Negotiation of a Power Exchange is not primarily about negotiating for BDSM play, but a frightening number of books present it that way. Below we’re going to present a laundry list of things that can and should be negotiated. While we’ll go into this in more detail later, understand these are things to work through in the first few weeks or months of a relationship, not something to try and hammer out in advance or in one sitting.
In this PDF The Laundry List we discuss, at length, the potential areas for negotiation in a Power Exchange Relationship.
We’re trying not to take anything for granted. If your relationship is online, long distance, developing out of an existing marriage, part of a rigidly organized M/s Household, or taking place on a remote farmstead in South Dakota, all of these things may not apply to you. Focus on the ones that do, and give a second thought before you dismiss the ones that don’t seem immediately applicable. “I don’t care” is a fine answer, but basic disagreements about the nature of the relationship are one of the most common sources of problems and failure.
While the Master has final say on the rules, the submissive has final say about whether or not they wish to be in a relationship…and the ethical principal of informed consent says it’s not okay to trap them at the outset, then expect them to agree to whatever suits the Master with no regard for their own needs.
Obviously while Master may have the “right” to do anything, that doesn’t make it a good idea. It is amazing how this very obvious fact gets overlooked. A farmer (in some states) may have the legal right to shoot their cattle in the middle of a field and leave them to rot. But that does not give them protection from the ensuing bankruptcy as their source of income is lost. You can be cruel or arbitrary to your slave. But your partner in power exchange can leave the relationship¸ or become so problematic that they do not actually contribute anything positive to your wellbeing.
While we don’t recommend anyone get into a relationship that can’t meet their basic needs, how inflexible you can afford to be as a Master may have a lot to do with the length of the line of prospective candidates queued up outside your door.