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What are negotiations good for?

Author: Bluedeacon

Filed in: negotiation

Negotiations are a good way to get to know one another, whether you are new to each other or have been with each other already, and continue to evolve. When you are new, it gives each person a chance to express who they are, what their interests and philosophies are, what they expect, and what their wants and needs are, and what the other person's are. For those who have already been together, it gives the people involved an opportunity to refine or redefine what they do, to adjust, to review, to continue to grow and evolve. For everyone, they are a way to provide safety, a means of communicating. Negotiations truly begin the moment we first meet, starting with body language, and continue until the relationship ends, whether in thirty seconds, or death in old age.

For those who are new to each other, negotiations start when we notice another person, whether online, or in person, and find each other mutually attractive. Before the formal negotiations start, we watch each other's body language in person, or read posts written by the person, and then we choose to break the ice, and hope that they have also been doing the same. If there is a connection, both parties begin a 'get to know you process' that can be as important as the actual negotiations, you generally see if there's chemistry, if the other person's personality, sense of humor, outlook, etc., are compatible. If you seem to be compatible, then you begin to informally negotiate, from a position of ignorance. You assess yourself - how do you see yourself? Pet, slave, submissive, switch, bratty princess, SAM, captive, baby, sadist, masochist, fetishist, dom/me, Mistress, Master, or so forth. How do you wish to be addressed (Sir, Ma'am, MiLady, boy, girl, etc.) and how much domination are you comfortable with, immediately? Know your needs and wants, and know the difference ( you may want four hours of torment, you might actually need only ten minutes of spanking); if you are new, and don't know, say so, and then tell the other person what you *think* they may be. Try to express what your expectations are, what your goal is, as well as your philosophy/outlook on bdsm. How do you feel about punishments? What are your limits, and can they be pushed? As a dom, do you want to administer sensations? Be served? Control? Which is most important? As a sub, do you wish to be 'done', to serve, or be controlled? Find out as much of the same about the person you are negotiating with. This will form your basic foundation, a place to start. Ask yourself, if you are compatible, if it will be satisfying enough, and be honest with yourself - then continue to ask these two questions through most of the rest of the early process.

If this goes well, the parties can begin talking about the give and take - 'OK, I can handle that limit, but this other one, I need to be able to push' or "Do You really expect me to do *that*? Ouch! Is it okay with You if we proceed gently? What if i find i can't handle that?". This type of negotiating is likely to continue at various levels for weeks or months. As you begin to really know each other now, and presumably, the dom has accepted the sub by now, you can begin to discussing how much control the sub is willing and able to accept, and how much control the dom is willing to accept. What medical or emotional needs might each have? What are your psychological needs - for instance, might face slapping or verbal abuse cause a reaction? Will it cause damage if you are trussed up like a turkey, with all of your most private areas available for viewing and manipulation by anyone in the area? Discuss roles, rules, what is or is not to be tolerated, your limits, whether there will be a contract and for how long, what direction you want to take for the moment. Discuss safe words - what they will be, when you are expected to use them. There may be a time when safe words are not allowed, but they are necessary to build trust. Ask questions about what is not known - if you are the more experienced one, it may be very helpful to the one less experienced to have you ask questions to help guide them, when they are unsure or do not know about something, to better clarify it for both.

When you are negotiating a specific scene, you should remember to be as detailed as possible, cover what will be done, how it will be done, what limits may be stretched, and for how long the submission will last, at least until you are comfortable enough, and trust each other enough to allow the dom to do what he is going to do, and the sub obey, as pleases them.

Once you are scening together, and equally importantly, if you are committed to each other, a different type of ongoing negotiotions happens. It may be like my wife and I - she has chosen her submission and enslavement as an *eventual* goal, and each day we find we talk about things. Some times the negotiations are to adjust what is being done, or about to be done - 'i don't think i can handle a lot of pain today' or to prepare her for something - for her first playparty, I threatened to make her go naked as a slave should, which she countered with being fully clothed, and ended up with her where I wanted - a chemise, with bra and panties under, and with her restraints and leash, but with my right to remove as I wish - which made her more comfortable, and once she accepted that compromise she got excited about it. You may discuss daily, or weekly, or whenever, changing needs, changing perceptions or goals, amongst other things, or negotiate trying something new. In scene, you may negotiate explicitly - the dom asking the sub a question, such as 'how are you doing?' and adjusting, or, implicitly, by reading the sub's body language and adjusting to suit. You learn what works, and what doesn't, and that does not necessarily have to be something you *like*; if it's important, you learn to do it differently. The part most people forget about, is the negotiations afterwards, as part of aftercare, when you discuss each other's reaction's and headspace, what each liked or did not like - even if you learn nothing about the actual play, you come together emotionally.

Some questions you may wish to ask. Do our expectations, needs, and wants fit our plans? Is that what I want? Are any of these things deal breakers? Are we compatible? What do you want from submission/service/slavery? What specific things do you desire to (be) train(ed) for? How much training is needed? What will the punishments be, and what are the rewards? What will make you feel like a dom or sub, what will make you feel complete? What are your goals, what do you want out of the other person? The longer or more complete and detailed the negotiation, the more chance of success.

Negotiate for parity - that is, negotiate to achieve equal value for all parties involved, so that everyone is satisfied. For a top and bottom this may mean simply that the bottom gets what she is looking to get done to her while the top gets to do it in a way he enjoys. For a submissive, it may be having the dom serve your needs for submission, while you in turn fill his needs - but your needs are expected to carry equal weight. For a slave and her master, and for some very commited subs, submission is a very real and compelling need, and they can't not give. For them, the pleasure is first and foremost from giving - they delight in being used as their Master wishes, with his wants and needs being the focus - and this is this author's preference.

The bottom line is that negotiations are good safety nets - they allow for us to get to know *ourselves* and our partners, to gauge where each is at a particular time, to set temporary or permanent limits, to set forth expectations, to form a foundation for the relationship. We gain safety, and with that trust; once a girl trusts her Dom, everything may be gradually given - body, heart, mind, and soul. Communication is the underpinning of consentuality - we can not agree to what we do not know is asked of us (particularly if we do not know what it requires) and we can not accept something if we do not know it has been offered. The more completely and openly we negotiate about what we want or have to offer, the more likely we are to reach parity. Parity, in turn, is the basis for mutual respect, which leads to mutual trust, which in turn is an absolute necessity for intimacy. It is through intimacy that we validate ourselves, create opportunies to grow, and gain an implicit awarness of who we are and who our partners are.

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