Safety

This information should in no way be considered a comprehensive primer. There is far more information necessary to keep oneself and one's partners safe than could be written here. This is meant simply as an overview to the barest outline of kink safety and will hopefully inspire you to do independent research.

Also, please note, we fervently believe that it is not only a Top who needs to be well versed in safety, both physical and emotional, but bottoms also must educate themselves. This is for a variety of reasons. The simplest being, if you don't know what is "safe" and what is "unsafe," how can you know if what is being done to you is potentially damaging?

We understand that there are a variety of websites devoted to BDSM, and some offer excellent information. Unfortunately, with the ease of producing websites, and the frequency with which they change, it is incredibly difficult to authenticate the accuracy of the information.

We at NoirLuna Leather cannot stress enough our recommendation that you find other sources to continue your education: most specifically, books.

Books are, in our opinion, a slightly more trustworthy source of information for the beginner. These days there is a dizzying array of books out there dealing with this topic and it seems like everyone has their own opinions on what is a good primer for people just entering into this wonderful world of kink. We, of course, also have those opinions.

Some specific books we recommend are:
“Sensuous Magic” by Pat Califia. We find this book to be an amazing primer that is startlingly un-gender specific, something which we enjoy and admire.
“Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns” by Phillip Miller and Molly Devon is the book we hear the most often recommended, in large part because of the humour with which it is written and the easy, down to earth ‘voice’ which the authors employ. (A book which one reads and enjoys is, after all, more useful than a book which one has to force themselves to get through)
And for those who are seeking a more female Dominant aimed book we quite enjoyed “Come Hither” by Gloria Brame.

With that said, here is some basic information to get you started:

Negotiation is a highly under-used and important place to begin when engaging in any sort of intimate activity, be it plain vanilla sex, a bit of slap and tickle, or a full blown scene in a dungeon. When the expectations of both parties are not clearly laid out before you begin, you will both often find the situation unsatisfying for the simple and easily correctable error of unmatched desires. Getting a sense of your potential partner's interests, their likes and dislikes, their experiences, (perhaps even past traumas if those are pertinent) is priceless. You also may want to know if they have any physical limitations. Planning out a hot scene where your bottom kneels at your feet, pleasuring you for hours will backfire - and quickly - if you forgot to find out that your bottom has bad knees.

Bondage:

Bondage is often the place many people start their experimentation. It can be a low-key, non-threatening activity for a couple to engage in, and the risks are fairly minimal. Bondage can be as simple as telling your partner to keep their limbs where you place them, and not to move while you do something to them which they adore. Telling them that if they dare to move you will stop the enjoyable sensation can provide quite the incentive to hold still.

Of course bondage can be quite a bit less simple than that, with meters of rope, or piles of leather devices, which is when added caution and care come into play.

Probably the greatest risk from bondage is “positional asphyxiation.” Always stay as close to a bound person as you would to a newborn baby in your care. If a gag is being used, stay within arms reach. A gag can interfere with breathing, and a gagged person can hyperventilate or vomit and asphyxiate without making a sound.

Remember - if a gag is being used, be sure to have a non-verbal safeword. Many people use a hand signal, a noise such as a series or grunts, or have their bottom hold something in their hand which is dropped in case of emergency.

The other major risk to the bottom is circulation. Bondage does not have to be tight to be restrictive and inescapable. Be sure at least a finger can fit between the rope and a bottoms skin at any point. Monitor the extremities closely, watching for discoloration and temperature change.

Note - not every body was designed to become a pretzel, know your partner and their limitations.

Remember also, most human bodies cannot be suspended by their wrists alone for great periods of time. Wrist suspension cuffs are wonderful tools for standing bondage, allowing the bottom a place to hold onto, and thus prolong how long they can remain tied in that position, but if you wish to suspend someone for any length of time, you need to invest in more equipment/training.

Percussion Instruments

The next most common type of play is percussion. IE: Spanking, flogging, paddling, caning, etc. After all, who hasn’t enjoyed a bit of spanking in their otherwise vanilla sex? Percussion “tools” are any tools used to strike the body. They generally range in sensation from sting to thud. The most important safety knowledge in using these toys is anatomical - where the body can be safely struck and how hard.

The best parts of the body to strike are the large muscle groups. This includes the buttocks, the shoulders (above the kidneys and away from the spine) and both the front and back of the thighs. These areas will stand up to thud the best, and most bottoms seem able to take more thud than sting.

Other areas can be struck but must be treated more carefully. Breasts, genitals, palms, and soles of the feet can all provide erotic sensation, if done lightly and carefully. Here sting is usually better than thud.

Areas of concern that should be avoided include any place where internal organs (i.e. kidneys) or bones are near the surface (i.e. tailbone or spine). Joints are especially susceptible to long term damage that will not be immediately apparent. (i.e. spine, elbows, knees). Also watch areas with small bones (i.e. wrists and ankles). Small bones can break easily and seldom heal well.

As well as knowing the body, it is important to know your equipment. Have you tested it (preferably on yourself)? Have you practiced with it? Can you control it so that you are consistently hitting exactly where you aim? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, you are not ready to be using these toys on a live bottom.

Finally, avoid striking above the shoulders. The one exception to this is face slapping. Face slapping is mostly used for psychological effect. It need not be excessively hard and care must still be taken to limit injuries. It is advisable to cradle one cheek in your other hand, while using the other to slap the face. This prevents sudden head movement that can cause neck injury or even concussion.

There are differences between types of percussion instruments as well. For example:

• Floggers are hard to control, so practice hitting where you aim for. Try on a pillow or wall first.

• Paddles can range from very rigid to quite flexible. This changes the sensation from thud to sting. The material that the paddle is made of will also change sensation. Keep the most rigid paddles for the big muscle areas.

• Canes and Crops can break skin! Always start each session with these toys very slowly. Watch both the bottom, and the bottom’s bottom, closely and monitor the results of each strike. Be sure to know the result of each strike before starting the next swing. The effect of a single strike can easily take 60 to 90 seconds or more to flow through body and mind. Allow the bottom to get the full effect of each.

The Human Body

1. Shoulders are a large muscle group. Leather or rubber whips are good here, but avoid paddles or other rigid objects. The shoulder blades are close to the surface and can be bruised. Many people who carry a lot of tension in their shoulders particularly like to be beaten here.

2. The spine, including the neck, are joints as well as bones close to the surface. Avoid!

3. The kidneys are attached directly to the outside muscle wall and very close to the surface. Avoid!

4. The tailbone is another bone close to the surface. Avoid!

5. The buttocks are well padded with muscle and fat. This area of the body can take the most abuse, and often causes the most pleasure.

6. The thighs are much like the buttocks, well padded and ready for attention.

7. The calves can be flogged moderately, but seldom has much erotic response.

8. The soles of the feet can be either the most erotic or just torture. It depends on the individual. Either way, be cautious as there are small bones near the surface.

9. The breasts are mostly fat. There is some debate about long-term damage though, so proceed with caution.

10. & 11. The arms are fairly safe to strike, but seldom provide erotic pleasure.

12. Hands are an area best avoided because of the small bones close to the surface. Some people like the humiliation of having their knuckles or palms rapped. So if you choose to do this sort of play, support the wrists in some way. More and more people in our society today are having wrist issues.

13. The stomach contains numerous delicate organs. Avoid!

14. The genitals are extremely sensitive. Start very softly and slowly, and proceed with great care.

15. The insides of the thighs can be quite erotic, but are also quite sensitive. Use care.

16. Hips have bones near the surface, and important nerves that can be damaged. Avoid!

17. The knees are not designed for abuse. Avoid striking or even kneeling for long periods of time.

18. The tops of the feet are seldom erotic, and are ripe with very small bones near the surface. Avoid!

Aftercare:

NoirLuna Leather feels that while aftercare is not a strictly physical 'how-to' aspect of play it is a very important one, and that no discussion of safety is complete without acknowledging the importance of aftercare.

Aftercare varies for every person. Both Tops and bottoms will have their own needs and abilities, and each relationship will dictate different aftercare. This is one of those times when clear and thorough communication with a partner before play is vital.

This is a simple overview of a few stages and types of aftercare. The first stage of aftercare is immediately after play. This stage should include a physical examination of the submissive. This can be done quietly during cuddling, or made into a ritual.

Any injuries should be treated, any bruising or other marks should be noted. Reassurance is very important now. Cuddling is physical reassurance and can be as important as verbal. Many bottoms need an emotional release at this point. Some need to talk or babble, while others may simply cry. Remember, this is an emotional release, don’t expect it to be logical, or for the bottom to be able to explain it. However, some bottoms like to be left alone, and if that is the case, hopefully they have stated it beforehand. We cannot stress enough the importance of communication in activities like this.

Tops need aftercare as well. They have just engaged in activities which many in society would condemn them for. They are also humans and like feedback. Even a simple “thank you” can do wonders to help a Top feel that their efforts were appreciated.

The Top and bottom should ideally be available to each other for the next week to ten day in case any hidden emotional issues spring up. At the very least, there should be a contact method through which they can reach each other.

The second stage should be after a couple of days. Any emotional issues should be re-addressed. Any physical injuries should be re-examined. Check for any slow developing bruises, stiffness or other physical effects. This is something that a bottom must be prepared to do for their selves. If something unexpected comes up, ideally it should be communicated to the Top. A responsible Top will want to know about surprises after the fact, both physical and emotional.

Now can also be the time to discuss play critically. What was enjoyable, what wasn’t, and what activities might warrant further exploration? How was the technique? Was the dominant reading the bottom’s reactions well? Etc.

Again, as we cannot stress enough, please don’t take this very brief overview as the end of your education. We hope it is just enough to pique your interest. Read. Attend workshops and seminars. Ask others who have been playing longer for advice. Get as many points of view as you can, and use your common sense to sift through the opinions for what jives with your philosophies. You never stop learning!


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NoirLuna Leather makes no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the safety of any of our products. All of our products are sold as novelties only. Furthermore, we accept no responsibility for injuries sustained while using our products. The purchaser assumes all risk and liability of use for all our products.