Safe, Sane, Consensual
Sex, like ice cream, comes in a wide variety of flavours, and to many, vanilla just ain’t enough. Find out how to push the limits while staying safe and in control.
When it comes to the work of heavy-duty sex, newbies can get carried away wanting to try or attempt sexual acts that take time and skill to achieve safely. What newbies will learn when they meet experienced players is that heavy duty sex involves rituals that act as ground rules – practical things that allow men’s raunchiest fantasies to happen in a way that is Safe, Sane and Consensual.
Being knowledgeable about what you are doing.
Each participant must be informed about the possible risks, both physically and psychologically. The sexual activity should cause no permanent emotional or physical harm (except, of course, where branding or piercing is involved). The safe toys (dildos, butt plugs) are clean (or have new condoms ready for switching partners), that slings are secure, that other men putting their fingers into the lube don’t contaminate it.
Knowledge of men’s bodies – how they work, what they can and can’t do – is fundamental as is a basic knowledge of hygiene. That includes taking precautions so that STIs (such as HIV) are not spread.
Acting rationally and not being out of control – that decisions are made carefully while sober.
Men who are out to prove that they are tougher than the rest can prove just as volatile as those wasted on chemicals. Tops who ‘know how to dish it out’ and bottoms that ‘want to prove they can take it’ are more likely to stray beyond safe limits than men who know where the line between fantasy and reality begins and ends.
As one S&M writer puts it:
‘Humility rather than arrogance, intimacy not aloofness are the marks of the proficient S&Mer.’
All players must give full, informed and sober consent.
Informed means knowing exactly what you are consenting to and that you can change your mind if you don’t like it. A top explaining to a bottom the details of what is likely to happen to him if he does get in the sling is far more likely to excite than deter, but it’s important that those details are explicit.
Whatever the ‘scene’ or sexual activity is, the goal is something that is mutually erotic. Trust and skill increase the chance of that goal being attained. S&M is about intensity and pleasure – not abuse.
Things can change or go wrong – people change their minds during a sexual scene and that’s when safe words are important. In practice they’re rarely used, but having one established adds extra security. When the safe word is spoken all activity stops. It’s like an emergency handbrake. Safe words should have nothing to do with sex in any way – think of something like a vegetable, a sport or a place name.
Some men use colours to signify danger:
- Red for stop
- Orange for caution
- Green for go
If a man is gagged he can hold an object (such as a ball) which he can drop when he wants the action to stop.
What you know you like, what you’d like to experiment with and things that are definitely off limits.
Novices can write a list for each of these and as more experience is gained, lists grow longer and change. Tops have limits as well as bottoms – how far they are prepared to go or things that bottoms want them to do that they don’t find erotic. Newbies need to talk to each other – in person or online – about their limits, so that from a sea of desires they find a place to start. If you find a mentor he might be able to help you find your way – or even let you watch!