What makes this work for me, I said, is two things. First, that I can ask you for clarification about your limits or desires or ideas, and get an answer that isn't a defensive, knee-jerk reaction to being questioned. It's important to me to honor your limits. I hold myself responsible, on my honor, (that's not a word that appears in my vocabulary often, but it's the right word) never deliberately to put you in a position where you have to safeword out in order to protect your primary commitment. (You have a safeword, because mistakes happen. But it would be wrong of me to demand that you give me something that you told me up-front was off limits.)
Second, what sets me free to explore these things with you is that I feel zero pressure from you to know everything, to execute perfectly, to be Super-Top. That's a rare state for me, not because other people in my life pressure me, but because I pressure me. Somehow in your presence that discomfort is gone, and with the pressure off, what we do is truly play, with the abandon of children and the knowledge of adults.