Negotiation and Consent have become such a huge controversy lately, especially for those living an alternative lifestyle. The basic reason it has become controversial because a lack of understanding and empathy towards one another and also the wanting to rush into whichever activity one is in pursuit of.
In BDSM, no matter what D-type or S-type you are, or whether you are just Topping or Bottoming in a scene (whether non-sexual or sexual in nature) negotiation and consent are vital to all parties concerned.
I’ve had my fair share where I did not do any negotiating before entering a scene with another party and it ended up where unwanted sexual activity happened. I didn’t know what else to do in those situations because in the past I was very impulsive and didn’t comprehend my actions or consequences. I would just do the sexual activity and that was it. I will also say here that yes I have been in situations where sexual activity was consented to before happening.
What should happen before going into any type of scene or play should be getting to know the other person(s) in a non-sexual situation where you can talk openly and find out who they are and vice versa they find out about you, likes/dislikes, hobbies, etc. outside of BDSM/kink/etc. What you want to establish are honesty and trust. No, it doesn’t have to be a relationship if you are not into that but what you bring to the table is openness and truth about yourself. Afterward, then you move into talking about what types of kinky activities you may want to try and/or activities that you may or just not want to engage in.
Be true to yourself and what interests and activities you may or may not want to try and do research, join a group online and engage in a group conversation it will give you more insight and clarity and provide support. The resources are out there and definitely do your research before engaging.
Check out Whips, Chains, & Duct Tape on Facebook for some great educational information on BDSM and the lifestyle. I have personally really learned more there than I have in the past two years.