Discovering what your BDSM limits are is an essential part of being the kink scene. If you don't know what your limits are, there are some ways to learn, says Stella Harris.
 

It’s so common for people to enter the kink scene and claim they have no limits that it’s a cliche. In fact, many presenters and experienced players have even developed favourite responses. Everything from, “so, I can cut your eyelashes off?” to threats involving worms or bugs.

It’s not too hard to find something a person doesn't want to do if you put your mind to it. But the impulse to say you have no BDSM limits is understandable - especially for folks who are just starting. People seem to think it will make them a more attractive play partner, but experienced players will instead see this as a red flag because everyone has limits.

 

Talk about your BDSM limits

If you don't tell your partner what your limits are, they’ll be left guessing. Ultimately, the play will likely be less intense if the top is forced to wonder where the BDSM limits are, rather than knowing where the lines are and being able to play right up to the edge.

So, how do you know what your hard limits and kinks are? Start by having a fantasy-based thought exercise. Think about the things you do want to do, and then notice where those interactions end. Maybe the idea of someone playing with your ass gets you hot, but the thought of penetrative anal sex leaves you cold. Or perhaps you want to get caned or whipped, but not to the point of breaking the skin. Everyone has their own kinks.

Sometimes you can find your BDSM limits by merely taking your interests in the kink scene and thinking of more extreme versions. Reading erotica, watching porn, and looking at what other people are doing at play parties is another great way to explore your kinks. Maybe you’ve seen a hook suspension and thought, ‘nope, not for me.’ You've found one of your hard limits.

 

BDSM limits before kinky sex
Physical or emotional BDSM limits need to be respected. 

 

Emotional limits

When people think about hard limits, they often think of boundaries around pain or safety. But don’t discount emotional BDSM limits. Maybe you don’t want to do anything that will make you feel too vulnerable (bondage, blindfolds,) or perhaps sex is only a limit with people on a casual basis. These are your limits and kinks, and you get to make the rules. It's about whatever makes sense to you.
 
Just because something is a limit for you right now, doesn’t mean you can never change your mind. Hard limits are a great way to start so you can play and feel safe, but if you decide to push into those BDSM limits and kinks later, you can always make that choice.
 

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Communicating your limits

Once you know what your limits are, you need to communicate them clearly to anyone you’re considering playing with. This is generally part of the negotiation, but you don’t need to wait for the other person to ask, you can be proactive about stating your BDSM limits and kinks.

Be sure you’re as clear as possible. Define your terms and make sure the person you’re talking to knows exactly what you mean. Saying something like “no sex” is too vague. Sex can mean many things to many people. Consider the alternative of “no genital touch,” if that’s what you really mean.

 

Taking BDSM limits seriously

When you’re communicating your limits, make sure the person you’re talking to is paying attention. If you get any indication that your limits won’t be respected, that can be a red flag that maybe you shouldn’t be playing with this person.

You always have the right to protect your wellbeing. So think of the things you do want, and the things you don’t and get ready to share that information with potential partners. Ultimately everyone will have a better time when needs, wants, and limits and kinks have been clearly communicated up front.

 

Stella Harris is an author, educator, and coach who focuses on sex, kink, and intimacy. Through her writing and teaching, she explores the complex world of love and lust and strives to help people explore their sexuality safely and free of shame. 

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