Negotiation

A few weeks ago I wrote about scene negotiation and one particular way it could go wrong. I originally planned to follow that up with a post on the right way to do it, before realizing how incredibly egotistical that would be. I’m no expert to be telling others what to do. Instead let me simply describe what has worked for me in the context of negotiating professional sessions. That has been a learning experience for me over the years, and maybe there will be something relevant to others.

One of the primary things I’ve discovered is that familiarity breeds understanding. My best sessions have always featured people I’ve played with multiple times in the past. That’s not to say I haven’t had great first sessions, but it’s hard to have a really intense and moving scene when I’m still getting to know someone. I therefore play exclusively with Lydia in Seattle and I try to revisit dommes I already know when traveling. It’s so much easier to do scene negotiation when I’ve got past history to draw on and a shared understanding to work with.

That said, there are definitely learning opportunities that come with playing with new people, and all relationships have to start somewhere. So here’s my approach when I’m getting to know someone…

  1. Keep it simple.
    There’s a lot of figure out when playing with someone new – chemistry, communication, physical response, etc. I therefore like to keep the activities list short to try and minimize the variables. Picking just a couple of general areas, for example bondage and CBT, gives enough scope to play while keeping the negotiation easy.
  2. Focus on areas of expertise.
    A lot of pro-dommes will list particular activities they enjoy or areas they specialize in. I always like to suggest these in our initial negotiations. Seeing someone at their best is highly informative. If there’s not good chemistry doing something they profess to particularly enjoy, then that’s a red flag.
  3. Trust my instincts.
    I’ve had very few bad experiences. Any domme that I’ve played with and named on this site has been someone I’ve had a great experience with. For the unnamed dommes I’ve had problems with, there were almost always signs early in our communication that I ignored. This has included things like obviously not fully reading my (short) emails, introducing D/s dynamics at the negotiation stage, chopping/changing session times frequently, and introducing activities I’d clearly identified as problematic in initial sessions. I’ve learned that any early problems in negotiating (and sticking to it) is a sign of more problems to come down the road.
  4. Do paired sessions.
    I think it’s really hard to negotiate or give non-trivial feedback in the middle of a session. I’m typically in a submissive mindset and it takes time to switch gears, step back and get perspective on a session. With someone new I therefore always try and do two sessions a couple of days apart. That gives us both time to evaluate and re-negotiate when there’s not rope, whips and sweaty bodies involved.
  5. Review before clothes come off.
    I do most of my negotiation in email, and normally a week or so before a session. I’ve no doubt all good dommes will reread that communication before playing, but I always find it useful just to review it verbally, even if there’s nothing to add. There’s often detail and emphasis that can get lost when emailing someone, particularly when you’ve not met before.
  6. Distinguish suggestions from asks.
    This is a minor thing, but it’s something that’s bitten in the past. I’ll say something like “Doing A and B might be fun, I particularly like C”. To me that means “Definitely do C, pick as you like from A,B”. To someone else that can simply mean “Pick as you like from A,B,C”. I then spend a session expecting C at some point, and I’m slightly surprised and disappointed when it doesn’t happen. I’ve therefore learned to be very clear to distinguish between when I’m asking for something specific and when I’m merely suggesting some possible options.

Hopefully that short list might be useful for a few readers. I’ll save some follow-up thoughts for another post. Picking an image for this post was kind of tricky. Nobody photographs pre-scene negotiation. So going in completely the opposite direction, here’s an image of the kind of session you’d really want to negotiate carefully upfront. Guns don’t do much for me, but I do appreciate their iconic nature. It’s just not the kind of activity I’d want to be surprised with!

Gunplay with Mistress Eve

The image features Mistress Eve, a pro-domme based out of London. She has a very extensive list of interests, so if you’re in the area I’m sure you’ll be able to negotiate something interesting.

Author: paltego

See the 'about' page if you really want to know about me.

2 thoughts on “Negotiation”

  1. May I suggest adding, ‘Keep it honest.’

    You are going to put yourself in another’s control. The more accurately she understands you and your capabilities, the more control she may take. The goal is not to impress her before the session, but to give in during the session. Failing to meet unrealistic expectations you created beforehand does not help the process.

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