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Negotiations

by Sir Bamm!

posted and edited with permission from the author

 

Sir Bamm has been involved in WIITWD since approximately 1980. Limiting focus to the past decade, Bamm was involved in the formation of the Safe, Sane, and Consensual Network (SSCN) in NC and was on the original Board of Directors for that group. In 2000, he received a Merlin Award for Leather Activism.  He has served as the DM Captain for SSCN and for the School for Austin Area Dominants Education (SAADE). For a short time Bamm was on the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)'s Incident Response Team, served as the Group With No Name (GWNN)'s DM Captain and in 2001 and 2002 he served on GWNN's Election Committee.

In 2002, he became the Chief Security Officer for SAADE and became a member of the SAADE Council, where he has also established the DM Certification Program for SAADE and the DM "Train the Trainers" program. Bamm served as a Mentor in the Austin Mentor's Program from 2001-2003. He has also had the privilege of being asked to give presentations on Old Style Submission, Signal Whips, Dungeon Monitoring, Negotiations and other topics at such groups as SSCN, SAADE, SAS/M, TOL, ALE, TLP and the Kinky Aggies.

Bamm presently holds certifications as a CPR instructor, a HazMat Technician, an Advanced Firefighter and as an EMT.  He has a Master's Degree in Religion and is the Training Officer for two organizations he currently belongs to and the captain of a local fire department. He is in an open, poly relationship with his 24/7 slave, terri, and can easily be approached for demonstrations, presentations, conversations or negotiations at

His web site is at http://www.SirBamm.com

This page is dedicated to one of the topics that I teach as a Mentor in the SAADE Mentor Program. It is not to be considered as all encompassing, or even as gospel. It is meant as a general guide to negotiating with a partner and to give you a place to start. I will use the male form for the Top and the female form for the bottom, but only for the purpose of ease in explanation. I have no prejudice either way. And I will talk mostly about this from the Dominant's point of view, because that's who I mentor. Also, if I tried to explain every point of view from every politically correct angle, this would be too long to fit on a single web site! But this can work for either male or female, Top or bottom. And although there may be a difference, I will use Top, Dominant and Master almost interchangeably, as well as submissive, bottom and slave, for purposes of this article. And all of this information is My opinion and should not be mistaken for legal, religious or medical advice.

 

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First Meeting

When you first walk in to a BDSM gathering or get off the Internet and go to R/T pursuits of your interest, things may seem a bit overwhelming for you, whether you're a Top or a bottom. And when you decide to "make the move" how should you begin?

Well, like in most real life situations, try honesty, sincerity and courtesy.

I heard a story about a guy who walked into a bar, saw a girl that I know, that he knew was submissive. He bought her a drink, and while talking to his friends, told the girl to go to his car and get him his Palm Pad.

That's fine if the submissive were his submissive. Otherwise, it's rude. First rule: A submissive is only submissive to those she chooses to submit to, and a slave is only a slave to her Master and those that her Master chooses for her to submit to.

It doesn't take much to get a relationship started. Have some confidence and talk. Most times, the submissive is looking for a Dominant in the same places that the Dominant is looking for a submissive. It's just a matter of finding the right one for you.

It is My belief that in our lifestyle our cards are out on the table faster than in the vanilla world. So maybe we proceed just a little faster. But we usually find out if we are compatible long before those in the vanilla world. If you are polite, then the conversation may get started quicker. If you're nasty, there's probably someone that's right for you, too, but they are probably fewer and farther between. So, rule number two: Be polite.

Now, this page isn't about "How to Get a Date," but it all starts the same way: you talk; you get to know each other; you make plans to talk again. And since trust is our most important asset, rule number three: Be honest.

Just to get a date for the Saturday night play party is no reason to lie. If you're not into the things that she's into, then say so. If she's not interested in what you are, then it's better to find out now and move on as friends, than to try and force something and have a fight that encompasses the whole community, later. And you don't have to say that you're a fighter pilot or a heart surgeon to impress a submissive. Or vice-versa. Most times, our actions speak the loudest. Show her that you are a Dominant. Act in an honorable manner. Command respect, don't demand it. And if it looks like things are working out for you, then it's time to move on to the next step.

 

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What Now?

Most times, some form of negotiation starts at the outset. But the true negotiating - the dos and don'ts, the hard and soft limits and the direction that you want the relationship to go, will probably not start until the participants get to know each other better. I've found that most negotiated relationships take somewhere between 6-10 weeks to get started. I've been in a few that took longer, and even some that have been a little shorter. I have a dear, close friend that's been with the same slave for years, and their negotiations started after just one month. I have another, whose initial meeting with his partner consisted of nine words, and they've been together since 1991. Again, these aren't the rules, just a guideline. The point is, don't try to rush it.

Some people get into this lifestyle or look for partners based on their "studies" of S/M through short stories, novels, magazine articles, the Internet or some other form of BDSM fiction. If you believe everything you read in the chat rooms or the latest best-selling paperback, you're likely to be disappointed. Know what you want. Listen to what she wants. Success is more likely when the conversations and negotiations are longer and more in-depth.

When we start negotiating, we let our partner know what it is that we expect from the relationship and find out what she expects in return. Does it fit our plans? Is that what I want? Are any of these things "Deal Breakers?"

We let her know what our limits are and find out about hers. We talk about ourself, but we need to listen when she's talking about herself. We state our levels of knowledge and understanding and try to find out hers. Are we compatible? Is this what we want?

OK, now we need to establish some rules. I'm all for putting things on paper. It makes it very clear what's expected and what's tolerated and what is not. How much training is needed? What kind of punishment will there be? What are the rewards? Once you start putting things on paper, everybody knows what to expect and nothing comes as a surprise.

I have a friend who went into an already formed heterosexual relationship as a beta slave. The couple already knew each other and had some set rules. Well, two days into this relationship, she was being punished for doing something that she didn't know was a "don't." Nobody told her. They expected that she knew, since, my goodness, they knew! The three of them talked a bit more, but she could never get things on paper, so she asked for her freedom and moved on.

This process gets the participants to agree to work within boundaries to see if they both accept the situation. Sometimes, a lot of discussion and changes need to take place for both parties to feel comfortable. This process, as well, may take between 6-10 weeks.

BDSM, M/s, D/s, fetish and leather relationships can be as varied as the types of play that these people like to participate in. The levels of Dominance are as varied as the levels of submissiveness.

Elsewhere on My web site you can find the "9 Levels of Submission," as well as the "8 Levels of Domination." The 8 levels of Domination are not as widely accepted as the 9 levels of submission, but both are, again, meant to serve only as guidelines.

Elsewhere on My web site you can find the 9 Levels of Submission, as well as the "8 Levels of Domination." The 8 levels of Domination are not as widely accepted as the 9 levels of submission, but both are, again, meant to serve only as guidelines.

[WEB MASTER'S NOTE: The web site to which Sir Bamm! refers is not extant at this time. However there is a copy of the "Nine Degrees of Submission" at http://www.evilmonk.org/A/dvera01.cfm and a simple web search can locate versions of the "8 Levels of Domination."]

 

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Is There More?

Painfully so! Once you've gotten to this step, the relationship is not automatic. I like to recommend that after the initial 6 weeks of getting to know each other, and the additional 6 weeks of working within boundaries, the next step is to contract the slave.

My approach to contracts varies with the individual and what it is that they want and what it is that I want.

My! t has a contract that varies greatly from one that I would use with a beta. Neither one of them are the same as My first slave's contract or some of My past submissive's contract's. What works in one situation may not necessarily work in another.

And none of them are exactly the same as the first draft of their respective contracts.

Then to top it off, the first contract is short - One month, tops. At the end of a month I find that it's usually necessary to make changes where applicable. Maybe this idea didn't work. Maybe that rule wasn't stringent enough. Maybe I no longer want to decide what she should wear to work every morning.

The list can go on. So the first contract shouldn't. Then comes a second contract - maybe for another month ... maybe for three months, depending on the amount of changes need to be made. After the three month contract, I go to a six month or a year, or as was in terri's case, I made it permanent because I made very few changes the first time and none the second.

As I stated earlier, we put most of our cards on the table immediately and we need to live in the same incestuous community with all of the people that are potential partners. Therefore, it's extremely important to be honest, polite and sincere.

The following information was taken from the Society of Janus web page and offers some hints for both Tops and bottoms to use when negotiating.

[WEB MASTER'S NOTE: Sir Bamm!'s orginal version of this article included the full text of "Ten Rules for Dominants" and "Ten Rules for Submissives" from the Society of Janus. They are not included here because the articles already have their own page at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/t10c.cfm.]

 

Except where noted above as taken from elsewhere, all information on this page is © 2003

 

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