So as I have been teaching the 101 series I have gone over what should be covered (in general) when negotiating play almost every week. I decided to come up with an easy to remember acronym. They are not necessarily in order of importance, but I had to make it into a “word”! lol
Also always include ANY sexual touch in the negotiation.
NEW ACRONYM: M.A.A.T.H.S.s.
The original writing was based on how I originally taught negotiation, however, over the past several years I moved from a “no” perspective to a “yes” perspective. Meaning – instead of a new person trying to come up with all their hard and soft limits – instead coming up with what they ARE willing to do/try for that scene. Anything beyond that is considered off limits until the next negotiation. I find this is a safer and less overwhelming approach.
M – Medical
A – what is “A-ok”
A – Aftercare
T – Triggers
H – Hard Limits
S – Safe words & Sexual touch
Medical – not just obvious things like surgeries, joint issues, injuries, etc, but also things like asthma, blood sugar issues, allergies…..
“A-ok” – Rather than coming up with all things you don’t want to do – focus on what you DO want to do. Type of scene, type of play/implements, etc. Make it clear that if it isn’t discussed as a “go” then it’s a “no”.
Aftercare – this varies from person to person and possibly scene to scene with the same person.
Triggers – psychological or emotional responses that can effect the scene (usually negatively). Can be body positions, verbal triggers, implements, parts of the body, etc.
Hard limits – limits that are a no go. Not happening. Nope.
Safewords – sometimes it’s not enough to just agree that the typical “stoplight” system be used. (Note: if you are using other safewords please also inform a DM) I have found that people’s understanding or expectation of “yellow” can vary. It’s important to make sure you are on the same page.
Sexual touch – always include this even if it’s just to say that sexual touch is not allowed. If it is – be very specific. Where, with what, how, etc.
All of the above should be discussed with concern for both parties. The top may have medical issues or triggers that the bottom should be aware of, both should be on the same page as far as safewords and limits, and the top may have their own requests for aftercare!
I also like this new acronym because I often compare learning negotiation to learning math. Once you have the fundamentals down you can move on to “sexier” ways to communicate a negotiation. As a new person, however, it is important to remember the basics!
You may need to add to this depending on the type of play or intensity of the scene – but this should cover all your basics.
I hope this helps!