13 red flags for dating and relationships

Author: KatKristall
Kinky Life | Recommendations

Everyone has heard it before: “Oh, that’s critical. I would see it as a ‘red flag’ now.” Red flags are a metaphor for certain behaviors, statements and attitudes that should be looked out for in potential partners. This is to protect yourself from manipulation, toxic dynamics, serious injury, and more. Sometimes we talk about stupidity here.

Because our community has the most wonderful and exciting people. We are a conglomeration of dazzling differences and that is what makes this world so attractive. Unfortunately, there are also some people who are black sheep. Everyone comes across a sheep like that at some point. People you should stay away from because they have an unhealthy understanding of BDSM or simply aren’t right for you.

So that you can recognize them as early as possible, today we will introduce you to a few of these red flags or behaviors that you might encounter, especially in the dating phase or at the beginning of a relationship.

A question of age?

Many of the behaviors that we consider critical today were previously common practice or much less frowned upon. The understanding of all sides, whether Dom, Top, Switch, Bottom, Sub or Serf, has become significantly greater and more comprehensive. Therefore, some of our advice may sound a bit overcautious to some. Maybe we’ll give you some new food for thought with these. And if not, it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself of them.

1. Makes you his imagination. Without your consent.

In the world of the Internet, we are often initially a collection of titles that we have given ourselves. We feed our preferences and roles into multiple choice software and no matter how good the profile text is, some people will always miss it.

It often happens that you are assigned a role or a characteristic that is out of the question for you. Or even if you feel comfortable in that role, you don’t give your consent for everyone to treat you that way. You will be placed in scenarios that do not correspond to your imagination without your consent.

No matter whether you are addressed with “My mistress, I want to serve you, throw myself at your feet and clean your house. I can hardly wait to live in your cage and pamper her cute toes every day” or whether a message with “I want you to wait for me naked, kneeling, blindfolded in a hotel room, I will introduce you to your limits and into worlds beyond your imagination.”

Anyone who starts a conversation like this has not asked for your consent beforehand, put you in this role in their head and decided without knowing you what you should be for him or her. These people also have the potential to demand something from you or do something to you and then say “What, I thought you were into that?”.

2. Does not accept safeword

“I don’t play with safewords. I know my playing partner and can see in their eyes when it would be too much.”

Your safeword is your emergency parachute. He is your safety and a clear sign to stop, no further! Someone who doesn’t acknowledge this is only focused on their own needs. A person who thinks they can always tell what’s going on inside you is out of touch.

Especially if you don’t know each other that well or you’re just starting to play, the other person has no way of knowing what’s going on inside you. You don’t have to have your own safe word, for example the traffic light code or a stop signal can be used. A safeword is important and applicable to everyone involved in the game, no matter what role he or she has.

Someone who downplays a safe word and perceives it as a restriction is overestimating themselves. People who behave like this are focused on themselves and will not get involved with you. They also often engage in gaslighting, a form of psychological violence. Using a safeword as an example, it would be “If you have a safeword, then you assume that I will hurt you! You don’t want to trust me!”

3. Ignores your boundaries

Borderline experiences are attractive and intense. They are one of the special experiences within BDSM: getting to what you were worried or afraid of and even beyond. However, you have to be introduced to such an experience slowly. You need trust and security in a partner and it is important to take the steps to get there carefully. A person who is careless or careless about your limits and simply exceeds them does not respect your self-esteem. If you’ve clearly communicated “this is my limit” beforehand, anything beyond that is an invasion of your comfort zone.

A long time it was said:  “Sub must be broken.” This meant that true submission could only be achieved when one’s own will was exceeded and overthrown. Today, however, it is very clear that true devotion can only be decided through voluntary surrender in a gradient.

4. Plays while intoxicated

“Don’t drink and kink”: A principle that is now firmly anchored in the scene, because playing under the influence of mind-altering substances can quickly go wrong. Therefore, a clear warning applies to people who want to play or have sex carelessly in this state.

Because luxury foods are exactly that: a pleasure! They can loosen the tongue, change the mood and are often a common tool in social and social situations. But when you’re under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other substances, you don’t make the same conscious decisions as you do when you’re sober.

In a state where one can no longer safely be a part of traffic, one should not be a part of a dangerous practice.

There should always be clear communication and control over the body and perception. No matter whether below or above.

No, of course this does not apply across the board, forever, to everyone, for everything or after 20 years. Conscious consumption can take place in a long, established or agreed relationship. But not when you’re just getting to know each other. So if your date starts recklessly wanting to play with you after a few glasses of alcohol: stay away!

By the way: In addition to common consumption substances, this warning also applies to strong moods and feelings such as “pride”, “attention” and “environment”. At a party, even without alcohol or drugs, you can quickly become intoxicated by the surroundings, the looks from others and the attention. You push yourself harder, go further, become more willing to show off. Even in these moments it is important to remember your boundaries, the boundaries of your counterpart and your agreements and wishes. Is your date trying to take advantage of such a mood? Red Flag!

5. Can see the future

“I know you like that.”

In contrast to point one, in this case it means that you are already in direct contact with someone, meaning that you also interact in real life. The person does something to you, does something to you or confronts you with something that they independently and without explicit agreement assume that you like.

This limit is often exceeded, especially in the area of related kinks. But a person who likes choking doesn’t automatically like gagging. A person who is into shame is not automatically into dirty talk.

Someone who does something to you without prior consultation and then tells you how you should feel about it is invasive. Be sure to clearly say in this moment, “We didn’t talk about that, so you can’t assume it.” And: it’s better to interrupt the session instead of enduring it.

6. No limits, no taboos

“I have no limits. You can do whatever you want with me!”

No inhibitions? At the beginning that sounds like great freedom. A great chance to finally live out all your desires. But a person who cannot set boundaries for himself or herself has not considered what he or she really wants. Or just don’t want to. Be careful of this red flag because the potential for “too much” or “too little” is very high.

7. Take advantage of emotions

Emotional exploitation is both conscious manipulation and induced dependence. Something that can be situational or permanent.

The constant criticism of appearance and performance or even one’s own character. Stifling one’s own opinion, questioning perception and memory, or even destabilizing one’s self: one can be emotionally exploited in many ways. Often one’s own conscience or morals are used against oneself.

Some of these things happen subconsciously. But they are extremely harmful when they happen consciously.

Of course, for some subs the greatest thing is to serve 24/7 a Master or Mistress, to give up all decisions and to be controlled by others. However, this happens with mutual consent and with thoughts of the best for the other person.

But when it comes to emotional manipulation, you often question yourself: “Can I do it? Would I be allowed to do it? Am I good enough for it? I’d rather not do that, I was so criticized for it last time.”

You reduce yourself, build up fears, feelings of shame and doubts. Sometimes you lose entire traits of your own character through such behavior.

The difficulty lies in recognizing such behavior. Often this is only brought to your attention by third parties and outsiders. Because people who exhibit such behavior are often masters of manipulation and conversation.



8. Mistakes? Not me!

BDSM is based on trust. Almost all types of play are borderline experiences and, viewed from the outside, fall under bodily harm, deprivation of liberty or pressure. Always keep this in mind whenever you get involved in something!

This problem can occur in all relationships. In BDSM, however, it becomes particularly critical when someone cannot admit mistakes and does not apologize. Even if the person knows something wrong is happening and is sorry.

Sometimes you’re just wrong, grasping too hard, assuming the wrong thing, misreading signs, communicating poorly, or getting too carried away. It is normal for misunderstandings, disagreements or mishaps to occur. Mistakes happen and are excusable.

But if there is no acknowledgment that a mistake has been made and no apology is given afterwards, then that is a sign that these situations are not being taken seriously. Even if pain is only temporary and caused accidentally.

Your body, your mind and your feelings are important and a person who sees violations or violations of these as unimportant is careless and treats you poorly. To create the trust to experience or exercise honest devotion, one must be able to admit mistakes and apologize. Otherwise your disregard will not be recognized.

9. Use comparisons to challenge

“But my last sub handled that easily.”

Experiences matter and they help us shape the game and the future. You draw conclusions and wisdom from the past and comparisons can also be good, because people and their bodies are different. But comparisons can also put pressure and make someone feel inferior.

Statements like: “You can’t do this” or “Better than you. More than you. Harder than you.” affect people on a bad and deep level. Sometimes the comparison is not with someone from the past, but with someone from the internet, from pictures, videos or stories.

A person who is not satisfied with your achievements or your willingness to practice, who constantly compares you with someone else and thereby devalues you, is negative towards you. Every achievement you accomplish is great and yours. Only you decide whether you want to improve and no one else.

But comparing yourself positively with others is also clearly a red flag. Because being “better” than someone else might make you feel good in that moment. But someone who speaks badly about others may not hold back from doing the same about you later.

10. Stimulates you in unhealthy ways

Similar to challenging someone through comparisons is goading through reverse psychology:

“You can’t do it anyway. You can’t stand it!”

Defiance is an innate human trait. What was an effective tool in the schoolyard is unfortunately still used with adults to force them to achieve, endure or do something through such requests.

A challenge can be great if it is tackled together and not pushed too hard. A common goal can even be one of the positive signs in a relationship. But behind a challenge there can be not only success and goals, but also failure and loss. The negative feeling can be difficult to come by and is then also a confirmation of the challenger.

You often hear from submissive people: “…and then they said ‘You can’t do it’. I persevered out of spite, look how stubborn and strong I am!”

At first it sounds good and like self-affirmation, but in the end you have forced yourself to do something that you actually didn’t want or would have been able to endure. Just because someone else had chosen defiance as their response.

11. Establishes prohibitions and arbitrary rules

Everyday rules, restrictions, rituals: These are often signs of a stable and beautiful BDSM relationship. If devotion and the inclination are strong enough for fixed rules, this often indicates an intimate connection. However, things become more critical when these rules consist almost entirely of prohibitions.

Now the question arises: Aren’t bans simply strongly worded rules? Yes and no. A ban can certainly be equated with a rule. The problem with bans is that they are often worded in a strong and judgmental way, making them feel like something negative.

For example, if you agree as a rule that both of you will be transparent about your further contacts, then that is something that is based on mutuality and understanding. Ergo, a rule. However, if you are prohibited from sending messages without review and permission, your contacts and your communication will be controlled by others. A ban can create uncertainty about what you can and can’t do, and you might stop sending some messages even though they are important.

Targetedly preventing contact with others and isolating a person is one of the biggest red flags. A person who makes you believe that he or she is your only caregiver or that you only have contact with people he or she considers “worthy” is toxic and dangerous.

A person who imposes rules on you that significantly hinder your everyday life, endanger or limit your health and your ability to work, is also encroaching on freedoms beyond the BDSM context.

Because such rules must be decided in a long and good conversation with each other, not out of desire and arbitrariness. If that’s what you want, rules can be a good way to regulate your life. But only by adapting them accordingly and not to the ideas of another person.

12. Knows neither thanks nor recognition

Dedication, endurance, creation: words that indicate that something is given. That we invest in each other and do something for each other.

You achieve great things no matter which side you are on and play and you deserve recognition for that. A counterpart who tells you that you have done or achieved good things and that you are outstanding.

A person who never thanks you, praises or encourages you, does not recognize you, does not see or appreciate your achievements. But recognition is important, especially in BDSM, for your self-worth, for the value of the things you do with each other and should never be put aside.

You cannot be taken for granted. Just like your body, your confidence, your performance. Accordingly, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be treated like that.

By the way, the statement “I’m not that good at it” doesn’t count. Relationships are learning processes in which everyone has to be willing to work on themselves. Because in every relationship it is important that those involved are seen, understood and valued and that this is communicated to them. Not just physically, but also in words.

13.  Has no safety barriers

There are more safety barriers in BDSM than just safewords and traffic lights. Namely education and preparation. Researching safety measures, practicing how to use equipment and also contraception are important topics for your kinky activities with each other.

So you should never assume that someone wants to be touched without barriers. Instead, you should talk to the other person about sexually transmitted diseases and contraception, things, especially dangerous ones like breathplay, should be practiced outside of sessions, latex gloves, safety scissors and more should be ready. For some types of games, it is advisable to attend a workshop or training beforehand. These are often also available online.

Regardless of whether it’s toys, whips or gags: everything that comes into contact with mucous membranes, sweat or the like must be cleaned before and after each use. If your counterpart treats these or the other things mentioned above carelessly, disregards your wishes or downplays them, this should definitely be seen as a red flag.

Those were the most important red flags at a glance. In addition, there are other critical behaviors to watch out for, especially when it comes to submissive and dominant individuals.

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