Thoughts On Limits

A few words on limits. And I expect I’m going to upset a few people.

I rarely directly discuss limits. I certainly never present someone with a document to consider and negotiate over it like a business meeting. But ordinary* relationships manage without this discussion being explicit, they negotiate and discover as they progress. Among the various sex positive ‘communities’ we believe we are more aware, more cognoscent of the issues others might have. Those of us who are fulfilled by the submission of another believe we understand our sub, that we know them. Those who like to be dominated must trust their Dom.

It is, of course, best practice to have an understanding of your consort’s limits. But that can be gained through conversation, sexting, experience – paying attention. Why do we feel it should be different for us, that we must have this dry, dusty meeting? This filling in of a questionnaire? Don’t you feel you know you partner(s) well enough? Don’t you know you’ll be able to tell when your sub’s wish to please you is conflicting with their own fear, physical boundaries or preferences? Or are you planning to rush right up to those boundaries straight away – your first time together – without building an experiential trust first? Isn’t that the same as fucking without foreplay, even if the building of experiential trust is a progression of months, rather than a little less than an hour?

Shouldn’t we, as people who claim to be more aware, more considered of our choices also be more aware of our consort’s responses and reactions? Of course we should. While recognising that some may feel safer having discussed limits, wouldn’t you, as a sub, feel safer knowing your consort has taken the time to know you well enough, get inside your head sufficiently, to be aware of your limits, be aware of your behavioural responses, and aware of your body language that he will always ensure your safety, protection, fulfilment? Psychological as well as physical? If he is aware of those things, if he’s taken the time to explore your mind, you’ll never need that safeword.

Ah,” you might say, “What if we’re new together? What if he doesn’t understand me so well? what if he wouldn’t recognise those subtle signals that I’m not happy?” Well, I’d ask you, What are you doing submitting to a man you don’t trust? A man who hasn’t learned so much about you that he knows your desires and needs? What’s the rush?

Take the time to build the experiential trust, for him to learn your cues and triggers. To learn your limits, which can be pushed, which can’t, rather than be told them.

And what will kill the passion and spontaneity faster than a business meeting, a contract that says “You can do these to me.” And once you’ve rushed to those boundaries first time out, then what? Where’s the progression in your life, the excitement of the ‘new thing’ together?

Knowing limits is important, but it’s part of the trust and rapport you naturally build up over time. Learning what excites and what doesn’t is part of the fun of a pairing. Kill it with an excel spreadsheet if you like, but I won’t.

*I’m using the word “ordinary” as a descriptor we can all understand to differentiate instead of “vanilla” because I don’t really like the word vanilla. I think it’s often used to condescend or place a value judgement. Many people are perfectly satisfied with their ‘ordinary’ sex lives, and that’s fine.

© Charles Rochester 2015

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts On Limits

  1. This!
    This has been my approach to limits as well. While there are a few, I much prefer to let the relationship develop & also discover limits as it does. I have also found that some limits depend on the relationship. Casual = more limits, committed = willing & eager to push some.

    I’m also in agreement with the postscript about the term vanilla. There are many people in happy fulfilling ‘ordinary’ relationships and I don’t view how I am to be superior to that.

  2. Oh my! This right here is exactly what I’ve tried to explain before!! My husband (whom I submit to) as well as my best friend (play partner), both know my limits after having spent the time to know me.

    I’ve had other “Doms” who wanted me to write out my limits so they know not where to go and I’m like, “well…umm…see..I know them but voicing them out just..yeah. Not a turn on.” One Dom thought that by me telling him my limits, he could figure out which ones to break me of so I’d fit him better. I told that dude off and blocked him. I don’t understand why so many feel that meeting to discuss the D/s relationship and not actually getting to know someone is how it should be. You can’t always tell if you and your play partner will suit just based on a business meeting! I’m an advocate of getting to know people. I guess it throws people off.

  3. Great post. A D/s relationship is no different from other relationships in that trust develops over time. as flutterby says casual relationships require more limits, or for me greater care. Plus as you both say, value judgements in this area apply across the board. This is not about a tick list, but about what is right for the couple involved.

    However, the key thing for me is that I communicate differently in this relationship than I have in any other. This may well because the dynamic is Master / slave or it could just be that as a couple we are more in tune with each others needs. Who knows.

    When it works, then it works and for me right now, there are no agreed limits and no need for them. Since even with the dynamic, I know that we can discuss things as we go. Of course, I also trust that He knows best and that suits fine.

  4. Pingback: Sinful Sunday 8 | Filth & Erotica

  5. Pingback: Thoughts On Rights, Responsibilities And Privileges In D/s | Filth & Erotica

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