We here at ALPHA & kat are predominantly concerned with loving couples that have chosen to try the D/s lifestyle after discovering they are already compatible in all other areas of their relationship, using it as a wonderful outlet to enhance the love and compatibility they already possess. We have found—through personal experience and contact with others—that the most satisfying D/s partnerships are those with couples that have already been together for awhile and have discovered that their personalities lean toward a D/s pairing naturally. And they enter the D/s lifestyle with the most important factor already intact: a solid foundation of love at the core of their relationship.
A solid foundation of love should always be present when deciding to enter any type of lifestyle that requires so much trust with a power exchange between the Dominant and submissive. With love as the foundation both partners realize and are concerned for the obvious physical safety issues. Unfortunately, many couples forget that physical safety is not the only concern; mental and emotional safety is just as important, and can have major repercussions to individuals, as well as the relationship.
Anyone with common sense and average intelligence, or above, can easily figure out most of the basic physical safety issues to consider, such as, but not limited to, the following:
The physical age, shape, and overall health or condition of both participants needs to be considered, and adjustments made if needed.
Like all sexual activities, with partners coming in contact with bodily fluids and every orifice, cleanliness is a primary concern: making sure bodies, sex toys and other relative accouterments are sanitary.
Always educate yourself on the proper use of any adult paraphernalia prior to using it on yourself or your D/s partner, and always begin slowly to insure the object can be tolerated before increasing levels of play (whether for penetration, binding, or punishment).
This is a major concern for the Dominant partner, because it is their responsibility to take every factor into consideration so that they fulfill their equal responsibility of protecting their sub, instilling total trust, and helping them feel safe at all times. And that protection and safety does not just refer to the physical. Mental and emotional pain and trauma may occur if the partners do not maintain complete and open communication in their relationship. Subs that have hurts and betrayals from past relationships can often have trust issues that need to be dealt with in a very patient, understanding, and loving manner. They often experience undue stress when certain stress-related triggers are activated in present situations as a result of the past hurts. And the Dom should NEVER take them lightly. A sub can endure mental and emotional anguish and trauma at the hands of a Dom that does not consider these areas and deal with them properly.
The power exchange between a Dom and sub should always be based on love and respect. The sub willingly submits and obeys out of their love for the Dom, and the Dom equally controls and fulfills the wants and needs of the sub out of love. Therefore, a Dom that has to force a sub is nothing but a wannabe who gets off on a power fetish (and might as well go to S&M where they would fit in better). A true Dom in the D/s lifestyle loves and respects their sub, and is always concerned for their safety in all areas. And it is imperative for both Dom and sub to be completely open with each other so that all possible issues can be dealt with prior to any problems arising.
Grounded in a background of psychology and years of experience in the D/s lifestyle, kat and I continually urge couples to be sure of their love and compatibility with each other before getting into this lifestyle. Trust, respect, and open communication found in loving and compatible relationships are essential in lifestyles like this where a power exchange takes place.
Most people have heard of the practice of using safe words in any activity where pain or discomfort may go beyond the comfort or tolerance levels. And this is especially true in D/s couplings that participate in B&D at any level (but even more so with the use of gags).
Remember a few basic rules when choosing your safe word: select only one safe word to be used throughout your life together (so you don’t run into the problem of asking yourself which one is it today at the time of crisis); make sure it is a word that both partners can easily remember; and make sure it is a word far-removed from all D/s and sexual activity so that it will quickly draw attention when spoken (such as Hopscotch, pickles, or puppies).
For any couple using gags, safe-wording should be done in a different fashion, for obvious reasons: the mouth is obstructed. There are couples that still try to use mumbled words, or even complex methods like eye-blinking Morse code (often S.O.S); but the simplest and clearest methods are always better. After all, choking can happen quickly in certain situations and you want to respond as quickly as possible to alleviate discomfort or possible harm. Three common methods that work good are as follows:
Place a noisy object in the sub’s hand to be shaken, dropped, squeezed, or tossed (for instance a bell, jingle bells, or a squeaky toy).
Have the sub snap their fingers rapidly: works best with both hands, but one is still good for those people that cannot snap with both hands.
The sub can also “tap out” with the same move you see martial artists and wrestlers use when pinned on the mat.
[Depending upon which method you choose, be sure to consider it when putting the sub into position, because certain positions will stop safe-methods from being effective; for instance, it’s hard to tap out if they have their arms bound behind them while lying on their backs.]
Compatible couples with unconditional love do well in D/s because they already have a strong belief in open communication. Open communication is not an option in any lifestyle requiring so much trust and a power exchange between the partners. And as long as the couple remembers how important communication is then their journey in the D/s lifestyle will be safe and will enhance their loving relationship with increased closeness, trust, and many pleasurable rewards.