What are the red flags that a BDSM relationship is actually abusive?

What are the red flags that a BDSM relationship is actually abusive?

What do you think?

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  1. Poor communication. Ignored or brushed off attempts at communication. Limits being ignored. Someone saying they have ‘no limits’. Emotional manipulation. Persistent negative feelings.

  2. tbh the same as any relationship really. but generally a key thing is that everyone in the relationship must respect each other as whole, autonomous beings, with the understanding that anything in the scene that restricts autonomy or degrades or anything is for the kink and does not indicate true feelings about other people.

    and abuse can come from anyone in a bdsm relationship, not just doms….if a sub is using a dom or violating their consent or requesting intense scenes and then not wanting to engage in any mutual care for each other after or continuing to engage in kink outside of kink scenes/when not consented to, those are all red flags. gaslighting, twisting words, threatening, refusal to communicate, etc are all signs of abuse in any relationship and can show up in bdsm as well

    one red flag for me now is if people claim to have experience in bdsm and want to leap into things super super quickly. i am decently experienced and because i am experienced enough and knowledgeable enough of all the things there are that need to be discussed and all the things that can go wrong, i take things very slow. maybe there are some people who can still make sure everyone is safe in a more efficient way, but generally i see the urge to take things quickly to be a red flag that they either don’t know what they are getting into, are recreating abuse from prior relationships, or just don’t have a solid sense of boundaries and that puts everyone at risk.

  3. When they never leave the roles. I saw this with my sister. It started with a poly BDSM relationship. Then he put them in collars and locks, but only if they agreed to his rules. Rules started out reasonable enough given that aspect of their relationship, but quickly progressed to include things like their chores around the house, when they could eat, perform daily hygiene tasks, etc. After that, it progressed the way a normal abusive relationship does. He started controlling them and their children, got the other woman (not my sister) fired because he refused to let her work without him sitting in the parking lot watching her, rekindled their drug addictions, and alienated them from their families.

    We were able to get my nephews out and to their father a few months ago when they told us about him refusing to let them sleep at night (the women work graveyards- he doesn’t work at all and he wanted the boys to be on an overnight schedule too) by hitting them awake and making them stand in the cold, only feeding them once a day, punishing them for getting into things by denying even that food, and choking them when they cried.

    We’re still hoping that one day my sister comes to her senses and leaves him. I’m not sure if she ever will. The family is hated because we helped the boy’s dad get custody after my sister refused to leave the man she’s with after being told of the abuse. She’s in an area she has no support in except for the man and woman she’s with, and my biggest fear is that, even if she eventually wants out, she won’t come to us.

  4. When there is no aftercare, when it is used as a punishment (not in a “ouuu you’ve been a bad girl” way, but in a serious “I saw the way you looked at him, so I’m going to whip you” kind of way), when there is no definitive beginning and end to the session (and it becomes an excuse for casual physical violence)

  5. Not respecting someones limits, boundaries, hard-no’s. One sided relationships where only one person is getting their desires/needs met. Refusal to negotiate boundaries and limits, etc… prior to “play”.

  6. In my own personal experience:
    -When one partner hits the other outside of an agreed upon scene.
    -When one manipulates the other into breaking their boundaries.

  7. There are many many red flags but a big one I see is for the abuser to alienate their partner. They will shut off critic outside voices, keep the friends of the abused away. And in this way change the frame of reference so that the abused is no longer able to realize that what’s happening to them isn’t normal.

  8. Consistently trying to break down boundaries. Pretending to accept boundaries but then immediately turning around and trying to find an “exception”

  9. So much BDSM relationship are almost radically safe and protective. The concept of a “safe word” is not particular to BDSM sex. It’s indicative that the couple have an open sex life and talk about things, or else they’d never get to safe words. But abuse is nonetheless abuse. And sexual violence should never be tolerated or excused.

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