8 essential tips for easy BDSM negotiation

BDSM negotiation can be difficult

BDSM negotiation can be difficult

Having recently entered into a full-time D/s relationship, I've been having to navigate the frigid and rocky waters of BDSM negotiation. Since I'm the dude who'd rather have the bookshelf be a little wobbly than look at the instructions, it's easy to say that this has been one tough journey.

From all my struggles, though, I've learned a few things. A few of which I’ve gathered here to assist fellow newbie kinksters.

1. Safety and consent are not optional

Did I stutter? Check out our guide to BDSM safety if you have questions.

2. You are equals

Everyone is this discussion must be on an even playing field of power. No party should have their freedom to speak or object to anything taken away until they’ve agreed to. Even still, you always have the power to say no.

3. Own your shit

You’re doing this because you want to do it. You’re having fun. This step of negotiation is just about making sure everyone involved is going to have the utmost fun. This is time to be honest about your desires. Proudly proclaim what turns you on – and what doesn’t – and your partner will have a great outline for making you squeal with delight.

4. Trust your feelings

Going into this sort of play for the first time can seem like a big deal. Coming in, I know I had a lot of worries. Make sure to let your feelings be known and only doing things you’re comfortable doing and in comfortable ways. Set your limits and be firm.

For safety reasons, you would also want to avoid things that made you feel unsafe. The possibility of an orgasm – or having several denied – isn’t worth losing your life or – even worse – having to explain what had happened to the emergency room nurse.

4. But recognize that your feelings may change

Everything changes. As me and my partner became more experienced with our play, we began to truly understand what we wanted and why. I went from not being kinky to having a sadistic awakening. He went from wanting to try out puppy play to being my leashed and collared bulldog.

Things change; try to roll with it.

5. Renegotiate when necessary

My partner and I went through about seven different negotiation stages. Each time, we’d had some sort of realization or crossed a line we didn’t know existed.

It’s been a few months since the last one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more down the road. Keeping the lines of communication open is an absolute must.

6. Try not to make too much of it

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In the beginning, try to make short-term goals. Don’t worry that you’re signing a blood oath. If someone does actually want you to sign a blood oath, they aren’t legally binding. So, no worries there either.

7. Take a breath

Sometimes negotiations can become heated. In my case, we often started new negotiations after something happened in a scene – or during an acid trip. If we’d started talking in the moment, even my obsessively controlled behavior might have changed for the worse. There’s no reason you can’t go have a cigarette or a good night’s sleep before making decisions.

8. Say what you mean

There are a lot of terms people use to talk about kinky stuff: top, bottom, floggers, beatings, punishment, slave, bitch, etc. For a lot of people – yeah, me too – these words bring up these very rigid images. Often the reality is much different than what we imagine.

Try asking, “What do you mean by that?” It’s a simple question that may help you get to the root of an issue or the emotion behind the problem, and save a lot of time.

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