What do you think is important in keeping a BDSM relationship healthy? How does it differ from a vanilla relationship?
Communication and aftercare. Which I don’t think is really all that different from vanilla relationships and honestly it seems to be more of a key to BDSM relationships which is something I think the kink world could teach the vanilla world. I mean really, how often are vanilla couples talking about what they found pleasurable and erotic after having sex vs. how often kinky couple are talking? And not just the physical mechanics of it, but the whys and feelings behind it. Why did something work really well one time and not another? Why is one activity a hard limit and another activity (and possibly a seemingly very similar activity) totally fine? Why does one of you want to try a new activity? There is often more intensity in a BDSM relationship, especially in regards to playing out a particular scene, and with that increased intensity needs to come increased communication along with care and concern for your partner.
And all of that leads back to something I know I at least touched on earlier in this project – you both have to be mentally and emotionally healthy so it can happen. Important in all relationships, but even more so in BDSM relationships. With the increased intensity comes the increased possibility of harm. So if you even suspect that you, or your partner, are struggling with depression, eating disorders, self-harm (aka cutting), chemical addictions/dependency, anger control, or anything else you can think of, hit pause and go and talk to a professional. And if the BDSM aspect is absolutely crucial to your success, find a kink-friendly one.
And additionally, the same goes for your physical health. Know your physical limits. For example, I have a thyroid disorder (in that I might as well not have a thyroid because it works so poorly). This means that, especially in cold weather, I get cold really fast and it takes a long time for me to feel warm again. And on the flip side, in the hot summer weather, I get flushed and sweaty really fast so I have to be careful I’m not dehydrated. It also means that my body has trouble absorbing nutrients, a fact discovered after already living through 4 broken bones in my life. So if anyone wanted to do any sort of bondage with stress positions, there would be some serious things to talk about…and high heels are forever out in my life as one of those broken bones was in my foot and that bone, while healed now, will never be strong enough again to handle that. So if you suspect anything wrong in your physical health, get it checked out immediately. There may be underlying conditions which will make something a big deal which for most people isn’t.
And just one last thing along the lines of medical health (because I can’t help myself) – If you can’t handle going to the doctor for a sex-related and/or a kink-related injury that needs attention, then you are NOT mature enough to be doing the activity which might make that a possibility. This is one of my biggest issues with underage people getting involved with sex, and especially with kink. They are terrified their parents will find out, are too embarrassed to talk to someone in real life about a physical medical issue, and so they troll the internet advice boards hoping they can fix it themselves. Rarely does this work out in the long term. I’ve worked with teens in both a profession and volunteer capacity. I’m very clear with them that if you are not able to sit with an adult who is at least 10 years older than you (and not your partner) and have a mature conversation about what you are wanting to do/actually doing sexually, then you aren’t ready. They don’t need details, that’s often creepy, but you should be able to tell your mom that you need to be on birth control, or ask your doctor if (fill in the blank here) is normal.
OK, jumping down from my soapbox here.