Here a landmine, there a landmine: What to do when things go wrong


One of my most often uttered sayings when it comes to humiliation play is this…

“It’s not if something will go wrong, it’s when.”

This really would hold true for any kinky play (or life as a whole), and I’ve seen that the most dangerous mistakes happen when a dominant is overly arrogant that it won’t happen to them.

Landmine – a psychologically explosive experience due to a trauma or negative association with an activity, word or scenario. Also known as; trigger, hot button.

When it comes to psychological play, many kinksters don’t have the kind of deep experience that allows them to have prior awareness for every possible trigger that might happen. So while it’s important to negotiate thoroughly (if you haven’t downloaded my special Humiliation Negotiation form, you should do that now), it’s also important to have a “Trigger Plan.”

“Aftercare” is for when things go right. A “Trigger Plan” is for when things go wrong.

Even if you’ve never experienced a negative trigger during a scene, it can be a really helpful exercise to take some time to think about what you might need when a landmine explodes. Remember too that bottoms & submissives aren’t the only one that experience landmines or triggers, a top or dominant can also be thrown into a bad headspace by something happening during play.

A “Trigger Plan” can include any number of options, with the goal of helping the person that is triggered feel safe and cared for. Of course that will mean different things to different people. Here’s a small selection of what someone might need when triggered:

  • To be held & hugged.
  • To be left alone.
  • To be told that they are an amazing human being who is cared for and appreciated.
  • Something to eat or drink.
  • Something to wrap around them, like a comfy blanket or pajamas.
  • To cuddle a stuffed animal.
  • To stay silent.
  • To immediately process their feelings and talk it out.
  • To be totally distracted by watching a movie or going for a walk.

Or perhaps something totally different. You might need the same thing every time a trigger is hit, or you might need something completely different depending on the situation. Regardless, it’s worth thinking about ahead of time so that you have, at the very least, a loose plan to work from. Watching someone you care about crumple in emotional pain can be hugely challenging for anyone. In this case, use this quote as a guide…

“The value is in the act of planning, not the plan itself.” – Unknown

Do your best not to blame each other if your scene doesn’t go as planned. As I often like to say…

“Kink is a team sport”

So don’t forget that you’re in this together. Communicate as best as you can and know that you’re both doing your best!

Want to know more?

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