Negotiation in BDSM

Negotiation Before, During, and After BDSM

Before: Negotiation

Remember, negotiation is ongoing and is not a one-time occurrence. While it is imperative for negotiation to happen before playing, it is beneficial to re-visit negotiations at specific intervals in D/s and M/s relationships. Negotiating before a scene is a great way to get to know your partner, their likes and dislikes, and physical activities that are off limits for the playtime.

Negotiation musts:

  • Limits – Sexual, physical, emotional, history of PTSD/trauma, history of abuse

Examples:

  • “Would it offend you if I called you a naughty little bitch and slapped your face? Would it arouse you?”
  • “How do you feel about humiliation? What about degradation? What about name calling?”
  • “If I were to _________________, how would you feel?”
  • Triggers – something sexual, physical, or emotional that can trigger trauma or unwanted response
  • Injuries – If you partner has a bad back, a hog-tie bondage scene may not be the best idea.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections –Know your health, know your partner’s health. STI’s can be transmitted from unprotected oral sex and genital sex and swapping of bodily fluid by means of toys, hands, etc. Get tested and talk about it. While this may be uncomfortable for some, it is a sign of respect for yourself and your partner if you have this talk. (pssst… HIV antibodies can take up to 6 months to show up after exposure. What does this mean? It means that if you have had any form of unprotected sex within the past 6 months and you want to have unprotected sex with a new partner, you may want to wait until 6 months have passed, get tested, then go for it.)
  • Aftercare – Discuss what type of aftercare your partner would desire
  • Has the partner ever used a safeword?
  • Can the partner have marks?
  • Are they going to be ok to drive home after the scene or is the experience going to make them feel “high” for too long afterward that they are going to need to rest for a while? 

During: Use Your Senses!

Communication during a scene can deepen your connection with your partner and also help you understand what your partner is feeling both physically and emotionally. Communication is not limited to verbal expression but can be experienced with all senses.

Ways to communicate during a scene:

  • Kink Talk – This kind of talk can include humiliation, degradation, building up, sexy talk, sinister talk, and basically any kind of talk that can happen during a scene. This can be difficult and uncomfortable to do if you have never done it. Practice makes perfect, though, and the only way to get comfortable doing something is to get past the uncomfortable phase. Partners may not be receptive to certain words or to being called certain names, so that’s why it’s important to negotiate before you play. Start slow and build to more hard core language, unless of course your partner wants more. Practice while you’re by yourself, in the shower, and in your car driving to work!
  • Numbers – Numbers can give you more flexibility and insight than safe words. “How painful is this on a scale of 1-10?”
  • Touch – Maintaining a connection such as a hand on a shoulder or on a neck while implementing pain or floggings can be a great way to exchange energy with your partner. It lets them know that you’re in it with them.
  • Eye Contact – Eye contact or restriction of eye contact. Connection or control, which do you want? Yes, you can have both. Also, blindfolds can be an excellent way to help your partner feel safe while they are trusting you to expose them. Blindfolds can also help the Dominant feel comfortable if they are unsure initially.
  • Intuition – If your gut is telling you something, chances are it’s probably right. You can verify gut feelings and improve your intuition by simply asking your partner, “What are you experiencing right now?”
  • Perception – It is our job to become keen observers of others’ body language and reactions. Your partner will share a lot without using words. Study their breath, perspiration, heartbeat, arousal state, twitching, body movements (away or toward), etc.

Important: Always have a way for your partner to communicate the safe words, even if they are bound and gagged. Dog training clickers are great for this. 

 After: Aftercare

Endings are just as important as beginnings, and that’s why it’s important to end your scene with the aftercare that best serves you and your partner. Maybe your aftercare involves sex, maybe it does not. Maybe it does sometimes. There is a chance that no aftercare is desired from your partner, and that is completely acceptable. However, feedback from scenes can improve future experiences.

Communication During Aftercare:

  • Create a Safe Space – Blankets or other items can make someone feel safe. Herbs or oils used for aromatherapy can also be beneficial. Rest is important after endorphin release.
  • Food and Water – After emotionally intense or physically draining scenes, it is important to make sure that your partner’s body has the nourishment in it to cope with the stress of being emotionally or physically drained.
  • Process and Recap – Your partner may have experienced something emotionally cathartic and may need to talk about it. Talking about things assists in the mental processing. You can ask leading questions like, “I noticed how you started to cry when I was caning you. Was there anything in particular about how that made you feel that you need to talk about?”
  • Follow Up – Your partner may need some time to process the events of the scene so that’s why it’s a good idea to check back and follow up on injuries, likes, dislikes, and emotional state.

Play safe! (Well, safe enough…)

Spread the word!