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This article is part of the SM-201 Macropedia

For the purpose of this work, the words scene and session are pretty much interchangeble.

This information on this page is written for the non-Professional Dom, switch or sub audience. You will notice that is quite a bit different than the way Professional sessions are "put together". You need to remember that in private, personal sessions, you need to build a fair amount of trust long before doing a session with someone, probably through personal references or a series of dates or meetings.

You need to remember that in private, personal sessions, you should build a fair amount of trust long before you ever do a session with someone, probably through personal references or a series of dates or meeetings.

Play Partner

A person with whom you have negotiated a scene. A Play Partner might be a partner only once, or they may be part of an ongoing relationship


The "Rule of The Five W's" was established by William Randolph Hearst to make sure that his staff reporters provided all the information relating to a story.

Using them, a 'Session' is defined as a pre-negotiated series of:

  • Who - is going to be involved in the session?
  • What - is going to be done to whom and by whom? Are there limits as to what can be done? Do they have any special costume requests? If they want (to do) something you that don't, tell them so. (Also see Session content)
  • Where - are you going to do the session, with pre-established, spatial boundaries? Do they have any physical limitations (Wheel chairs do NOT like second story session spaces!)
  • Why - are we doing this session? What are the motives involved?
  • When - does the session start and when will it end?

I built a long form "Session Negotiating Questionnaire". Jay Wiseman built on it to create a negotiation form in "SM-101". "Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns" also has a negotiation form. If you can't find either book and would like to have one sent to you via the 'Net, send an email to Robin at

(Also see Pro Sessions for more information.)


Before the session begins, you and the person doing the session sit in a private space to talk over any last minute requests; what are the safewords for the session; and reiterate your rules and anything else of importance (no sex, etc).


It is important for everyone involved to know the moment in time when a scene actually begins. I like the idea of taking my client by the hand as we enter a session space. It gives them a little reassurance and is a guiding influence.

If you are going to be doing impact play, warm ups are important.

Session Space

  • Your session rooms should be well-kempt. They don't need to feel sterile unless you are doing medical play. They should be warm in temperature, light and sound.
  • A very wide selection of music should be available. A heavy staccato may be great for a whipping session, but for a massage, yuck!


  • Make sure your partner is given "cool-down time": time for adrenaline to dissipate. Make sure you wipe the door knobs as well. Many colds can be traced to germs left on a door knob by someone passing through.

See also [ Pro Sessions ]

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