BDSM Basics

Negotiations and Consent in BDSM

August 29, 2019

Why Negotiation is Essential

In my previous post on BDSM Basics for Beginners, I mentioned the fact that all BDSM encounters involve negotiations and consent. To ensure that everyone can provide informed consent to the activity, this must occur before every scene. This is a critical topic that seems so simple and yet can cause so much confusion. Let’s see if we can’t make this a painless part of your BDSM encounter.

In a perfect world, everyone has a thorough understanding of PRICK and RACK and has invested time researching all of the ins and outs of the fetish activity that they engage in. I think we all know that we don’t live in a perfect world. Unfortunately, many people who engage in BDSM play take this part of the process for granted and operate on assumptions. For your safety, and the safety of everyone you play with, never assume anything about another individual. Especially not their knowledge of BDSM, or whether or not you have their consent.

Negotiation also ensures that neither party will be encountering one of their hard limits during the session. Hard and soft limits of all involved parties should always be addressed during a negotiation. If someone is unsure of their hard and soft limits, negotiations can help them come to terms with what they might be. I will go into more detail about hard and soft limits later on, but for now, if someone does not consent to anything, it is considered a “hard limit.” If someone is unsure about whether or not they want to partake in something, or if they would only participate in certain situations, it is known as a “soft limit.” No matter the reasoning behind someone’s limits, they must be respected at all times during a session.

Negotiation – Example with Chastity

For example, chastity is one of my favorite fetishes, and I come across many men in my workday who love to wear chastity devices for the long term. A chastity device is a silicone, plastic, or metal device that completely encases the genitalia and is kept in place with a lock of some variety. The device’s purpose is to prevent the man from enjoying sexual stimulation without the keyholder’s permission. That is where I come in. Unfortunately, I am using this as an example because the majority of people who I interact with don’t understand the potential risks associated with chastity. I’ll go into it more in detail in another post dedicated to chastity. But for now, just know that several things can, in fact, go wrong when wearing a device on your genitals for long periods. Almost daily, I get requests from strange men I have never spoken to before to be their keyholder. This is my job, so I am not upset that they are attempting to engage in a service that I provide. I am disturbed at their disregard for their own health and well being. These individuals are requesting to send the only key that they have to their chastity device to a woman across the country they just discovered that evening. This is where fantasy and reality collide in a big way. That would mean that any time they had to remove the chastity device, they would have to get ahold of me to go to the post office and mail it out. Then they would have to wait two or three days to unlock themselves. While some of you reading this might think that sounds erotic, it would actually be quite the hassle. Genitals must be cleaned regularly. When locked in chastity, I recommend every three days having a thorough cleaning without the cage. Operating on this schedule, the key would be in the mail 80% of the time. Does that sound like fun? Maybe, but keep reading.

“This is where fantasy and reality collide in a big way.”

With most chastity devices, the only way to remove them is by removing the lock. If you don’t have the key to unlock the device, a playful situation can turn into an emergency quickly. I know that we all want to assume that no outside forces will impact our kinky fun. However, if you are participating in this alternative sexual lifestyle, that means you are an adult. That means we have to put our big boy/girl pants on and realize we don’t live in a magical fantasy world. Consider a car accident. While we try not to think about the “what ifs,” that is what negotiation is all about! If your locked play partner were involved in a car accident, would you want the EMTs trying to figure out how to remove the device without harming him? Or able to treat them without issue? While I know it shatters the fantasies of many, I use plastic locks in my practice that can be broken by the locked individual at any time. The caveat is that the plastic locks are numbered, and I will know if the number has changed. This allows the security we both desire since the lock cannot be broken without me knowing. This method also allows the safety we both require. I sleep much better at night, knowing that if push ever came to shove, my pets are in control of their safety.

This is an excellent example of negotiation, as clearly the original idea presented to me by the submissive did not match up with my knowledge of chastity and its challenges. Through informing him of the safety risks that could potentially come into play, I have negotiated new terms of the “contract.” Keep in mind that all of this negotiation is to occur before the lock is closed on the device. Many things need to be negotiated and consented to concerning chastity, but we are only looking at the type of lock used here in this example.

Negotiation – Example with Cock and Ball Abuse

Ah, another one of my personal favorites; cock and ball torture. This fetish is an interest of many, but not everyone interested in cock and ball torture is involved in the same aspects of it. Remember, BDSM is not one size fits all. No fetish within BDSM has to be practiced in one specific way. This is another reason that negotiation is essential, and assumptions should never be made by either party. Cock and ball torture can involve an impact, crushing, stretching, pinching, topical torture, temperature play, or even bondage. I’m sure there are other methods not coming to mind right now. But, the chances are, if two different people come to me for a cock and ball abuse session, they will both be interested in various aspects of it. The risks involved with CBT sessions are a little more evident than the risks I briefly addressed regarding chastity. Just because they are more obvious does not mean that it can be assumed that someone is aware of the risks. Cock and ball torture should only be done by a Dom(me) who is educated on the matter. Just because someone has feet doesn’t qualify them to kick someone in the testicles. The same goes for long-distance situations: cock and ball abuse instructions should only be given by someone who knows what they are doing! The health risks of CBT include, but are not limited to, loss of circulation and testicular torsion. Yes, you can become infertile due to malpractice involving cock and ball torture. This is why negotiation and consent are imperative.

Remember, the negotiation should be informative so that both parties can grant their informed consent. During the negotiation, you must address all of the potential risks and outcomes of a play session. You wouldn’t want to ruin an excellent session by pulling out a sounding device(used to stretch a male’s urethra) when the submissive only wanted to be kicked in the balls. You must receive informed consent for every activity before you begin.

Learning Together Builds Trust

Whether you are the sadist or the masochist in this situation, you should be fully informed about all of the potential risks involved before the scene starts. If your partner isn’t educated about the risks, and still wants to engage in the session, this is where you must politely decline the session. The plus side is, learning about new fetishes together with your partner can be an excellent way to bond and build trust. There is absolutely no shame in postponing a session because one or more parties involved want to do more research beforehand. I decline sessions all the time if I feel that the submissive who has approached me is not educated enough to consent to the activity they are requesting. I also frequently decline sessions that are outside of my comfort zone of knowledge. Eagerness to play is essential, but an eagerness to learn is critical.

Granting Consent

This shouldn’t have to be said, but it does. The only way to be sure consent has been given is to receive a clear verbal “yes.” The “yes” must be in response to an informed statement. For example, a top might say “Do you consent to have your balls kicked being fully aware of the risks involved?” to which the submissive responds with a “yes ma’am” or a “no ma’am.” Obviously, if the submissive says “no,” you must renegotiate the terms until you get consent. Asking in this manner makes sure that the sub is fully aware of the activity about to incur, and they have already been informed of the risks involved.

It is essential to be specific when exchanging consent. As I stated earlier, many fetishes are blanket terms covering many different activities. Just because someone consents to having their balls kicked, does not mean that they consent to have a ten-pound weight hung from their scrotum. While these are both conventional methods of cock and ball torture, the activities are very different. Please take the time to learn about whatever action you are going to be involving yourself with. The fetish is not the only important part of the equation. You must also concern yourself with how the fantasy will be played out.

Things to Consider when Negotiating and Granting Consent Before a Session

  • What tools will you use? Will your weapons be physical weapons such as paddles and restraints? Or will your weapons be your cruel words?
  • What damage could possibly be inflicted on the bottom from your weapons of choice? Will the damage be primarily mental or physical? What type of aftercare will be provided?
  • Do any players involved have any health concerns that need to be taken into account? What modifications to the session must be made if this is the case?
  • What is your plan if something goes wrong? If there is an emergency, how will you ensure the safety of all players involved? What safety precautions will be taken to help ensure that this doesn’t happen?
  • What are the hard and soft limits of all parties involved? How will the players let the other person know one of their limits is being approached or has been breached?
  • Is my partner on the same page as me?

Do you know the answers to all of the above questions off of the top of your head? Good! Then go have fun, my friend.

Consent Over Extended Periods of Time

It is also important to note here that the more times that you play with someone the less involved exchanging consent will become. However, before you really get to know someone you must be extremely diligent when granting and receiving consent. Consent can also be a fluid concept at times. What someone consented to on Monday, they may not consent to on Friday. So consent must be granted before each activity that involves risk. Don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with fun ways to involve consent in your regular sessions! An example of this is I frequently make my “victims” beg for their punishment. While this is an erotic part of the scene, they are verbally confirming what is about to incur. This isn’t practical for all scenarios, but you get the idea. Incorporating consent within the scene is important to establishing and maintaining trust.

The exception to this rule can be in a long term BDSM relationship that is more involved than just the occasional session. However, within that type of TPE relationship, a thorough detailed negotiation took place and extended consent was provided. Under certain circumstances, someone can consent to something for an extended period of time. This can allow more spontaneity within the play, but consent can still be removed at any time. Negotiations and consent still take place in these circumstances, it is just far less frequent.

I hope that you found this article helpful, and it helps you gain confidence going forward in your BDSM journey. I wish you the best kinky travels, my friend!

Leave a Reply