Safe sex also implies that no harm is done to oneself or the partner. It cannot be denied that sex often involves uncontrolled behaviour. For many, sex is not exciting unless it is spontaneous, non-premeditated, intoxicated, wild, rough, or even violent.
Soft and gentle lovemaking is by many rejected as old-fashioned or ‘romantic’. This attitude is often found among those who actually know little about lovemaking, feel negative about it, and are afraid to appear vulnerable. Also, they copy behaviour from movies and pornography, which too often carry the message that sex and violence are the same.
Preventing injury: masturbation
Most injuries, however, happen during masturbation, because when one is alone, one is usually less inhibited than with a partner. Most people continue to masturbate throughout life for this reason. No single partner can compete with fantasies, images, and objects used as stimuli. Certain techniques of masturbation carry some risk of injury and it is best to be aware of them. Girls tend to put pins or sticks or other objects into their vagina or urethra or anus. If in their excitement they forget the object, it may get stuck, or even pass through into the bladder. Boys can have similar experiences, which are usually very unpleasant, especially if the doctor has to be called in. Girls and boys can push their genital against a surface or object, and boys can stick their penis into something, making coital movements. If the movements are not controlled and gentle, the sex organ may be hurt, or even damaged. A rather well-known injury is for a man to stick his penis into a narrow ring or hole in an object, a bottle or kettle, and have an erection, which then makes withdrawal impossible, because the bloodflow out of the penis, which normally occurs through veins on the outside of the penis, is blocked. It is unwise to stick the penis into the opening of a vacuum cleaner hose while the hoover is on. It wil suck too hard and cause painful blood swelling. Also used in masturbation are tight clothing, piercings, sharp metal objects or unusual postures. Near-suffocation is another stimulus to arousal and orgasm. This is called asphyxophilia. Sometimes people are found dead, who put a plastic bag over their head, and were apparently unable to remove it before they lost conscience.
Preventing injury by risky sex
People can also have risky sex together. Interestingly, most of the accidents occur as a result of inhibition and ignorance more frequently than through sophisticated kinky sex. Because we never learn how to make love, we do the best we can, but often without sufficient knowledge of even the anatomy of the partner, let alone their sensitive spots, and how to make them feel good. The urge to have intercourse (fuck) which is natural, often overrides the need for human closeness, intimacy and communication. Clumsiness and rough movements can cause pain, skin irritation, bruises, scratch marks, swellings and infections. This is why sex instruction always stresses gentleness and communication even in the heat of sexual desire, waiting for or using sufficient lubrication, and never assuming that the partner wants to feel pain.
Preventing injury by sm
Of course, if couples want to try out games involving an element of pain, that is a different matter. SM (sadomasochism) is the name for any sex game involving the conscious use of power, subjection, postponement of orgasm, seeking out limits of pain experience in combination with sexual arousal. There is a wide range of activities, from mild bondage and only verbal subjection to the use of leather outfits and masks, manacles, chains, whips, piercings in nipples, clitoris or penis, hot candle wax, tight bounding and twisting of the genitals, the use of knives. If injuries occur (again mostly through ignorance), they are usually more serious. Magazines for sm regularly warn their readers against causing damage to themselves or others, cautioning them to be very aware of how much pain the partner can take, and to break off as soon as the activity is no longer experienced as a pleasure.
SM used to be considered a perversion, but nowadays many couples indulge in it to some extent. They usually do so in order to raise the level of arousal in their sex life, which may have become more or less routine. Mostly it is the man who wants this extra kick. He probably has had fantasies about other partners for some time and has waited to ask his wife if she is willing to indulge him. He may not want to go outside his marriage for another partner. The wife may reluctantly go along, dislike it and and give up, but may also turn out to be a diligent and active player in a mutually satisfactory sex game, for as long as it lasts.
For more information see sex & society > sexual variants > sm