All of us have limits and boundaries; there’s no such thing as a limitless slave. In a BDSM context, it’s especially important to be aware of these and to communicate about them. I think it’s hard to list your limits just like that. Personally I feel like I don’t have many but it’s dangerous to just say you have none, especially as this isn’t true. Sometimes to find them you need to ask the right questions of filling out a checklist such as this one can be helpful.
Soft and Hard Limits
Thanks to the BDSM checklist I can identify some of my hard limits, which are unsurprisingly things like swallowing semen and hand jobs; I don’t want to have sexual interaction with men, which include penetration and oral. Another hard limit for me is fantasy abandonment since this would trigger me as I have a deep fear of being abandoned and lastly, sleep deprivation. Without sleep I lose my mind and very quickly go down the I don’t want to live thought-spiral. Sleep deprivation is the one hard limit I identified way before Lois and I started talking and the first one which comes to mind when I think of hard limits.
Hard limits are kind of simple as they have one clear meaning: this is not something I want to do period. Soft limits are a little bit more tricky and interesting in my opinion, though I don’t have a lot of clear ones. I’m someone who very much likes to try almost everything at least once and I’m also someone who likes to do things I dislike if it’s for my Mistress. Additionally, I like to explore my limits and stretch them out.
Your Mind is Limiting You
I think it’s often our mind that truly limits us. During fitness drills in football, I see my fellow teammates hit their limits except they’re not super out of breath and don’t appear to need longer than 30-seconds or so to recover. When I do these drills I tend to push hard enough to taste blood (it’s not actual blood, just the flavour. Overexertion of lungs I guess!), feel pretty dizzy and have wobbly legs and a two-minute recovery doesn’t cut it. Aside from whether this is healthy or not I feel like I have the ability to push further than the initial point where your body tells you it can’t go on anymore. I have this massive drive to do the best I can (and to be honest can’t really stop myself) but my coach always appreciates it.
Within kink, I have a similar drive to push myself and my limits for a comparable reason. I want to do my best and doing less can sometimes leave me disappointed (not always, depends on context). Pushing boundaries is satisfying to me; it’s a little like when you go for a run and come back covered in swear feeling like you did a great job, except it’s more than that. I am fascinated by the human ability to go above and beyond and challenges make things exciting.
I have a clear example of where my mind limits me sometimes. I’m fine running 10km with someone else or 5km at a fast pace with my football team but when I go for a run on my own I tend to stop after 3km, feeling like I can go no further. It seems like I need some motivation to push further, which I’m sure rings true to everyone; if there’s enough at stake you will stretch your limits. For me, within kink, my Mistress alone can be enough motivation to push myself.
Moving Past your Perceived to be Limits
When I start struggling during scenes I take a deep breath and reset my mind. I can’t explain to you in words how I do it but I see this visual image in my mind. So when severe caning strokes feel like they’re getting rather intense I do this little trick in my mind and then it’s as if my bottom has gone back to having received only x amount of strokes.
Outside of scenes, Lois helped me past quite a few of my initially perceived to be limiting. The best example of this lies within my anxiety in public spaces. They were limits that aren’t for most people, but going out in heels and skirts, sexy clothing and wearing no panties were things I was incredibly afraid of. Compared to pushing pain limits, overcoming these were more difficult because the anxiety was so strong in my mind. Taking certain pictures, then videos and eventually going on webcam were things I had also pinned down as at least soft limits at one point. Another thing I was really afraid of was penetration, which took over a year before Lois successfully helped me get past that.
If you want to start playing with any (soft) limit you need to move very slowly. The only way you can get close to exploring a limit is by convincing your/someone’s mind that it’s not as scary as it seems and in fact something you could do. Personally, I moved past limits most successfully when I was barely aware that I was doing it or that it was even a limit because the scene had worked towards it so slowly that the next step simply seemed natural.
The Necessity of Trust
Another thing you need is a lot of trust. Since reaching a limit is scary, you need to know that the person you’re playing with can guide you safely and will be there to help you come down. Again this takes time and I think it’s important to point out that I can’t by definition have few to no limits with anyone. A developed and strong dynamic with someone I trust is absolutely necessary to go further and different settings may have different limits. For example, I would never be able to go as far while shooting a video compared to private play.
Nonetheless, in my ideal dynamic there will be the possibility and desire from both parties to look for those limits and play with them. This includes all things on the spectrum; it’s certainly not just pain. In fact, I don’t think pain alone is very successful. As I said, limits happen in the mind and perhaps that’s what truly makes them interesting.