12 Red Flags in BDSM by SafferMaster

What is a red flag?

I live in a 24/7 TPE. Before we can begin a kink dynamic, we, as humans, need to create a relationship as human beings. Every aspect of a relationship applies to a kink dynamic as well. A domineering person in any relationship will violate red flags for that relationship whether or not it’s a kink dynamic. What makes kink a little different, is that the submissive has to give his or her consent to their Master or Mistress, or the Top in the scene for any dynamic to exist. 

1. Withholding of consent

12 Red Flags

Consent is a conversation about agency. In all kink dynamics, negotiation leads to a person either giving or withholding their consent. If the submissive withholds consent, they are doing that from a place of exercising their agency, and if the Top gets agitated about the withholding of consent, that is a big red flag. Often in this situation, it could simply be inexperience. The point is that consent is the hearthstone of kink. You cannot engage in kink without consent, or if you did, it would be a crime. Tying up and beating people against their will is assault and kidnapping. Granting consent or the withholding of consent is the key too, and the starting point for engaging in kink. 

In my situation with my partner, I have her consent within her “hard limits”. Hard limits are her absolute hard stop items. In her case it’s gunplay, knife play, scat, animals and children. Other than that, I have her consent to do as I please. She also has the context that I “don’t break my toys”, so she has the capacity to use safe words if she feels inclined. We have two. “Yellow“ and “Red”. If she says “yellow”, I slow down, or change what I am doing slightly because she likes what is occurring but finds it a bit too intense at the moment . If she says “red” I stop completely. We take a break and discuss if we should, stop, change or proceed with the scene. Her safe words are honored. When a Top does not respond to a safe word in the correct fashion, that is a big red flag in kink. Kink is based on trust. If you cannot trust your Top to honor your safe words, you cannot relax into the scene. You cannot trust the Top to respect your limits. 

2. Not willing to discuss a scene

If a person, Top or bottom, is not willing to discuss a scene, especially if the person wants to jump into it without discussing it, that is a massive red flag. Remember, consent is required to build trust after negotiation. The negotiation will be best if you are able to ask for what you want and ask what your partner wants of you. This way you can dialogue about what is on the table.

3. Unsolicited dick pics

We live in a world of text messaging now, and it’s quite common for people to assume too much. Unsolicited dick pics are the perfect example of what I am talking about. If you are getting unsolicited pics at all, that is a red flag. A corollary of this idea are messages from kinksters that are way too detailed and assume you are into their kink. Assumed roles in early communication before conversations and negotiations is a red flag. We hear this complaint from Pro Domme’s all the time. So the way to make sure they never see you is to communicate from a place of being in your role instead of interacting with them as a person. Remember, even professional sex workers are people too. If  you ask, “can I send  you xxx.?” And they say “Yes” or “No”, honoring that position. If you don’t, you are definitely waving a red flag.

4. Desperate to connect

Along these lines, being desperate to connect with someone is also a red flag to them. Remember, all kinksters have sexual fetishes. It’s not up to someone else to demand a nude photo or send you an unsolicited nude photo, if they do either, it’s a red flag. Consent is king.

5. Shaming

12 Red Flags

Shaming is a red flag. When someone is telling you that you are “not this enough or that enough”, that is a red flag. There is no such thing, for example, as a “true sub” or “true Dom”. The relationship is personal and needs to be negotiated. The caveat is if humiliation is negotiated in advance, then shaming might not be a red flag.

6. Coercion

12 Red Flags

Being coerced or pushed to do something that is outside of a person’s consent is a red flag. Again, we come to a conversation about trust and consent. It is important to relate to each person in their body as lived, to see if the anticipated play is on or off. The way someone feels on the day might alter the experience and make something the Top thought was on for the day, off for the day.  Communication and checking in with your partner, reading their body language are all necessary for safe, sane and consensual play. Coercion is a red flag.

7. “You can’t withdraw your consent”

12 Red Flags

If a partner does not allow his or her submissive to withdraw their consent, that is a massive red flag. Kink requires agency. Saying, “You can’t withdraw your consent” is not giving your partner their agency. Not honoring their agency is a red flag. This can go both ways. Both for the Top and the Bottom this is true.

8. New partner refusing to meet in public

In the event that you are arranging to play with a new partner, and they insist on meeting in private not public, I would wave a red flag for certain.  This is especially true for men meeting with women and not being sensitive to the dangers that women face in meeting new partners. It’s also presumptive and assumes that you have consented to something you likely have not even discussed. 

When your partner is attempting to control where you go and who you talk to, that is a red flag. Its abusive behavior and it would be regardless of if the relationship were kink oriented or not. It’s emotionally abusive to attempt to control the behavior of another person against their will. This level of control layered over the D/s dynamic is quite dangerous.

9. “No limits”

A person who claims that they have “no limits” is a red flag. Everybody has limits. When someone tells me that they have “no limits”, I usually tell them that I prefer to use shears to cut off their fingers before we play. Then they get it. When a Top is asserting “no limits” play with a partner, they are asserting power they don’t have.  It’s a red flag.

10. Idolizing a partner beyond their basic humanity

It’s also a red flag when one partner idolizes the partner well beyond their basic humanity, more or less as a fantasy creature. This definitely a red flag, especially early in the dynamic, where there is not the recognition that people have flaws, and that you are engaged with a whole person, not just a fantasy.  Be present to the fantasy you are engaged with as well as the person you are engaged with, or  else it could raise a red flag.

11. Abandonment

When a partner, Top or bottom, uses abandonment as a tool of power. This is differentiated from needing space, but again, it involves communication.  Leaving without communicating is a red flag. It’s a failure of communication when a partner tries to make you feel guilty to get what they want. That sort of manipulation is also a red flag. 

12. Violating Hard Limits

When a Top insists on violating your hard limits for punishment is a massive red flag. 

Potential Red Flags

1. Demanding gifts or money

If you are entering a dynamic and your partner suddenly starts demanding gifts and or money, that could be a red flag for you if you had not arranged that sort of dynamic.

2. Bad-mouthing other Kinksters in the community

In the event you find your partner often speaking badly about other kinksters in the community to an excessive degree, this might be a red flag, and especially so if they are taking their hateful screed into the larger kink community ongoingly. Safety is important, and so I am not saying a person cannot speak badly about anyone in the community who is a danger to others, but if hateful talk is the “norm”, that represents a red flag for me. 

In summation

Red flags are not necessarily a cause to run away as far as you can. Instead, use these topics as a jumping off point for a conversation about the issue. 

Kink requires a conversation. A conversation that requires consent is an end point before any real kink can really start. 

As I noted, I live in a 24/7 TPE where I have consent to be my partner’s Master. She kneels for me because she chooses to kneel for me. She submits because she chooses to submit. She gives me consent because she trusts me. In 3 years, close to the beginning of our dynamic, she called “yellow” when play became too intense. She has not done so since then. I have, in the past, had a submissive who called “red” and I stopped play immediately. I made her get dressed and leave my apartment. We were play partners only. The point is that any communication in kink that violates consent in any way sends up a red flag. Pay attention. 

I will offer one more tidbit. In our dynamic, we allow for the fact that real disagreements can occur between us. To address them as they come up, if the situation calls for it, we set the dynamic to one side and deal with the upset as equals. That allows us to reset our dynamic. Refresh our agreements. Restore our commitment to there being absolutely no space between us at any time. 

Red flags are warnings. They are also a call to communicate. Head red flags. 

SafferMaster

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