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  • Writer's picturePup Rascal

Negotiation – A Submissive’s Guide

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

The world of BDSM can be a very daunting and frustrating environment for a submissive but if you behave appropriately it can be extremely rewarding too. Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills to learn and is extremely important in the BDSM community. It is however common to see a submissive saying ‘I will do anything’ or ‘I have no limits’. These phrases are not only alarming but the make you look silly, inexperienced and dangerous.

To be able to negotiate with a dominant partner effectively we first need to understand ourselves. We need to identify our physical and psychological limitations and sometimes it is useful to dive beneath the surface to seek these out. Taking a deep dive into our past will give us a greater sense of self-awareness and sometimes allow us to identify a potential ‘trigger’ that can be vital to highlight as a limitation. The term ‘trigger’ for the purpose of this article will be defined as “a stimulus such as a smell, sound, or sight that triggers feelings of trauma”. To explore limitations further I have split them into a physical and psychological section.


As much as you may be willing to ‘do anything’, our bodies might not be up to the task. While you might see your medical history as private it is essential that you identify any issues to a partner even if they seem insignificant to you. You don’t necessarily have to disclose any specifics but for example if you have had a heart problem many years ago and now everything is fine, it is still worth discussing. Regardless of your heart now being healthy it is probably a good idea not to put it under any undue stress through a BDSM practice like breath play.

Physical limitations are more than just medical, they are about your physiology and as your grow in experience you will undoubtedly identify more due to the nature of the practices you engage in. For example, you might discover that having your hands tied tightly behind your back reduces the blood flow, inducing tingly fingers as they slowly become starved of blood. Or being upside down in bondage makes you feel nauseous almost immediately; having this knowledge can make your experience far safer and more enjoyable.


Psychological triggers are an entirely personal thing and it is only you who would be able to identify these. To understand a psychological trigger, it is useful to look at a few examples. Many people have fond memories that are brought to the fore when they smell freshly cut grass, it may be a memory of playing games on the school field with your friends shortly after it was cut or a family holiday you are particularly fond of. Sights, smells, sounds or words and names are all potential triggers.

While we looked at joyful examples of a trigger you might have a negative one buried deep inside of you from a distant trauma. If for example you were in a terrible car crash as a child, then the smell of petrol may bring those traumatic memories back. You may have been bullied at school and a particular name insights fear or anger inside of you.

As these examples illustrate, it is advantageous to have a greater understanding of yourself and your triggers when entering the world of BDSM, not just for your own sake but for the people you choose as a partner and those around you.


Understanding oneself is one thing but it is equally important to be able to communicate these effectively through good negotiation. The notion that a submissive should just ‘do as they’re told’ is a dynamic that should only come after negotiation. In the beginning you as the submissive hold all of the power, you do not have to submit to anyone, it is your choice to submit, it is a gift that you’re giving to your partner and that gift should not be abused.

I often get asked ‘what are your limits?’ but I find this question frustrating as my limits change with each person that I play with. If that person has never used a bull whip in their life, then there is no way I am going to let them use one on me. So you see, my limits completely depend on how comfortable I am with an individual, their level of experience and the environment. I might consent to a certain activity in private but possibly not want to do that in a public environment.

I have an analogy that helps to describe how I negotiate with a new partner, I call it ‘My Deck of Cards’. I see my limits as a deck of playing cards, when I first play, I will deal a few cards for them to play with. As we get to know one another and that trust and understanding of each other grows, I will deal a few more cards. I will continue to be deal cards until all I have left are my picture cards and my jokers.

My picture cards are high value, these are my soft limits and they will require a little more communication and trust before I deal these. It could be the case that one of my triggers are buried within these soft limits, but with detailed communication and an enhanced level of trust, I will deal them. Once all my picture cards have been dealt all I have left are my jokers, these are my hard limits and will remain in my deck. At this point with all my cards dealt I am now vulnerable, I have given myself completely, I am laid bare.

Remember, those cards can be withdrawn at any time.

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