SM play doesn't just come with physical risks, there are some emotional pitfalls to watch out for as well. Here are just three to be aware of:
Another reason is that it's hard to switch off from daily life and enjoy an SM scene when the person you are playing with is intimately part of your life. The hassles of a relationship (e.g. bills that need to be paid) or the small irritations of living together (whose turn it is to clean the bath) can creep in and kill the moment. It's very difficult to find a time when the chores you need to do together are all done and you can play together without distractions.
There are different solutions for each couple. People in a monogamous relationship might set aside time to spice up their sex lives, for example taking a weekend break to a kink-friendly guesthouse. Those in open relationships might decide to involve other people in their SM scenes (either together or apart). If you're currently having great SM play with a regular partner it's worth discussing these things before you enter into a more intimate relationship.
If the Top and bottom are playing exclusively with each other then these feelings may not cause any difficulties. However, due to the ratio of more bottoms than Tops in the SM community it's far more likely that the Top will be playing with several people at different times - and be unable or unwilling to return affection at the level the submissive desires.
If you think this is happening to you it's best to talk about it with each other openly and honestly, so that you can decide together which direction the relationship is going.
The researchers even learned through videotapes that some guards were escalating their abuse of prisoners in the middle of the night when they thought no one was watching and the experiment was "off". (For more information on the Stanford Prison Experiment go to www.prisonexp.org)
If you're doing a long-term SM scene, (how long will depend on the individual players), it's worth considering involving another Top so that you can alternate and take regular breaks from the role of "sadist", or have the other person act as an observer and stop the scene if they feel it's gone too far.
As consensual players we need to look out for one another. SM play can dredge up deep feelings or long-forgotten memories. Make sure that you don't do SM play while you are angry, jealous or hold negative feelings towards the other people in the scene. It's always worth checking in with each other a few days after playing. Someone may well leave with a smile on their face at the time, but then have other feelings or things they need to discuss at a later date.
Have fun, look after yourselves and the people you play with.
International Mr Leather 2003