BDSM Negotiation

There are various forms of negotiation, some require a more dynamic focused style of negotiation while others require a non-sexual based negotiation. I like to call these sub-negotiations. They are an offshoot of the fundamental importance of negotiation within the BDSM lifestyle. So when looking at the negotiation foundation, I see two components that are required to even have a scene. Consent and Wellbeing.

Wellbeing: Playing and exploring can be triggering on the past or current emotional distress or experiences that can surface before, after and even during a scene. Some of the stuff you want to delve into can be dangerous, risky and on occasion mentally/emotionally taxing.  Sharing the knowledge of a mental illness, or a previous traumatizing experience that could be touched upon during play, or not revealing a prior, current or post play injury can put all parties in danger. That is why well-being is curtailed to the negotiation process and BDSM as a whole.

Consent: Consent is the Big Poppa of BDSM. It is an absolute necessity. Without it, there is NO BDSM. Establishing consent can only be done by one party asking a question, and the other party providing an honest response. Regardless of the nature of the dynamic, which can range from occasional play partners to 24/7 Master/slave, establishing and maintaining consent is a constant requirement that is always adapting and changing with our views, experiences and tastes.  It’s been my finding that they only way to obtain and maintain consent effectively is by being open, honest, transparent and communicative. Whether it’s your first time or your millionth time consent is always present and required. The way to ensure consent is simple. Obtain knowledge. Negotiate honestly. Create a consensual agreement. Anything that doesn’t follow that very simple process is not BDSM.

Where to start?

 The BDSM checklist: Prior to playing with someone for the first time a BDSM checklist is the perfect way to cover Yes, No’s and maybe’s. Not only is a perfect way to get to know a partner’s interest and experience it’s also an amazing tool to open the door to discussing your personal details and the type of scene you are looking to have. This is the one I have pulled off the good old internet and is the one I use. This is what I keep stored in my phone. It will evolve and you and your partner do, and it’s easy to keep on you and reference back to should there be any confusion or miscommunication. Even though My boy and I have been together for almost a year, we go over this list every 3-4 months and add or remove things that piqued our interests or we are no longer interested in doing. This is open, honest, transparent and communicative. All bases covered! Excellent start!

1a.
Just in case, it isn’t clear. Yes = Things I consent to.  No = NO CONSENT. Maybe = I’m unsure. NO CONSENT.  
 

2. Going over the list: Going over them together is the start of the bonding process, it promotes openness, honesty and clear communication between both parties. Now in certain dynamics (which I will cover in another post) the Top will not fill out a list but will expect the bottom to do so and both parties are aware of this prior to engaging.

When you are going over your lists discuss the similarities in the no-go zone and in the aww-yes zone. I recommend staying away from the hmm-maybe zone. *  Clearly establish Consent, as I mentioned above there is no room for ambiguity. This step is where boundaries are established once again by being open, honest, transparent and communicative. But going over the list together both the Top and the Bottom begin to understand each other’s limits, experience levels and areas in which they share a desire to explore. Ask questions if you are unclear. By the end, you should have a clear understanding of what is a yes, and what is no. Nothing is grey.

*Occasionally the rush of the adrenaline during a scene can be overwhelming and in add in the enticing energy that arises between the connection of both parties, it can provoke the desire to deviate from the negotiated path, especially in the beginning of your exploration. In that moment by not going over the maybe’s your brain will recall the yes and no discussions and the absence of the maybe discussion, furthermore you will have no boundaries, no guidelines and a lot of ambiguity which provokes a feeling of unsurely which tends to immediately remind us of the surety of the plan. It’s known vs unknown and, in this case, most revert to the comfort of the known. It’s not a guarantee but it’s a good attempt at taking preventive measures and reducing the potential for harm. Addressing them once the connection and understand each other deepens is a lot more fun anyways: D              

  1. Picking the genre: That’s a pretty extensive list of things. Clearly you can’t cover ALL of that in one scene. Focus on something both the Top and the bottom are eager to try and have the knowledge required to take part in safely. You both may want to experience needle play but if neither one of you know how to that safely then that is NOT something you should engage in. Learning together might be a lot of fun, though.
  2. Negotiating your scene: At this point both the Top and the bottom know what is consensual and what type of scene they want to have, now it’s time to get intricate and hash out roughly what the scene will entail. Open, honest, transparent and communicative really come into play here because this is where you both pose honest questions and provide honest answers which become the structure of your scene. Questions such as:

          What toys will the scene have?

           What is the safe word?

           How is your well-being?

            What type of aftercare do you require?

            Are there triggers that I need to be aware of?

           If you need more support who do I call?

           Do you need music, background noise, silence?

           Are you okay playing in public?

          Do you know what Top/Bottom space does to you?

          How long do you want the scene to last?

          How often do you need me to check in during the scene and the days after?

          Is there anything I haven’t mentioned but you would like to discuss?

Now depending on the type of scene you are creating there may be more questions. I can’t possibly list all the potential questions. If you have reached this point then you have some BDSM knowledge and have a general idea of what to ask, what to establish and what to address.

  1. Scene day: It’s finally here! You are nervous, excited and perhaps questioning yourself. If it’s anything beyond common excitement nerves talk to your partner. Tell them how you are thinking and feeling, maybe you need to push it back, or get more comfortable with the boundaries whatever it is… use your voice. Share your state of well-being, do not try to push through because of embarrassment or sheepishness. You will rob yourself of a great experience if your head isn’t in the game, furthermore, you’ve shut your Top/bottom out which could lead to a bad scene and the inability to contain it should the situation become heightened.

Make sure you have all your goodies. Toys, after-care needs, safety devices and pertinent information. Go over boundaries and the scene itself. Talk to each other, perhaps tease each other. Build the momentum. Once you are ready for your scene, fucking have at it! Focus on your Top/bottom. Enjoy their responses. Play with the responses. If you are in public block the noise and focus in on your Top/bottom. Feel the energy. Savor each and every second because it will be over before you know it!

Synn’s bottom line

BDSM requires the truth. Plain and simple. The truth about your well-being, physically, emotionally and mentally, because all of these states of being are influences and impactful before, after and during a scene. For example, if you are a Top and your day started with your boss pissing you off and micro managing you all day, traffic was brutal to and from work, you finally get home and the dog had explosive diarrhea which you stepped in it upon entering your home with both feet, it would have been ok had your cleaning crew not bailed leaving your place not only filthy but smelling like Eau de dirreaha. It’s safe to assume that this Top is not having a good day. Would it be wise, safe or responsible for this Top to not mention the day he’s had to the impact play date that has been arranged for that evening? No. It would not be.

Even if the Top perceives they are capable of shedding the bad juju from the day, it’s not the Top’s place to determine the safety for both parties. The bottom has a right to make an informed decision by knowing what type of day the Top has had and perhaps together they can decide whether or not it’s impacted the Top’s ability to play safe. Now some may argue that the if the Top believes the residue from the day has been shed that there is no requirement to mention the horrid day, but I will counter argue with they fact that often when it comes to our own emotional state we can be blinded. The Top’s judgement may be influenced by the effects of the day and, therefore, holding a skewed perception of the aftermath of the day and its effect on the Top.

Consent. NONE of this matters without it. So without consent, this is all gibberish. Lack of consent equals a violation of another human beings’ rights. Plain and Simple.

My next post in this section will cover what to do when your boundaries have been overstepped and ignored. Until then Be Kinky, Be perverted, Be yourself!

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