RACK Me Up: Risk Awareness for Bottoms
Presented by Stefanos and Shay
Some questions have more than one correct answer. Some questions are subjective. The interpretation of some questions depends on circumstance. Some questions include BDSM myths that many people believe to be true. This is first and foremost intended as a starting point for discussion!
1) I know that I have difficulty using safewords because I tend to go non-communicative and get totally endorphin high during scenes. It’s important for me to:
- Always mention this in negotiation
- Be very, VERY careful who I play with
- Consider having a spotter/monitor for my scenes
- Pick up random people on Craigslist and meet them in hotel rooms for play.
- Negotiate my limits meticulously before the scene starts, ideally using a written form
2) Before I play, I should:
- Consider my limits (with this partner in this scene) & communicate these to them
- Have a couple glasses of wine to help me relax.
- Eat a large meal within a half hour of the start of my scene.
- Consider stretching and/or warming up (especially for bondage).
- Maintain as much of my normal routine as possible.
- Assess my headspace and possibly meditate/focus my energy so I can go into play in as good a headspace as possible.
3) I’m trying to determine if I can do “X” type of kinky play given that I have “Y” medical condition. I should:
- Talk to my top about the medical condition
- Ask my doctor if I can do “X” activity (being careful to specify that this is consensual play)
- Ask my doctor if I can do martial arts sparring with impact or strenuous yoga involving inversion (whatever I think is closest to “X”) because I can’t be out to my doctor
- Message Shay on FetLife and ask her for medical clearance to do “X”
4) Negotiation by inclusion (specifically stating what is “OK”, and considering everything else “off limits”) often has more potential for mishaps and misunderstanding than negotiation by exclusion (specifically stating what is “not OK” and considering everything else to be fair game). TRUE or FALSE
5) If my arm starts to go numb when I am tied up, I should:
- Keep quiet- tops don’t like whiners.
- Keep quiet- numbness is a sign of decreased circulation, which is not a serious concern for bondage. However I should tell the top right away if I have sharp, shooting pains, as these could indicate nerve damage.
- Scream “SAFEWORD” at the top of my lungs.
- Attempt to adjust the rope myself to see if moving it relieves the numbness.
- Tell the top exactly what I’m experiencing, and ask that my arm be released from bondage.
- Tell the top exactly what I’m experiencing, and expect that they will adjust the bondage and carry on with the scene.
6) If I am negotiating the use of gags, I should consider (and discuss with my top): ______________________________________________________________________________
7) The following are very risky (and unacceptable to many) bondage practices (circle all that apply):
- Leaving someone alone in bondage
- Attaching rope from around the neck or a collar to a hard point
- Leaving someone tied up if there is a temperature change in the bound extremity (hands become colder, etc)
- Leaving someone tied up if there is a color change in the bound extremity
- Attaching rope from around the cock/balls to a hard point
- Leaving someone tightly tied up for hours without any change in position, especially if the legs are in a dependant (lower than the rest of the body) position
- Letting someone who knows nothing about bondage (and does not have safety sheers) put zip ties on your wrists because they read about it in “50 Shades Of Gray” and it sounded hot.
- Getting tied up while drunk or high.
8) Using rope to apply large amounts of tension to joints (armpits, knees, elbows) is not a concern, because most bondage injuries involve damage to the radial nerve from ties around the upper arms (box or “TK” ties, etc). TRUE or FALSE
9) Before doing rope suspension with a top you haven’t played with before, it is reasonable to ask them:
10) Impact play over bruises is:
- My usual plan for Sunday nights- good times!
- Extremely risky, because bruises are basically blood clots, and impact play could cause a clot to break off and give me a stroke.
- Something that can cause more bruising, potentially leading to a large collection of blood called a hematoma. Large hematomas can cause damage to nerves and muscles.
11) Where are the kidneys located, and how large are they? _______________________________________________________________________________
12) The following types of play are OK to do over the kidney area:
- Impact with a bunny flogger
- Wartenburg wheels
- Heavy flogging
- Play piercings
- Fire play
13) Punching in the chest can cause cardiac arrhythmias that can be fatal. TRUE or FALSE
14) If I have a break in my skin from play, I should:
- Clean it with alcohol
- Clean it with hydrogen peroxide
- Clean it with soap and water, preferably in the shower
- Put antibiotic cream on it and keep it covered
- Rub ash into it and pick at the scabs
15) The dungeon is crowded, but I just saw someone get off a spanking bench and I’m going to claim it for my scene! The previous players didn’t clean the bench. I should: ____________________________________________________________________________________
16) Before doing any subcutaneous play (piercing, cutting, etc), I would expect that the top would clean my skin with:
- Nothing- cleaning skin is for pussies and I am way hardcore.
- 70% isopropyl alcohol
- 91% isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Technicare or chloraprep
17) Risks of bottoming for play piercing include:
- Infection (staph, MRSA)
- That the top will get a needle stick and I will be exposed to their blood
- Dying from blood loss
18) List areas of the body where play piercing or medical stapling is highest risk (and likely ill advised):
19) Your top really wants to do a cutting on your ass. They assure you that they’ve done many cuttings on other bottoms and they always are fully healed within a month without any scars. You should:
- Know that any cutting has the potential to scar and you should assume that it WILL scar
- Trust your top and do the cutting because it will really make them happy
- Not do the cutting if scars would be unacceptable to you
- Tell the top that they can’t/shouldn’t promise that cuttings won’t scar
20) Before bottoming in a piercing scene, it is reasonable to ask the top (list at least 3 questions):
21) During a play piercing scene, the primary function of the gloves the top wears is to:
- Protect the bottom from infection
- Protect themselves from exposure to the bottom’s blood
- Look all official and shit
22) Licking up or drinking someone’s blood is more risky (in terms of catching disease) than giving them unprotected oral sex. TRUE or FALSE
Breath Control Play
23) Breath control play can cause cardiac arrhythmias that can be fatal. TRUE or FALSE
24) “Breath control play” as it’s commonly referenced in BDSM includes the following:
- Play that involves a hand around the neck occluding/blocking (or partially occluding) the carotid arteries, blocking blood flow to the brain and potentially causing loss of consciousness (LOC).
- Play that involves a hand around the neck occluding (or partially occluding) the trachea, causing loss of air flow to the lungs, decreased oxygenation, and potentially leading to LOC.
- Play that involves covering the mouth and nose (with a hand, turkey bag, etc), causing loss of air flow to the lungs, decreased oxygenation, and potentially leading to LOC.
- The top throwing a temper tantrum when they don’t get what they want and threatening to “hold my breath until I die!”
- Play that involves dunking someone’s head under water for a period of time.
25) If I have asthma, I should:
- Not tell anyone, because then they might not want to play with me.
- Let the top know before we start to play.
- Have a “rescue” inhaler close by when I play, and let my top know where it is.
- Skip using my daily steroid (non-rescue) inhaler on a day I intend to play, as steroids can interfere with wound healing.
26) If I am diabetic, I should:
- Let the top know before we start to play.
- Check my blood sugar before I start a scene.
- Have glucose tablets close by, and let the top know where they are and signs that I need them.
- Have insulin close by when I play, and tell the top to give me an injection of insulin right away if I black out or start to seem confused.
- Not do subcutaneous play below the butt, or any play at all on my feet and lower legs.
- Take only half my usual dose of insulin before I play, because play can drop my blood sugar.
27) I see my friend faint. She blacked out while standing in bondage and her top lowered her to the floor without trauma. They call me over to help. I should:
- Check for breathing
- Place her on her back with her legs elevated
- Place her in the recovery position (on her left side)
- Not move her at all, just call 911
- Call 911 if she doesn’t wake up in a minute
- Try to wake her up using an ammonia capsule
- Try to wake her up by talking loudly to her and patting her shoulder
28) I see my friend fall from a rope suspension (from a height of 4 feet). She is awake and says her neck hurts. Her top seems really freaked out and is starting to untie her. I should:
- Help him untie my friend right away while I check whether she can move all her extremities.
- Encourage my friend to get up and “walk it off.”
- Stop the top from untying her, call 911, and not move my friend OR untie the ropes.
- Cut the ropes with a safety shears ONLY IF they are causing serious injury, and minimize movement to the bottom by supporting their head/neck/spine while doing this.
29) If I am allergic to shellfish:
- I should be sure to tell my top this, especially if we are doing sploshing/animal play
- I should not allow the top to clean my skin with betadine, which contains iodine and thus has a cross-allergy to shellfish.
- I should carry an epi pen if my allergy is severe, and beware of potluck food at dungeon events
30) As a bottom, it is important for me to be up-to-date on:
- My tetanus shot (a booster at least every 10 years)
- All the latest articles posted on FetLife’s Kinky & Popular page
- STI testing (HIV, hepatitis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV)
- Hep B vaccinations (having a titer checked is a good idea)
31) Risks of giving oral sex without barrier protection include:
- Catching herpes, which can cause oral cold sores.
- Catching HPV, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, hepatitis, and other STIs.
- Catching cooties.
- Are more serious than the risks of unprotected vaginal or anal sex.
32) My top disclosed that they get cold sores. This means that:
- If they give me oral sex, I could end up with genital herpes.
- If we kiss, I could end up with cold sores as well.
- I should ask them to get a blood test for herpes antibodies.
- I should freak out, because cold sores are oral herpes and there is no cure for herpes.
- I should not freak out, because over half (and some estimates say as many as 90%) of the population carries this virus, which in the vast majority of cases causes no serious complications.
33) My top disclosed that they have genital herpes. I should:
- Freak out, because there is no cure for herpes.
- Warn all my friends about the top’s STI status so that they are not exposed.
- Know that this is an extremely common infection (about 1/5 of the population of American adults) that in most cases causes no serious complications.
- Take this risk seriously if I am pregnant or considering becoming pregnant.
- Wear a male/female condom for genital contact (decreases the exposure rate by about half).
- Not worry about this unless there will be genital to genital or mouth to genital contact. If such contact is a possibility, I should discuss potential exposure with my other partners.