by Aiden Starr

Photo by Ian Rath

Photo by Ian Rath

CONSENT or the question thereof is easily the most fascinating and important part of BDSM play for me. Any brute can force themselves upon another. Procuring consent for the same acts is an art form that requires honing one’s skill similar to a trained musician or painter. There are many things that go into becoming a being that will obtain consent, being trustworthy is one of them. Consent and trust are the Siamese twins on the back of which all of my BDSM is consummated.

Consent should never be coerced. In my life, I hold a position of power and sway with large companies that affect the livelihood of many women and men. To get my bottoms to do what I want, I never hold “Well, I won’t hire you again if you don’t _______.” It’s my job as a top to make each play scene that I do special for myself, my bottom, etc. It’s a terrible top that won’t respect limits and work with their bottoms to expand sexual experience and enjoyment in a positive way. It’s very easy to break someone down. Real tops build their bottoms up. Individuals who are not of legal age or are intoxicated cannot give consent. Don’t play with them. Period!

The first practical application of consent is initial negotiation. During initial negotiation you will discuss with your partner the proposed activities, location of play, safe words, duration of play, hard limits, negative triggers, soft limits. It’s also helpful to ask about existing medical conditions and previous experiences. I always start my play sessions this way, even if it’s with someone I have played with before. For example: “Hi there, big anal slut! Are you still down to get my whole fist in your ass today just like we did last time??!?!?!” “No Mistress, I’m a little sore from being fucked yesterday. But my nipples would really love some heavy attention today, if it pleases you.” Obviously I’d be excited for the heavy play from this “anal slut” that I’d enjoyed before. She can’t handle it today and communicates that directly to me while offering an alternative play that I enjoy and staying in character. Are you guys taking notes? I love it when bottoms are available and contribute to the scene by offering something I might like while maintaining verbal protocol (if it pleases you.)

Safe words! You must use a safe word! I always use the same safe words. Even if I enter into a play construct that I do not own (like a formal house that belongs to someone else.) It’s my right to feel safe as a top with very clear communications set with all of my submissives. I use RED as a completely stop, break character and check in word. I use MERCY as my yellow, slow down word. The main difference between my safe word and my slow down word is that during the slow down word, I will maintain character and continue the scene while enjoying high protocol verbal negotiation. For example, “Mistress, mercy on my nipple clamps!” “Ok little slut, I think we’re ready for these to come off. Are you ready?” “Yes Mistress.” “Okay, remember your pain processing. Look me in the eyes and take a slow breathe in a let it out gently.” “Ahhhhhhhh!” You get the point. Negotiation continues throughout the scene and culminates during the after-care.

After the play has finished, the partners should have a discussion regarding the activities as well as the level of interaction expected following the scene. Be very clear about how you feel. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. You are your own experiences and you have a right to your opinion. That being said, be polite and loving in your dialogue. Your play partner is a person, not a sex toy. Have water or food together. Relax. Enjoy the afterglow. The bonding time after a scene helps to process and ease the come down from the chemicals naturally released during play i.e. adrenalin and endorphins. I’ve enjoyed Japanese tea ceremonies as my after ritual. Whatever you choose to do should be special to you. Everyone is different. Be yourself. Don’t try to fit into anyone else’s idea of an archetype. As long as you are safe, make the scene your own. To be trusted, you must be genuine and educated. It’s something I work at every day. I hope you will to. This blog entry is only the tip of the CONSENT, TRUST, NEGOTIATION iceberg. There are many fantastic books on these subjects. I suggest you read them all before playing. My favorite is SM101 by Jay Wiseman.

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