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What are negotiations?

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Negotiations are a crucial part of any BDSM relationship, as it sets the foundation for safe and consensual play (as well as other safety protocols, such as RACK and FRIES). Negotiations occur between partners to discuss their preferences, boundaries, and expectations for play. The negotiation process helps establish clear communication, builds trust, and ensures that both partners are on the same page before engaging in any activities.

How to do negotiations?

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It is recommended that you negotiate with your partner(s) before any kind of play is performed. This discussion should be had by sober individuals, and we highly recommend not being horny during it. This may sound silly, but being horny while discussing sexual boundaries may make you accept things you might regret later. If necessary, relieving yourself alone might be an interesting option that allows you to focus on important topics during your discussion.

During negotiations, partners discuss their likes, dislikes, and limits. This can include activities they are interested in, activities they are willing to try, and activities that are off-limits. A common nomenclature here that can be used is soft and hard limits. Soft limits are limits that can change with time, though one shouldn’t pressure a partner on those. Hard limits are something you feel more strongly about and possibly won’t be changing your opinion on. It is important for partners to be honest and open about their desires and boundaries, as well as their concerns and fears.

Ignoring the negotiations phase can lead to traumatic situations happening, which is something we should avoid.

Things to discuss other than kinks

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Negotiations should also involve discussions around safe words, signals, and aftercare. Safe words are pre-agreed upon words or phrases used to indicate discomfort or to stop play. Signals can be non-verbal cues, such as hand signals or eye contact, that communicate a partner's level of comfort. Aftercare refers to the care and support that partners offer each other after a scene or play session, which can include physical and emotional comfort.

You should also personalize your negotiations to your needs, such as discussing certain physical limitations someone involved may have.

When do negotiations occur?

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In BDSM relationships, negotiations may occur before each play session, as well as before establishing a long-term dynamic. As the relationship evolves, negotiations may continue to ensure that both partners' needs and desires are being met and that they are practicing in a safe, sane, and consensual manner.

It is important to note that negotiations are ongoing and can be revisited at any time. As partners gain experience and explore new activities, their preferences and boundaries may change. Therefore, it is important to communicate openly and regularly to ensure that both partners are comfortable and satisfied with the dynamics of their relationship.

Potential red flags

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Beware that people who allege to have no limits or to want no limits from you might end up being problematic. Oftentimes, this just means they aren’t willing to respect boundaries, or are too inexperienced to understand what they want. It’s OK to be inexperienced and unaware of your limits, as long as you are fine with finding them out (possibly with the help of a partner). You might be able to figure out some of your limits or preferences by educating yourself on BDSM further, as well as talking to people in the community.

Be open to listening to your partner without judgement and prejudice, and make sure to explain thoroughly if you have kinks that may be considered edgier. Accept if they don’t want to partake in that experience with you, but don’t accept mockery or disrespect. Don’t push on people’s limits either, regardless of whether they’re soft or hard limits. Although they may change with time, your partner should be the one reaching out about trying something that was once a limit for them. It’s not something they should do because you keep insisting on it.

Conclusion

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In conclusion, negotiations are a vital component of any BDSM relationship, as it sets the groundwork for safe and enjoyable play. Open and honest communication is key to ensuring that both partners' needs and desires are met, and that they engage in activities that follow safety protocols.

Resources

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This website has a vast list of kinks that you can classify according to your preferences. You can share this with a partner and have them share theirs with you. You can also adapt the format they use to include kinks you’d like to discuss that might not be on the list.

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