This week, a new Fetish.com member asks our resident BDSM advice columnist Molly, for help on explaining hard and soft limits - and if it's ever acceptable to push boundaries. 


Dear Molly,
I am fairly new to kink and thinking about entering into a new D/s relationship with someone, but was wondering if you can give some advice on BDSM boundaries in Dom sub relationships. Are hard limits like lines definitely not to be crossed? How do they differ from soft limits, and is it ever acceptable to push someone's boundaries?
Curious J

 

A picture of Molly Moore. BDSM TipsDear Curious J, 
Great question. I'm so glad that you're doing research so you can better understand what these terms mean. However, my biggest piece of advice when exploring a potential D/s relationship is always to make sure you ask the other person what these terms mean to them, because peoples definitions, or how they apply them to their relationships, can vary. So understanding what they mean to both of you can help you to agree on your BDSM limits
 

What are hard limits?

Hard limits are precisely that, limits that are not open to being explored or broken in any way. Hard limits are things that you do not want to do for whatever reason. When entering into a D/s relationship, it's essential to think through what these things might be and to think outside the box so that you cover as all sorts of things.  Common items that seem to appear on many people's hard limits list are things like:

  • No bestiality
  • No being drugged or taking illegal hard drugs
  • No paedophilia
  • No being made to do anything illegal

Many of the above might seem obvious or very extreme, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't state them implicitly.  Do not assume that just because you would never want to (or even think about) doing something, that someone else would feel the same. You want to be able to share your core principles and beliefs with the other person as you're potentially offering them huge control over your life.  Other things on my hard limits list:

  • No scat
  • No cutting my hair
  • Nothing to do with eyes (no asking me to wear contact lenses)
  • No force feeding or denial of food
  • No permanent marking or scaring without prior conversation
  • No face slapping

This list has changed over the years, which is something to be aware of. You're absolutely allowed to change your list - which means adding as well as taking things off. Everyone evolves and discovers new things, and that's part of the joy of a kinky relationship - that you get to learn about what turns you on. For example, when I first started, my list said 'no permanent marking', but as time passed, I've wanted both a tattoo and a branding, so my list has been adapted to be something 'we would talk about'.  Also, face slapping was not on my hard limits list, but experiencing it made me realise just how much I hate it, so it was included.  
 

What are soft limits?

Soft limits are things that you're not sure about, and what that means differs from person to person. Generally, they're a list of things that either you have never done and might be interested in, or have done but are not sure if you enjoyed them or not. 

Soft limits can also be things that you're not that keen on but would do if someone made you or to please someone else. An example for me would be licking feet. It's not something I enjoy or have any real desire to do, but if it was something my partner was hugely into then maybe, possibly I might do it. 

Soft limits are far more fluid than hard limits and are likely to change the more experience you get. In the beginning, there were many things on my soft limits list such as needle play, cutting and blood play. This was because I had no idea that they would turn me on, but as I gained more experience and we explored those boundaries, I discovered that they were really hot for me and are now very much part of my kinks.

Likewise, you'll also discover things that are not for you and may even move things from your soft limits list to your hard limits list. In my case, face slapping is an example of that. 

Not knowing if you like something or not is a legitimate position to take on any kink, and for me, those things mainly ended up on my soft limit list. Not because I didn't want to try them but because I had no idea about them, so I was willing to explore them slowly, but they were not things I wanted to start out with.
 


Looking for advice? Need BDSM tips? Ask Molly! 
 


Exploring your BDSM boundaries...

Hard limits are not meant to be broken or pushed. Anyone who doesn't respect your hard limits should be seen as a huge red flag and be treated with extreme caution. Likewise, any Dominant who says you're not allowed limits isn't someone that I would ever trust with my submission. Everyone has limits, regardless of what people claim, if they don't, they're dangerous. 

Potentially, soft limits can be explored, but I would expect a good Dominant not to start there, but spend time getting to know you. At most, exploring those things with you verbally before ever actually attempting to introduce them. 
 

Do Doms have limits?

Absolutely, yes they do - and should have them. However, because of the power dynamic of D/s relationships, their limits might be something that they only share with you as and when they arise - or in a less formal fashion -  but it's definitely a conversation that should take place between you and any potential Dominant in your life. 
 

Talk about your hard and soft limits

It's vital that first you have some idea of what your boundaries are. But most important of all, the person you're thinking of getting into a relationship with, is open to talking about them and respecting what you want. This is a conversation that should happen again and again throughout your relationship as you both learn and grow together. Boundaries and limits need to be respected. They're subjects that should be constantly revisited and discussed because they can and will change. 

Good luck!
Molly x


For tips and advice, contact Molly via her Fetish.com profile or visit her thread in the BDSM Forum:gimp:

 Mollys BDSM Tips and Advice.  Ask Her!
Cover Image: model released from Shutterstock.com

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TransSwitchUk

Posted

@Silver779

Peeps dont go around looking or asking for abuse were human and sexual and we make mistakes!! But thanks to you judging they might not feel safe to ask on here now so they might never get good advice!!!i Its hard enough to have boundaries and communicate well in regular situations less alone in "less regular" type associations.....Most of society puts an emphasis on "instant gratification" and genuine role models are few.....

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TransSwitchUk

Posted

Helpful & Interesting too.....

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Mollysdailykiss

Posted

On 1/21/2019 at 5:44 PM, HexThePup said:

Limits are important, its fine to be new and not know what your limits are. For example when i started beomg currious i had only 3 that i knew that i wouldnt like, but after experimentimg with an open mind i have learned that i have a few more, yes it wasnt that fun to find the limits but i was lucky to be in safe hands of an experianced Dom at the time

It is absolutely fine not to know your limits and discover them as you go but in that situation, as you so rightly say, having a partner who understands that is very important

Mollyx

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silver779

Posted

So many set themselves up for abuse and then they enter a chat room and bitch about it like they are a victim

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silver779

Posted

I agree Stew. The outcome of any relationship depends on the work done in the beginning

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Posted

Awesome

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Posted

It’s amazing nowadays the amount of conversations and profiles I read that never mention boundaries just hard and soft limits. Everyone has limits and boundaries and starting a scene without knowing them is ridiculous and will lead to abuse
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Wardy4694

Posted

I'm really horny an my willy is dripping making my boxers sticky because I'm watching the dirtiest 3some if I want pics an a nice chat I box me

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Wardy4694

Posted

Way him porn ran

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Kirstialee

Posted

I'm just not into extreme bondage and being total slave. Don't like being humiliated degraded or beat in any way.

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HexThePup

Posted

Limits are important, its fine to be new and not know what your limits are. For example when i started beomg currious i had only 3 that i knew that i wouldnt like, but after experimentimg with an open mind i have learned that i have a few more, yes it wasnt that fun to find the limits but i was lucky to be in safe hands of an experianced Dom at the time

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Kirstialee

Posted

I've to many limits

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silver779

Posted

i agree. Hearing that someone has no limits makes me feel that there will only be disaster down the road. of course thats hearing it from a unseasoned inexperienced new sub. now there could be cases where a seasoned experienced slave has gone deep enough into their submission and embraced being a slave where they give up their rights and their choices. then its possible that someone like that can have no limits. and it would be because of the nature of their agreement with their Master or Mistress. becoming someones slave is not to be done lightly. and it needs to be completely agreed upon by both parties. otherwise a brand new sub or slave as they claim not having limits would keep me from becoming involved with them.
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northern_dom

Posted

For me a huge red flag is when someone says they have no limits. Very often the end of conversation is nigh after hearing that.
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