As many “in the lifestyle” will attest – or even those who just enjoy a blindfold now and then – kinky sex and kinky activities can be an absolutely great way to spend an afternoon. Not only does it expand the smut options you have at your disposal, but it also can be cathartic and enjoyable entirely outside of the sexual range.
That being said, playing with a stranger can, noticeably, have some serious safety concerns. BDSM is generally regarded as a large exercise in trust – trust that someone will respect your limits, untie you when you’re done, never hurt you more than you can take, will respect your body, and so forth. Playing with a stranger certainly changes a lot of these things into more of a hopeful wish – instead of the established trust you know you can count on. With that in mind, you need to be extra careful. With that care comes a full, negotiation beforehand. Not only does their willingness to negotiate show their seriousness about kink, but it also allows you both to figure out what you do/don’t want to do during the scene. While I highly recommend you do this long before the day you both are meeting up to play (and just doing a quick run-through of anything that’s changed before the scene itself), this negotiation can be done in any way you’re comfortable: e-mail, phone call, text message, Skype video, or in-person.
This list is written for all – tops or bottoms, switches, Dominants, submissives, men, female, non-binary, etc. Disregard any questions that don’t make sense for your particular scenario, but keep in mind it can be pretty important to understand a top’s limitations as well. If they have a severe sensitivity to the smell of coffee you were entirely unaware of, showing up to play after a Venti coffee might ruin a good chunk of their experience.
Where Will You Be Playing?
This is the first question in your negotiation arsenal – and it’s one of the most important. If you’ve never met this person before in your life, you’d be safest playing at a local play party. Inherent in a lot of kink play is restraint or impact play. Both of those things have the potential to go very, very wrong if your other partner isn’t exactly who they portrayed themselves as. Whether it’s a submissive who goes into a seizure from an undisclosed medical problem or a dominant who won’t respect a safeword and is hurting you, both of these scenarios can have very-real consequences. With that being said, meeting and playing with a stranger at one of your local meet-ups or play parties is always one of the best ways to go about things. In big cities, kink dungeons can occasionally be rented as well. This is a good secondary option.
If neither of those would work out, you need to hold your horses a bit and get to know this particular person, in-person, a bit better before scheduling a playtime. Meet up for coffee or lunch, and enjoy conversing and learning a lot more about them. This time will let you feel them out – any red flags? Do they brag about past consequences? Do they seem to have trouble respecting your boundaries? Are they just entirely unwilling to even meet up for lunch – showing that they’re not even serious enough to make sure you’re comfortable?
If lunch goes swimmingly and you still find yourself with very few concerns, consider a hotel room (depending on the scene you both have negotiated). Not only does this insure this person doesn’t have your home address in case of an emergency, but it’s also a public-enough place that you can hopefully get some help with screaming or escaping the room. In a worst case scenario with restraints, the housekeeping will likely come in the next day and be able to help. As with any type of play, make sure to use a safe call and cover all your bases. At the bare minimum, you should have your potential partners’ name before playing.
As always, your safety should come long-before any fun. Use all the common sense you can manage.
What Are Your Safewords?
Both (or all, in group cases) people in a scene need to have a safeword. This is a word that, if stated, means that all action needs to stop instantly. Many play parties use the standard stoplight system: “green” for “loving it”, yellow for “Maybe a bit too much”, or “Red” for “Stop!”. If “Red” is spoken in a dungeon and the action doesn’t cease, bystanders can, and will, step in. This adds a layer of protection for you. Even with private play, however, to avoid miscommunication, agreeing upon a safeword ensures that there’s absolutely no confusion when one of the people in the scene wants things to stop.
What Do They Absolutely-Hate or Will Be Unwilling to Do?
This seems simple enough, but a lot of people will forget to include this in the face of finding out what turns someone on. You also need to know what turns them off – or just makes them super uncomfortable. How much bodily contact are they interested in? Are there things that they’re not comfortable doing with a stranger – or just will find an instant turn-off? Consider some of the basics – such as restraint or spankings – but don’t forget to think about pet names either. Some people will find “Slut” to be a huge turn-on – while others will Safeword if spoken to like that. There’s no point in doing things your partner finds to be a turn-off, so make sure you cover the basics of what you’d like to do in a scene as well as any basic things you’d want to do as well.
What Do They Love or Really Want to Get Out of the Play Session?
This is the best part of the negotiation. What does your potential partner love? Find out their favorite kinks – and what they like about them. Make sure to listen closely, and try to find similarities to your own enjoyment. You certainly want both of you to come out of this arrangement satisfied. Once you have their general favorite kinks, consider asking about this play session is general. Have they been really craving a pegging session? Maybe they’ve been wanting to be bound spreadeagle for the past week? Find out what they’re currently craving or what they had in mind for this particular scene. You don’t have to give detailed specifics if you don’t want to ruin the surprise, but a general overview ensures you both had the same ideas in mind.
Do They Have Any Previous Physical Injuries or Limitations?
Especially for the purpose of restraint or rope bondage, knowing about someone’s physical limitations is important. Do they have weak knees that might make kneeling a problem? Does their collarbone hurt with any weight placed upon it? Do they any internal metal bone replacements that might be problematic for electrosex play? Is there a bruise on their thigh that’s still healing? I’d recommend going down the body, top to bottom, to try to reduce the likelihood that anything gets missed.
Do They Have Any Mental Limitations?
While this can be a delicate subject to approach, it’s important to do it. You may choose to phrase it like “Are there any activities that might upset you?” Some people have negative experiences with certain activities (such as maybe a caning that went too intensely) while others will just upset them in ways they know they dislike (such as hating any negative nicknames).
While this is most important with any types of intimate play, it’s still good to know in case of extreme allergies. Find out if your newfound play partner has any allergies – or anything that causes them headaches such as perfumes.
Any Aftercare Requests or Preferences?
How you come down can be just as important as how the scene goes. Some people are going to want to be cuddled. Others may just prefer that you sit down and discuss how things went – while others may just want a blanket and a snack while they rest for a bit. Discuss what you both enjoy and make sure to find a middle ground you can both work with. If one partner wants the other person to leave right after the scene, you’re going to be surprised when the other wants cuddling. Regardless of what methods you choose, unless your partner specifically requests otherwise, a quick call or text to check-in the next day is always considered polite.
What Toys Will Be Required? Who Will Bring Them?
By now, you’ve discussed what the general scene will look like, so now it’s time to think about what items this will require – and who will bring them. Some submissives, especially for penetration toys, prefer to use their own favorites instead of worrying about whether they’ll enjoy someone else’s. Some dominants are attached to a favorite pair of restraints or flogger. Have a general plan for activities, figure out what you need to bring, and figure out who needs to bring what. Feel free to bring a bit more if needed – you can always do last-minute negotiation before the scene to figure out if that would be a welcome addition.
What Are the Sexual Limitations – if Any? How Will We Navigate Those Safely?
Some people might say this is out-of-place in a kink negotiation, but it certainly isn’t. Especially when playing with a stranger or someone off the internet, you have no idea whether they consider “sex” to be a non-issue they hadn’t thought about – or the eventual way they’ll want to end the scene. You need to bring this up. Are certain types of sex okay but not others? What protection will be required, and who will be bringing that protection? Maybe you’re okay with hands-only, but you’d like your partner to use gloves. Maybe you’re unsure if you’re comfortable with that – and it’s okay to say “I’m not sure I’ll want to do that, but I’ll bring a condom just in case”. It’s better to be overprepared than underprepared.
I hope those questions helped start you on the right path for playing with a stranger – but of course, the list isn’t exhaustive by any means. Nobody wants to spend 3 hours in negotiation for a 45 minute scene, and honestly, a lot of that information might end up being useless for someone you’ll never play with again. These questions should help you get to the bottom of what’s important for play sessions.