I am sure there are hundreds, more likely thousands, of writings on communication but yet we, as a society, struggle with it every single day in all parts of our lives.
Communication is the Golden Key. No matter how long, or how short, your time within the BDSM lifestyle is, communication which is open and honest is one of the most important skills you MUST acquire. Clear, concise communication is necessary in ALL parts of life, not just here, so why is it that so few people put emphasis on its importance? Though this baffles me, I can understand the difficulty some have with it as we are taught from childhood to not be “pushy” and be “nice” to others.
Do you know how to get your point across without stepping on toes? Can you do it with your partner/spouse? Your parent? A sibling? Your friends? Your boss? Are you always worried about hurting someone’s feelings? Don’t worry, you will undoubtedly do so at some point whether you communicate your needs/desires NOW or they find out the truth later. Assuming they do find out later, they will be even more hurt with your inability to trust them with your truth. Clearly stating your feelings/needs/wants NOW makes for happier and more relaxed times LATER. Yes, you WILL be uncomfortable, most likely, when explaining yourself. We are not taught from the beginning to be direct. We often find those who are direct even somewhat abrasive. I am not talking about those who are obvious assholes…yes, they’re “direct” but you can sense an asshole usually the moment you meet them. What I am talking about is teaching yourself to be honest, first with yourself, and next with your partner. Especially in BDSM, you MUST communicate your needs, whether you are a Top or a bottom.
What happens when you do NOT communicate your needs? As a Top, you are having to guess your way through a scene with that new, overly shy, bottom. Yes, they said that they want to do whatever it is that pleases Mistress/Sir…but just how far does that REALLY go? Yes, as a Top you must read your bottom’s body language but playing that “guessing game” is dangerous for both parties when it would simplify things from the beginning if the hesitant bottom would honestly share what they are looking to get from a scene, as well as what their limits are. If you’re a bottom, please be a good one by telling your potential Top what you are hoping to achieve with them and your potential scene. Are you hoping to have bruises to remember the evening by? Then, SAY it! Must you have NO marks left because you have a spouse/partner at home that isn’t aware of your extra curricular activities? SAY so! Do you like to have your hair pulled? Tell me…if you hate it, tell me that, too. As a Top with an inquiring mind, I need to know these things.
How does this affect you if you’re a bottom and your Top doesn’t make it clear what S/He is looking for? How do you know whether to cry out in pain, or not, if that discussion doesn’t come up in your negotiations? Do you remain quiet? Do you moan, or scream while you’re being paddled/flogged/caned? As a bottom, you don’t want to be thinking and wondering if you’re responding the way your Top is expecting. You want to be able to let your mind go and hit your headspace…but, without clear communication prior to your scene, you could spend too much of your playtime wondering if you’re responding in an acceptable manner. If your Top doesn’t make their expectations clear, a bottom should ask questions and clarify things during negotiation time. If that annoys the Top and they get all Dommy with you, it’s time to walk away and find someone else to play with because it is obvious that this Top is not coming into this with the right mindset. We need to remember that we are coming together so BOTH parties are having their needs met and we are going to have FUN. If, as a bottom, you don’t get clear information from the Top you are thinking of playing with, you are best looking for a different one.
Clear communication will get you exactly what you are looking for. Why leave that up to chance in the hopes someone can actually read your mind? Don’t do it. Take the risk. Sit down with your potential play partner(or whoever else in your life that deserves to hear what you need)and tell them what you want and expect. They will thank you for it later…maybe not in words, but by their actions. People will understand you better and those around you will be happier. You will feel more relaxed and so will they…you will feel happier, and so will they. Be open and honest. It is exhilarating and liberating. Yes, sometimes communicating with an “I want” can be awkward, but the long term benefits outweigh the initial discomfort. Try it, for your own sake as well as the sake of others around you. You will be surprised that you have been carrying that Golden Key around in your pocket for a long time and just weren’t sure what it unlocked until now. If there is one lock that needs to remain open, it is the one that prevents communication from happening. Good luck, and keep those lines of communication open and clear.