I’m new to the SM scene and I keep hearing the term “negotiation.” What does this term refer to? ~ Bill, New York
To have a satisfactory SM scene most people believe a certain amount of “negotiation” is needed. What this refers to is the process by which each player lets the other player know their desires, fantasies, level of experience, physical limits, emotional limits, safer sex guidelines and anything else that may be deemed important information. This is done to improve the chances that the SM scene will be both enjoyable and within the safety parameters of those involved.
Most partners negotiate in a fairly informal manner, usually through some brief conversation. Others approach the negotiation process more formally by exchanging emails or completing questionnaires. Whatever method is used, the trading of this information is what is important. Also, if a person is unwilling to participate in such a negotiation process, I would suggest you avoid playing with them. While negotiation methods may vary, most seasoned SM players generally consider the need for some type of negotiation essential.