N.B: This blog post was inspired an email from the Loving BDSM 30 Days of D/s. If you haven’t listened to their podcast yet please do so, you can also check out the website for great resources and links on how to listen or follow on social media.
When I first saw this topic come into my inbox, through the 30 Days of D/s emails, I didn’t think I’d have a lot to say on the subject. However, I’m running a few days behind the emails, so as the days went by I realised I have more thoughts on the matter than I originally realised.
In my early days of kink I had no idea how important negotiations with a potential or current partner could be. I bimbled through my first couple of encounters relatively unscathed, a mildly bruised ego when I now admit how I handled things, but other than that no major issues, I know now that was due to luck rather than judgement. Things did happen that I wasn’t happy with, both at the time and in hindsight. However, while some people would say my consent was violated, I simply think my negotiations with those people were so non-existent that there was no way of anyone knowing what was and wasn’t okay.
When I met Bakji, we filled out a very extensive Fetish checklist quite early on in our play together. First we mostly focused it on him as the Top and me as the bottom, but we returned to it at a later date when we switched and did it from the other side of the slash. So we have never really been in a position where hardcore negotiations were needed. We’ve always taken things pretty slowly, and there has been some sort of documentation of our desires along the way.
In the two years Bakji and I have been together, I have learnt a lot about the importance of negotiating scenes and consent, both through doing the podcast and from talking to friends in the community. The trouble is with learning and understand how important they are is that is makes moving forward with new people feel ever so slightly terrifying.
From the moment I met Bakji he was clear that monogamy was a not something he was up for. So I’ve always been working toward that in my mind as someone who is more naturally inclined towards monogamy, however for over 18 months now, it’s pretty been just the two of us. Part of this is down to meeting the right people, and making the sexy connections, but part of it for me is how I want to build the foundations for new dynamics.
As someone who is fairly competent with rope, I do get asked on occasion if I do rope with anyone other than Bakji. The answer is yes, and no. I’m only really going to say yes if I feel comfortable with you, and if I feel tying you will enhance our knowing each other. This might seem fussy, especially when so many people are happy to tie anyone who asks.
For me though I am slow and tentative with new connections, if I tie you for the first time you’ll probably get a fairly sedate TK. For me though this is crucial to how I need to proceed with people. In this time we can chat, I can gauge your body language and I can establish whether or not there’s potential for further rope or play. If there is then I’m definitely going to be one of those people who wants to get very clear and concise agreements as to what play is and isn’t appropriate.
I want to do my very best with everyone I play with to make sure I am not someone they look back on and think ‘well in hindsight that didn’t go so well’. I don’t have good feelings about the people who have made me feel that way, but even if I no longer play with someone I’d like to hope they looked back on our time together fondly. It is my hope that good and clear negotiation is part of making that happen.
Even with Bakji I still feel this way. If we start playing with something that is new to us then I want to know exactly what he wants out of that play and the things he doesn’t want. If he seems cautious and unsure of something then it doesn’t happen, until he gives me a big, huge, definite, green light, yes.
I’m sure some people would say I’m too cautious, that sometimes it’s sexy to take the initiative and make things happen and yes it really can be. To me though my initiative kicks in when I know you well enough to be as certain as I can be that my taking charge is going to make us both happy. Whether that’s rope happy, sexually happy, kink happy or all those happy’s rolled into one.
Negotiations may not be foolproof, after all we are only human, but playing without, and most definitely entering in a D/s dynamic without them would definitely be a deal breaker for me.