Updated: Jul 13
Due to the recent ending of a personal play relationship, I reflected on my experience and this blog post was born! My background informs my pleasure. Agency in my youth wasn’t honored or reflected in the adult conflicts I witnessed. So reconciliation is something that I value. BDSM taught me that I can take my power back by engaging with care, care is the reflection of harm reduction and these pillars keep me grounded. They are transferable skills that can be realized in and out of BDSM & kink dynamics. There is a fine line between “spilling tea” and humiliating someone, so consider these for casual gossipping or enjoying drama as well. These tips are especially important if you’re considering a 24/7 (D)ominant /(s)submissive relationship. Do nothing without intent!
Intention & Impact- the range can be during play scenes and sexy time or casual and leisurely. Consider the ways you’d like to explore humiliation especially verbal since it's one of the overly abused types of humiliation. Even within spontaneous & casual agreements harm reduction needs to be centered at all times. I suggest coming up with a word or phrase that signals to other participant(s) you are interested in engaging in verbal humiliation at that moment. Also a phrase that signifies you/partner doesn't have the capacity. Get understanding around ways to cope with triggers and high intensity emotions. If you enjoy conflict or using degradation as a form of punishment, please get consent around that. The way you cope with high intensity emotions is key, that way it isn't a tool for abusing loved ones or yourself either.
Effective Communication- this is essential, coming up with a communication protocol is MAJOR. It’s a troubleshooting mechanism for folk who are finicky communicators, conflict avoidant, figuring out your communication style, aggressive when defensive, haven’t had good experience with ways conflicts can build intimacy, your communication style differs from a loved one/play partner, you have conflict anxiety, or high conflict pairs/unions. Be on the lookout for my comm rubric! For effective communication, having automated check-ins, some people prefer bi-weekly or monthly. Keep a handy list of how you self soothe and how your partner(s) can soothe you. Nurturing yourself is ongoing and in the midst of sensitive conflicts very crucial, this will help identify ways you’re contributing and ways you need your partner to contribute; so there isn’t any pressure but lots of collaboration. Call on half-time, I call this the holy grail of comm. It's a period in comm when you need a break, half- time is 22 minutes. When a person calls half-time you both should remain silent and separate in the best way possible for 22 minutes. This is a signifier that someone is feeling overwhelmed.
"The Process" aka Ongoing Negotiation- negotiation is creating a process by which you operate with another person. This should be ongoing and progressive, supporting the interpersonal growth you and lover(s) experience within the dynamic. Without a doubt you'll influence one another; a healthy kink experience should welcome a person's influence within your life and it should be celebrated. The point is to grow into fuller versions of self with the support of kink, intimacy, and pleasure. Negotiation should be open at all times, in play or interpersonal scenarios a person asking you to change position, touch, intensity, rhythm, volume is a type of negotiation. Negotiating is when an experience is processed within the mind, body, and spirit and people feel empowered to explore how the experience could be more pleasurable for them. Negotiation combats unhealthy manipulation. A person who is not willing to negotiate is not willing to collaborate. All dynamics must respect agency, even when a person shares that agency by giving you the key to their submission style.
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