BDSM & EthicsBy Mistress Kashiko
Ethics is involved in every topic in one way or another and BDSM is no exception. The trouble with ethics is that they tend to evolve as society and culture evolves given that ethics is defined by the structure of culture's moral principles (LLC, 2011). |
For some people, there is the view that BDSM will ultimately result in crimes of deprivation and extreme violence and while there is definitely a concern for safety and some truly unbalanced individuals, most of the community will follow certain ethical guidelines and safety rules (ASJ, 2002). These guidelines are especially important since those in the community are susceptible to persecution and discrimination from the public (Socyberty, 2011).
The most important ethical consideration in BDSM is mutual consent (ASJ, 2002). The border between the abuse and intensity in power exchange situations and relationships can be difficult to separate, especially for those newer to the lifestyle (Raventstone, 2011). This increases the importance of expressed consent and not implied consent in all BDSM situations. It is the responsibility of both players to be open and communicate their needs but it is also the responsibility of the dominant/top to monitor the submissive/bottom for their level of comfort and to ensure that they are not consenting to play that will conflict with their long term interests and functioning (Kitty, 2000).
So how do you ensure consent when protestation can be part of the game?
Most players set up a safe word system; a word or phrase that will unquestionably halt all play for the physical, mental, or emotional safety of the submissive/bottom.
There may be a single safe word for a full stop to play or a system of words that indicate different states such as "Everything's great, continue" or "This level is ok but do not increase the intensity". Typically the word "no" should never be considered a safe word (Kitty, 2000). The safe word should be a word that both play partners should feel comfortable with but would not come up in a play situation.
Another consideration when it comes to safe words is to remember that the safe word is there to protect the dominant/top in the play scenario as well. In most cases, it will probably be the submissive who will be more in need of a safe word but depending on a play scenario and the history of a player, a dominant may wish to employ this safety system as well. It is important that when a safe word is used, by either player, that the partner desists in all play activity and follows up with any aftercare and support that may be needed for the well being of their partner.
Some other important ethical considerations can include but not limited to:
ReferencesASJ. (2002). Ethics in Bondage, Discipline, and Sado-Masochism. Retrieved 09 10, 2011, from ASJ Community: http://www.asubmissivesjourney.com/ethics.html
Kitty, S. (2000). Ethics in BDSM. Retrieved 09 15, 2011, from Leathern Roses: http://www.leathernroses.com/generalbdsm/kittyethics.htm
Rage, M. (2011, 08 15). Professional Dominatrix. (M. Kashiko, Interviewer)
Raventstone, D. (2011). Why Ethics are Important in BDSM. Retrieved 09 19, 2011, from Promise to Play Safe: http://www.promisetoplaysafe.com/ethical.html
Socyberty. (2011, 01 08). The Paradox of BDSM: Research Ethics. Retrieved 09 18, 2011, from Socybery: http://socyberty.com/issues/the-paradox-of-bdsm-research-ethics/
Stein, D. (2005). Some Principles of Ethical BDSM. Retrieved 09 16, 2011, from Sagacity: http://sagacitygroup.net/main/knowledge/thoughts/principles
Wicked Eden. (2006). Ethics in Professional BDSM. Retrieved 09 17, 2011, from Wicked Eden: http://wickededen.com/blog/snow/ethics-in-professional-bdsm/
Image ReferencesSomeone else's art deserves recognition! The images presented in this article were borrowed from the following places:
Image 1: Created by Fallen People Entertainment