We have taken several extracts from our publication On The Safe Edge for you. For the subject area you’d like to look at, just click on the list item below.
Please note that the following text is copyright, Trevor Jacques. It may not be reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of the copyright holder.
Introduction Background Objectives Promotion of Safe, Sane, and Consensual Play Scope Intended Audience Authors What Is SM? Coming Out Into SM Why How Social Local, Regional, and National SM Organizations Bars Networking Phone Lines Publications Computer Bulletin Boards Professional Dominants, Etc. The Mind Fantasy and Reality Fantasy With Whom Do We Want To Play? What Forms Could Play Take? Where Do We Like To Play? When Would We Like To Play? How Do We Play? Why Do We Do It? Reality Safety Other Implications of Reality You Can't Always Have All You Want Fantasy May be More Than Reality Can Handle Punishment Reality Can Mean Facing Truths About Oneself Creativity Roles Top or Bottom-Who is Which? Acting Out a Role For a Scene Living a Role Role Reversal Responsibilities and Other Duties Consent Responsibilities-Who for Which? Negotiation Who's in Charge? Top and Bottom Should Establish The Scene Beforehand Bottom Must Signal Problems Bottom Must Signal Wishes To Go Further Top Must Recognize Problems Trust Check Toys are Safe Beforehand Check First Aid Beforehand Panic Hyperventilation Anticipating Panic Potential Causes of Panic Scene Becomes Too Extreme as a Whole Concern Over Physical Well-being Top Too Much for Bottom and Vice Versa No Reaction from Bottom Spirituality The Body Anatomy Differences Between The Sexes Erogenous Zones Percussion Paddles Rods And/Or Canes Whips and Floggers Bondage Insertional Activities Losing Objects in the Rectum Pulling Objects Out of the Rectum Too Fast Tit Torture Cock and Ball Play Electrotorture Scat, Watersports, and Raunch Temporary Piercing Physiology (Response To Stimuli) Endorphins (Load and Overload) Pain Sensation of Touch Threshold of Pain Relief Agony Unconsciousness Death Play Cue Stimulation Assimilation Recovery Ramping Up and Down Safety Hygiene Sexually Transmitted Diseases Viruses HIV and AIDS Hepatitis Herpes Cold Sores Genital Herpes Syphilis Warts Bacteria Gonorrhoea Chlamydial and Ureaplasmal Infections Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) Granuloma Inguinale Salpingitis (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)) Cystitis Gardnerella Vaginalis Chancroid Anaerobic Bacteria Salmonella Shigellosis Campylobacter Fungus (Yeast) Candidiasis (Monilial Vaginitis) Parasites Trichomoniasis Amoebiasis Giardiasis Scabies Lice Fleas Miscellaneous Proctitis Balanoposthitis and Balanitis Vulvitis (Vulvovaginitis) Chemically Induced Vaginitis Mechanically Induced Vaginitis Hormonally Induced Vaginitis Cleanliness and Disinfection Condoms, Dental Dams, and Latex Gloves How to Put on Condoms Condom Failure Rates What To Do When A Condom Breaks Cleaning of Toys Cleaning of People Cleaning the Ass for Play Cleaning the Skin for Blood Letting Play Mind-Altering Substances Alcohol Amphetamines Barbiturates Cannabis (Marijuana) Cocaine and Crack Procaine Hallucinogens Opioids Codeine Heroin Meperine Methadone Morphine Phencyclidine (PCP) Volatile Nitrites (Poppers) Volatile Solvents (Glue) Emotions and the Psyche First Aid Reasons and Uses for Pain Stop the Scene Incidents Fainting Diabetes (Hypoglycaemic) Reaction Minor Cuts Accidents Bleeding Dislocated Joints, Fracture Damaged Ligaments Burns First Aid Kit for the Playroom Common Sense Safety Considerations During Negotiations and Play Silent Alarm Medical Conditions Bondage Autobondage Collars Genital Bondage Handcuffs, Shackles, and Other Metal Bondage Hoods, Gags, Blindfolds, and Gasmasks Leather Mummification Rope Insertional Practices Fisting Long-Term Scenes Oral Sex Percussion Play Aerosolization of Blood Scat, Watersports, and Raunch Suspension and Inversion Miscellaneous Considerations Equipment ToysBlood Letting Toys Bondage Toys Genital Bondage Equipment Chastity Belts Cockrings and Straps Covers, Cages, and Sheaths Head Bondage Toys Hospital Restraints Metal Restraints Mummification Rope Toys Cock and Ball Toys Electrical Toys Current Devices Voltage Vibrator Insertional Toys Catheters and Sounds Scat and Watersports Equipment Suspension and Inversion Toys Bondage Suit Inversion Boots Mailbag Sling Suspension Harnesses Temperature Toys Branding Cigarettes, Cigars, and Matches Flaming Heat Hot Wax Ice Tiger Balm Tit Toys Vaginal Toys Whips, Paddles, Rods, and Other Percussive Toys Safety Items for the Playroom Cues and the Need for Them Etiquette Honesty Scene is Failing Bar Etiquette Bedroom Etiquette Playroom Etiquette Further Reading and Viewing Books Periodicals Videos Future Publications
Appendix A Safer Sex and Drug Policies
Appendix B Group SM Courtesy
Appendix C SM Questionnaires
Appendix D The $35 Toybag
Appendix E Hanky Colour Codes
Appendix F Contact Ad Terms and Abbreviations
If you’d like to see a summary of this web page, there’s one at the top.
Remember those swashbuckling pirate movies of your youth? The ones that had the hero (or villain, for that matter) bound, spread-eagled, to the rigging, being whipped to within an inch of his life. At the time, it didn’t seem like a very wholesome way to take a tropical cruise. But it was mystifyingly exciting. We always liked to see the hero win in the end; but the images of those bodies being abused (some tanned and/or muscular; others helpless and desperately in need of being saved) would stay with us for a long time.Fast forward to your first sexual awareness. Those teen years when you went through the motions of being a good boy or girl, dating as you were supposed to, but sneaking into the drugstore to find magazines with pictures of men and women that seemed to mean a lot more than just a nice set of muscles. At the time, some of us were inexplicably, drawn towards bikers on their Harleys. Was it the bikes? Was it the leather? Or just the idea of being down and dirty?
Others among us liked ritual and ceremony. Perhaps we never even associated them with something a bit …no, a lot deeper.
The evolution from admiring and getting that unexplained feeling from the sights in films or magazines to actually touching those bodies takes many years for some of us. Others are fortunate enough to pass through the phase in a matter of weeks or months. It takes one through quite a bit of mental trauma. “Should I, shouldn’t I? I want to so much….”
Some people had intense feelings of shame and guilt that they had a form of unnatural perversion. This led some of them to bury their SM feelings, and hide the ones they did acknowledge. There was a kind of puritan feeling that we should not enjoy ourselves too much, particularly with such “perverted” activities. At this stage of our coming out into SM, we were not yet sufficiently confident of our sexuality. It is a stage similar to that of homosexual men and women who know their sexual orientation, but are not yet ready to accept it fully; not yet ready to equate “kinky” with a healthy sex life.
The descriptions above and below summarize the experiences of a typical gay man into SM and leather, as described by David Stein in Leatherfolk (adapted with permission). Lesbians and bisexual and heterosexual men and women who like SM were also out there looking for that special something; and having many similar feelings.
In society at large, there is a great deal of pressure to conform, or at least to be seen to conform. Often, this causes those coming out into SM to hide their sexuality, which further damages their self-confidence and self-esteem. Our city of Toronto has been rated by at least one UNESCO survey to be the most culturally diverse city in the world. We speak over 140 languages here. Yet it is outwardly a very conservative city, and is only slowly accepting all aspects of its diversity. For example, it took more than eight weeks of wrangling with editors for one reporter to get a positive piece about SM into one of the three major newspapers.
The pressure to conform leads some people to our local institute for psychiatry, in the search for a “cure.” For many of the applicants, the physicians find that, in the same way that those who want to be “cured” of homosexuality, there is really no illness, only a harmless, healthy deviation from the norm.
The phrase “coming out” is used by homosexual women and men to describe the process of accepting their homosexuality. The process of accepting that one enjoys SM follows similar patterns of fear, guilt, experimentation, and acceptance, so we use “coming out” to describe acceptance of SM feelings. Also, please note that leather does not necessarily mean SM, nor does SM necessarily mean leather. There is, however, a significant overlap.
Some homosexual men and women “came out” during the golden years of gay history, the early seventies, after Stonewall and before AIDS. It was an era of free sex and abandon for the homosexually active. Anything that could be done, was done. (A decade earlier, a similar liberation occurred for the heterosexual community.) In those days, when men went to gay bars and discos, they always went dressed in the hot look of the day: plaid shirt (or no shirt), or perhaps construction boots and hard hat. They were all construction workers (clones, as they were known). The New York pop group The Village People reflected the homosexual culture of the day. All of its members represented popular fantasy images that could be seen any night in the bars. All the fantasies could be put together without too great an expense.In the heterosexual community, fantasies tended to be generally less well explored or expressed. (Maybe because the heterosexual men and women had not gone through a “coming out” process, thereby forced to face some very uncomfortable realities about their sexuality.) There were not many places where sexual fantasies could be freely engaged in. Images of the fantasies could readily be seen in movies, skin magazines, and even on the street. They were, however, still compelling.
Back then, fantasy played a large role in our lives. But there was something missing from the reality. That is, until we walked into a real leather or SM bar. Totally intimidated and very frightened, we summoned up the courage to fake a stumble into some hot number so that we could run our hands over one part or another of that body. We earned ourselves a scowl, thought we’d be punched or thrown out of the bar, and left. Never quite the same, we wanted to be one of those people, to fit easily and seamlessly into such an establishment.
This is when we started our “fashion awareness” phase. It was easy to become a leatherwoman or leatherman. All we had to do was buy a leather vest, maybe a pair of chaps, and act cocky. We knew we’d fit in.
And fit in we did. Many in the bars were in “leather,” too; others were in lace or latex; still others in little more than chains. We would go out to the bars, get well turned on by each other, and then go home to have what has since become known as “vanilla sex.” This was just what we had been doing during all those years of boredom and frustration.
But something was still missing, despite the kinky clothing. We didn’t fail to notice that, although porn was hot, it was always better when someone was in bondage or being controlled in some other fashion.
If anything was going to happen, it looked like we’d have to hang around in the “serious” leather bars. Those ones that we had been so scared to go into a while back. The people there seemed to take their leather much more seriously than the leather-clad “disco queens” (to use a gay phrase). There were few leather bars, even in a big town. Finding them was perhaps easier in the homosexual community; at least they advertised themselves. Once in the bar, we could easily have been the ones who coined the phrase: S and M means Stand and Model. We were terrified of rejection and/or ridicule. We started to go to leather oriented competitions, such as the International Mr. or Ms. Leather, or leather conventions such as Living In Leather. At these events, we had wonderful, if sexless, times surrounded by some of the hottest leather people we’d ever seen. It was Stand and Model all over again. We were so afraid of being brutalized or injured if we met someone who might really give us what we thought we wanted. The trouble was that we still didn’t know what we really liked or disliked. Lots was going on, but you still had to be invited to the party.
As is the case in other parts of our lives, the invitations seemed to go first to the young, the beautiful, and the reckless. You couldn’t talk your way in, because bar etiquette (at the time) required that you should not ask naive questions. To do so was to admit your inexperience. This, it seemed, was a sure way to ensure that you did not get the experience you sought. So, if you didn’t know the score already, you’d better be prepared to fake it, or you’d never get a chance to play.
Where were our role models and mentors to assure us that SM was OK, to show us that it could be done safely, positively, and not self-destructively? There we were, leathermen and women, full of inner inhibitions and turmoil.
Until, that is, we met our first warm, gentle, and skilled player. He or she was willing to share knowledge unconditionally, to take us gently as far as we could towards where we wanted to go. After playing once or more with this mentor, and possibly with others, we knew that a new world of eroticism, sensuality, sexuality, and fantasy had opened up for us. We would never look back.
The above could be the story of many a homosexual man into SM. The feelings experienced during the coming out process are shared by most people, but the actual process of coming out is different for lesbians and heterosexual men and women. The homosexual male community is based upon its sexuality, and, therefore, its expression tends to be more obvious in their clubs and bars.
For women, particularly homosexual women and those who are Bottoms, the potential for and reality of abuse looms large during the coming out process. And from two directions. There is the abuse itself and the prejudice of others who feel that any woman as a Bottom is being abused and/or violated, whether or not she enjoyed the play. During their coming out into SM, many women try to convince their partners to experiment by taking the role of the Top (with varying degrees of success and safety). Many of those women found that all they got was abuse or a disinterested beating. It is rare to find anyone who understands the emotional content of SM, or those feelings and yearnings that were described above.
Generally, heterosexual bars are not based specifically around their clients’ sexuality. This means that finding partners in bars is nigh impossible. Feelers have to be put out until the right people (or perhaps the right sex toy stores) are found. These lead to other people and information about SM, and reassurance that SM can be practised safely and with due consideration for all parties involved.
At the beginning of our “coming out” into the SM world, we all wondered if we’d be able to experience those exceptional times that would encourage us to continue our exploration of SM, or whether we’d be put off by the whole experience. At some point, we all get at least a taste of how much pleasure we can derive from SM. Besides, that compulsion to look at fantasy in movies, that compulsion that first drove us into the bars where we could express our SM tendencies, would likely have continued to drive us until we did experience what we were searching for.
The search will be much easier if you have some play that works so well during your “coming out” into SM that you continue the search for what you want. Having the courage to ask someone, or being lucky enough to find a mentor will ensure that you finally get there.
Come with me.
I will take you places you have never been before.
I will show you things you have never seen before.
I will teach you things you have never known before.
Having tasted the glass of wine, we wanted the whole bottle…. We knew that this was what we wanted, but it raised a lot of questions:
- What role do I play? Top or Bottom? How do I use it to have a fantastic time? Can I be Top one night and Bottom the next?
- What techniques do I use to ensure that the play is safe? What do I avoid?
- What are the other fetishes and activities that might turn me on, but that I’ve never even dreamed of?
- How do I find and use, and safely at that, all that fascinating equipment I’ve seen in catalogues?
- Is it OK to be into bondage, but not pain? Can I like mild pain but not heavy pain?
- Is it OK to be turned on by electricity but not by flogging?
- If I just want a little tit play and a bit of spanking, will I be thought too much of a novice?
- Etc., etc., etc…..
During the process of coming out, the feelings of being alone, of being the only one with a need for this alternate sexuality, were abating. We still had to be careful with our friends who were not into the SM world, however. We “knew” that if we opened up to them about our desires, that they wouldn’t understand. So we had to deal with the feelings of being ashamed of our fantasies and pleasures.
If one were to define a novice as someone whose SM life consisted largely of fantasy or who is still feeling some form of .about SM, then, at this point, we were novices. More and more, though, we met people who were into the same things as us; many even more so. We saw what great people they were in their own right, outside the arena of SM play. This gave us confidence that, not only were we not alone, but also that it was OK for us to come out into SM.
If you’d like to see a summary of this web page, there’s one at the top.
In this section, we’d like to give you some idea of what lies beneath the skin and other coverings that the body may have at the time of play. We do not, however, intend to turn you into anatomists. We will look at the general construction of the human body, discuss plumbing apparatus, and the differences between men and women, then we’ll go into an appreciation of the erogenous zones. Finally we’ll consider the use of materials in the various aspects of play.
Suppose that you have had a good night (or day) of play and are feeling generally satisfied. As you ruminate over the activities, you suddenly discover at least one body part left over…. Where did you go wrong (assuming that it was not intentional)? To ensure that limbs don’t go missing and that other injuries don’t take place, some basic anatomy is essential before you start to participate in any vigorous activities. One can appreciate the basic construction of the body from the illustrations, drawn from life (and death), by Andreas Vesalius, in the 16th. century. Vesalius examined the human body (see Figures 4-1 and 4-2 (Please note that two of the figures from the book have been included on the look inside page.)) to determine its construction and created a series of woodcuts that, by stripping away the muscles and internal organs layer by layer, show the whole body.
As a rough guide, the bones and muscles encompass and give some protection to the internal organs the limbs are used for locomotion, and the head is for whatever thinking may go on….
The thorax is the region enclosed by the rib cage (see Figure 4-4). The thoracic organs are also protected by the shoulder blades (see Figures 4-6), by the spinal column, which is fairly strong, and by the overlying muscle, which tends to be fairly heavy and thick (see Figures 4-3 and 4-5). The thoracic organs include the lungs, the aorta (which is the major blood vessel leading from the heart), and the heart itself. The kidneys and the spleen are partially protected by the ribs but are below the diaphragm. The liver (see B in Figure 4-7) runs from about the nipple line to the rib margin on the right of the chest.
At the front of the body, the musculature, which in some people is quite heavy across the front of the chest, does afford quite a lot of protection. The breastbone is fairly solid, and the front of the rib cage affords good protection, but it opens as an inverted “V,” exposing the soft parts of the belly (see Figure 4-3).
At the back, the important organs are the kidneys. Figure 4-7 shows the lower ribs broken and pulled back to reveal the middle and rear inside of the torso. As shown by T and V in the figure, about half of each kidney is above and half is below the bottom of the rib cage, so the bottom parts of the kidneys are not well protected. They are, therefore, vulnerable to injury from any blunt or penetrating force. The kidneys are also vulnerable because they are tightly attached to the back body wall. Blows in this area are transmitted directly to them.
The heart (see F in Figure 4-7) and lungs are completely encased within the bony thorax and, therefore, have added protection. The lungs rise to the top of the rib cage. The heart’s right edge is just behind the breastbone and the left edge swings off in a shoe shaped area in the left of the ribs cage. The point of the heart in the normal adult is just under the left nipple. The heart is protected by both muscle and bone, but it can be jolted (this is something that should be borne in mind during play).
The spleen (O in Figure 4-7) is an organ that can be readily ruptured. It is located on the left, between the lower three ribs, and so it is protected by bone all the way around. If a person has a viral infection of the spleen, such as “mono” (i.e. Mononucleosis), the enlarged spleen will descend below the rib cage and become exposed in the soft part of the belly, thereby becoming vulnerable. So, if you whip with a wrap-around whip, be careful to protect that area, because you may be cutting into or bruising the soft tissue at the front of the body.
The abdomen (shown well in Figure 4-3) has a bit more, but not much more, muscular protection than the back and encases organs that move more easily over each other and that are suspended from ligaments. They are not tightly attached to the abdominal wall, which is why punches to the abdomen are safer than kidney blows (unless, of course, there is an abdominal problem like an enlarged appendix). The aorta, which is beside and in front of the vertebral column (as shown in Figure 4-7), is usually well protected, unless there is a severe pulling force (not expected in, say, a flogging).
The brain has a thin bony covering, the skull, but the sense organs, such as the eyes and ears, are very vulnerable. Below, we’ll look at some of the aspects of our activities and how they might affect the body.
If you’d like to see a summary of this Web page, there’s one at the top.
This section is, by far, the largest section of the book. Not without reason. Our intent in producing the book was to provide the reader with as comprehensive a collection of basic data as we could find, but at a level that made it easily digestible. The subsections are ordered to lead the reader through the aspects of safety, but are constructed to allow the text to be used as a reference, if required.
In matters of medicine, you should use the contents only as a guide, and in no way as a replacement for a visit to your physician. We hope that the contents will help you determine when a visit to your physician is necessary. When in doubt, go to see your physician….
If you can think of anything we missed, please fold them into your play, and then tell us about them so that we can update future editions of the book.
If you’d like to see a summary of this Web page, there’s one at the top.
In the text that follows we hope to give you an overview of the possible diseases that you can catch as a result of accidents or careless play. We have attempted to cover only the major sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and for each one, we have given a brief summary of the disease, how it is caused, symptoms and signs, prognosis for the infected, and a very brief summary of prevention and treatment of the disease.
For some people, this section may be the hardest part of the book to read. This is partly because, for the sake of completeness, we have used the full medical terms for the diseases and organisms. If you’re reading this section for general information, we’d suggest that you don’t pay too much attention to the exact technical words, just try to get a better understanding of the disease and its symptoms.
This section should in no way replace a visit to your physician when you suspect that you may have caught an STD. We just want to provide you with a better understanding of the potential diseases, how to avoid them, and the long-term consequences. Where possible, we have also tried to clear up misconceptions that we have encountered in the population as a whole.
STDs range from the very annoying but not particularly dangerous afflictions such as crabs and scabies, right up to the potentially fatal Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The incidence of STDs, among the most common communicable diseases in the world, steadily increased from the 1950s to the 1970s, but stabilized during the 1980s. Diseases such as urethritis, trichomoniasis, chlamydial infections, candidiasis, genital and rectal herpes and warts, scabies, pediculosis pubis, and molluscum contagiosum are probably more prevalent than the five historically defined venereal diseases: syphilis, gonorrhoea, chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum, and granuloma inguinale. Because the former group is not formally reported, however, incidence figures are not available. For gonorrhoea, it is estimated that the world-wide incidence is greater than 250 million cases per year, and more than 3 million in the U.S.A.. For syphilis, the world-wide estimate is about 50 million people per year, with about 400,000 people needing treatment in the U.S.A.. Other infections, including salmonellosis, giardiasis, amoebiasis, shigellosis, campylobacter, hepatitis A, B, and C, and cytomegalovirus infection, are sometimes sexually transmitted. Strong associations between cervical cancer and herpes viruses and papillomaviruses have been discovered. Since 1978, an epidemic virus, HIV, has spread rapidly though western society and Africa. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but, as you can see, there is reason for caution when you play.
STD incidence has risen despite advances in diagnosis and treatment that rapidly render the patients noninfectious and cure the majority. Some factors influencing this paradox include changes in sexual behaviour, e.g. widespread use of contraceptive pills and devices; more varied sexual practices, including oral-genital and oral-rectal contact; emergence of strains of organisms less sensitive to antibiotics; symptomless carriers of infecting agents; a highly mobile population; a high level of sexual activity in some homosexual men; ignorance of the facts by the public and physicians; and reticence of patients to seek treatment from their physician.
STD control depends on having facilities for diagnosis and treatment; tracing and treating all sexual contacts of the patients; continuing to observe those who received treatment to ensure that they have been cured; educating physicians, nurses, and the public; counselling patients about responsible behaviour; and developing methods for producing artificial immunity against infection. It’s not an easy task.
For women, the most common STDs are often lumped under the term “vaginitis,” which simply means an infection of the vagina. In some women (and men, where it causes urethritis and prostatitis), this is a minor discomfort. In others, there will be discharge, burning sensations, odour, body pain, and/or general malaise. If it goes systemic, you’ll probably feel terrible. Vaginitis can be caused by any number of agents. Some are caused by yeasts (fungi). Others are bacterial. Some are even caused by parasites. This is also true for men. Men can catch the same infections, with or without symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are different for the sexes. Vaginitis, like viruses, can be passed from men to women, women to men, men to men, and women to women.
Any time there is an exchange of bodily fluids that may contain the infectious agent, risk infection of infection occurs. Infections are most commonly spread by contact, be it oral, vaginal, or anal, with your hand, a toy, or any other contaminated material. The only real protection that we have for gonorrhoea, syphilis, hepatitis, HIV, and other viral infections are condoms, dental dams, and gloves. Dental dams are used as a barrier between your mouth and anything that you don’t want your mouth to touch, be that the vagina or anus. Of course, there’s also the condom. These must be made of latex to offer you any protection from disease. Anything else simply will not do the job. For a more complete look at prevention of disease transmission, please also see the section on Cleanliness and Disinfection.
Most STDs have made friendships with each other. That is, you don’t just get one STD. Sometimes, having one disease will encourage your body to pick up another, because your resistance to infection is lower when you already have one infection. These infections may be at the same time, or one after the other.
As an aside, it’s great that there are over-the-counter preparations for a number of the common ailments, such as some of those of the vagina. This is useful for those who have a recurring problem; they can go to the store, buy the necessary medication, and fix the problem. If you’ve caught something that you don’t usually get and you don’t know what it is, get medical attention, immediately. If it’s there one day and it bothers you, and if that same thought bothers you again, that should serve as a warning to you and cause you to visit your physician. Many STDs will show symptoms just after the time of infection. However, when the symptoms disappear, it does not mean that you’re all better. In many cases, it simply means that you’ve gone on to a new stage of the infection. Also, it does not mean that you’re now any less contagious than you were at the time that you had the symptoms. Some illnesses go from very virulent, to not very much, to you can’t pass it on at all. The main problem is that diseases vary and so does the way each individual responds to them. So, until you know what you’ve caught, you should assume that it’s contagious. Some diseases go back and forth between being contagious and then not, “ping-ponging.” For some, from beginning to end you will be contagious. Some, within hours or days, will have you able to transmit the disease to someone else. Don’t assume that you can diagnose yourself.
Because of the variability of STDs and their means of transmission, you should assume that the easiest one to catch is present, and act accordingly. This doesn’t mean that you have to wrap yourself in rubber body suits (unless you’re into that sort of thing…), but it does mean that you should be conscious of the potential risks and know about the symptoms and treatment of the diseases you could catch.
Below, we’ve included a brief summary of the most common STDs, their causes, symptoms, and treatment. Please take the time to read them all. We’ve arranged things so that you can use the information as a reference, too. There may be some surprises in there for you. For instance, did you know that men can catch vaginitis? Read on, MacDuff….
If you’d like to see a summary of this Web page, there’s one at the top.
Rather than include the introduction to the toys section, we include the subsection on rope toys, so that you can get a feel for the information held within On The Safe Edge.
The rope you use is the basic toy, but rope can be made cheaply into toys that can be reused many times, such as a pair of wrist restraints. You just need to know how to tie the right knots There are several sources of basic information on how to tie knots (some are listed in the bibliography). They include books on basic knot tying and macrame. The difference when you use these knots for play is that the “sticks” you are tying together are softer and may fight back.
There are many objects about the house that can be used in conjunction with ropes for bondage. For example, thick broomsticks are wonderful as spreader bars, to keep feet or hands apart. If the broomstick is put horizontally behind the Bottom’s back with the arms passed behind the broomstick and the hands tied together in front of the stomach, the powerful back muscles are next to useless. If it is put under the knees, with a rope passed outside each knee around the stick and then behind the back, pulling the knees to the chest, the Bottom will feel very exposed and with very little modesty. Using it vertically behind the back will afford you the kind of rigid bondage that may otherwise only be attainable with expensive specialty toys.
Other pervertibles around the house include railings (check for strength), closet bars (not very strong, so never to be used for suspension), chairs, and toilets seats. Bed frames are often the first thing that people think of, but, if the Bottom struggles, they can roll around and creak. They can also put holes in the walls; so maybe they are not the best pervertibles.
A few strategically placed eyebolts in door frames, walls, floors, and ceilings can help your rope bondage enormously. The mounting must be strong enough to withstand a struggling Bottom. For example, any wall mounting should be in the wall studs, not just to the drywall. Most of these eyebolts can be disguised as plant hangers, or other household mountings.
Chairs can be used not only to seat the Bottom, but also to have the Bottom bent over them, or maybe tied chair back to Bottom’s back. Again, consider whether the Bottom will struggle and whether the chair is strong enough to withstand this.
As you graduate from scarves and ties, you will probably want to buy good rope for your scenes. We have found that 1/4″ diameter soft nylon rope is the most versatile. Specialty leather items may sometimes make bondage easier for beginners, but the price may be too much for you, as you try to determine whether you enjoy bondage. There is not much of a market for used bondage equipment, so finding it cheaply may be difficult. Alternatively, if you buy something special, you may find that there is no market for it and that it is hard to sell, later.
When you tie off your ropes, try to keep the knots between the limbs and objects you use. This will reduce the chances of pressure points on the Bottom. For the same reason, it’s a good idea to avoid twisting the rope or crossing it where it touches the Bottom’s body. Any time that you pass a rope around the Bottom’s limbs, you should wrap it around at least three times. This will spread the load when the Bottom struggles. For example, when tying wrists together, use about 8 feet of rope and leave about a foot dangling inside between the wrists, then wrap around both wrists until there is about a foot and a half left (usually about three to four times around), and bring the end down between the wrists, inside the loops of rope you have just made. Now wrap the two ends in opposite directions around the rope between the wrists. Tie the ends off with a reef knot (also known as a square knot). Tying off rope ends with a standard shoelace knot is acceptable, since it’s just a variation of the reef knot.
To check that any rope bondage is not likely to be too tight, you should be able to pass one finger between the rope and the skin. If you cannot, then the Bottom may have circulation problems. If there is room for two or more fingers, the Bottom may be able to get free. A little practice is all you will need to the tension right.
If you tie a reef knot the wrong way, you’ll end up with a Granny knot which can get tighter as the Bottom struggles. This is not going to help you. Since the reef knot is likely to be the only knot you’ll need as a beginner, it’s worth the time to learn it properly. The more complicated knots can come later.