In our experiences, and the experiences detailed in books like "The New Topping Book" and "Sacred Kink," kinky encounters often produce intense emotions during a scene and intense drops (bottom drop or top drop) after a scene ends. This is just part of play, but it can also make issues around consent more tricky to navigate.

Here are three tips to help you and your partner enjoy your kinky time - and stay safe!

Read: Consent and Catharsis: Coping With Trauma That Comes Up During Rough Play

A bottom in bottom space, also known as sub space, may be enthusiastic about their role. However, a top should not assume that the bottom is "up for anything" even if they might say they are during the scene.

It is a distinct possibility that in BDSM play, when dealing with primal emotions like fear or humiliation, that the top does not ask for consent for something (an activity, a particular toy, or some other part of the scene) and their partner feels like they must continue or "ruin the scene." Bottoms do not want to feel as if they are being blamed for ruining the mood, cockblocking, or any other sort of negative issue related to play. Dynamic consent can be used by the playmates to help lessen this risk.

As part of dynamic consent, it's important for both tops and bottoms to recognize each other's body language. This is especially important for Dominants. Just because your submissive partner may consent in the heat of the moment to something like breath play or knife play (at the more extreme end of matters) does not mean they understand the risks and what goes into such play that very second. In effect, your partner may be (a little) impaired from the pleasurable haziness that can come from submission. As a Dominant, your partner is trusting you to guide them through play in a risk-aware manner. You are not taking the power; they are entrusting that power to you - for the scene, under conditions. That means it is also your job to say "not now" to them, and to yourself, if need be.

Giving Options and Outs

Giving options does not make a top any less Dominant, or a bottom any less submissive. In fact, it can be sexy: "Do you want me to do X .... or Y?" Plus, it can make the partner more comfortable. You're still working to make sure their wishes and limits are respected. Ask for consent throughout the scene and for each activity. Do not assume that they are in their most sensible mind in the heat of the moment.

Even if there is a safe word discussed and in use, make sure you know, for yourself and your partner's sake, that it is OK to take a break without having to do a hard stop. Maybe something is too intense at the moment and your partner needs something else, or just a couple minutes of cuddling or a brief shoulder massage. Giving options during play enables partners to choose, to remain within their limits, and to be as sensual or sexual as they want.

Read: A Step-by-Step to Negotiating Consent

Checking In and Aftercare Are Mandatory

During play, emotions can be heightened. That can lead to an intense period after a session is done. Maybe you get clingy. Maybe your partner expresses how much they miss you and need you for several days after a hot session in rope or leather.

While expressions of love and caring are usually welcome, it is important to be aware of these intense emotions and check in with each other to ensure that "bottom drop" or "top drop" does not lead to further misunderstandings or become toxic.

For example, if a submissive partner starts texting their Dominant constantly the next day, needing emotional reassurance, but the Dominant partner says no or does not respond immediately because they're seeking out their own emotional balance, this can lead to a lot of misunderstanding. Usually, the truth of the situation is simply that both partners are recovering from the session and are approaching recovery in different ways. (Tops/Dominants get "top drop," too, and can feel just as emotionally and physically drained as submissives!)

Read: Packing Your BDSM Emotional Survival Kit

The practice of dynamic consent comes in here as well. What do you need? What does your partner need? Try to negotiate what works for both of you during recovery in terms of aftercare; maybe the partner needing the emotional reassurance can look forward to a nighttime text or phone call wishing them sweet dreams and rest and a wonderful morning by the partner who also needs time to recover. This suggestion can meet the needs of both partners. Maybe the person texting wants to know that the play meant something or that they caused their partner pleasure. Find out what's being asked - and why - and go from there.

Be sure to check in not only right after the session ends, but also a day after and/or the day after that. Ask them how they're doing. Be open to communication but be aware that you're both probably in a period of emotional and physical recovery. Treat yourself and your partner with compassion and communicate on a way to check in that works well for the both of you.

Do some self-care. Whether that's treating yourself to a bubble bath or taking time to meditate, engage in whatever self-care options are healthy and work for you. And be sure to communicate with your play partner.

This sounds like a lot to take in, and it's tempting to just want to dive right into play. However, these tips can help your play sessions be even better - and end in fewer hurt feelings or other more serious issues.

So, take care of each other - and enjoy your playtime!



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