This is the mantra the bdsm constantly repeats and there’s a reason.
People can and do get hurt. Some of our activities can be dangerous if not practiced safely and skillfully, this includes mental activities as well. Bandage can cause nerve damage if restraints are too tight, skin broken by a faulty cane or paddle, or mental health can be damaged. The things we do must be done safely, sanely, and consensualy.
Safety. Alway practice safe sex. This is more than birth control and condoms, this is making sure you have the knowledge and skill to safely perform an activity. You will need some basic medical and first aide knowledge including anatomy, blood pressure and blood sugar reactions, and how to treat wounds. Keep safety scissors nearby during bandage scenes, negotiate a safeword.
A safeword is a word that you would never say during sex such as “firetruck” or “apricot” that stops all activity immediately. The most common practice is the traffic light system: Red for “stop right now!”, Yellow for “slow down” or “too much”, and Green for “keep going, I want more”. Whether you decide to set up your own safewords or use the traffic light system, make sure you confirm it before a scene and remember it. Safewords don’t work if you forget them and throes of ecstasy are hard to differentiate from squirms of agony sometimes. Never, ever be afraid to use your safeword.
Sanity. First and foremost, sanity means sober, clear headed, and free of any emotional state that could effect play negatively such as anger during a punishment.
Sane also refers to the nature of the activity and your willingness to accept the risks that may be associated with it. To some, breath play (choking) is not sane, not worth the risk. To others the risk is acceptable.
Consensual. All parties must consent to the activity in a sound state of mind and without any form of coercion. This cannot be stressed enough.
Intoxicated people cannot consent. A person under threat of violence or harm cannot consent. A person under threat of neglect (in any form) cannot consent. Minors cannot consent.
Consent is active, continuous, and never implied. It can also be revoked at any time. Consent for one activity only pertains to that activity. Looking seductive is not consent. Presence is not consent.
These are the only steadfast rules in the bdsm world and they are taken seriously and those don’t take them seriously find themselves ostracized from the community.
Always be safe, always play sane, and always, always play consensually.