BDSM IV: Scene Negotiations: Leontii Holender

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Whether you’re a top/dom, bottom/submissive/slave, switch, or whatever role strikes your fancy, there’s one important thing you’ve got to know how to do to keep yourself and others safe—pre-scene negotiations. It’s this kind of open and honest communication that keeps people safe when they practice BDSM. Even as a writer or reader of ManLove, sometimes we can jump into the steamy whipping play without showing the realistic discussion that happens behind the scenes. Understanding what makes a BDSM scene safe and what doesn’t can help you write realistic playtimes and keep you safe in the real world.

As an adult, you and you alone are responsible for your safety. If you’re a submissive or serving as the bottom, it’s important you know just as much about negotiations as a dominant or topside partner. Assuming another person will automatically know the questions to ask and be able to understand our definition of a certain role, type of play, or what have you is a huge risk to take. In the end, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re not putting yourself in danger or in a position to be abused. Mental and physical abuse are not a part of what BDSM practitioners do, as a whole, and using proper negotiations can help you spot someone that might not be in it with everyone’s safety in mind. If Super Dom Donald makes it clear he refuses to respect the fact you don’t like rattan canes in negotations, it might be a good time to politely decline the invitation to play.

Advanced practitioners engaging in purely casual play or those in well-established relationships might not be observed using a similar distinct list of discussion before they play. In truth, the more a person grows and experiences with a familiar partner, the more they come to understand what these discussion points are to the other person. If you’ve scened with Jorge twelve times, it’s safe to say you both know what it means when he says, “I want to be on bottom this time.” Even so, regardless of a person’s skill set, if they are new to playing with you, I can’t stress the importance of negotations enough. Clear and concise communication will help ensure a safe and fun time for all parties involved.

Listed below are steps and discussion points to use before participating in a BDSM scene. A lot of the topics are common sense, but are applicable to both scenes and new relationship negotations. As a general rule, the less experience you have, the more time you should spend negotiating.

 

Pre-scene Negotiations

Note: It’s important to understand that you’re equal to the other person in the process of negotiation. While the power exchange might change once the scene starts, you have just as many rights as the other person during negotiations. Don’t sell yourself short and if something feels wrong, go with your gut and address the issue up front. Always know where the proverbial door is and don’t be afraid to walk out of it. This is your life, body, and mental safety we’re talking about!

 

Prearrangement & Understanding of Roles

Here is where a firm grasp of BDSM, kink, and fetish lingo comes into play. In this step of the negotiations it is important to discuss your interpretation of words and phrases as you decide who will be in what role and what the dynamic will be. Bottom can mean different things to different people, so it’s important to make sure you can clearly communicate what you mean until you are confident you are both on the same page.

Needs & Expectations

A discussion of both partners’ likes, dislikes, and if they will be able to fulfill the others need set for this particular playtime is very important. If you’re a newbie just looking to see what a few licks of the single-tail taste like, that’s a huge distinction to make from someone who is looking for a full-out heavy, power-exchange scene with a focus on intense single-tail whipping. It’s important to be open and honest here. I’m the kind of person that needs to be blindfolded during a public scene and expects the dominant to make sure s/he’s the only one touching me, for me to enjoy the scene. Your other partner is not going to be able to read your mind, so make sure you address what your needs and expectations are. At the same time, listen to your partner’s in return. Can you fulfill his or her expectations? Can you make sure their needs are met?

 Hard & Soft Limits

Set boundaries that define what kind of experience is acceptable psychologically and physically for the setting that you’re in. If you’re not comfortable with a certain kind of play in public and you’re standing in the middle of a packed dungeon, you’ll want to let it be known. Hard limits are absolute no-gos and soft limits may be acceptable if you’re in the right mindset or have been worked up to them, but they can’t be crossed without consent beforehand. Everything else that isn’t a hard limit or soft limit is on the table for negotations.

Examples of Mental Hard Limits: humiliation, obedience training, sensory deprivation, degradation, verbal violation, Nazi uniforms and paraphernalia, or objectification.

Examples of Physical Hard Limits: pain thresholds, types of toys, types of play, marks or bruising, certain “hot spots,” or places on the anatomy that are overly sensitive.

 Scene Duration

How long will you be playing for? Some public dungeons and play spaces have time limits for certain stations or equipment as to not monopolize them from other players. Be aware of such restrictions in your surroundings and use realistic goals. Two hours of heavy impact play might be a little bit too much for the average person on top or on bottom. Realistically know your boundaries and stick to them.

 Types of Play

Let your partner know what you’re most interested in for this particular scene. If you haven’t tried rope suspension and are really looking to tie the other person up and suspend them from the rafters, this would be a good time to mention it. The desire for certain types of play changes pretty often, so know what you’re in the mood for and stick to it. If the submissive wants you to do impact and you’d rather do rope work, find a way to meet either of your desires or save the play for another day.

 Dress & Gear

Is there something special either partner would like to wear to get in the mindset of their role? Would you like to try out a ball-gag, harness, hood, or assless chaps? Discuss the possibilities!

Health Concerns & Safety Measures

Make sure to go over any previous injuries, medications, allergies, chronic diseases, STDs, or medical history that might be pertinent knowledge to the other partner. Always make sure there are safety measures at hand in case something should go wrong—first aid kit, fire extinguisher and where the nearest exits are, emergency medical-grade scissors that can cut through clothing and ropes, etc.

Sexual Contact

Decide together if you’re going to allow any sexual contact at all, what kind of sexual activity is permissible, if it’s appropriate for the setting, and if you’re adequately prepared with protection. Wrap it before you tap it, people! (This includes using condoms for toys, nitrile or latex gloves for touching, dental dams or condoms for oral sex, and whatever else you need unless you are in a fluid-bonded relationship.) Don’t ever put yourself in dangerous sanitary conditions when it comes to sexual activities or contact.

Safewords

Set a verbal or non-verbal sign that will be used to slow the intensity or stop the play altogether. A lot of people use the combination of words green (for still going strong), yellow (for slow down, give me a break, or get off that spot), and red for the definitive need to end the scene. Use something that works for you. A complex word like “hippopotamus” might be hard to remember in the middle of the scene, so make it something you and the submissive won’t forget once you’re both riding the endorphin high.

Aftercare

I’d like to say that there should always be some form of aftercare. Even if it is as simple as getting a submissive a bottle of water, a blanket, and a hug, time needs to be taken to help them come down from this huge endorphin rush. Most submissives like to know that they’ve done well and have pleased or made the dominant partner proud. If you’re a bottom that needs a little extra attention, don’t ignore that and let it be known well in advance. It’s not the dominant’s fault completely if they were unaware that you want a certain type of aftercare.

 An easy way to remember all the points of discussion is this little sentence: Perry Needs His Super Sexy Top Doing Healthy, Safe, & Sane Activities. 

 

photo credit: Jason Clapp via photopin cc

One comment

  1. E.A. Reynolds /

    I love this series so far.