You meet someone and decide to play. What next? Negotiations! Negotiating will help all of the players get what they want and avoid unpleasant surprises. Etiquette is the style that you bring to these negotiations.
Who? It's not always one-on-one.
What? Scenes range from simple sensations to heavy play.
Where? Even at a play party, some players prefer more privacy than others.
When and for how long? Plan a time, length, and ending signal.
Limits? Detail your physical and emotional boundaries and the specific SM activities you want to engage in.
Limitations? Ask about prior physical injuries, prosthetics, medications, allergies and even past incidents, like a history of fainting or claustrophobia.
STDs? If you don’t want to ask, assume that your play partner is positive for all types of STDs. Take proper precautions.
Pain threshold? Be honest and everyone will have a better time.
Okay to leave marks? Negotiate whether they’re allowed, or if it’s only okay on body parts normally covered by clothing.
Safewords? Traffic light colors work well: green = go. Lots of players have a “scene-ending” safeword too. If the play involves a gag or loss of speech (think gas mask), pick a safe action, like three taps or finger flexing.
Special skills? Find out if either of you has one that can be brought into the scene.
Dominant and submissive titles? Are terms like Sir, Daddy, boy, slut or other descriptors going to be used?
Intoxicants? If yes, decide what's okay. Remember, you need to be present in your body to be safe, sane, and consensual.
Gender? Don’t make assumptions about someone’s gender, what gender(s) they play in, or their gender history. If you’re looking for some specific cock or cunt play, ask for it during negotiations.
Want to follow-up? Debriefing is good, but may not work well immediately after a deep scene because everyone’s headspace is often affected. Set a time – the next day, the next week, or even both – to check in. Debriefing helps you become a better Top or Bottom!
In terms of etiquette, while inside "the scene" remember the manners your mama taught you:
- Don’t hit anyone (without their consent).
- Be respectful – of people, of people’s scenes, their gear and their space.
- Be polite - It goes a long way, and you’ll find that the polite players are often the ones that get the hot repeat dates.