What is D/s Negotiation?
D/s negotiation is a discussion held between a dominant and a submissive prior to any D/s activity to determine the rules of the relationship and rules for D/s play. This discussion typically includes things like a safeword, limits and boundaries, types of D/s activities enjoyed by both parties, etc.
Dominance and Submission
Dominance and Submission, or D/s as it is often referred to, is a subset of a group of activities known as BDSM. BDSM is an acronym that stands for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism, also known as Sadomasochism. A D/s relationship is a relationship between a dominant partner and a submissive partner in which a power exchange occurs.
Power Exchange refers to the giving of control over one's body (usually the submissive's body) to another (usually the dominant partner) for the purpose of sexual arousal. Before this power exchange can occur, however, the details of the relationship must be worked out. This disucssion, known as negotiation, should also occur prior to any D/s play. D/s play refers to specific D/s activities that occur during a specified period of time.
D/s Negotiation Topics
Trust, the single most important factor in any D/s relationship, is created through open communication between the dominant and the submissive. This communication, also known as negotiation, should occur on mutliple levels, and should occur frequently.
Relationship negotiation occurs at the beginning--and should continue throughout the course--of every relationship, even those outside of the BDSM or D/s lifestyle. Maintaining open and honest communication is a critical component for success throughout the course of any relationship; D/s relationships are no different.
In addition to the common relationship topics, additional D/s relationship may include topics like: "Will the D/s dynamic will be a part of every day life and activities or whether it will be maintained strictly in the bedroom, aside from other aspects of the relationship?" Total power exchange refers to a relationship with a 24/7 D/s dynamic where every aspect of the submissive's life is managed by the dominant.
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General D/s Play Negotiation
This purpose of this type of negotiation is to create a set of general rules to be applied to all D/s play, regardless of what type of scene is involved. These general rules inclde things like the limits and boundaries each partner has for any type of D/s play, the types of D/s activities both partners most enjoy and least enjoy, etc. These rules may change over time from the initial negotiaion, which is why frequent communication is so important.
Specific D/s Scene Negotiation
Scene negotiation in a D/s relationship refers to the discussion that takes place prior to a specific D/s scene. A D/s scene is a specific role play scenario during which D/s play occurs. Prior to each scenario, negotiations should occur to set the rules for that particular session, which may differ from those agreed upon for general D/s play, and may only be valid for that particular D/s session.
Negotiate Now, Negotiate Often
As mentioned several times already, communication and trust are critical components for any relationship, but especially for D/s relationships. Communication is not something that should occur at the beginning of the relationship to set the ground rules and never be revisited. Communication, occuring both directions, should be an ongoing process.
The bottom line to a successful D/s relationship and/or scene? Negotiation! Negotiate now, negotiate tomorrow, and negotiate often.