In the realm of BDSM, emotions often take center stage, transcending the boundaries of conventional thought. Whether it’s the thrill of fear in sadomasochistic sessions or the exploration of objectification in power exchange dynamics, there exists a unique space for those who revel in the thin line between intense exploration and potential harm. Of course, any venture into the psyche demands unwavering awareness, preparation, and skill from all parties involved. However, my focus here lies not within the world of Taboos, but rather, in the realm of aftercare.
Drawing from my personal journey, it’s clear that games incorporating immersive experiences or intense psychological scenes become more streamlined and comfortable when considering potential triggers. (For the sake of brevity, I won’t delve into the subject of triggers here.) In this context, the concept of a safe place becomes integral.
But what is a safe place? It’s a sanctuary where the recipient, even on a subconscious level, feels an encompassing sense of security. As the term suggests, it’s a space where they remain immune to any form of aggression—potentially even all forms, as per mutual agreements. This safe haven acts as a “mast-have” or essential component.
Picture a session built upon fear and objectification. A gentle and nurturing Dominant suddenly morphs into an unrelenting tyrant. Kindness, compassion, and sympathy dissipate, replaced by an embodiment of violence and self-gratification. The submissive perceives their emotions and anxieties go unanswered, reduced to an instrument satisfying the Dominant’s desires. This can be an intense, jarring experience, not suited for everyone. However, once this duo decides to embark on such a journey, it’s imperative that a safe place is established post-session. It might be a cherished blanket, a distant corner of the room, or even the space under the bed or in the shower. It could be as simple as a mat at the feet of the composed Dominant.
Access to this safe place should always remain unrestricted. Beyond its role as a form of aftercare, it also serves as an action-based “stop-word.” The moment the submissive enters this sanctuary, the Dominant must instantaneously cease any form of influence—physical, verbal, or otherwise. Beforehand, it’s essential to discuss whether the submissive wishes to be comforted within this space or left in solitude. If comfort is desired, how should it be expressed? Through gentle touches, hugs, lifting them up? If solitude is preferred, how should it be enacted? Should the Dominant wait for the submissive to re-engage, or should they return after a certain period? What steps should be taken afterward? It’s crucial to recognize that the psyche is a delicate instrument; it sounds beautiful, but it can easily shatter both during play and after. Playing with emotions and sentiments is akin to traversing a minefield.
As the saying goes, one should prepare the temple before seeking divine guidance. Similarly, the concept of a safe place should be cultivated in advance. You can select it through trial and error, experimenting after softer sessions, or let your instincts guide you towards it after intense experiences. Since the safe place is essentially the “home” of the submissive, the choice ultimately rests with them, rooted in their preferences. For the Dominant, a more reserved approach is advised—avoid overexerting control. Once the place is chosen, it should be actively integrated into practice, rehearsed after lighter sessions and actions that lack emotional strain. When you sense that this haven has become familiar, it can confidently serve as an exit strategy for more extreme emotional experiences.
Crucially, retreating to the safe place is not linked to the submissive’s state—whether altered or normal. You can exit immersive states before seeking out this refuge or escape to it from an immersive state to recover. It’s highly beneficial if the safe place becomes a powerful trigger, causing the submissive to reflexively seek solace there even in moments of sheer panic. This approach conserves nerves, energy, time, and potentially even one’s well-being. Hence, and for numerous reasons, the safe place must genuinely ensure safety—no sharp objects or edges that could cause harm, non-slip flooring (place a mat, which also provides warmth), a warm environment but not overly hot (avoid cold tiles and radiators), a tranquil setting to avoid startling immersive states (away from windows and entrance doors or good sound insulation, and eliminate any objects that might fall and create noise or harm). The trend is clear.
In essence, a safe place serves as a valuable safeguard against undue psychological distress, especially for those who enjoy pushing their limits within the realm of BDSM. Regardless of the nature of the game, care and safety remain paramount.