your own risk profile. For example if you’re the sole provider for a child you might choose to never participate in any kind of breath play because that’s too risky for you. On the other hand perhaps you are a model and need to have perfect skin, then you might choose not to do impact play unless you’re wearing clothing to protect your skin. Maybe you’re a top and don’t feel comfortable doing anything that could cause nerve damage. Your risk profile is up to you, but it requires that you talk to your partners and think about what level of risk you’re comfortable with. These are all worst case scenarios we don’t have statistics to tell us what percentage of people get nerve damage every year so it’s going to be personal estimation.
Worst case outcome: Death
- Breath play (air restriction, blood chokes, waterboarding)
- Electrical play (current from wall)
- Suspension Inversion
- Gun play
- Solo Bondage
- Abduction in car trunk (motion/accident)
- Unprotected PIA/PIV
- Fire play
The Wikipedia article on Auto erotic fatalities is particularly enlightening here.
Other methods of autoerotic fatalities include
electrocution, foreign body insertion (especially sharp or large objects), overdressing/body, amyl nitrite, GHB, or nitrous oxide. Mixing drugs and BDSM in particular has lead to deadly results for some people.
Our key advice is never do breath play or bondage solo, and never mix drugs and BDSM.
Worst case outcome: Permanent scar
- Electrical Play
- Fire play and Wax play
- Chemical play
- Cutting / knife play / Abrasion / Scratching /
- Rough Body play (kicking, wrestling, punching)
- Suspension bondage
- Impact with hard objects
- Suspension bondage (especially Arm-loading ties (e.g. TK)
- Hand cuffs
- Gags/failure to safe signal
- Failure to disclose other sexual partners
- Failure of negotiation resulting in: rape, injury, consent violation
Emotionally high-risk activities
- Group sex / open relationships
- Heavy D/s and or TPE
- Consensual nonconsent
- Fear play, mind fucks and phobias
- Emotional/psychological sadism
- Individual-specific triggers (PTSD)
- Identity dysphoria play (race play, gender and sexual orientation subversion, etc.)
- Behavior modification or conditioning
We think emotionally damage is actually one of the most common outcomes of BDSM scenes gone wrong. There’s a bunch of ways you can go wrong doing these kinds of play from creating insecurity in a partner to accidentally crossing a boundary. Because of this having a trigger plan to handle emotional fall out can be a good way to help you navigate this kind of play.
If you like doing emotionally intense play make sure you feel safe and secure with your play partners, if you already feel insecure or unsafe this kind of play is going to just make you feel more insecure and unsafe. If you have a history of abuse these kinds of play might be retraumatizing especially if you haven’t addressed the root issues. We recommend finding a kink friendly therapist before delving deeply into anything emotionally fraught.
Remember there are many abusers out there if you’re not sure if you’re in a healthy relationship ask yourself : Do I feel loved and safe? Do I have control of my financial and living situation? Am I respected? are my boundaries respected?
You likely will find that your risk assessment of things will change over time with experience and research, it’s a normal and healthy part of developing your risk profile. We encourage you to have fun thoughtfully!