This is an often forgotten topic. Those in the lifestyle for a while don't bother with negotiation if they have been with their dom/me for a while. Those who are new, may not always have a mentor to guide them through the initial steps into the lifestyle. When reading through many of the fiction books, negotiation is mentioned but not in detail. Is it really the author's responsibility to teach newbies the intricacies of negotiation? My answer is no. I also say that too much spent on negotiation scenes are a drag in a book I want to read for fun and arousal. So how does a newbie learn about negotiation other than in a class or non fiction books?

Here are some tips from a class I attended. This is not a be all end all. This is for those who are interested in the lifestyle and want to start out. This is for those who aren't sure how to discuss with the Top. Or if you are a new Top, what do you discuss with a bottom?

Key Points
1.Limitations which includes health


Limitation is when we discuss what will be done. We don't need to go down into the minute details. For example, we wouldn't negotiate down to 18 canings, 15 open hand slaps, 2 minute break, etc. This becomes tedious and rigid. Instead, some questions could be:

Who is involved in this scene? Is it just you and your Dom/me? Are there others participating? Are there people watching?

How much power exchange will be transferred?

How does the top wish to be addressed? Honourifics?

How does health reasons come into play? What if a person has asthma? Ball gags are probably not recommended. What if the person is hypoglycemic? Six hour scene with no food is also not recommended.

Discuss about safety and especially safety gear around for edgeplay. If the Top gets their panty in a twist about questions into safety, this is not a good sign. Obviously, the bottom should ask politely, not demand to know every detail about safety and how to recover in the event of a scene gone wrong.

Another safety tip when encountering a new Top. Look at their toys. How well maintained are the toys? Are they clean? How do they treat it? This will give you a clue as to how the Top will treat a bottom.

REMEMBER~ If you don't like the way the Top or bottom negotiates, you don't need to play. Walk away.

Where do we play? Is it the first time and they want to go to a private location? This is not recommended. Try watching how the Top/bottom play. This will give you an idea if you will be comfortable with this person. Also, if this is going to be in a private play party, it's best to ask questions on sex, up front. Private play parties are a bit more relaxed to sexual interaction, even if there are many people around. The statistics I've been told is that 1 out of 4 people have STD and they don't know about it.

Triggers can be positive or negative reactions to physical play or spoken words. It is best to discuss known triggers to head off panic attacks. Especially when this is a new partner, talk about what cause happy thoughts and what causes “rage” reactions.

For example, if someone I knew were to call me a slut or whore, I would look at them and think, “whatever”. If it was my DH, I'd think, “hmm, maybe he wants to play! YAY!” If some stranger said, “Hey slut, you're my whore.” My answer would be, “Who the FUCK do you think you are?” Then I'd proceed to beat the person or give them a severe verbal cut down. Different people could cause different reactions. It's best to discuss ahead of time. No one wants a scene to end badly.

This must be negotiated. Use the safeword if you aren't feeling well. Perhaps you need a slow down safeword. Communicate what is wrong. Don't just scream your safeword. For example, if you are in a tied up suspension and your right arm goes to sleep, tell the Top immediately so that it can be adjusted. Don't whine about your arm hurting. Explain it's going numb. There is no shame in using the safeword.

In the same vein, don't abuse the safeword. Using the safeword to get out of punishment or when the scene isn't going the way YOU want it to go, is a sign of bigger problems. If the majority of your scenes end due to a safeword being screamed out, that is another indication there are problems.

Remember, withholding a safeword is not right either. This places greater burden on the Top to figure out if they have really gone too far. This makes it not fun for the Top. Chances are, the bottom who never says the safeword even when they should, will not be played with by others for long. The bottom is too great a risk.

Most people immediately think of branding or tattoos. This is more than permanent marks. This covers temporary marks from whipping, cropping, spanking, rough play, blood play, etc. How long and where should the marks be? Remember, people may be in a job where marks will raise questions.

This has been a hot topic. Some people believe the Vanilla lovers who want to get a little kinky have introduced aftercare. Some believe it's fictional and only found in Ms. Cherise Sinclair's stories. Regardless of where this originated, it's here to stay. What is aftercare? Aftercare is different for each individual. It is best to discuss what aftercare is preferred. Some people want to be wrapped in a blanket, given water and cuddled. They want to hear loving reassurance from their Top. Others don't want to be touched. They want to be in their floaty subspace and gently drift to consciousness. There are many in between. It could also depend on the scene and the mood of the sub before play started.

Aftercare is not just for the bottom. Some Tops also need aftercare. Some Tops want to nurture and love up their bottom to express that they are caring and feeling people. Some Tops need to be reassured the wicked beatings haven't caused their lover/partner to hate them and not love them anymore.

Ask about the person's definition

Last thoughts
If the scene is S/M, it's recommended to calibrate the pain levels. What does this mean? For example, if a Top thinks they are applying a level 3 whipping, ask the bottom what level they feel. If the bottom says, it's a 7, this is an indication that the Top will need to adjust accordingly. Just like if the bottom were to say, “eh, feels like a 1”. Then the Top can step it up on the whipping intensity.

Communication isn't just through verbal. Watch the body language and ask if your interpretation of the body language is what the person is feeling. Lastly, if the sub is gagged, they can still use fingers to indicate pain levels. There is never a good reason to not be able to communicate. If a situation occurs where all communication avenues are unavailable, this is a high risk edgeplay.


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