Soft limits. Hard limits.
No one is truly without limits, even if they say they are. As soon as we start talking about chewing aluminium foil or chainsaw play, people suddenly realize perhaps they do have some stopping points.
For the new person, excellent starting places are some of the BDSM checklists out there. Often they list a veritable overflowing cornucopia of activities, and an opportunity to give imput on each. It gives the new person, in particular, a chance to look through some of the more and less common partner and group pursuits.
For example, a sample section might look like this:
Canes 2 (the thuddier the better)
Dragon tails 1
Flogger/cats 5 (love floggers!!)
Paddles 0 <– too stingy!
Single-tail whips M
The first time I filled out one of those lists, I must have had to look up at least half of the things on it! What I couldn’t find I asked my play partner for clarification about. I filled this one out a little randomly to demonstrate. I used a one to five scale for things I say I am willing to do, with zeros being soft limits and fives being things I love. I put little M’s for haven’t tried but willing to and N’s next to things that were a solid nope. The numbers were a scale of how much I liked the things I had previously experienced. Additionally, I included notes if I had relevant information to share or particularly strong feelings about something.
If that sort of scale is too confusing, it is as simple as listing things with a Y and N, or adding S and H for soft and hard limits.
So my first time filling it out, there must have been N’s next to almost three-quarters of the list. I was so unwilling to step outside of the walls I had erected for myself.
But that was okay.
My partner respected my limits and was willing to play with me at the level where I drew my lines.
Once we had spent about a month playing in the sandbox I built, I began to realize that those walls were feeling a little confining. I revisited the list and carefully reviewed all of the items, thinking hard about how I felt when I mentally focused on each activity.
I removed some of the N’s. I put more things on the list of stuff I was willing to try. I opened the door to about 20 new activities.
When I presented him with the revised list, he reviewed it carefully, and even made sure to compare it to the prior version so he was very clear what was newly acceptable and what was still on the soft and hard limit list. Three months later, I took even more N’s ofd of the list.
You see, it is easy to set limits when we haven’t experienced things. Something sounds scary, so we dismiss it as alien, as clearly unpleasant. Our limits reflect these fears as well as our experiences.
By allowing ourselves to trust, on both sides of the slash, but in particular on the right side, we open the door for things we might never have known we love. Of course, the opposite can be true as well. By experimenting, we can discover that something which sounded interesting is a physical sensation which is too unpleasant to want to repeat. My personal horror story involves a rubber ring on my clitoris.
We don’t do that anymore.
So as we grow in our experiences, attend testing events, we gradually expand our horizons. Our limits begin to shift naturally. By checking in every so often and repeating the same exercise, we can see where the changes have led. I recommend revisiting around every six months or so when in a trust-filled dynamic or play-partnership which allows for healthy experimentation. It is possible to find that a goalpost has moved completely while we are paying attention to other things.
At some point in our journeys, we will notice that the expansion slows, or stops. We have left ourselves open to possibility and have finally reached a place where things aren’t going to change much more, if at all. By letting trust lead the way, we can truly find ourselves.
About the Author
Christmas bunny has been exploring kink since she was legal to do so. Her serious writing started in college, where she accidently got some of her papers published in educational journals. She has recently expanded her writing to include her kink journey. She began writing in the physical realm, but shed some of her inhibitions and began sharing those entries with others. She now keeps an active blog of her personal growth and her relationship with her Master / Daddy Dominant and writes helpful educational posts on a variety of subjects.