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BDSM relationships are not easy, they are not simple and there is no “normal” dynamic. I’ve said before that there is no way to describe the ultimate BDSM relationship, however there are certain protocols that create a sound foundation for one. Without a majority of these, a D/s relationship can be chaotic, full of misunderstandings, anger and jealousy.
When you first meet someone I believe it is best to be honest about your desires, expectations and experience. You don’t need to force them to listen to you while you tell them your life story, but the major events, anything that could effect your relationship should be noted after a few dates/meetings or after things have gotten a bit more serious.
I also believe in voicing any concerns or issues within the relationship freely between each other. If you can, try to approach a problem after you have had time to think about it yourself. This will give you time to detach any emotions you were feeling at the time of the incident and look at it from a different perspective.
If need be, you can always ask an unbiased third party to examine the situation and give you advice.
If you decide to pursue a serious D/s relationship with someone the next step would be to discuss negotiations. You will go over different topics depending on whether this negotiation is for an individual scene or the relationship. You will discuss your limits, safe words, what activities will be involved in a scene, what rules you will follow, punishments for breaking a rule, what daily activities your top will have control over and what daily activities or “chores” the bottom will have to complete. Again, not all of these will apply directly to YOUR relationship, but the negotiations should always take place before you have a scene with someone new.
Without negotiations your relationship may always feel like it is on the edge. The Top could claim they didn’t know that knife play was a hard limit or the bottom could decide to pursue other tops without clarification that their current relationship was supposed to be monogamous. These simple misunderstandings could lead to jealousy and anger, but are easily avoided with thorough negotiations.
(If you want to be formal with your negotiations, discuss your details and create a written contract.)
Both partners must respect each other. If you do not have respect for that person, then it is going to be difficult to trust them in a scene and then there is no where to move forward. Respect means being faithful to your agreed negotiations and being honest with your partner. Also, being respectful does not mean you have to agree with them 100% of the time. You are allowed to safe word or bring up an issue you feel is important, but how you go about doing that is the key. Be calm and do not break rules in the process of trying to prove a point.
There are two main thoughts on safety in BDSM. The first is SSC, which means “Safe, Sane, Consensual” and the second is RACK, which means “Risk Aware Consensual Kink”. They differ on the degree of safety (SSC largely looks down upon edge play because it is dangerous, but RACK would allow edge play as long as the partners are aware of the risks and take the appropriate safety precautions).
One of ASI’s goals is to educate those who are interested on how to be as safe as possible. It may not pertain to a kink we’re really into, but we are not here to judge.
To be as safe as you can, make you sure you do plenty of research before attempting an activity. If you can, speak to someone who has tried it before and get tips and advice from those more experienced.
Be sure you are aware of any potential danger related to the activity. If there are medical issues, do more research on how to avoid an embarrassing trip to the Emergency Room.
Remember, it is the Top’s responsibility to keep the bottom safe. A Top should never lead a bottom into unsafe situation. We trust the top to guide us, safely, and to teach us through new experiences.
These are a few of the things that are needed to create a solid D/s relationship and, really, almost any relationship. Remember, every relationship is different and may require different attributes.
by Jessica Cocker