Once upon a time, about forty years ago, there was the Great Mystery of Alternative Sexualities. Most of the world was still coming to terms with revolutionary concepts such as the contraceptive pill, feminism, open homosexuality, divorce or gender transition.
If on the one hand so much turmoil was undoubtedly very positive, on the other hand it also brought in lots of confusion. As it always happens with big erotic exploration contexts, crooks of all sorts hid among the true believers, and it wasn’t unusual for naïve and enthusiastic people to become prey to abusers, swindlers, pseudo-gurus and whoremongers in general.
So, during the last century’s Eighties, a countercultural movement of which I am still a part of was born to divulge the principles and techniques of ethical and informed sex, and today it is finally integrating (albeit all too slowly still) with mainstream culture. Concepts like SSC, safewords, compersion, safer sex and so on all come from there – along with the ‘BDSM’ acronym, meant to distinguish innocuous erotic games from the pathology of clinical sadomasochism.
One of the earliest preoccupations of the “kinky world” was, of course, to protect its own members. If you read anything written in those years, you will probably stumble on a series of standard recommendations to prevent dangers, that it is worth knowing even today…
How to keep away from harm if you like weird sex
- Never give your personal information (name, address, date of birth, telephone number, workplace…) to anyone you don’t know very well. If you do, demand they do the same – and immediately check the information are correct, for example by checking their ID out
- To preserve your privacy with non-partners, assume a pseudonym you’ll be using on the kinky scene
- When you first meet someone, only do it in a crowded place so you will be able to cry for help in the case of inappropriate behavior, and to make it harder to be followed home
- Do not accept passages, not home nor anywhere else
- Until you know your partner very well, reach your play sessions by taxi at least in the last leg of the route, so they won’t be able to trace your car plate. Take a note of the driver’s name to have them as a witness of where you were and when in case of problems
- Every time you go to a kinky play date, leave a note on your home table containing all the information about your partner, where and when you are meeting and so on: in case they hold you, authorities will know where to look for you
- Every time you go to a kinky play date, leave the information above with a trusted person too, and set a time after the session when you’ll call them to confirm you are all right. If you don’t phone in, the friend will call help for you. Even better: agree on an unusual “codeword”. Under duress, you just don’t say it to ring the alarm
- Always agree with your partner on a safeword to stop the session in case of problems. If they refuse, avoid getting intimate with that person
- Only take pictures or videos of your games if you are both ok with it – and in any case using the submissive person’s devices and letting them keep every original and copy, to avoid unauthorized distribution
- Never do anything if you or your partner are under the influence – alcohol included – and impaired in keeping the situation under control
Pretty anxiety-inducing, huh?
All those recommendations were obviously superfluous in 99.99% of the cases, and nobody was risking anything… but the healthy reasoning behind particular erotic games has always been ‘prepare for the worst to enjoy the best, and clear up what not to do so that you’ll be able to go wild with everything else’. Especially because that 0.01% unfortunately did happen from time to time – and it does happen still – so a little more prudence could save you from very, very serious troubles.
A small guide for Gen Z kinksters (and everyone else too)
Today we live in different times. As mentioned before, BDSM and every other alternative sexuality have become a part of the common discourse. Not everyone approves of this evolution, but the consensus about “kinky stuff” is definitely more relaxed. And yet, among the countless advantages of the popularization of paraphilias a few new problems have arisen.
Paradoxically, the very normalization of kink made all extreme eroticism even too reassuring. In other words, we spoke (and wrote) so many great words about the “community”, about safety culture, sex positivity and so on… that those approaching alternative sexualities don’t realize how many risks they keep involving.
Sure, because bondage keeps being a source of accidents big and small due to the number of variables into play (the players’ experience above all); the many BDSM techniques keep requiring high skill in execution and with their instruments; relationships meant to deeply shake souls keep possibly shaking serious psychological reactions too… but above all, assholes remain assholes through the ages, and today predators have it even easier than in the past thanks to the cuddly, safe aura around unusual sex.
Dazzled and excited by thousands of fascinating pictures just a click away, reassured by countless more or less competent educators and, importantly, blown on the hormone sea toward the magic world of kink, it is understandable that newbies have other ideas than stop and consider the hazards that are possibly awaiting ahead. It also remains true that the probability of ending up in problematic situations or with shady people are few… but if BDSM people are a whopping four and a half million just in my own Italy, that 0.01% we mentioned earlier translates into 450 potential crime scenes, and they suddenly don’t look that few anymore. Sure, we are not necessarily talking about homicides… but having to deal with a stalker, abuser, blackmailer or worse still is plenty unpleasant.
Let’s see then what else we should be cautious about besides whatever worried our parents already…
- Don’t do anything online that could be held against you in the future – Even rocks should know this by now, but photos, statements, posts, messages, comments and personal data have the uncomfortable habit of being forever. Since our lives’ circumstances change, but that material does not, there is no reason to make the details of your sex life public, even if you don’t partake in embarrassing activities. Seriously: you can even be an activist for whatever liberal cause and right without people having to precisely know what you like in private.
- Always consider the three open secrets of the kinky scene and my tips for not getting burned with BDSM
- Don’t yield to group pressure – The birth of many new organizations, groups, microcommunities, bondage schools and stuff introduced a new category of very insidious dangers, similar to those of religious cults. In some cases, the more or less official leaders of these groups can – by carelessness or malice – enable toxic dynamics that are well-known to sociologists.They start with a so-called ‘love bombing’ and appreciation for the newcomer; then they teach heaps of complex (and sometimes purposefully confusing) notions that overload the newbies’ brain making them feel at fault; then they seed doubt, slander and hostility toward those outside of the group, and finally they threaten the person with ostracism from their “special club” unless they prove their absolute loyalty. As a result, the – frequently young female – victim feels obliged to accept unpleasant arrangements just not to lose their non-existing “privilege”.
It is unfortunately very easy to fall into this trap without even realizing it, but the psychological and relational damage it causes is extreme. A good rule is to run for the hills if you feel uncomfortable, or you hear phrases like ‘true / good enthusiasts do such and such’, ‘don’t be difficult’ or ‘because I say so’.
- Know your rights – The “slave contract” myth is complete rubbish, but the worst predators use every real and imaginary legal quibble to defend themselves from possible accusations by their victims and intimidate them. Therefore, make sure to carefully read any membership form to more or less fake associations and clubs, especially the parts about how your personal data will be managed; remember that image rights waivers can be withdrawn at any moment under most legislations. Also, don’t let anyone pressure you into making any statements such as «everything was fine and I have nothing to complain about», not even in the form of digital messages, because they could be used against you should you later sue for rape (you would probably win anyway in the long run, but you’d needlessly complicate the trial). And, most importantly, denounce any abuse or misdemeanor you are subjected to – if not for yourself, at least to protect other possible victims.
- Be wary of gurus – There are no hidden secrets in the world of unusual sex. Everything you have to know is publicly available in the sort of books I recommend, and anybody posing as the keeper of absolute truth is either in bad faith or severely stupid. If anyone acts like a guru or is revered as such by others, that person probably doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Scholars and experts do exist, but you can spot them exactly because they argue their thoughts using objective data, and they are recognized outside of their circle of friends.
In fact, I’ll tell you what: don’t trust even me, and double-check on your own everything I wrote. Should you find any inaccuracy, please tell me and I’ll gladly fix it.
Thanks for reading it all. I understand this wasn’t the kind of article people like to find on a website dedicated to the joy of embracing sexual exploration – but I wouldn’t want it to be misunderstood in addition to coming off as a party pooper.
Extreme eroticism, kink or whatever you like to call it continues to be a wonderful universe of exceptional experience that would be a real pity to renounce. Most kinksters are great people, often more happy and balanced than those who live a traditional lifestyle.
However, recognizing even the possibly negative parts is just a realistic approach to a definitely complex world. Preventing the risks doesn’t mean losing part of the pleasure, but actually owning all the tools to feel safer and freer to dare even more intense activities than those you might be imagining now.
This is the reason I wrote this article in the first place, and this is why I am inviting you to share it: to help everyone never need it.