Communication in D/s
On Day 7 of 30 days of D/s, the topic is Communication
Communication is by far the most important aspect of any D/s relationship. Communication is used in negotiations, during any power exchange, scenes, or play, and even aftercare. Communication includes not only verbal, but non-verbal cues. Throughout a relationship communication can and should change and as trust increases, non-verbal communication can increase.
Negotiation communication is the primarily the time when expectations, desires, and especially concerns should be addressed. For many people negotiations may take on a formal feeling, some even using contracts or written lists to help facilitate communication. One common thing may people use to help this part is lists, there are many, many kink lists out there that can be used to determine likes, dislikes, and curiosities that people may have in common and areas they want to explore together. For me and my partner, this was one of the first steps I used to introduce what things could be included in our D/s dynamic.
Play time is not void of communication. Most individuals in BDSM are familiar (or should be) with the use of safe words. My partner and I use the light system, which has gained popularity over the years, but in previous relationships I used mundane non-sexual words, such as bicycle or popcorn (the light system is so much easier to use because most people are familiar with what the colors red, yellow, and green mean. Stop, proceed with care, and GO! This is also a time to pay close attention to non-verbal communication. For me, it is not uncommon to lose the ability to form words during particularly intense scenes, I also have a bad habit of holding my breath during orgasm, so that if they are coming (pun intended lol) one after another, I have been known to pass out. So that means that my partner needs to pay attention. Luckily it has only lasted for a few seconds, and I am able to communicate that I am ok. Though I have never used an object to communicate, it is something I have heard of many times. For example, if a ball gag, or other device makes verbal communication difficult, an object such as a ball in the hand can be used. When the person drops the ball, all play stops.
Aftercare communication is more important than people sometimes realize. Especially during times when limits have been pushed, or play has stopped abruptly. It is important to follow up with your partner to assist them in any way they need. Everyone is different. For me, if I have pushed my personal limits, I need time to analyze it myself before being able to communicate with my partner. Sometimes this can take just a few minutes, other times this has taken days. In either situation, it is important for the partner to be open and understanding. Help, whether it be water, food, or just being held. Do not rush the person that needs to think things through. In instances where a safe word has been used, it is important afterward to discuss the reasons behind using the safe word, but never blame or use accusations. Safe words can be used for so many different reasons, physical issues or mental issues, such as triggers, fear, or overwhelming misunderstood emotions can take time to figure out.
As someone who has been blamed for stopping play too soon, it is dangerous to say or show negative feelings during aftercare, it can only lead to more complications in the future. Just be supportive in any way they need.
Dominants can use safe words or stop play at any time for a number or reasons as well. In these times, it is important for a submissive to be open to the Dominant, if they need to discuss the reasons why. This may be especially important when a Dominant begins a new type of play, for example impact play. Men, particularly in western culture, are raised and taught by society that they should never hit a woman. When the woman they are with desires that impact, or the man desires to give that impact, sometimes it takes a bit to reconcile that with how they were raised. Take your time, go slow and use constant reassurance that the Dominant is doing what you want them to do. Praise and thanks when a Dominant fills a need is always a good thing. Currently, my partner and I are trying to discover what types of impact he is comfortable with coupled with what I enjoy. It is a slow process, but the learning stages can be so much fun.
Finally, never confuse communication and assumptions. Assumptions in D/s can be very hazardous. Communication, on the other hand will lead to deep trust and understanding.
When in doubt- Talk it out!!!
Again, I want to give a shout out to LovingBDSM for providing the prompts. Go check them out!!