This blog is a summary of a chat event hosted by Maryanne and Mistress Star on the Bound BDSM Discord channel, to join the channel and see our other chat events as well as meet new like minded people please follow the link on the front page of this website.
What are BDSM Contracts and Scene Negotiation?
Whilst there are no hard and fast definitions for these items in broad terms the following can be applied:-
Scene negotiation is something everyone, even if just occasionally delving into the world of BDSM, will experience. They are essentially the process of consent for the actions that the dominant intends to achieve within a individual scene or a series of scenes. From a dominant perspective the need to work within clearly defined parameters is all important, nobody enjoys a scene which is ‘stop start’ for the purposes of checking the submissive is still ok with what is taking place so many dominants will negotiate a scene prior to commencement thus defining what they can and cannot do once play is underway.
BDSM Contracts tend to cover more than an individual scene, they represent the limits of the relationship between submissive and dominant over a period of time, tend to define the responsibilities each individual has and lay out the limitations on the relationship, the things which simply cannot happen as well as the things that can happen.
Do I need a contact or do i need to negotiate a scene?
Again there are no hard and fast rules, commonly when people first engage with each other scene negotiation is the key factor as they work scene to scene and learn about each other. Often as a relationship develops a contract is used to provide the overarching structure within which the entire relationship functions, it is not uncommon to have a contract which sets out the big rules but for a dominant or submissive to still wish to negotiate scenes as new activities are introduced.
What is absolutely clear is that everyone needs to have either or in some cases both a scene negotiation or a contract, often people do not realise they are enaging in these but all responsible BDSM depends on consent and consent is achieved through one or other or both of these mechanisms.
Some experienced couples prefer a contract on the basis that it covers their entire relationship rather than a specific set of actions in a specific scene but even for these people there will be occasional scene negotiation as they enter new territories.
What should be included in scene negotiation?
Broadly, the dominant will set out what they intend to do and the submissive will think about and communicate any limitations they need in the planned activity. Sometimes the negotiation will be very specific in terms of its content and sometimes it will be broader. In good scene negoitation both parties should be very aware of the the plan and the limitations of the session thus leaving the dominant to work within these parameters with a free hand.
What should be in a contract
In theory, everything, all the areas the dominant intends to explore and all the limitations the submissive wishes to have observed. In reality it is impossible to make a list of every minute detail that will take place in a relationship, for this reason both parties tend to discuss the broad areas they wish to explore and then define the limitations. Because it is impossible to cover all eventualities BDSM contracts really do need a aspect of goodwill and trust to ensure the spirit as well as the hard text of the agreement is followed.
Frequently included content would include - Hard limits (complete no go areas), Soft limits (where the dominant needs to proceed with caution and may have to negotiate their intentions, the general level of submission agreed to (is it 24/7, is it 2 days a week and how submissive is the sub going to be), some contracts have a duration and review date set within them, release terms (often a submissive will limit their right to leave the agreement), other people (boundaries around play and interaction with others are often detailed in a contract) and direction (for some couples long term aims are covered.
Can subs dictate terms in a contract or negotiation?
Dictate is the wrong word, generally you do not dictate in a vanilla relationship so you also do not when negotiating for BDSM but it is crucial for subss to be completely comfortable at both the scene negotiation and contract phase of any relationship in their rights to set their limits and shape their own experience………..Never let a dominant refuse your limits!
As ever our thanks to Mistress Star and Maryanne for hosting this event and answering the questions our members put forward.