I spoke to a fledgling dominant recently who mentioned he was looking forward to "getting to a place in BDSM where I don't make mistakes anymore." I put my hand on his and said, "Darlin', I hate to tell you, but there ain't no such destination."
Of course, you can become skilled with study and practice. It is crucial to learn how to not do physical damage to your bottom—and no matter what kind of BDSM you do, someone out there has figured out the risks for the bottom and published some safety information about how the top should mitigate those risks. Kinksters are a didactic bunch.
What no one tells you about is the other kind of mistake: the one where the top screws up and accidentally hurts him/herself. However, if you get some pervs together, give them a drink or two, and ask them about their most embarrassing moments in the dungeon, you'll hear some stories.
I have my own, of course. Mostly minor stuff, like the time I was piercing someone and ran the needle through her nipple—and deeply into my own thumb. A more dramatic one was when, in an attempt to flog someone much taller than me, I fell off a straight chair I was standing on. I went ass-over-teakettle in one direction, and the chair went in the other, but we both managed to crash into a glass-fronted bookcase. I wasn't seriously injured, but I was out one set of glass doors and many, many points of badass credibility.
It is some small comfort that at least no one was filming me at the time. BDSM porn giant Kink.com occasionally posts blooper reels. The latest one features Dak Ramsey preparing to fuck a submissive boy, who's lying on his back, his ankles tied wide apart and hoisted up high by a horizontal pole hanging from the ceiling. Ramsey grabs the bottom's legs, swoops in for the thrust, then whacks his forehead—with a resounding clang—right on the spreader bar holding the bottom's legs open. Ouch, captured forever in glorious hi-def.
I'm guessing my pal Titan Media performer Tony Buff was pleased to have his recent accident go unrecorded. Watching Tony's BDSM movies, you can tell he's a skilled top—but Mistress Gravity, she is a mean bitch. Tony was doing a golden-shower scene that apparently involved a small lake of piss on a hardwood floor. He slipped in the puddle, cracked his head on the floor, and knocked himself unconscious. Thank god he didn't do a Natasha Richardson on us.
Some mistakes you only unlearn by doing them—or at least wincing in sympathy as you watch them happen to someone else. I watch my head around low-hanging bondage. I don't stand on chairs to flog anyone. And you can bet I'll remember Tony's accident next time I'm rolling someone around in a puddle of piss. I wonder if I can find some slip-resistant stiletto heels?