They say “Getting there is half the fun.” I haven’t been able to track down who first said that, but I did discover that Henry J. Tillman claimed that the saying “became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines.” Henry also said, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate,” so I’m inclined to go along with whatever Henry says.
I very much doubt that Henry was taking into account “mile high club” action when he dissed the experience of traveling on commercial airlines, but I do suspect that thinking about and planning how to have sex on a commercial airplane, and anticipating how you think will be, can actually be more than half the fun of the undertaking, considering how hard the airlines work at making customers uncomfortable.
All of which has little or nothing to do with our topic of sexual negotiation, but I do have it on good authority that elaborate negotiation sometimes turns out to be more than half the fun. Not, by any means, often, but once in a while. It’s like when a writer has planned out a story in great detail, even outlining it scene by scene (not that I’d know anything about that,) and when the time comes to actually write the piece it feels like been-there-done-that. The anticipation factor has come and gone. Or so I’ve heard. Really.
I have, in fact, heard about some negotiations that go so far as to become lengthy written contracts, although my sources may be extreme outliers. I’ve read one long, detailed contract between a dom and a would-be submissive that could be a story in and of itself, and though I have no personal knowledge of whether the actual sex was even more fun than the anticipatory negotiations, I was told much later that after a while there wasn’t any more actual sex, for a reason that was too sensitive to have been included in the negotiations. It had to do with the young submissive making a comment about older bodies, without realizing how sensitive the dom was on that subject.
The necessity for negotiations was emphasized in the BDSM club for women that I belonged to on a largely nominal basis some years ago. I know about asking what areas of the body are off-limits, the relative preferences of pain or humiliation or dirty words, the necessity of safe words, the sharing of special fantasies. This was in the context of “play parties” rather than extended relationships, although I was close to some people who were trying to make long-term relationships work. The club had regular meetings with demos and lessons, and negotiation was one of the major themes. I got the impression that some folks there really got off on the negotiation part, especially as it represented a form of control of both self and partner. Looking back, I can see why the club eventually ceased to be when the non-sexual and never-ending “negotiations” over bylaws and mission statements made it impossible to get enough members to serve on the steering committee. Too bad, since the lessons on safe sex, required for all members, were quite valuable, and there were some great parties. But time moves along, and online groups like FetLife come along, and things change.
I know there’s much more to sexual negotiation than I can imagine. The closest I ever came was as a novice spanker, with a young spankee who knew exactly what she wanted, and what she didn’t. The main thing I remember was that she wanted me to be mean, so she could feel righteously angry at being unfairly mistreated. Okay. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t already told me that her backpack contained, not sex toys, but library books, and YA books at that. I could play the mean librarian punishing her for bringing books for children to this den of iniquity (my hotel room connected to the play party suite.) I could also wield hand and belt and hairbrush harder, she said, that she’d thought possible. Ha. Don’t jump to conclusions about aging bodies. Although, several years later, I doubt that my joints could handle that much.
Getting back to my half-boiled theory about negotiation being somewhat like story-writing, I get quite a few submissions for my anthologies in which the negotiations makeup a major part of the story. In fact I was reading one today in which the negotiations and anticipations were the whole story, which, because of how intriguing the characters were, sort of worked, but may not end up being what I need for Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year. We’ll see. I have miles of text still to go, or at least it seems like it. Just eighty more submissions…