We all hear about the importance of negotiation in BDSM play and relationships. This negotiation checklist is meant as a guideline to help you when planning play or dynamics with new people. The list is more oriented towards play, where people will likely have similar topics to discuss, whereas relationships are very individual. That said, feel free to use any of these suggestions when negotiating relationship dynamics too.
Make sure you understand why style of consent and negotiation that you are involved in.
Opt-in negotiation means that only the activities discussed and agreed to are a part of play.
Opt-out negotiation means that anything is fair game except the hard limits or activities deemed off limits.
Consensual Non-Consent is typically a relationship style, but some people do structure play within this type of structure. This is where the person in authority makes the decisions and the person giving up the authority obeys, even if they don’t want to.
This section of the negotiation checklist looks at the who, where and the timing of your scene.
- Who is in the scene?
- What roles will they play?
- Are others allowed to join in?
- Where will the scene take place?
- Play party?
- Private home?
- Rented space/hotel?
- Other place?
- When will the scene take place?
- How long will the scene last?
Limits & Safewords
This section of the negotiation checklist covers limits (hard and soft), safewords, pushing limits and the sobriety of the participants.
- Will you be using safewords or plain language? (for info on safewords, watch my video on Youtube)
- If you’re using safewords, what are they?
- What do the safewords mean to you?
- Are you engaging in resistance play?
- What are your hard limits (in general and for this scene)?
- Will you be pushing soft limits?
- What will that look like?
- Are there any warning signs of bad emotional space?
- Under what circumstances should the scene stop if things don’t go well?
- Will all parties be sober?
- Is sobriety important for the scene?
- If not, what are acceptable intoxication levels for each person in the scene?
In this section of the negotiation checklist, sexual activity is covered. It is important to be very specific when discussing sexual activity during a scene to avoid misunderstandings.
- Will sexual activity be involved in this scene?
- Sexual talk?
- Genital touching/m
- Manual stimulation?
- Oral sex?
- If sexual activity will be involved, what safer sex precautions should be used?
- Internal vs external?
- On toys?
- Dental Dams?
- Birth Control?
This section covers the details of the play being planned.
- What type of scene will you be doing?
- Bondage, impact, sensation, pain play, genitorture, etc
- Are marks permitted?
- No marks
- Lots of marks
- Marks only where they can’t be seen by clothing/swimsuit/other
- Only temporary marks
- Will you be engaging in humiliation or degradation play?
- Verbal humiliation
- Humiliating acts
- What is off limits
- What play style do you engage in?
- Light and fun
- Lots of laughter
- High protocol
- What do you enjoy most?
- What are your needs in a scene?
- What are you hoping to get out of the scene?
Health & Relationship
This part of the negotiation checklist covers any health concerns, relationship details and the need for aftercare.
- Do you have any health concerns that could affect the scene
- Is there anything that should be avoided?
- What should be done if there is an emergency?
- Will you have needed medications (inhaler, for example) and what should your partner do if you need them?
- Do you need aftercare?
- What type of aftercare?
- Blanket, water, something to eat, culldes, etc.
- How long?
- Is there someone else you would rather provide aftercare?
- What type of aftercare?
- What sort of relationship are you in?
- Play partners
- One-off play scene
- Romantic relationship
- D/s relationship