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BDSM Negotiation & Contracts 101

April 28, 2017 1 Comment

BDSM Negotiation & Contracts 101

Hey Robin and Liam, we’re wondering how the two of you got started with BDSM play. Can you tell us? Do you have BDSM pointers for newbies? We want to explore BDSM, but we’re really scared, any helpful ideas you could share? These are just a few questions that people have sent us over the past few months. With that said, we’d like to share our approach on how we began dabbling in the wonderful world of BDSM. BDSM can be very complex and there’s a wide variety of activities that make BDSM so exciting and pleasurable. But, diving right in is not very safe…especially if you and your partner are going beyond a simple set of hand cuffs, a feather tickler, and vibrator.

One of the most crucial and important steps for us was properly negotiating the terms of our BDSM relationship. Sounds weird considering we’re a married monogamous couple, right? Yeah, it does sound kind of weird since we have so much trust in each other. However, much emotional and physical harm can be done without properly defining roles & responsibilities, discussing wants, needs & expectations, negotiating play limits, safety, and discussing aftercare. Over the course of a month, and several hours of discussion, we implemented a written plan to help guide us through our BDSM relationship. We’re going to give you wonderful and amazing people an in-depth look into our own negotiations.

Here is the step-by-step approach we took at building our BDSM negotiation from each of our perspectives:

Step 1: Determining Our Roles

The first step we took was to establish our roles. Who was to be the dominant, and who was to be the submissive? Pretty simple.

Robin says: For me, the answer was easy…I wanted to be the dominant. I like being tied up on occasion, being lightly spanked, and submitting to some sensory deprivation play. But, I’m not one that enjoys intense impact play nor do I want to hang from the ceiling via a spreader bar for an extended time period. In my opinion, Liam’s very “tough” both mentally & physically and I knew the submissive role was more suitable for him.

Liam says: Much like Robin, the answer was also easy for me. I wanted to be submissive. Outside of our BDSM relationship, I often feel as though I’m always expected to be the “alpha male.” From a psychological standpoint, it can be very stressful at times thus the reason I wanted to let go of the reigns and submit to Robin. Also, for whatever twisted reason, I enjoy pain. In fact, I find pain to be very pleasurable and erotic. There is one caveat, I did also want to be a switch from time-to-time and be “lightly dominant” with Robin.

 

Step 2: Discussing Needs, Wants, & Expectations

The second step is what we consider to be the “discovery phase.” We discussed what we wanted, what we needed, and what was expected from each other in our BDSM relationship. As we went through our discussion, we kept a notebook handy to write things down as we discussed each.

Liam says: This was an extremely intense process for me. There was a great deal of self-reflection regarding my past and I also discovered a lot about myself when thinking about our potential dominant/submissive relationship. For me, there was a simple need to submit to Robin. There was a strong need and desire to be put in submission and controlled. I wanted to display my affection and trust for her in a much deeper way. Being a father, a full-time employee at a daytime job, running our own business, and being a loving husband puts so much stress on me. My need was clear…I needed a way to reduce stress. For whatever reason, I find relief through a combination of pain & pleasure. I went through extensive training in my days in the military including a school that taught me how to undergo and survive interrogation and torture. Surprisingly, the more pain I endured, the more energized I was! Also, I go to the gym four to six times a week and it does great keeping me in shape, but it doesn’t help reduce my stress like it does for many other people. As for my expectations, they were clear and simple. I expected Robin to trust herself as my dominant, to openly communicate, and to understand that she wouldn’t be hurting me.

Robin says: Listening to Liam’s thoughts helped determine my own needs, wants, and expectations very clearly. I only had one need, which was for Liam to allow me stop a scene at any point if I felt uncomfortable. Early on in our relationship, I knew that Liam had a unique ability to transform pain into positive energy and pleasure. What I wanted was for him to find relief from stress and anxiety. I also wanted to feel comfortable throughout our BDSM adventures. As for expectations, I expect him to obey me at all times during a scene. LOL! Additionally, I set a clear expectation that we communicate our intent before, during, and after playtime was over.

 

Step 3: Establishing Rights & Responsibilities

Another important part of our BDSM contract and negotiations involved the establishment of rights and responsibilities. This was vital in understanding and respecting each of our assigned roles. Again, we documented everything in our discussion.

Robin says: After much discussion, the two of us agreed that we could stop our BDSM relationship at any time, and for any reason. Our love for each other is far beyond any words that I can describe. In no way did we want to jeopardize such a wonderful and healthy relationship. Also, we would mutually agree upon specific times to assume each of our respective roles. Since we have children in our house, I knew that we wouldn’t have the ability to live a BDSM lifestyle 24/7. As for responsibilities, we agreed that I would do the following:

  • Obey all rules of the BDSM contract.
  • Always control my emotions and never punish Liam out of anger.
  • Protect Liam from physical and emotional harm.
  • Communicate intent and check-in during play.
  • Abide by all play limits.
  • Adhere to all safety guidelines at all times.

Liam says: By this time in our BDSM negotiation, I was becoming very enthusiastic in regards to where our relationship was heading. I felt very comfortable with our rights as well as Robin’s responsibilities. With that said, my responsibilities were as follows:

  • Obey Robin’s commands as directed.
  • Ensure my mind & body are adequately prepared before play.
  • Have trust in Robin’s decisions without fear of harm.
  • Abide by all rules of the BDSM contract.

 

Step 4: Create Clear Limits of Play

This is, by far, one of the most import parts of a BDSM negotiation. Establishing clear and concise activities and limits to each activity prevents both physical and emotional injury. We initially made a list of potential activities and wrote each one on a piece of paper. We then categorized each activity into three limit categories: hard, soft, and favorable. Hard limits are activities that are strictly prohibited. Here are some of the main hard limits that we established:

  • Cock & ball torture   
  • Needle play
  • Blood play
  • Choking
  • Fisting
  • Exhibitionism
  • Knife Play (cutting)
  • Watersports (golden showers)
  • Cross-dressing
  • Flame/Fire play

After determining our hard limits, we then discussed soft limits. Soft limits are activities in which we consider doing but first require additional consent and extra caution when performing. Below is a majority of our soft limits:

  • Suspension
  • Wax play
  • Breath play
  • Interrogation
  • Face slapping
  • Tickling
  • Forced masturbation
  • Nipple torture (nipple clamps)

Lastly, we selected our favorable limits. For us, favorable limits are an absolute “yes” and can be performed at any time. Here’s a fairly large list of our favorable limits:

  • Anal plugs
  • Blindfolds
  • Bondage
  • Caning
  • Chastity play
  • Collars
  • Dildos
  • Dirty talk
  • Electro stimulation
  • Flogging
  • Forced servitude
  • Gags
  • Hair pulling
  • Hand jobs
  • Humiliation
  • Immobilization
  • Nipple play
  • Massage (giving & receiving)
  • Massage Wand play
  • Orgasm denial
  • Over-the-knee spanking
  • Prostate massage/milking
  • Pussy worship
  • Serving orally (cunnilingus & rimming)
  • Sensory deprivation
  • Sexual Intercourse
  • Spreader bars
  • Strap-on play
  • Whipping
  • Vibrators
  • Violet Wand play

Step 5: Develop Safety Protocols

In addition to setting play limits, developing and implementing safety protocols is equally important. After all, the goal for each participant is to find joy and pleasure in the BDSM relationship. We set up two separate safety protocols: safe words and safe gestures. Safe words are code words used by a submissive to communicate their current physical and emotional state. Safe gestures replace safe words when a submissive is gagged and/or bound leaving the inability to speak.

Liam says: Safe words can be very simple or very unique. I tend to fall in a trance-like state when Robin and I are in the middle of a scene. Therefore, we decided to keep our safe words very simple. Here’s what we use for our safe words:

  • Green – this means “yes”, “I’m fine”, and “keep doing it.”
  • Yellow – this means “I like it, but I’m uncomfortable”, “ease up”, “check-in with me.”
  • Red – this means “no”, “stop”, “I’m not okay.”

Robin says: In many of our scenes, it’s highly likely that Liam will have a gag in his mouth and be bound. In situations like this, it’s very difficult for me to understand Liam when he attempts to talk through a gag. Here’s our list of safe gestures that we use:

  • Nodding of the head up-and-down: this means “yes.”
  • Nodding of the head side-to-side: this means “no” and/or “stop”
  • Wiggling of the right foot or hand: this means “yes”, “I’m fine”, “keep going.”
  • Wiggling of the left foot or hand: this means “stop”, “check-in with me.”

 All of our safe words and gestures were recorded in our contract so they could be reviewed and altered, if necessary.

 

Step 6: Design an Aftercare Plan

Never, absolutely never, leave your submissive alone once a scene has ended! Aftercare should always be a requirement when playtime is over. Be sure to develop a plan to take care of your submissive once all activities stop and write it down in your contract. With such intense experiences of both pleasure and pain, the sympathetic nervous system often kicks in. Adrenaline and endorphins race throughout the submissive often pushing them into what’s known as subspace. Leaving someone unattended in their subspace can be very dangerous. We’ll let Liam define subspace from his perspective.

Liam says: Our BDSM scenes are really intense! The mixture of pain and pleasure typically makes me mentally and physically exhausted. By the end of our scenes, if not during, I usually start feeling dizzy. On many occasions, I fall into a trance-like state as if I were under hypnosis. My head feels numb, my body is super-sensitive, and I almost feel as if I am floating. Also, my body grows very cold once play is over and I often get the shivers. Describing this may not sound very fun, but you’d be surprised just how awesome it really is!

Robin says: I’ve noticed Liam become incoherent both during and after a scene on several occasions. For me, it’s very scary seeing him almost completely unresponsive. If I notice this while in the middle of a scene, I immediately end play to take care of him. Here is a series of steps I take as part of our aftercare plan:

  1. Sit Liam on the floor and wrap him in a warm blanket. I will then sit behind him and wrap my arms around him and cuddle for a while.
  2. While cuddling, I gently rub his arms and chest to provide additional warmth. I really don’t speak to him much at this point because he’s still very much in his subspace.
  3. After several minutes, I move to the front of him. I check his eyes paying close attention to the size of his pupils. I try asking him simple questions to see how he responds. If he seems fairly coherent, I’ll give him hugs and kisses.
  4. Once Liam is nearing complete coherency, I continue to cuddle with him and we discuss the scene. I like to give him lots of praise for a job well-done (he’s always gives me praise as well).
  5. As we discuss the scene, I typically get up and fix him a warm cup of herbal tea to help further warm him. I also give him a large glass of water. It’s extremely important to rehydrate once playtime is over.
  6. Lastly, I prefer to give him a gentle massage to further relax him (He often reciprocates as I sometimes get sore playing my role as the dominant). If impact play was involved, I also treat his impact zones with some soothing lotion or aloe.

As you can tell, we took the BDSM relationship very seriously from the very beginning. This was something we were curious about for a great while and we didn’t want to start off “on the wrong foot.” Rather than diving right in to the BDSM world, we created a well-thought action plan and contract. The two of us worked together through thoughtful, sincere, and respectful communication. As it turned out, our BDSM relationship went well from the very beginning due to our careful planning. Presently, we still have our original contract and we periodically review it together. Over time, we’ve developed new desires and curiosities requiring us to alter our contract several times to include and remove specific play limits and activities.

In all honesty, had we not negotiated play, created an action plan and contract, it’s likely we wouldn’t have a present-day BDSM relationship. Our BDSM relationship has intensified over the years and so has our trust, communication, and love. We STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you and your partner to incorporate a similar plan prior to any BDSM play…we can’t stress this enough. And, always make play SAFE, SANE, and CONSENSUAL as your #1 rule.

 

We hope you have enjoyed this post. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions, concerns or information you'd like to share. Be sure to check back for more blogs and product reviews or subscribe to our newsletter for automatic updates. We can also be reached directly via email at robinandliam@couplesplaythings.com.

Thanks again,
Robin & Liam



1 Response

Taataa
Taataa

April 29, 2017

A great article guys. Lots of ideas and good to see you have seriously taken the time to consider each other

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