BDSM 101: Consent, Boundaries, Safe Words, & Aftercare
BDSM Submissive Dominant Power Exchange Empowerment Consent Julieta Chiara SDC
BDSM Submissive Dominant Power Exchange Empowerment Consent Julieta Chiara SDC
To practice safe and conscious BDSM, we must first consider some of the cardinal rules and terminology that are in place to ensure your comfort, safety, and of course, fun!

Exploring BDSM is like opening Pandora's box: endless possibilities, magic, perhaps a different universe if you ask me. From an outside view, many may perceive BDSM as pain, chains, whips… which can be involved if that is your kink, of course! There is much more to it for BDSM is a style of pleasure that involves the most care, communication, and attentiveness.

To practice safe and conscious BDSM, we must first consider some of the cardinal rules and terminology that are in place to ensure your comfort, safety, and of course, fun!


Consent


While consent is self-explanatory, it's still a topic that must be fully understood. In the most basic terms, consent in BDSM (or anything in life), is the act of directly agreeing to something. In BDSM, we must be very mindful that consent can happen for certain things, and not others. When you set boundaries, you can discuss what acts you consent to or not. We must also be mindful that we can withdraw consent at anytime, meaning we are able to stop what we are doing or what is happening to us. Checking for consent should be something we do constantly in BDSM, which we can simply ask, "is this okay for you?" "how is this?" "what would you like?" If you do not wish to check in so directly during your playtime, this is something that can be discussed beforehand when talking about boundaries.


Boundaries


Boundaries, often referred to as "Limits," are the parameters that you put in place to ensure your partner does not cross a mental or physical line that could hurt you, make you feel unsafe, or just isn't of interest. It's an essential form of consent to make sure your partner understands what your needs are, and what is absolutely off-limits. 

  • Hard boundaries, or Hard Limits, are acts that you will absolutely never do; one of my hard boundaries is that I will never participate in any play that involves bodily fluids.
  • Soft boundaries, or Soft Limits, are acts that you will sometimes do, and it depends on how you are feeling and discussing it beforehand. A soft boundary for me is anal stimulation or anal sex since sometimes I am in the mood, and I like to be really prepared for it. 
  • In short, boundaries/limits is about asking for what you want, getting it how you want, and not leaving any grey area to what happens with you, to you, or someone else.
  • With limits, there is everything between Hard and Soft limits that is subjective to the person. You may agree to something, but a limit may require that your partner also gives you something else in exchange. For example, in order for them to flog you, they may request that you reassure them during it, etc.

Safe Word/Action


A safe word or action is a queue to your partner to stop whatever they are doing should you want them to stop- this is a form of consent. With my partners, we always have made ours "pineapple." Try and choose a word that would make absolutely no sense in a kinky or sexual context, for it's the ultimate queue to stop. A safe action would be something you can do if you don't have the ability to talk. For example, when I am being choked, I always have one hand loose so I can lightly tap on my partner's arm or back should their actions be too much for me. 

Many people in the scene use the street light system: saying red means stop, yellow means slow down, and green means you want more. Simple!


Aftercare


Aftercare can best be described as a way of officially ending your domination session, almost as if bringing you back to reality with love and care. It is a bonding mechanism between the dominant and submissive, and an essential one at that. Some people need it more than others, and it is very emotionally stabilizing after being taken on a crazy ride. 

It can feel weird to go from being dominated, then cutting off the interaction completely — it is you and your Dom's responsibility to take care of each other afterward. This is even more so important in more intense physical play — maybe after being tied up for a long time you need to be held and have your body massaged. Maybe after being spanked very hard, your partner needs to tend to your bruises or open skin, making you feel comfortable and pain-free (after the endorphin rush is over, BDSM battle wounds can definitely hurt). Perhaps your Dom is exhausted after your session and would like to rekindle over a shower and some food. Caring for each other is just as important as performing on each other.


Julieta Chiara

"Julieta is a young, experienced sex blogger specializing in female sexuality, sex toys, and kink. A psychology graduate from the University of Utah, Julieta uses her education plus modern societal encounters to share her knowledge and experience of sexuality as one of the youngest women in the adult space. Using her platform to show that there are endless ways to express your sexuality, Julieta regularly partners with toy brands and companies to shine light on new products and curate social media branding. Through the use of personal experiences and sharing honestly about her intimacy, she has made insightful impact on her community by helping others explore who they are within a safe and positive environment. For far too long the world has overlooked sexuality, especially female sexuality and pleasure. Julieta works with everyone from the younger generation to our older friends to Reclaim Our Power. Julieta is a digital nomad and can be found lounging in Barcelona, Miami, Salt Lake City, or Buenos Aires — just a couple of her usual homes."
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