BDSM consent and negotiation guidelines

by La quarta corda

8 – Presenting our desires


We have already made it clear that negotiation is not a one-way process, but a balance between the needs of both partners. The top is not a tightrope walker trying not to slip off the edge of consent, and the bottom is not an ornament that needs someone to safeguard it.

After setting our motivations and expectations out, we can eventually say what we like and how we like to do it. Here, too, our preferences will change depending on our mood, physical condition, the partner we play with, the situation, etc.

Sometimes when we say what we are interested in, shyness, discretion and fear of rejection or of a negative reaction make us talk in metaphors and ellipses. We ought to express our desires through direct, non-questioning communication instead. “I’d like to be whipped by you.” is more direct than “Do you want to whip me?”, “I’d like to tie you up.” is clearer than “Would you like to be tied up by me?”.

To ask instead of stating our desires could be also an unconscious way of attributing our wish to the other. “Would you like to have sex with me?” actually means “I’d like to have sex with you.”. Then why not be more explicit? If we want the partner to be clear with us, we must be the first to be clear about what we want.

This can also reduce the pressure on our partner, who might feel embarrassed saying no, or for having to apologise in some way for rejecting the offer.

Being honest is in fact an ethical choice that concerns not only us, but also anyone else involved. When we are insincere, we force our partner in the position of being unable to express their consent and not to make an informed choice. I understand very well that it’s not always so easy.

Unfortunately, however, being direct can be insufficient to rescue the partner from an embarrassing situation. A little intuition can help us in expressing our desires, also based on the level of knowledge and intimacy we have with each other.

It may therefore be useful to reflect in advance on our positions, so we can be ready to serenely present them and answer any questions or requests for clarification.

Remember that we can hope to get what we want only if we are brave enough to express it.

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7 – Expressing our motivation and expectations

9 – Presenting our limits

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