I’ve noticed that when people discuss limits in BDSM they tend to come across as being something fixed and static. Some websites allow you to create yes/no/maybe lists and often people have what they are into and hard limits on profiles on sites such as Recon. It’s occurred to me recently that this is too simplistic and actually limits are more fluid and changeable.
When I started out in kink I had very firm things that were hard limits and were not up for discussion. Things like fisting and scat were definitely off the menu to me, they were too extreme and I didn’t want to go there. However, as I did more kink and started playing more, my limits shifted. As I got more into being a pig, I got curious about scat and wanted to try it, and now it’s something I enjoy. Likewise, I started watching videos of fisting and wanted to try it and experience what all those deep moans were about. It’s natural for limits to change over time as your experience increases, but it’s worth keeping a check on things to make sure that in the cold light of day you’re happy with that. For example, bareback is now much more open and being talked about, if you’re barebacking make sure it’s because you want to, rather than just because “everyone” else is doing it.
Limits can also change with the people you are playing with. When I meet someone new, we’ll discuss what things we’re into and what’s on and off the menu and limits. But for the first few sessions I’ll very deliberately keep things simple and not throw the kitchen sink at a scene. Yes, you might be horny and want everything, but it’s far better tactic to keep a few session simple and build up rather than to do everything and end up safe wording and then have to have a discussion and if it goes wrong maybe loose a good playmate. As a Dom, I’d much rather build up scenes and take someone to a place at a slower place, together even if that takes longer. When subbing, I’m very fussy about who I sub to and I want to make sure that they “get it” in terms of safety and how to manage a scene and my headspace. So, it’s ok to start simple. It’s also ok just to have different limits with different people, maybe one person is good at X but you don’t rate them at Y. For those of us into many things, it’s natural to have different playmates into different areas and for some things to be off the menu with different people.
More than this, limits can also change day to day or week to week because of stuff going on internally with you. Maybe work has been stressful and a session with lots of verbal isn’t ok today. Maybe work stress means actually getting tied down and made “helpless” is way up the list. The stuff you’re into can ebb and flow, and it doesn’t even need a reason. What you want to do in a session is always a conversation and discussion and it’s important you speak up if for whatever reason there is something you don’t want to do, even if it’s usually on the menu. Likewise, even as the subbiest sub if there is something you do particular want – ask for it! Personally, when I’m Domming I hate it when people start exhibiting bratty behaviour to try and get something. I’m more than happy to terrible things to you, but ask, don’t’ try and push me into it, I’ll just disengage. An angry frustrated Dom isn’t a safe scene.
So please, don’t view limits as something fixed. They are much more fluid than most of the discussion around them suggests and it’s ok for them not to be rational and to ebb and flow. But if someone is trying to push you and it’s something you don’t want to do and aren’t comfortable with then say no and if need be walk away from playing with them. Don’t be pressured or manipulated into something you don’t want to do. Your time is precious and giving people your kinks as a Dom or a sub is a gift to someone that should be treasured and respected.