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By Legba Carrefour

America is a strange land where we’re allegedly free to do as we please, yet we only feel we can do so after popular culture gives us license. So it should come as no surprise that the idea of making love in some configuration of bodies other than the piously missionary has only occurred to a great deal of the American public after the 2011 release of the Twilight fanfic bodice ripper Fifty Shades of Grey. Distressingly (or, more accurately, hilariously) the release of the novel has correlated to a surge in emergency room visits for reasons of sexual injury, allegedly as a consequence of amateurish experimentation.

As BYT’s Chief Bodily Injury and Sexual Misadventure Correspondent, I was asked by our fine Editing Fuehrers to come up with a simple plan to help you avoid an embarrassing hospital visit. Hey, don’t be embarrassed: When it comes to sex, we’re all amateurs the first few times. When I lost my virginity, I thought the whole process required no less than four full bottles of lube, resulting in my sliding off my partner with great force and leaving a one inch deep dent in the wall, while KY jelly slowly dripped off my body like a space traveler freshly ejected from a cryogenic chamber. But having weird sex isn’t complicated: Some people into BDSM seem to think you need to take a three-hour course on rope bondage before taking your clothes off and that’s nonsense. So here’s some really basic advice, from one pervert to another.

On Not Lodging Household Objects Up Your Butt In Perpetuity

Equestrian enthusiast Kenneth Pinyan, better known to his fans as Mr. Hands, died from a perforated colon in 2005 after successfully copulating with a horse, no mean feat. In fact, the overwhelming majority of hospitalizations for sex reasons are for “foreign object removal.” There’s a few really simple ways to avoid having this happen to you. First, if it hurts in a not-fun way, desist shoving that 4-inch circumference dildo up on in there. Second, and this is the best piece of advice, never ever ever shove anything in your ass that doesn’t have a flanged base. This means that the base of the foreign object suddenly widens to such an extent that it can’t push past your butthole, meaning that you’ll always have a handle by which to extract said foreign object, and it won’t get lost. Third, try poppers. In D.C., you can grab them from the last remaining sex shop in the city, Bite The Fruit, formerly known as the Leather Rack. Fourth, your ass can exert a pretty intense amount of pressure on any given object, due to the purpose your ass being to expel shit. Ergo, don’t put anything breakable or sharp up there, like light bulbs, which happens with shocking frequency. It’ll end badly.

FUN FACT: You can actually walk around with something up your bum more or less indefinitely, at least until your next bowel movement.

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On Getting Choked, With Force, Without Winding Up Dead

Asphyxiation, better known in the kink scene as breath control, is a pretty fun way to to have some pretty intense orgasms, and fool around with the interplay of power and control if you’re doing it with another partner. It’s also a terribly embarrassing way to die, as actor David Carradine and INXS singer Michael Hutchence tragically learned. How to avoid their fates? First, don’t do it alone. Second, if you do it alone, don’t use a noose or anything that tightens on its own. Whatever you wrap around your neck, make sure it requires you actively pulling on it so that if you do lose consciousness, you won’t choke to death. Third, keep a pair of scissors handy. And make sure that those scissors are sharp enough to actually cut through whatever you and your hypothetical sex friend are using.

FUN FACT: The overwhelming majority of fatalities linked to autoerotic asphyxiation are male. Women either aren’t doing it as often, or, more likely, are far less stupid.

On Restraints And Bolting Yourself To Heavy Shit

Thanks to the way our fucked-up society works, a good deal of us can only think of power dynamics in terms of the power differential between cop and whomever a cop happens to want to wail on. Ergo, a large amount of people turn to handcuffs when they want to do a little restraining in the bedroom. You ever been arrested? Handcuffs hurt like a motherfucker, particularly if wielded by meat-head cop idiots. A spokesperson for the London fire department recently claimed that a significant number of calls every year are for handcuff-sex emergencies.

A recommendation: Don’t use handcuffs. If you insist on using handcuffs, use a double-lock cuff that allows you to set it so the cuffs can’t tighten beyond a certain point once locked. But in general, don’t use anything that you can’t easily get out of in an emergency. And when I say emergency, I mean a literal emergency. Once, I bolted my partner’s wrists to the wall above our bed, and, after various adult things transpired, we both passed out, shit-can drunk, covered in wax from still burning candles. Can you guess what happened next? As we slept, the still-burning candles somehow set fire to our venetian blinds, which fell down and set fire to some comic books, which then set fire to the mattress, and that’s how we woke up at 5 a.m. to four foot high flames surrounding our bed. We tried to flee, but realized my partner was still bolted to the wall, necessitating my bracing a foot against the wall, ripping out the plaster in an adrenalin-fueled freak-out, and our rushing out of the room naked, mostly-tied up, and slathered in every bodily fluid imaginable as flames spit out the door behind us. The fire department was not amused.

FUN FACT: Learn from my mistake. Put the candles out after you’re done. Keep scissors handy. Or maybe a sledgehammer. Don’t be an idiot.

On Safe Words And Escape Plans

Sometimes something goes weird, you pull a muscle, you’re uncomfortable, or you just plain realize you’re not really that attracted to the person who’s firing a staple gun into your shoulder (I met a guy at a rave who was wandering around in his underwear, inviting strangers to staple gun dollar bills to anywhere on his body. He made three hundred bucks in two hours). In these instances, a safe word is useful. As recommended by BDSM professionals, pick a one-syllable word that you would be otherwise unlikely to shout out in the middle of sex but can shout out quickly. Do you have a burning desire to get gagged with a live squirrel and half a pound of duct tape? No problem! Talk to your partner and per-arrange a way to tap out. Like a pro wrestler. But with more dicks and vaginas and buttholes.

FUN FACT: My preferred safe word is “Nancy Kerrigan.” I do not necessarily follow the advice of BDSM professionals.

On Asking Permission

This is unequivocally the most important part of being a safe perv: Ask fucking permission.

The release of Fifty Shades came along with a lot of people in the BDSM scene screaming that the novel and movie inaccurately portrays kink relationships and practices as abusive and people who do this stuff as damaged. My general view is that a work of fiction that portrays fantasy rape, domination, bondage, and what have you, while it might be disturbing to some portion of the population, it doesn’t have to come along with a long conversation about consent and trigger warnings. But make no mistake, in actual real human being life, any sexual activity, from the most plain vanilla genital rubbing to whipping out a violet wand (for electrical stimulation of the skin) or Wartenberg pinwheel (an old medical device that’s a pinwheel with metal spikes used for testing nerve responses–big fan), requires actively talking to your partner about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what both of you want out of it, and, most importantly, if they’re comfortable with and desiring of whatever horrible act of copulation is on your mind.

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All too often, you see some shitheads into BDSM use the pressure of saying that if you don’t participate in a specific kind of kinky sexual play, you’re a vanilla loser. Never fall for that crap. That’s almost the exact line the disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn used this past week in his trial for pimping when a sex worker accused him of involuntarily and forcibly sodomizing her without even bothering to ask. “I had no way of knowing she didn’t want it. I guess I have a sexuality that’s rougher than the average man.” Pure douchebag.

FUN FACT: The absence of a no does not indicate the presence of a yes.

Now go forth, ye pervs, and have fun!