welcome to week 4 of my 30 Days(weeks) of D/s! Negotiation can be fun and terrifying and fulfilling, but you've got to put some honest effort into it to get the results you want and need, to make it good for yourself and your partner (kind of like sex!).
People see or hear the word "negotiation” and imagine a kind of back and forth in hushed tones around a table at the back of a dimly lit restaurant. Well, it can be that if you want it to be, but in reality, it’s just the conversation(s) you have to figure out what kind of D/s relationship you want for yourself. Submissives not only have the right to, they should ask why a rule/task/ritual is being put in place and both sides need to have the freedom to disagree, suggest other things, and make sure their needs are being met.
Negotiations aren’t a one-time deal and they aren’t only for a D/s relationship. Knowing how to negotiate can help you in every area of your life. They also are NOT about one person making demands and the other acquiescing. ESPECIALLY for submissives – please, please, please understand that you have a responsibility to speak up and stand up for what you want/need/desire/are willing to do/are unwilling to do. That is NOT your prospective Dominant’s job. We think they’re superheroes, but they aren’t mind readers. YOU are the one who has to SAY it. No matter how it makes you squirm, no matter how much you dislike speaking up for yourself, this is the time to learn how to do it, to find your courageous voice.
If you’re negotiating with a good Dominant, they’ll help you along, they’ll listen in order to understand you better, they may even be able to interpret for you when you’re stuck, trying to explain something and not knowing how, but they won’t do it for you and you have no right to expect them to. This applies whether it’s for one night of play or for a lifetime.
My Husband and I negotiated our constitution - the rules and processes we wanted to govern our marriage - with our counselor before we tied the knot and it’s something we’ve come back to over and over during the course of our relationship. Those things helped set our expectations of ourselves and each other and they are the foundational guidelines for how we work. We don’t actively think about it most of the time, since the things we wrote down and agreed to are things we both wanted, but sometimes it’s good to have a reminder of why you do certain things, why you started this thing in the first place. So here we are, in our not-quite-vanilla relationship, with an actual written constitution to govern our country (It’s Robinson Country and we are the King and queen).
On to the questions!
Will you have a contract?
Let's start with this, What is a contract (in very simple terms)?
"an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified."
That makes it pretty clear and yes, I do think some sort of written agreement is crucial, especially in a D/s dynamic. That way there's never any "he said, she said" or "but I thought what you meant was..." You have what you've both agreed to and discussed in black and white, with the ability to refer back to it. It protects you and the other party(s) involved mentally, emotionally, relationally.
Do you need a checklist?
Yes! What are you willing to do? What are you unwilling to do? Think about this in terms other than sexual, though sex is obviously a big part of this equation - you need to think about EVERYTHING. don't be judgy, I use caps because it's important, okay? Kay.
There are a whole lot of things you'll be talking about, so keeping a list takes the pressure off both parties of trying to remember everything.
What exactly does a negotiation sound like?
Let's take a moment to talk about the part before actual negotiation takes place. This may be the most important part and is actually partially answering the above question. Before you sit down at the negotiating table - whether it be at a coffee shop, a park bench, a restaurant, wherever you choose (I recommend not trying to negotiate at one or other's home - best to meet on nuetral territory where you can talk as equals coming into an agreement. And yes, you're equals, despite how you choose to play out your relationship - you both get to say what you want/need/desire with equal measure of importance given to each party involved).
Coming back to what happens before you meet at the "negotiating table". Make a list of everything you can think of that you want from this transaction. Then make a list of everything you're willing to aquiesce, everything you're not willing to aquiesce, everything you want to give. What do you expect from yourself in this relationship? What do you expect of your partner in this relationship? I know there's a part about limits coming up, but think about that too. Spend time, come back to it, write down all your questions, hesitations, points of excitement - get it all out on paper. Then, when you meet, you have something to start with instead of sitting there staring at your prospective Dominant with every thought flown from your mind because they're so damn hot all you can think is, "can we just get to the part where we fuck like wild animals?"
So, you've written all your thoughts, questions, expectations, etc. and now you're talking - what does that sound like? For each person it's going to be a little different, but generally, it'll probably go something like this...
Party 1: "this is what I'm bringing to the table and these are the things I want, the expectations I have, the things I'd like to explore in this relationship. Can you tell me about your style? What works well for you in a relationship? What is it you're looking for?"
Party 2: "I run my relationships like xyz, I expect pqr, I've found this thing works for me and this thing doesn't. Now bend over so I can spank you."
Party 1: "Hell no"
lol just kidding. But really, use your common sense. If you get that little niggle in your belly that says "mmm... I don't know about this..." Listen to it. It's all about talking. You're a person, they're a person, you're talking to each other like two people who want a mutually beneficial relationship.
That's all I've got for now. If you'd like to check them out, here are a few other resources to help you think about this topic:
What Negotiations Can Sound Like (podcast episode, Loving BDSM)
Understanding D/s Contracts (podcast episode, Loving BDSM)
Understanding Boundaries and Limits (podcast episode, Loving BDSM)
© 2017-2018 Hey, Mrs. Robinson | T.J Robinson