A Beginner’s Guide To Limits

Woman and man playing domination games in bed together

“Limits” refers to an acceptable range of play for an individual, and is something that should be discussed when negotiating a scene. It ensures that all the rights, needs, and requirements are clearly understood. Some decide to write down their limits in the shape of a contract, which assures that both partners fully understand the limitations and acceptable forms of play. Others prefer to simply discuss and plan the scene in detail beforehand. Before entering into any relationship, it is important to clearly communicate and listen to each other carefully.

Different Categories

There are two categories of limits; hard and soft. Hard limits are things that neither of you will do under any circumstance, at least for the scene that is being negotiated. They can include extreme forms of play, such as knife and gun play, but can also include any type of play or activity that someone isn’t comfortable partaking in. Keep in mind that your limits can, and probably will, change over time. Hard limits can become soft limits, soft limits can become turn-ons, and things that you once enjoyed can become a limit.

Soft limits can be things that someone has tried and didn’t enjoy (or didn’t enjoy it with the person they experienced it with) but are open to trying again. It can also be something that someone hasn’t experienced or tried before, but is willing to try. Usually in this case the dom will want to start slow and gradually stretch the limits of their sub. The last thing you want to do when introducing a new type of play or implement is to go too hard and fast, which could give your partner a bad first experience.
Unsure of your limits? Here are some of the most common:

– Play related to broken bones or permanent body markings.

– Medical play, which can include scat play, urine play, blood play, and CBT.

– Electrical Play, which often comprises the use of electro-stimulation through toys and devices like violet wands.

– Breath play or erotic asphyxiation like choking, advance rope play, and the blockage of airways.

– Extreme edge play, such as knife play and fire play. It is most commonly used as fear play, which can result in an intense emotional response.

– Forms of severe humiliation which can include leaving your partner tied naked in a visible place or through forcing them to partake in a ‘degrading act’ such as eating dog food or licking your feet.

Be Careful

If you’re still unsure – don’t tell your partner that you have no limits, as this could put you in an uncomfortable and dangerous situation. Instead, mention that you’re uncertain, discuss things you would like try, and go from there. Remember to discuss a safe word, too, so you can communicate when the scene has pushed your limits and that you’d like to stop. If you cry, will it be tears of joy? Fear? Catharsis? How can your partner tell the difference? How will they know when to stop? It is important to communicate and figure these kinds of things out before you dive in the deep end. You should talk through the scene more than once to agree on the outcomes of the scene, and double check limitations. It should be the desire of every dom to meet their sub’s true needs and requirements.

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