Yes, I’m talking about the Scene, not just ordinary brain-teasers. In BDSM games, we often play with a person’s emotions. Whether it’s fear in SM or objectification in D/s, there are enthusiasts who enjoy playing on the thin line between the Scene and violence. Of course, any interaction involving the mind requires a certain level of awareness, preparation, and the skills of all participants. However, my note is not about that; it’s more about aftercare.
As practice shows, sessions involving submersion or intense psychological play (I was inspired to write this note in the middle of one such session) become less taxing and more comfortable when you have triggers. (I won’t delve into triggers right now.) In my opinion, a safe place is one of those essential things, often referred to as a “must-have.”
So, what is a safe place? A safe place is where the recipient feels safe, even subconsciously, as the name suggests. When they enter it, they are confident and know that they are invulnerable to any aggressive actions, perhaps even all actions, depending on the agreements. It’s like having a “little house” that always works.
Imagine a session based on fear and objectification. When your sweet and caring Top suddenly transforms into a tyrant. There’s no more concern, no pity, no sympathy. They become the embodiment of violence and their sole purpose is to fulfill their sadistic desires. It’s quite an intense game, not suitable for everyone. But if these two have decided to have this kind of fun, the bottom must have access to a safe place once the act is done. It could be a favorite blanket, a distant corner in the room, the space under the bed, or even a small rug by the feet of the calm Top.
Access to a safe place must always be open. Besides being a place for aftercare, it is also a safety net, expressed through action. As soon as the bottom reaches the safe place, the Top must immediately cease all actions, physical or verbal, anything. Before starting, it’s essential to discuss whether the bottom wants to be comforted in the safe place or left alone. If they want comfort, what kind: cuddling, hugging, carrying, or simply staying nearby and saying they are smart, important, and needed. If they prefer solitude, should the Top wait until the bottom reaches out, or should the Top return after a certain time? What should the Top do next? You must understand that the psyche is a very delicate instrument; it sounds great, but it can easily break during play or afterward. Playing with emotions and feelings is like walking on a minefield.
As they say, you need to pray in the church, so a safe place should be familiar to you beforehand. You can choose it by trying various options after soft sessions and sessions that don’t involve emotional stress. Alternatively, you can choose it based on observations, where you naturally gravitate to after a session. Since the safe place is the bottom’s “home,” it should be chosen by the bottom based on their preferences. Here, the Top’s desire to guide and control should take a back seat. Once the safe place is selected, it should be actively used, like rehearsing, after lighter sessions and actions that don’t involve emotional breakdowns. After feeling that this nest has become a part of you, you can confidently use it as an exit point from more extreme experiences.
It’s important to note that going to a safe place is not related to the bottom’s condition, whether altered or ordinary. You can exit an intense scene first and then move to a safe place, or you can escape to a safe place while in an intense scene and recover there. It’s highly beneficial if the safe place becomes such a strong trigger that even in a state of panic, the bottom instinctively rushes there. It saves nerves, energy, time, and possibly even lives. That’s why the safe place must genuinely be safe: no sharp objects or corners to avoid injuries, a non-slip floor (lay down a mat, it’s also warm), a warm environment but not too hot (avoid cold bathroom tiles or being too close to a heater), a quiet place (away from windows and entry doors or with good sound insulation, no objects that can fall and make noise or cause harm), and so on. I think you get the idea.
A safe place is an excellent insurance policy against unnecessary psychological troubles, especially if you’re a fan of playing a bit rougher with the mind. Regardless of the type of play, the main thing is care and safety.