The Six Commandments of Healthy SM:
1. Tell the Truth, first to yourself and then to the people with whom you play, at least as far as you know it at the time;
2. Keep your agreements with the people with whom you play, to the best of your ability; and if you cannot keep them for any reason don’t change your agreements unilaterally: negotiate with the other parties to those agreements, let them know alterations are in the works, and let them participate in the changes;
3. Play safely: SM is a sophisticated form of sexuality, and sometimes it does entail physical and psychological risks; learn enough to know what you and your play partners are doing, to know the difference between what is safe and what is not, and to know what to do if something gets out of hand;
4. Play consensually: don’t involve people with your sexuality who have not agreed to become involved; play only with people who have agreed to play with you;
5. Play sanely physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually, SM can be very intense; like any intense activity it has the short-term potential to draw people farther into it than they might on other occasions regard as wise; know your limits, learn the limits your partners want to adhere to, and play within the limits you and your partners have agreed upon;
6. Play non-exploitively: not everyone is ready, willing, or able to be involved in SM, but not everyone who is unready, unwilling, or unable knows it; honor people where they are: don’t take advantage of someone else’s ignorance or vulnerability to satisfy your own ego or desires.
These Commandments, like the underpinnings of all satisfying, safe play, include a bow to the Delphic Oracle: Know Thyself. (from the introduction to Consensual Sadomasochism by William A. Henkin Ph.D. and Sybil Holiday, CCHT)