Over the years I’ve heard my share of horror stories about the BDSM community. Many of the events that become the stories are probably avoidable though education and negotiation. An aspect that is often neglected in that regard is mediation; an attempt to discover how things went wrong and grow from them. In some cases, meditation won’t improve matters, as the intent behind the violation was harmful. In most cases however the intent to harm isn’t present; but misunderstanding can result in demonization as an attempt to rationalise the harm felt. Overlooking this can result in both division and gossip, something that can actually create a smokescreen within which the real predators can hide.
In order to promote this harm reductive approach, it was proposed that we develop a code of conduct and encourage those so inclined to join a collective dedicated to that end. A society for ethical tops. While I think I’d prefer a term with a different connotation, something closer to brotherhood, I dislike the assumed gender bias that might come with that term. Members across the gender spectrum would be welcome, and of the various orientations, with the caveat that the organisation is limiting its scope to the actions while responsible for others. A different group would be more suited for the oversight of the actions of the other party.
A suggested code of conduct:
Always obtain informed consent.
Negotiate all potential activities prior to playing. This includes aftercare.
Never renegotiate when consent cannot be obtained.
Admit your mistakes, attempt to resolve them in reasonable fashion.
Do not misrepresent yourself or your skills.
Do not allow style to countermand substance.
Cease play when a safeword is used, ensure others do also.
Ensure that your partner is properly monitored whenever they are in an altered state.
You are responsible for your own mental state, take reasonable precautions.
Do not intentionally or deliberately cause unwanted damage, be it mental, physical or emotional.
Inform your partner when you have concerns.
Ensure your partner always has a method of communicating with you.