Mentoring, self-help and submissive exploration


trauma trigger is an experience that causes someone to recall a previous traumatic memory, although the trigger itself need not be frightening or traumatic and can be indirectly or superficially reminiscent an earlier traumatic incident. Trauma triggers are related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition in which people often cannot control the recurrence of emotional or physical symptoms,or of repressed memory. Triggers can be subtle and difficult to anticipate,and can sometimes exacerbate PTSD. A trauma trigger may also be referred to as a trauma stimulus or a trauma stressor.

In BDSM, any form of play can trip triggers that you may not even know exist until they happen.

While many use this word in the sense of triggering trauma, there are many other kinds of triggers, such as sexual triggers, happiness triggers, humiliation triggers and more.

Triggers can be quite diverse, appearing in the form of individual people, places, noises, images, smells, tastes, emotions, animals, films, scenes within films, dates of the year, tone of voice, body positions, bodily sensations, weather conditions, time factors, or combinations thereof.

Triggers can be subtle and difficult to anticipate, and can sometimes exacerbate post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition in which sufferers cannot control the recurrence of emotional or physical symptoms, or of repressed memory.

A trigger can manifest in a variety of forms from exhibiting a changed mental state or physical reactions. A person that is experiencing a trigger may not even know this is happening.

Unless it is negotiated, willfully pushing a trigger of any kind on someone without any implied permissions is most often a consent violation.

Trigger Warning

In some publications, a “trigger warning” may appear at the beginning of certain articles. These are to warn that the articles contain disturbing themes that may trigger traumatic memories for sufferers. An example of a trigger warning is: “TRIGGER WARNING: This content deals with an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.”

Common Triggers

Triggers that are common may vary due to individual background and culture and thus you must assertively communicate about triggers to maximize safety rather than expect that they should be known and understood.

As such there is no universal list of triggers. There are, however, many things that are prevalent triggers across many cultures. This list is by no means complete, so use good judgment, if you think something might be a trigger for someone, discuss it with them during negotiations before engaging in this kind of activity. Conversely, if you have a specialized trigger, be sure to mention that to someone you intend to interact with extensively and/or play with. If you feel as an adult of sound mind that you cannot (or are not sure if you can) communicate effectively about your limits and triggers then consider finding a protector you can trust before going to spaces featuring these activities such as dungeons and play parties.

Common Triggers:

  •  Physical touch of any kind
  •  Any form of sexually stimulating touch
  •  Fluid Bonding
  •  CNC, D/s, M/s
  •  Blood Play (to include play piercing needles)
  •  Rape Play
  •  Knife Play
  •  Impact Play
  •  Medical Play
  •  Fire Play
  •  Humiliation
  •  Interrogation and Torture
  •  Role Play that includes potentially offensive materials such as general hostility, Nazi uniforms, Teasing about religion/sexuality, or Racial Slurs.
  •  Hypnotism
  •  Gunge involving waste products to include urine, feces, garbage and others
  •  Seizure inducing lights
  •  Literally any form of Edge Play, Fear Play and most things regarding BDSM


The first step in helping trauma survivors to begin the healing process involves establishing a safe environment, in particular, an environment in which the person does not feel threatened with recurrence of the original trauma, and also feels safe from encountering situations that will trigger the memory of the original trauma.Because traumatic memories are stored differently in the brain from non-traumatic memories, their recurrence is often difficult or impossible for the survivor to predict or control.Creating a living condition in which a survivor feels protected from trauma and from people or situations that will trigger traumatic memory enables the survivor to begin the healing process, in which survivors integrate their dissociated traumatic experience into acknowledged memory and are able to reconnect with their surroundings.

Further Reading

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