At the bottom of this document is a shorthand negotiation that you can use to play with someone with whom you've played before. It cuts out some of the items that are less subject to change.
This guide is to be used before hypnosis starts. Do not bring someone out of trance mid-scene to re-negotiate. This is unacceptable due to the hypnosis hangover; people are still suggestible right out of trance, which makes any negotiation invalid as if they were drunk. If you think of something you really want to do mid-scene that you didn't negotiate, negotiate it next time. If you're worried that there isn't going to be a next time, you should probably think about why that is. If it's an insecurity, you should leave it at the door and not pressure your subjects with it.
Before you start your negotiation, think about this: consent with hypnosis gets kinda complicated. We play with the power of suggestion, and must refrain from doing so in negotiation. Note how all of the questions in the negotiation are phrased with options of equal weight and has “outs” that don't ever require a disagreement or “no.” I, myself, go so far as to avoid specifically soliciting people to be hypnotized by me. “May I hypnotize you?” requires a “no” to decline, whereas “let me know if you want to do a hypnosis scene,” only requires a “thanks” and silence to decline, which is easier. “No” can occasionally be hard, especially with a pre-established power dynamic of “I hypnotist, you subject.”
Once all parties involved have established preliminary interest in an hypnosis scene, proceed through this guide.
Names and Pronouns
What is your name? What would you like to be called in this scene (name/scene name/title/pet name)?
What are your preferred gender pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them, xi/xir, etc.)? What gender pronouns would you like for me to use for you in scene (she/her, he/him, they/them, xi/xir, it/it's, etc.)?
Note: asking someone their preferred gender pronouns is not the same as asking them their gender. Pronouns are simply the language someone prefers to have used for them, and it is always polite and encouraged to ask for someone's pronouns.
State of Mind
How are you today?
How do you feel about playing with me today?
Are you happy and in a good mental space to play today?
Have you ingested any drugs and/or alcohol and/or any other mind altering substances?
Note: topping or bottoming hypnosis or any BDSM is not recommended while under the influence of any mind altering substances as results become less predictable.
How long are you imagining this scene will go?
Do you have any time constraints?
Of which parties is this scene comprised?
How many people are in this scene?
Are other parties allowed in the scene (if so, who, and how may they be involved)?
Note: it is recommended that hypnotists minimize their number of subjects in trance at any time for attention purposes. Multiple hypnotee scenes may, however, be accomplished safely with sufficiently experienced hypnotists and hypnotees.
What safe words do you like to use?
Do you like the stoplight system?
What does "red" mean for you?
What does "yellow" mean for you?
Note: during scene, the hypnotist should actually program in and reenforce these safewords for good measure. See 10 Hypnosis Safety Suggestions Everyone Should Use.
Language/Topics/Phobias/Allergies to Avoid
Note: Use your judgment on these questions. Some of them may be important and others may not. I ask about allergies when suggestions or scenarios might involve moving around a room or food or animals, but don't bother if my hypnotee is going to be sitting in a chair in the middle of a clean empty room for the whole scene not fantasizing about peanut butter or shell fish. Similarly, I don't bother asking about phobias if I don't plan on using any particular imagery or interacting with anything or anyone.
Do you have any allergies that are relevant for keeping you safe here?
Do you have any phobias that it would be good for me to know about?
Are there any words or phrases that I should avoid calling you or using? (Stupid, slut, mommy, coward, Rosebud, Professor Snape?).
What general areas or topics should I avoid (racial slurs, family, etc.)
Do you have any injuries or physical limitations that I should be aware of (bum knee, cuts/bruises, soreness, etc.)?
Are you on any medications that I need to be aware of (ones you have to take soon? Blood-thinners?)
Have you eaten and are you hydrated?
**Make sure to use the bathroom before starting the scene!
- What clothing should remain on?
- If you'd like clothing removal, should I take it off you, or should you?
- What clothing needs to remain intact?
Remember: no physical contact is actually necessary for a hypnosis scene, but any contact that happens NEEDS to be negotiated in ADVANCE of trance. There are some types of physical contact that can be very helpful to your induction; hand-hand contact is nice, forehead taps, knee taps, hugs, swaying, etc. are super helpful, massage-level touch can be very helpful, and intimate contact can also be fun. Do not negotiate this in trance, and bringing someone out of trance to re-negotiate doesn't count! If there's something you want to try mid-scene that you didn't negotiate, save it for the next scene.
- Can I touch you?
- If so, where can I touch you?
- Above the clothing or below?
- Where are you okay with touching yourself in front of me?
- Would you like to have an element of sexuality in this scene?
- If so, what does that mean? What are you comfortable with? (Kissing? Hands and/or mouth on external genitals? Fingering? Penetration? Vaginal? Oral? Anal?)
- What about hypnotic sexuality? Hypnotic arousal/pleasure/orgasms?
- What fluids are you okay with in the scene? (Saliva, sweat, tears, orgasmic fluids, blood, urine).
- Do you have any STIs?
- When was the last time you were tested?
- What protection would you like to use?
- Have you been hypnotized before? Tell me about that.
- How do you communicate in trance?
- What do you like about hypnosis?
- Do you have a preference for how I speak as a hypnotist? Do you prefer clinical speech? Erotic? D/s themes with words like “obey” and “submit?”
Types of Suggestions
- What kind of play are you looking for today? What are you interested in doing?
Here are some categories to ask about that cover most things:
- Hypnotic bondage—making the hypnotee stuck
- Hypnotic characters—making the hypnotee or hypnotist a character
- Memory play—temporarily removing or altering memories, or making the hypnotee not remember suggestions or triggers
- Sensation manipulation—giving the hypnotee sensations that aren't there, or exaggerating sensations that are there. Hypnotic arousal/pleasure/orgasms.
- D/s—elements of domination and submission in the suggestions. Service, control, etc. What about humiliation/degradation? What does that mean?
- Posthypnotic suggestions—giving the hypnotee suggestions that last out of trance. This should be done with caution by advanced hypnotists, and also negotiated separately. Negotiate how long the suggestions should last, where they apply, within what contexts they apply. I'd go so far as to say negotiate and draft specific language for these so that all parties are on the same page before suggestions are put in. Imagine posthypnotic suggestions like writing with a sharpie in someone's head. Talk about it first. Also, don't do therapy. You probably aren't a therapist. Even if you are, don't do therapy in scene. Don't try and “fix” people or help people. The farthest I go down this path is helping people have a good night of sleep that night.
For Any Pain Play
I strongly discourage any but expert hypnotists mixing pain and hypnosis. There are a lot of ways to do mix pain and hypnosis, and a few ways to do it with relative safety. I never mix pain and hypnosis unless my bottom is an extremely experienced pain bottom, and/or hypnosis bottom, and even then, it's tricky. Seek specific instruction from an experienced hypnotist if you don't know how to do this.
- Are you interested incorporating pain?
- What is your experience with pain?
- What are your pain limits like?
For hypnosis, there are three types of pain: real physical pain (with actual impact, pinchy, scratchy, bitey, etc), hypnotic “physical pain,” (“Snapping my fingers and tapping you on the back will make you feel the sting of the flogger just how you like it right where I tap”), and emotional pain (shame, humiliation, sadness, fear, etc.).
- Is there a type of pain that you are interested in?
Real physical pain should be monitored carefully; make absolutely sure your bottom can and will yellow out before attempting. Hypnosis can increase pain tolerance dramatically to the point where people will allow a lot more pain than they intend, sometimes to the point of physical harm. Do not hypnotize people to translate pain into pleasure!
Tip: Develop pain-scale system. I use a ten point scale. What is a ten? What is a five? What number would be your max for the scene?
- What kinds of pain do you like? (Thuddy, stingy, scratchy, hot, cold, pinchy, bitey?
- How do you warm up?
- What toys can I use?
- Can I leave marks?
- If so, where is ok?
- How long can they last?
With hypnotic “physical pain,” it's important to reference specific experiences of pain and describe it such that it feels the way you want it to. Don't leave room for the subconscious to misinterpret and accidentally feed the hypnotee bad pain or overwhelming pain.
For emotional pain, oh my god, proceed with caution. This is extremely edgy. Do not attempt unless you are an expert hypnotist with an experienced subject who has experience with emotional edgeplay outside of hypnosis. Aim for positive suggestions, for example: “and you'll feel the humiliation that you know you love” instead of “and you'll feel terrible humiliation that makes you feel terrible and terrible!” That could just end up being terrible.
- What kind of aftercare do you need? (Cuddles vs. space, food and water, blanket, discussion, decompress)
- Will you need transportation somewhere after?
- What kinds of interaction do you need in days to come? (Check in, privacy, space, photos of marks)
- If you start crying, what should I do? (Or, shaking, inability to stand, talk).
- Tell me some things I should know about playing with you.
- Please enjoy your hypnosis play! Let me know what questions you have and what you think I should add.
For a general BDSM scene negotiation, check out... Negotiation Guide
And here's a link to 10 Hypnosis Safety Suggestions Everyone Should Use