For the past 20 years or more, negotiation has been a key element in my day job. I’ve been fortunate enough to negotiate with some really nice people and equally I have dealt with people who you wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night. Each encounter provided me with a learning experience which will, if used correctly, make me more competent.
I was prompted to write my thoughts on negotiation in a BDSM relationship through my subscription to Loving BDSM. The topic interested me as I used to find BDSM negotiation a little difficult. My wife and I have been together a while now and our BDSM activities are pretty broad across the spectrum, however, there’s always something new!
When I say it was difficult to negotiate, it’s hard to put my finger on it (now don’t be silly, I know someone twisted that) as it was more to do with reaction rather than acceptance, and i see that could cause big problems in other relationships. In fact, it’s like being in a dysfunctional vanilla relationship where communication isn’t working. Imagine saying to your mainstream partner, “I want to wear bunny ears on my head when we have sex.” The response could be one of shock, denial and maybe even resentment, and this is down to there being no communication or negotiation in the early stages. “I would like to introduce something new to the bedroom, I’m feeling a little kinky, what do you think?” May be a better start. Having her wear the ears like a Playboy girl and then swapping sometime in the future; You get the idea, I know that.
I did say that I used to find negotiation a challenge didn’t I? I knew how it all worked in a formal sense and informally it works well for us, however, I found throwing a fantasy into the mix a little awkward at times. I know what it was, it’s being protective of my sub; Not wanting to suggest something that made her feel uncomfortable or that she wasn’t enough. There is always that issue where by asking for more could leave the other partner feeling inadequate. To be fair, that is quite a normal reaction.
In our D/s life we have negotiated the terms of our relationship. Part of that agreement is that we will express our ideas freely and without conditions. To be able to share one’s fantasies without being judged is liberating in the very least. Quite recently during a scene my sub whispered something in my ear which surprised me. It certainly added to the moment! Sometime later I asked her why she said it? She said, “I knew that was something you would get off on!” She had listened to a fantasy of mine, which is something she could not do herself, however, she was able to use the information to her/my advantage.
Negotiation is about trying to meet the needs of the other party until an amicable decision is reached. Now that may mean that one, or both parties, has to make concessions to get there, but that’s part of the fun! Quite often you actually get more than you expected!