|Can I Get That In Writing: Basics Of Negotiations
Negotiation – a discussion between two or more individuals, in which each individual presents a format of requirements, desires and limits, during this discussion each party will review the suggestions and presentations of each opposing individual and attempt to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
Negotiations are the foundation of a functional BDSM relationship. From scene partners, to life partners good communication is the key, and negotiations are one way of communicating with your partner what your needs, fears and experiences are. While most individuals are familiar with one or two types of negotiations within the BDSM realm, many do not realize the vast variety of the forms of negotiations that are present.
Pre – Meeting Negotiations: This form of negotiation is done as a prerequisite to meeting someone. Normally a list of activities, and experiences will be exchanged and examined by both partners. It is at this time that wants, needs, and qualifications should be discussed. Generally this form of discussion is kept fairly light and simple, individuals are interested in basic information, primarily to see if meeting would be mutually beneficial and if all individuals involved would be compatible. An example would be if the Dominant is looking for a domestic to work around the house, someone that would be interested in a 24/7 live in relationship; and the submissive/slave is a pain slut looking for a scene partner for a little extreme BDSM. These partners would not be compatible and hence meeting might be productive for limited experiences but it would not fill the needs of both individuals
1. What is your name or nickname?
2. How old are you?
3. Where do you live?
4. Are you married or seeing someone, if yes do they know about your preferences and condone meeting someone else?
5. What type of relationship are you looking for?
6. What are your preferred activities?
7. What are your limits?
8. What is your sexual preference?
9. How long have you been in the lifestyle, and what experience do you have?
10. Do you have any medical issues that may pose a safety issue, such as pregnancy, diabetes, low blood sugar, asthma, allergies, HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases etc.?
11. Do you smoke, drink or do drugs?
12. What are you expecting from this meeting?
13. Where would you like to meet and when (keep it public for first time meetings)?
14. What type of vehicle do you drive, and how will I know you?
15. Will there be a possibility of physical activity when we meet?
16. How will I get a hold of you if something comes up and I can’t make it?
17. What will happen if for some reason we don’t get to meet at the arranged time, will I get a second chance?
Scene Negotiations: This forms of negotiations is done prior to “scening” or participating in any form of BDSM activity with someone that you have never played with before, and to some degree with someone you are familiar with. The focus should be on what activities each individual has experience with, what each is interested in participating in at this very moment, it is also at this time that any fears, medical issues, and limits should be presented. When you have found an individual that you are interested in playing with, you need to communicate any fantasies, desires, and needs that you have, and at the same time ask probing questions so that you may better understand what lies within the mind of your partner. Scene negotiations is almost a form of foreplay to me, I want to hear all the naughty little details, what someone is afraid of, what they desperately want, want turns them on, and what they are willing to do to get what they want.
1. What is your name or nickname?
2. Are you “with” someone and if so do you have permission to play?
3. What are your preferred activities?
4. What are your limits?
5. Do you use safe words, and if so what are they?
6. Do you have any medical issues that may pose a safety issue during a scene, such as pregnancy, diabetes, low blood sugar, asthma, allergies, HIV/AIDS recent surgeries, do you wear contacts, etc. ?
7. Have you taken any medication within the last 24-48 hours, if so what and what was it for?
8. Have you consumed any alcohol if so when and how much?
9. Do you have any injuries or no hit zones, if so where?
10. Do you have any reservations to marks or marking, if so what?
11. Do you like to have music during a scene, if so what kind?
12. Do you want aftercare, if so what do you prefer?
13. Do you wish to be nude, clothed or in costume?
14. Do you like communication during a scene?
15. How old are you?
16. Do you have any fears or phobias that might be a problem during a scene?
17. Do you have any fantasies, or desires that might make the scene more interesting?
Relationship Negotiations: This form of negotiation is frequently misconstrued as to what I define as contract negotiations, which I shall explain next. Do not get the two forms of negotiations confused; relationship negotiations are a prerequisite to the formation of a relationship, this relationship may or may not be associated with a collar or a contract. When you have decided that you wish to take the arrangement that you currently have with someone a step further and create a relationship, then utilizing this form of negotiations is most beneficial. The specifics that must be discussed vary as to the type of relationship. If the relationship is to be a 24/7 live in relationship then things such as living arrangements, finances and responsibilities must be addressed. The more questions asked at this time the less headache you will encounter 3 months down the road when you are trying to decide on whose turn it is to take out the trash, or who is suppose to pay the electric bill this month. It is also at this time that the inclusion of BDSM activities within the relationship should be discussed.
1. What type of relationship is this going to be?
2. Will we be moving in together?
3. If so where will we be living?
4. Is there going to be financial responsibilities involved?
5. Is this relationship going to be sexual?
6. Will this relationship be BDSM lifestyle or not?
7. What roles will each individual play?
8. Will this be a monogamous relationship?
9. Is this going to be a short term or long-term relationship?
10. Is there anything that you feel may be detrimental or challenge our relationship that you think I should know about at this time?
11. Will this relationship be discreet or out in the open?
Contract or Collar Negotiation: This form of negotiation involves the discussion of what responsibilities, rights and expectations are present for all individuals involved within a BDSM relationship. It is at this time that a Master/Mistress or Dominant will inform the slave/submissive that they are interested in offering them a place within their lives for a long term if not permanent position. Since all parties involved have undoubtedly know each other for quite some time and already know what each one needs and desires, now is the time to get down to specifics. How should the Dominant be addressed? What are the responsibilities of the slave/submissive? What responsibilities is the Dominant willing to take on? This form of negotiation can be very broad, covering only those things that are primary for the basic function of the relationship; or it may be extensive, covering every possible topic. It is these negotiations that form a prelude to the formal contract, without these negotiations the reality of the contract is not so forthright. To sign a slave/submissive contract with out extensive negotiation is not unlike handing a blind man a loaded gun, you pretty well know the outcome but are you sure that you will not be the one getting shot?
Here is an example of the basic out line of a contract….
2. Responsibilities of submissive/slave
1. Titles, speech
2. Within the home
4. Within the BDSM realm
5. Responsibilities of Dominant
6. Spirituality (to some not significant, to other extremely important)
7. Rights of Dominant
8. Rights of submissive/slave
9. Cancellation clause
10. Signature and Witnesses
Now not all contracts are so vast and by no means must they include each tiny little detail, but the more disclosure that is present the less confusion that will cloud the relationship.
Submissives/slaves need structure; it makes their role and their life in general quite a bit more defined. Structure gives us all a small bit of security, fully aware of our responsibilities and the consequence allows us to make educated and informed decisions.
One individual informed me that he does not believe in contracts because the level of devotion should be honor bound and not present due to some words written on a piece of paper. To this I must state that the contract is not legally binding, hence it is not enforceable by law. Therefore, whether you have a contract or not is irrelevant, the dedication and service provided is still based on a honor system. So the next thing would be, if the contract were irrelevant then why have it to begin with? This I can answer quite simply, communication. The contract, just as with negotiations, clarifies roles, expectations, needs, and responsibilities…what better way to honor someone than to place in writing for the whole world to see your devotion and dedication.
As with everything this is my opinion, take what you will and leave the rest. If you wish to contact me, my email address is Norisch1@mchsi.com. If you wish to see more of my work you may find a complete listing of all my writings at…. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Norisches_Quill/ in the files section.