Knot Your Average Guide: Tying Together Red and Green Flags in BDSM

To have a great BDSM experience, you must be able to identify a partner's red or green flags.
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Embarking on a journey into BDSM and kink can be as exhilarating as it is enlightening; however, you must be able to identify red and green flags in BDSM. Why? Because any successful adventure needs the right companion.

So, how can you spot the difference between someone who’s responsible with the reigns and a walking red flag unworthy of your time? Well fear not dear reader, I’ve got you covered.

As a kink-positive counselor, I spend a lot of time talking about how important communication and consent are in the world of BDSM and kink. A big part of the reason for this is that it can be difficult to spot the red and green flags in BDSM without first talking about the important stuff.

If you’re someone who gets weak in the knees just thinking about being told what to do, then the idea of a Dom who cuts straight to the chase might initially seem sexy as hell. But there’s a big difference between a hot Dom with great boundaries and a sexual predator in disguise. 

You want the freedom to express your desires and your limits knowing they’ll both be respected. So, put the talk first, and the fun second!

Building Trust Through Talk in Kink and BDSM

For more experienced kinksters, these big conversations can be a bit more concise. But if you’re just beginning your kink journey, then you’re more likely to come across types of sex you haven’t done or thought about before, so take your time.

The more time you spend with someone before having kinky sex, the more time you have to get a feel for their vibe and pick up on anything that’s a bit off. Ask questions and really listen to the answers… this is the surest way to identify red and green flags in BDSM. Don’t be tempted to mentally fill in any blanks with what you’d like to have heard: clarify things if you need more info.

Look out for any mismatch between who they’re telling you they are, and who they’re showing you they are. For example, if they say that mutual respect is important to them, but they speak dismissively to or about someone… know that could be a problem.

Sometimes our nether regions can betray our brain’s better judgment. It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re hot and bothered. So, make sure you’re aware of your criteria in advance and keep focused on what you’re actually up for.

Remember, trust needs to be earned on both sides. So don’t be someone else’s red flag either!

Red Flags and Green Flags

I hear you, you’re grateful for the sound guidance but you want the cheat sheet, right? Well, luckily for you I’ve put together a list of some of the key red and green flags to watch out for:

It’s a warning sign in BDSM if someone’s agreement or check-in feels more performative than genuine. Consent should be enthusiastic and informed, not just a checkbox. 

If they don’t ask about your limits, or they ask and then try to push past them, they don’t have your best interests at heart. 

Your kink partner shouldn’t offer submission or expect to be obeyed without discussion first. Nor should they talk about what a “proper Dom” or “proper sub” does. 

If they’re dismissive of your other relationships, responsibilities, and interests or if they don’t ask about aftercare, get out of there!

They’re proactive about engaging in discussions about desires, limits, and the direction of the relationship. They want to share their boundaries and understand yours.

They seek to define your respective roles together, and do not impose their own ideas on what should or shouldn’t happen. 

They’re interested in you and your interests, respectful of your needs before, during, and after sex, and are clear about the difference between BDSM and abuse.

Consistency is key. Don’t stick with someone who seems great at first but doesn’t hold up their side of the deal later on.

At the end of the day, a cheat sheet can’t cover all bases. So, the best advice I can give you? Trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable, even if you can’t explain why, then back away and act accordingly. 

Finding the right people to enjoy kink with, and putting in the work to build trust, connection, and mutual understanding is serious stuff. However, don’t forget that the destination is worth it, and you can have plenty of fun along the way!

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