What a Broken Nose Taught Me About BDSM, Negotiation and Depression

I have written, and re-written this post about a dozen times. I love to share my knowledge of BDSM with others, to better the community and to better myself. When it comes to talking about my own mistakes and issues, the words don’t quite flow the way I want them to. I even considered never writing about this, just keeping it wrapped up in a little ball of self loathing in my chest. I was hurt in play that wasn’t well negotiated. The two tops I played with are people I love and care about very much. The event destroyed me. I was crippled by anxiety, depression and embarrassment that I had let something like that happen. This writing is still very raw, and probably won’t flow quite like some of my other writings do.

In my local scene I have been known to be rough and tumble. I am the tough bottom. When I bottom I am neither submissive nor well behaved. There is something to be said for acknowledging that no matter how strong someone is, we as humans are fragile creatures. I pride myself in trying to be a solid communicator, and setting my boundaries well. Well, I slipped up. Some casual nudging turned into full blown play. Two tops who I have negotiated with, and played with countless times before (I have spoken with both of them about this event). Who they are doesn’t really matter for the content of this writing. I don’t mean to shame them, hurt them or ruin their position in our community at all. This post is about me, and all the could haves and should haves and lessons to be learned.

I called red, albeit in a laughing tone when a crop was pulled out in the middle room of our local dungeon. Looking back, even a joking red should have been taken seriously by all of us, at least to remind us that if we were going to play we should talk about it. As we started to play I started to feel like I was actually fighting for my well being, despite the light-hearted banter. People were watching and making their usual commentary, but inside my head there was suddenly a life or death battle. My live-in partner, who was watching the exchange even intervened at one point when my arm was grabbed very hard. There are some places on your body that when very hard pressure is applied can cause permanent damage. Not soon after, my nose made a very distinct crunch as a finger was shoved against my septum. I wore bruises that I normally would appreciate all up and down my thighs, but I left the dungeon that night and sobbed in the car all the way home.

I realized how out of hand things had gotten. I felt dirty. I felt like I had done a terrible job of communicating, and let things just keep going. I also realized that going in I shouldn’t have been playing like that, since my emotional state was fragile after coming back from my international trip. I felt humiliated and ashamed, and I didn’t understand all of the feelings I was having about what had happened. I didn’t realize how badly I was hurt until I saw the dark bruises under my eyes from my broken septum. The greater damage was in my trust, self-esteem and relationship with my local scene. I have since spoken with both of the tops, but I still feel like there is a dark smudge in my kink life.

What Should Have Happened

We can always talk about the ‘should haves’ and ‘would haves’ and go on forever about how we would have changed a situation. For BDSM, the moment that I started to nudge at my partner in a playful way, we should have asked “Do you want to play?” and then from there begin a full negotiation.

In that negotiation, I should have told both of my partners that I was feeling emotionally fragile. That my mind and my body were not used to rough play as I had been gone for quite a while. That I felt delicate and wanted to be treated as such.

And what if we did negotiate and I still got hurt in the not-fun not-so-consensual way? When I asserted that I thought my nose was broken, it should have been taken more seriously by myself and by my play partners. I should have been checked in on, and aftercare and play debriefing should have happened. Since we never negotiated and put the ‘play’ label on what we did, we never assigned those responsibilities. So there folks, is the importance of labeling play and negotiating. Beyond just not overstepping boundaries, but to protect those involved if something goes wrong.

What I Learned

So what did I learn from my broken nose? I learned that you should be unrelenting in your negotiations. Negotiation should just be part of the dance, the ‘may I?’ before you start the spins. Without it you could be throwing someone fragile across the dance floor, and might scare them to the point of never coming back to dance again. I learned that calling ‘red’ even jokingly has a seriousness behind it and you should never ignore. “Red” is a little peep of truth and warning, even in conversation, that a line has been crossed. I learned that we all get lazy and overeager. And I’m still learning from this experience. I’m learning how to feel OK in the kink scene again, how to feel OK and forgive those involved and how to forgive myself.

I have learned that one should approach BDSM when feeling depressed or down very carefully, because things that you might be completely solid to participate in when you are healthy can become traumatic. Being honest about your mental health with yourself, and with others is a crucial part of BDSM. I also know that BDSM is such a critical part of my needs and desires that trying to avoid it due to a botched play session just made things worse for me. I am trying to forgive and forget, but I think that I will be approaching my play with a lot more caution in the future.

4 thoughts on “What a Broken Nose Taught Me About BDSM, Negotiation and Depression

  1. Well said, couldn’t agree more. Negotiations are important. Daddy and I have made the mistake of not doing this and instead “feeling our way” with each other. Although, we are new to it to each other we are not new to it overall. I’ve had this happen with face slapping. Didn’t know what skill level etc the giver had in regard to this. Was blindfolded while receiving so never seen it coming each time and was slapped so it was leaving a ringing in my ears whilst cracking my jaw. Never said anything for a number of sessions because of pride or a feeling of needing to harden up. Called it in the end though and discussion was had.

    Like

    1. Some things like face slapping, pressure on the face/nose and rough body play for sure need a lot of discussion before hand. Also some knowledge of the body and what is safe and how to do things helps. I hopefully will post more ‘how to’ blog posts and videos so that more people can practice safe BDSM.

      Liked by 1 person

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