to know how you can do that safely. A good book for beginning bondage enthusiasts is Jay Wiseman's "Erotic Bondage Handbook". For additional resources, check out our BDSM newbie guide.
- Never, ever tie anything around the neck.
Don't tie anything around the neck that could get tighter during play or during your partners struggle against the ropes. Never use anything that could put pressure on the front of the neck, in the throat area. You can kill someone in this way.
For inexperienced and starting players, it is best to avoid tying anything around the neck at all.
- Check for signs of poor circulation.
During your play, frequently check your partner for signs of poor circulation. With frequently, I mean at least once every 15 minutes. These signs include numbness in arms or legs (or hands or feet), discoloration of limbs (purple color), tingling sensations and body parts that feel cold. If you find any of these conditions, take immediate steps to correct them.
You may have to loosen your bondage, or partly untie it. Maybe you will have to untie your partner completely. Do this right away if necessary.
- Don't leave your Bottom alone.
It is best not to leave your partner alone, certainly not if he/she is completely immobile. If you have to leave (for instance to use the bathroom) make sure you are within hearing distance. I would prefer not to use a gag if you plan on leaving the room.
Absolutely never leave the house, or even leave hearing distance if your partner is tied up. Imagine the worst, for instance a fire. Your partner would probably die.
- Make sure you can free your partner quickly.
There are numerous reasons to think of why you have to be able to free your partner quickly. Take the example of the fire again, if you will. If you use chains, make sure you have all the keys to the padlocks within reach. Preferably, get padlocks you can all open with the same key. Make sure you have spare keys and that you know where they are.
If you use ropes, have a pair of bandage scissors nearby. They have a nice dull point that you can shove under the ropes, so you can cut without fear of injuring your partner. If you have knots that simply will not open, you could use that point to shove in the knot, in the hope of loosening it.
- Don't run.
If your partner calls you, and you are not in the room, or even if you are, don't run to them. This may sound strange, but it really is a sensible precaution. If you run, fall and break your neck, they are left helpless.
It is better to walk over to them. That way, you have a much bigger chance of getting there without tripping, especially when you are in a hurry.
Humiliation safety consideration.
When starting out with humiliation games, it is very important that both you and your partner realise that, even if you are playing pretty heavy humiliation games, they are not for real. You do them, because you both like to play them. You or your partner allow this humiliation to happen (and therefore it is not "real" humiliation). For these games to be pleasurable, it requires an enormous respect among both partners. Also, you need to know exactly how far you can go.
It is also important to discuss the kind of games you would like to play beforehand. And even if you have discussed the games, and they seemed very exciting at the time of discussion, it is absolutely crucial to stop them at the first sign of trouble. So in short, here are our guidelines:
- Humiliation games are not real, they are for play.
So don't become all serious about them. If they don't work out, laugh about them, talk about them, but don't become upset.
- Only play humiliation games that you like to play.
As with all these games, only play them if you enjoy them.. But for humiliation games, this is even more important. If you do not enjoy them, than it is possible that they don't fit you, emotionally or psychologically. If you play them anyway, you could end up in emotional trouble.
- Have deep respect for the partner your are humiliating in your game.
If you do not, you risk damaging this person emotionally. He or she might feel that you are too serious about the game.
- Talk about what you plan to do.
Talk your plans through thoroughly. Never exceed your partners or your own limits with these sorts of games. Doing so could cause serious emotional trouble for your partner or yourself.
- Stop when you think there is trouble.
Even if a safeword is not used, stop when you suspect there is trouble. Even games you have discussed, and that seemed very exciting at the time, may not feel right when you start to play. This is also true for games which you have played before. If the mood is not quite right, they might not feel good. So stop playing.
Miscellaneous safety considerations.
- Playing with clamps
Clamps can give an added dimension to your games. Some people may like them, others may not. The first thing to remember about playing with clamps is: NEVER leave them on longer then 20 minutes. Otherwise tissue damage could occur from loss of blood circulation to the clamped area.
Another thing to remember is that taking off clamps hurts more than putting them on or wearing them. Keep this in mind when playing with strong clamps. Your Bottom might enjoy wearing the clamps, but could start screaming the second you start to take them off...
Don't use powerful metal or wood clamps on the genitalia. The tissue in this area is very tender and soft and could be damaged if you do this.
- Candle wax
Many people enjoy playing with candle wax. It produces very interesting sensations, heating just a tiny spot of skin. Important for wax play, is that you choose candles that don't burn too hot. Preferably,. don't use colored candles (but white ones) and don't choose candles made from bees wax either. Before using the candles in your game, drip some of the wax on the back of your hand to see if it isn't too hot. When in doubt, don't try it on your Bottom.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to pour the wax on in large streams. This could cause serious burns, because the top layer of wax cools fastest, but the layer in contact with the skin cools much slower, exposing the skin to heat much longer than most people would appreciate. It is much better to drip the wax on, or pour tiny bits of wax onto the skin.
Also, don't hold the candle too close to the skin of your Bottom. The longer the wax travels through the air, the more it cools down and the more pleasure for your Bottom (instead of pain). You can vary the altitude of the candle, so the sensations become more and less painful. This effect is most powerful in combination with a blindfold.
Also, please don't use the wax on areas that have lots of hair. It is a real drag getting the wax off. Unless of course, this is what you wanted.
Rules for Safe Play
Many of the Rules below come from common sense, or have been dealt with more or less in the text above. But please, do take the time to read these Rules, as they are very important to your wellbeing and that of your partner and also to the enjoyment you hope to find while playing. Failure to play by these rules could result in embarassing, painful or even deadly situations. Safety should come above all else in these games.
Please do not play if one of the things below is true:
- You don't feel like playing.
Seems obvious, you may say. But it is true. You don't have to play to please your partner is he or she does feel like it. These games are played for fun. If you don't feel like it, you probably will not have fun playing. So don't.
- There is trouble in your relationship.
If you have just been in a fight with your partner or something else is wrong, it may not be a good idea to play these games. These games deal with a significant amount of trust and vulnerability. If you have trouble, it would be better to talk about it.
- You don't feel well.
Maybe also common sense, but also important. BDSM games can be both physically and mentally exhausting. If you are not fit enough, you may not be able to play. If you're the Top, you may not be able to pay enough attention to your Bottom, failing to see signs of trouble or lacking the concentration you need. If you're the Bottom, your tolerance threshold is very low, making for a poor game.
- You have used alcohol and/or drugs.
Obviously, alcohol or other drugs don't mix with these games. Both have an intoxicating effect and could seriously affect your judgement. Also, alcohol increases the pain threshold of a person and you might end up playing harder then you had intended, with all the possible negative consequences of that.
- You are tired.
Maybe also common sense here, but it is not a good idea to start a two hour game after a hard days work, dinner and dishes. You will be too tired to concentrate and many bad things could happen.
- You don't know the limits.
You should know where your limits and those of your partner are, BEFORE you start to play. It is not a good idea to make them up as you go along. See "Negotiating the game" for more information.
- You don't know how.
You may have the wildest fantasies in your head. But if you don't know how you can safely play them out, please don't try. If you don't know what you are doing, bondage, spanking or anything else can be very dangerous. You would not try to fly a 747 without proper instructions, would you? So find out how you can do the things you want to do in a safe way.
- You don't have proper equipment.
You have just found out that your girlfriend likes to be tied up. So you remembered those old handcuffs you bought at a rock concert somewhere. You cuff your lady to the bed, only to discover that afterwards, the cuffs won't open, no matter how you turn that key...
I think you know what I am getting at here. Get the proper gear for the game. You don't cross the Atlantic in an inflatable boat, do you? Proper gear is reliable, safe and clean. If your gear does not match these criteria, it should not be used.
- Your mother-in-law is in the room next to yours.
Well, not necessarily your mother in law of course, but anybody else. Only play when you have plenty of privacy. That way you don't have to be so quiet and nervous all the time and you can relax, both to enjoy the game and to pay attention to safety rather than approaching footsteps.
- The X-files starts in 25 minutes.
It is not a good idea to play when you are pressed for time. If you are in a hurry you will make mistakes and don't pay enough attention to safety. So it would be better to wait and play another time, or tape the X-files. These games should not be rushed and you should have enough time for after-care.
- You met this wonderful person 3 hours ago...
And now he wants to tie you up. I don't think I even need to explain this one, but I will anyway. This person could be the biggest nutcase in the world. But you don't know him well enough yet. Once he has tied you up, I am sure you will find out.
The rule is simple, only play when you trust the other person completely. If you have ANY doubt in your mind, DO NOT play.
- You are angry/depressed/sad or upset in any way.
BDSM games can have a very powerful impact on you, even if you are feeling very well at the time. If you are feeling depressed however and suffering from low self esteem, it may not be a good idea to play an intense humiliation game right now...
Also, there are a few things that you absolutely do need before you start to play. These are:
- A safeword.
The safeword is to BDSM games what an emergency brake is to a train. It is the single most powerful law in BDSM. It is the Bottom's veto right. It simply means "Stop". There are many reasons why a Bottom would use it. She may need to use the bathroom, she has a cramp or she is not enjoying what is going on at the time.
A Bottom should remember that it is not a bad thing to use the safeword. It is the Bottom's right to use it.
The Top should always respect the safeword and stop whatever is going on. It simply means the game has ended at that point and that the two of you have returned to the real world.
Ideally, if the Bottom stopped the game because he/she did not like something, you should talk about what was wrong. Did the Top interpret the limits differently? Did it not feel right this time? Did unexpected emotions pop up? It is important that you find this out.
Of course, you are not limited to a single safeword. You can use more than one. For instance, one that means: "Stop, I don't feel like playing anymore" and another one that means: "Stop this activity, but please continue the game." You could also use words that would indicate that the Bottom is enjoying this game very much and would like more. That is all up to you, as long as you have that one safeword, that can stop the game.