Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

People in the D/s and BDSM lifestyles love to say this word. We emphasize that it's the cornerstone of the relationship, that it is the key to a successful relationship and that negotiation, a form of communication, needs to be done on a regular basis depending on the situation and relationship type. With over a decade in the lifestyle, I know what they mean when someone says communicate.

A novice? Not as much.

Growing up I learned more how not to communicate for fear of reaction, response and revealing too much. I learned that the little white lie wouldn't hurt anything and that not telling someone was sometimes better than coming clean. I heard my mother tell us many times not to tell father about something she did or purchased or talked about. What they don't know can't hurt them, right? The examples we've been exposed to has been full of secrecy and keeping our opinions to ourselves. So, you may have fantastic communication skills in the outside world.

It's not the same thing for D/s or BDSM. Not by a long shot.

In a D/s relationship and in BDSM the opposite is true. "Dominants and submissives in a relationship speak about everything! Whereas most men and women entering into a vanilla relationship withhold information about their desires and sexual needs because they fear rejection or ridicule, in a Power Exchange relationship, these individuals candidly share their most embarrassing desires, their fears of abandonment, their fears of failure and never being good enough, their need for love and most importantly what these issues look like are immediately addressed." (Dr. Charley Ferrer, "BDSM Relationships," Retrieved 11/4/13) It's very rare that you can reveal too much. Transparency is encouraged. Sharing every detail about something is more important to building trust, keeping you safe and developing strong relationships. So what is transparency?

Transparency is not lying or covering up small details. Do you have aches and pains in your left shoulder? Tell your play partner before playing with them. That goes for all medical issues. You never know what might happen and by having someone know these things is safer for you. Need to skip anal sex that night because of stomach upset? Don't just say no, tell them why. Trust me, they can take it. Omitting something from conversation can be the same as lying in some relationships.

In a relationship situation, don't be afraid to reveal thoughts, opinions or stories that might contradict or counter what your partner has said. Try to never be hesitant to ask a question, no matter how silly it seems. In a close, intimate relationship it's known to get to a point that you can tell the other person anything. And boy does that feel good.

For you, the novice, it can be scary to be that vulnerable with someone. The level of openness required is filled with anxiety. Take it slow. Build the trust with someone and when you are ready you will know you can share anything with them. Painful pasts can be met with compassion, fears and embarrassing fantasies with understanding and acceptance.

You will learn that communicating is a whole new world when you enter into a BDSM relationship.