You hear so much about negotiation and how important it is for your safety. Negotiations play a huge role in what it is that we do, both lifestyle and vanilla. You negotiate your first date, your vanilla relationships, your job offers, etc. In lifestyle you negotiate how to meet someone new, how to play with someone, each and every scene, aftercare and so forth. So much to remember!
I wanted to put some helpful tips and tricks here as guidelines for negotiating. No these are not all my own creation, not by any stretch, but are a collection of useful information gathered over the years to be shared here and references will be provided at the bottom of this discussion.
If you are new and don't know what you like, that's okay, just say so. Watch others play and if something intrigues you ask about it. "Hey loved watching you flog...would you mind letting me feel it?" is a way to try something just for feel (and no, you don't have to undress to feel something - stick out your arm if you want bare skin). It's hard to negotiate what you don't know but please don't be afraid to say so, it's vitally important and we all started there and understand the learning process. Let your curiosity guide you but have safe words always and don't be afraid to use them. Safe words help the Top/Dom know how to play and give you what you need. Remember YOU THE BOTTOM/SUBMISSIVE ARE IN CHARGE! The Top/Dom is RESPONSIBLE for you but they rely on you being honest and communicating with them.
We all know safewords are the hardest words to ever utter so a note to Top/Dom types - if your bottom/submissive calls a safeword, please say "THANK YOU". We have had great feedback from many who have said hearing "thank you" after calling "yellow" or "red" or whatever safeword they used, helped them immensely as it was positive affirmation that it was okay to use the safeword.
Guidelines for negotiations:
** Negotiation acryonym:
PRPT: placing ropes properly tight = place, roles, people, time
OLSI: only let sex intensify = oops, limits, sex, intoxicants
BPMH: binding penises may hurt = bondage, pain, marks, humiliation
SOFA: so only fuck animals = safewords, opportunities, follow-up, anything else
S - safeword: green, yellow & red?
M - medical: allergies, conditions, medications?
A - aftercare: cuddles, food, drink, blanket?
S - soft limits: consider but not with everyone
H - hard limits - out of the question
T - triggers: words, actions, sounds?
S - sexual touch: where can / cannot touch?
Always be respectful and courteous.
- is this for now or later? Public dungeon or private location? Do not allow yourself to be secluded for safety's sake
- who will be involved in scene? Negotiations need to include everybody
- what type of scene? BDSM, sex *ALWAY NEGOTIATE SEX PRIOR TO A SCENE*
- expectations of scene? Cathartic, pleasure, subspace
- what is the experience level of each person?
- how long of a scene? 20-30 minutes recommended for first time playing
- what play level? light, medium, heavy, rough
- medical - for both sides! Any issues, injuries or bruises? Diabetes, bruise or bleed easy? Asthma?
- known emotional triggers to stay away from?
- how to handle when a trigger has been hit or an Oops occurs - communicate and discuss in a constructive fashion
- what is off-limits/hard limits? Nudity, genital area, knives, scat, marks?
- in scene check-ins? Do NOT try to renegotiate Sex at this time!
- safewords and signals - Red is Stop, Yellow is check in/change/slow, SAFEWORD requests interference
- whose toys and what toys will be used? How are they cleaned?
- aftercare? blanket, food/drink?
- transition and release - to who or how?
- follow-ups - how to contact
Some things to keep in mind:
- negotiations happen outside of scene space never once a scene has started
- negotiations are for each scene - unless you are in a dynamic with that play partner, negotiate each and every scene
- negotiate by inclusion rather than exclusion
- NO MORE QUESTIONS once in scene space (i.e. cross, spanking bench, rope area or other equipment area).
- if you started a scene and forgot something, save it for next time. Some people start getting into a headspace immediately upon donning cuffs and may agree to something they might not otherwise agree to. DON'T ASK.
- always respect limits and DO NOT EVER SAY YOU HAVE "NO LIMITS" - everyone has limits even if you don't know what they are yet.
- final statement in negotiations: ANYTHING NOT DISCUSSED IS "OFF THE TABLE" - that takes are of anything you forgot to ask or talk about
When in doubt, say no and ask more questions. There will always be another day to play, your safety is much more important. Too often newbie frenzy happens and we see people agree to play they shouldn't and play harder or more often than may be good for them. Yes everyone is different but know yourself - know or learn what you like, don't like, want to try, hard limits, triggers, and so forth. Ask questions and more questions, there is NO stupid question. If you have that question I guarantee someone else does or has also.
As always if @Lady_Leigh or the LoftNC can be of any help, please don't hesitate to ask.
Negotiate wisely and play safe!