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Posts Tagged ‘Positional asphyxia’

The Master’s Voice #30: A Safety Checklist

This is the third and final part of our trip to the dark side of BDSM. As promised this is a quick look at some activity based hints and tips. I make no apology for reinforcing some of the important points covered previously.

My Ten Point Checklist for BDSM safety:

1. Negotiation and Agreement: Discuss and confirm your limits before you start.  This has been covered in some detail previously. As a novice you should be conservative with your agreed limits. As you develop confidence and trust with your partner these limits can be explored and expanded when you are ready and both in agreement.

2. Personal Safety: Set an absolute safeword. No conditions and no exceptions. Read my previous post regarding pre-session meetings and session safety. Remember to listen to your gut.

3. Cleanliness and Hygiene: Thorough cleaning of all sex toys and equipment after every session is essential. Antibacterial soap is good but the type of diluted bleach used to clean babies bottles etc is better. Never share toys between multiple partners in the same session or transfer toys from arse to vagina or to mouth. If using modern powder based lubricants which you mix yourself, store in separate labelled containers to avoid any cross contamination. Safe sex practices should be an absolute limit for all but beware of often forgotten contamination points such as eyes or bleeding gums.

4. Percussion and Impact Play: Much of this has been covered in the blogs on Spanking and I will in the near future be coming back to the broader topic of CP. There are however, some safety tips which are common to all forms of impact play including spanking, whipping, flogging, paddling, caning, birching, belting or lashing.

  • Know your own strength2da03669-c873-428c-b5cf-beb71f14d72c
  • It’s all physics in the end
  • Harder does not always mean better
  • Try every new implement yourself away from the scene
  • Be prepared for strong emotions to be roused in both the Dom and the sub (don’t lose control)
  • You may both be hurting after an intense session (e.g. spanking hands)
  • Be aware of the different effects of distance from the sub body
  • Be aware of your energy levels
  • Don’t let any implements wrap around a body surface unintentionally. The inertial force at the tip will be far greater than at any point along its length
  • Educate yourselves

5. Breath Play and Choking Hazards: This is quite possibly one of the most dangerous areas of all BDSM practice. If you are going to try any form of erotic asphyxiation, erotic strangulation, KO (knockout) or ‘gasping’ then I urge you to read everything that you can find on the subject first. There is no completely safe way to do this but I know that some of you will want to experiment, so be prepared. Ask all the relevant health questions of your partner but be aware that some heart conditions can exist that show no symptoms. I have heard of subs having heart attacks 15-20 mins after indulging in gasping so be aware and learn how to resuscitate! Take great care never to compress the throat area and make sure that when you collar your slave, that you can still get two fingers between the collar and the skin just as you would with your dog. Be mindful of any possible choking hazards such as ball gags and be always on the lookout for positional asphyxia situations as discussed last time.

6. Monitor Circulation: This is especially important when any bondage or restraint is applied to extremities. The Dom should check regularly for any changes in colour or temperature. The sub should also alert the Dom to any tingling, pins & needles sensations or numbness asap. Never ever leave bound or restrained subs unattended.

7. Sensation Play: Here I include a great many different activities from hot wax to cold ice, from TT to CBT, including nipple clamps, clothes pegs, humblers and chastity devices. Learn how to use them all and if possible practice outside of actual BDSM sessions. Sounding, needs great care and the correct equipment kept scrupulously clean. Figging, or the use of deep heat can effect the person applying as well as the sub. Keep water and wash cloths to hand. Hot wax torture is very popular but beware of the candles that you use since they are all far from equal. Beeswax candles and black candles can burn very hot. In fact all coloured candles tend to contain ingredients which can make them burn much hotter than any plain white paraffin wax examples.

8327870c-a714-4778-b440-14dec40fdc558. Stress Play: Any bondage or restraint play will cause stress to joints, bones and muscles so you should always be aware of undue pressure. Take great care with knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists, elbows and neck. Clearly the aim of the activity is to restrict movement and while it can be a big turn on to watch your sub struggling against the ties, you do need to build in some flexibility. Make sure that nerve pathways and areas of blood flow are not restricted. Be very aware that changing the position of the sub after you have tied them can change the stresses. If, for example, you have tied you sub’s arms behind his back whilst upright, but you then lay him down on his back, this could lead to a huge increase of pressure on wrists, elbows or shoulders which may not be visible to you.

9. Anal Play: If done correctly, arse play can and should be painless and intensely pleasurable for both parties. The success of this depends entirely on the preparedness both of the arse and the head. Relaxation is key but it needs to be mental relaxation as well as muscular. Use good water based lubricants (or silicone with toys), fingers, sex toys and lots of patience.

10. Expanding Limits: In the BDSM world you will often come across the terms hard and soft limits. Limits are the rules by which we protect ourselves but can also be the route to the journey of discovery and new experiences. Hard limits are non negotiable and must be respected. An violation of hard limits is non-consensual and the equivalent of rape. It is physical, physiological, or emotional abuse clear and simple. Soft limits are those that can be explored but they are still limits and so any changes must be taken slowly, carefully and only after full negotiation. Both participants need to be open and honest and neither one should compromise their limits just to please the other. Extending limits need not be only in one direction. By all means experiment but if the new activity is not for you then say so and reset the limits.tumblr_nfnlluBrUq1u2btldo1_1280

Some of you I’m sure will have found this series tedious but I hope it can be seen as a resource both for practitioners and for writers alike. Go explore and have fun. Build safety and common sense into all your activities. Know that there are few things sexier than a lover or playmate showing that they care,

The Master’s Voice #29 – Protect Yourself.

BDSM – The Dark Side, Part 2

In the last blog post I described a BDSM world which was apparently10173627_311683172356130_4008303024363836939_n fraught with risk and danger. As with any hazardous endeavor, the right precautions can help you to reduce the risk as close to zero as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the principles and practices which will allow you to construct your very own BDSM hazmat kit.

I have previously mentioned several elements of safe practice. The catch phrase which has been used for some forty years in the BDSM world is Safe, Sane, Consensual (SSC). This remains a good catch-all although in the last five years or so many have started to question the subjective nature of what was considered ‘Safe’. Out of this has grown the use of a new phrase ‘Risk Aware Consensual Kink’ (RACK). Yes, this is possibly more accurate, but since I had always considered ‘Risk Aware’ to be part of what was ‘Safe’ and ‘Sane’ I do not see the need for a big either-or debate here. I sometimes think that the term ‘Happy Sex’ would do me just fine, but I’m being flippant. My point is that the words we use are less important than the actions we take.

As a novice you may not have much experience to call on, but you do have a couple of hard-wired items in your personal armory. First is the ‘gut feeling’. This is not some imaginary thing, but it is a part of your genetic make-up. Our primitive ancestors evolved a part of their brains specifically devoted to survival and which elicits what we call the ‘fight or flight’ response. When your gut tells you something is not right, it is your primitive brain protecting you,  so listen to it. The second level of protection is your own list of values and beliefs. These dictate your personal standards and should be seen as the base line against which you measure the evidence of your senses. Now with your ‘gut’ at the ready and your checklist of personal standards in place, lets go find a sane partner to play with.

You would never make a major purchase like a car or a house without careful research, so why would you put your life in the hands of another without researching them too. These days , most BDSM connections take place online. Just as with online shopping we need a cooling off period and a returns policy, so when we have made a connection we should start the negotiating process. If your potential partner claims to be experienced then ask for references from others whom they have played with.

Most important of all you should have a pre-session meeting in a neutral public place to assess each other in person. During this meeting you should discuss and agree your limits and your safe word.

If anyone refuses any of these steps it should be taken as a red flag and you should walk away without hesitation. With the meeting in particular, be very wary of any last minute changes of plan or venue. Simply cancel the meeting and rearrange it if possible.

So you have met your play mate and you are ready to move on to your first play date. You can still put solid levels of protection in place to ensure your ongoing safety. To my mind, safe-calls are the easiest to arrange and the hardest to get around. Safe-calls can be used in various ways but they need to be set up in advance and they depend on you having in place a reliable friend. Here are a few options:

1. Leave details of your intended play mate and location with your ‘phone-a-friend’.

2. Arrange to call/text when you arrive safely.

3. Arrange to call-text at a given time or after a given period of time.

4. Agree trigger words to be included in any call or text e.g. “he’s interesting” meaning “He’s a complete freak, call the police!” etc.

Telling your play partner that you have taken these steps will lower any risk level considerably.

You should now be ready to have some fun. You’ve done your research, met your playmate, agreed limits and safe words. You will have discussed other warning systems such as traffic light codes, intensity codes and you may even have drawn up a contract. Your gut is calm, the red flags are folded away and your personal standards are upheld.

The ultimate arbiter of the first”S” should be the safe word. Keep it simple. When you are about to pass out, you do not want to be trying to remember if it was “pineapple” or “porcupine” so I suggest you go with your own first name, or even just the word “fire”!

Having mentally arrived at the point where you are ready to play, the next level of safety is the more practical one of safe practices during your various BDSM activities. This is a lengthy topic so I will come back to much of it another time. There is, however, one risk about which very little is said and there can be much surprise and great confusion when it happens. Positional asphyxia can be a scary thing when an apparently healthy sub passes out mid scene. The usual cause is lack of blood flow or of oxygen but although the effects are scary they need not be dangerous once a little education is in place.

I have previously stated that a good Dominant should be fully informed and constantly aware of both the physical and mental well-being of their submissive. If there are any health concerns such as asthma, hypertension, anxiety, circulation or weight problems then tread very carefully when doing any activity involving prolonged restraint. Some activities are more prone to this effect than others and they include:

10426220_1541898796083477_7315032786763590444_n1. Inverted (upside-down) positions or suspensions.

2. Hogtie positions.

3. Upright spread eagle or crucifixion positions.

4. Any positions where  arms are held above shoulder height.

5. Prolonged pressure on torso or rib cage.

6. Prolonged stress on shoulders or torso eg face down with hands tied behind back

Any or all of these can put a great strain on breathing and can leave the body too exhausted to breath effectively. I am a big guy and I am well aware that if my arms were tied behind my back, the strain on my shoulders would prevent my chest from expanding to breath properly.

Some of these positions restrict blood flow and can also lead to fainting.

Rapid reaction to these problems means that they should never escalate to danger levels but I must add one clear work of warning. MONITORING. Even the least risky bondage or restraint can become deadly when left unsupervised. I cannot emphasise this enough. Never leave a restrained sub unsupervised. Never put a sub into any form of restraint without the having knowledge and appropriate tools to get them out of it.

Next time, in the third and final part of our trip to the dark side, I will take a brief look at safety in a whole range of activities and also consider the notion of “pushing limits”.