While it's true that you cannot talk too much about the physical injuries that can come with BDSM play, it's even more essential that for every discussion about nerve damage, sprains, torn ligaments, broken blood vessels, and so much more that there should be even more about the emotional risks involved.

In short, your body can often heal quite rapidly. Yet your mind - and your spirit - can be irreparably harmed in ways you may not even be aware of. This is why everyone, whether they're just getting into BDSM or have been involved in the community for years, should always have an emotional survival kit at the ready. Here's how to make one.

First, Set Your Own Boundaries

While it's possible to say that doing X kind of bondage can, more than likely, cause Y kinds of injury, with emotional risks things get, well, to use a technical term, fuzzy.

That is why you should always have the final world on what works, and what doesn't work, for your own emotional health. This is true about articles like this and with people in your life: if a recommendation isn’t leading you to what you need or want, try something else.

BDSM activities, even those as innocent as a spanking, can be an unexpectedly powerful trigger, even for people who've experienced it many times. The possibility of a negative emotional reaction gets even more likely when playing with dominance and submission. Even people with decades of elaborate fantasies or years of direct experience can suffer emotional whiplash - seemingly out of nowhere.

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

Think of your emotional survival kit like any other form of mandatory BDSM safety gear. You might not need it now, tomorrow, or even a year from now, but it's something you always should have at the ready for when the unexpected happens.

Here's what you need to consider to make BDSM play more emotionally safe for you and your partner(s).

Know What You're Getting Into

Before you do anything, you have a responsibility to yourself and the BDSM community to educate yourself as much as possible. Books can help, but there is nothing like direct experience. No, I don’t mean playing. Rather, seek out classes taught by in-good-standing members of the scene. Lucky for you, many large cities have places where you can go for all kinds of classes. If this isn't an option in your area, there are also conventions that are always worth attending. (To learn more, check out Everything You Need to Know About Attending Your First Kink Conference.)

Perhaps the biggest thing you must learn is the core values of responsible kink play: safety (both physical and emotional), sanity (approaching play with a level head and with communication maintained at all times), and consensual acts (what happens is negotiated and respected at all times by everyone concerned). This is often abbreviated as SSC.

If you are confused by this, or have any doubts, raise your hand and ask questions. Say what you want about the BDSM community, but most of them like to help, especially when it comes to educating people who are new to the scene.

You Are Never Alone

Speaking of the BDSM community, it's important to become as much a part of it as you can. True, the scene isn't perfect - no group is - but, by and large, the scene really does work to be as open and caring as possible.

If you take some classes and do a little digging, you'll more than likely find an active kink scene in your area. If, for some reason, you live in a barren, kink-free wasteland, the online community is only a few keystrokes away.

As with many things in life, it's best to try and find a few quality friends over a quantity of them. Ideally - and this might take a bit of time - you'll want to find someone who is supportive and also familiar with the BDSM scene: a person who will listen, not pass judgment, and offer positive and constructive advice. Tough to do, I know, but this kind of a person can very helpful when things get tough.

Find a Professional

No, I don't mean a professional BDSM person (although they can be fun), but rather a qualified mental health expert. While friends can do a lot, sometimes you need someone who is specifically trained to deal with the various things that can, and will, happen during BDSM play.

Alas, finding someone if you are not near a large - and let's face it, pretty progressive, city - you still might be able to find someone willing to do a phone consultation.

A great resource for finding a kink-friendly therapist or just being there to listen to your concerns is San Francisco Sex Information, a respected nonprofit with both a vast database of resources and a phone staff trained to talk to you about just about anything to do with sex and kink.

You Are Not Broken

Sadly, for many people, this thought is going to emerge: am I screwed up for either wanting to be kinky - or for not being a "good" BDSM person? The latter usually comes with thoughts that because you're scared, depressed, anxious, jealous, or confused, that somehow means you're not worthy of being part of the BDSM community.

Take it from a 30-plus year kink veteran: everyone - and I do mean everyone - in the scene has those exact same feelings at some point. Some might have them more. Others might have them less. We've all been there - and don't let anyone ever tell you differently.

This is why finding connections to the BDSM community is essential. By doing this, you'll quickly understand that kink can not only be healthy, but can also be a positive - and powerful - way to explore just about every aspect of your life, sexual or otherwise.

On a side note, if you're thinking of approaching BDSM as therapy you should always (and I mean ALWAYS) find yourself a kink-expert therapist before doing anything. Do not (and I mean NOT) think that you know what you are doing.

Sure, in a few cases you actually might have a handle on things, but, as was brought up at the beginning of this article, you should hope for the best and plan for the worst. The best way of doing so is to be seeing someone expertly trained in the emotional landscapes of BDSM.

Fantasy Is Not Reality

Sometimes people who have BDSM-related fantasies before experiencing the reality of BDSM play will feel deep disappointment, and even anxious, when they can't make their dreams come true.

In some cases, they will think that, again, they are doing it wrong or that they will never be able to do what they dream of. The cold fact is, with a few rare exceptions, both personal fantasies and BDSM erotica can be very different from what actually happens in the scene.

This doesn't mean that you can't make a reality out of some elements of your fantasies, but to do even this, you need to step into BDSM with your eyes wide and open and free of expectations -or, at least, expectations that it will be just like your dreams, or your favorite porn.

You Are Brave

This is perhaps one of the most important tools in your emotional survival kit. It's one that even I took some time to fully accept. By taking even the smallest movement towards exploring BDSM, you are doing more than most people would dare to ever even consider.

Even when things happen - and, again, they will happen - please try to hold onto this: you are remarkably brave and incredibly strong. You are going into unfamiliar lands, delving into the unknown realms of sex, power and emotion. This is something that takes a special kind of person.

Part of this is also respecting yourself and your limits. Whether you're dominant, submissive or somewhere in between you have the right - and the responsibility - to stand up for yourself.

If anything (ANYTHING) feels wrong, stop whatever is happening and either ask for a break, a renegotiation, or end things then and there. If the person you are involved with does not acknowledge and immediately respect your decision, call for help. Anyone who doesn't respect your boundaries breaches that key principle of the BDSM community: consent.

Read: Dominance, Discipline and Abuse: Where to Draw the Line

Make Your Own Emotional Survival Kit

These are just suggestions. Hopefully, you'll think about these things on your BDSM journey. As I said, some may work for you, others may not, and you more than likely will discover and forge your own tools.

While it's true that only you know what should be in your own emotional survival kit, please don't forget the power of therapists, friends and community: you are exploring this new world, but you never, ever have to do it alone.