Limits are the foundation of a D/s relationship and in another article we will discuss why. There are three basic kinds of “limits” in BDSM. This post will give a brief overview of them.
It should be noted that a sub/bottom does not need to give a reason for their limits. Their limits should be respected regardless of the logic or rationale behind them.
Universal Limit – These are limits which are more than just a limit. They are the law and typically the same for all respectable practitioners of BDSM. Universal limits include involving people against their will, children or animals.
A few examples would be
- Abusing a child/minor
- Forcing someone that is drunk or unable to give consent
- Rape or when it is clear the submissive is unwilling to participate
Hard limit – A hard limit is something that must not be done. Violating a hard limit is often considered just cause for ending a scene or even a relationship. These are things the submissive states she will never allow and her Dominant will respect.
- “Scat is a hard limit for me”
- “I have a back injury, so striking on the back is a hard limit”
- “I was abused and he would choke me so choking is a hard limit”
Soft limit – A soft limit is something that a person hesitates about or places conditions on, but for which they will still give informed consent. These can be limits because you have never tried them or you have a specific concern that you want to make sure is address. They may also be limits that change over time as trust and desires grow.
- “I would have a 3some but only if we are on vacation so I know I would never see them again.”
- “I like anal but only if there is a lot of lube”
- “You can tie me up but you have to promise you won’t tickle me.”
These are just a few examples. Outside of universal limits, they vary for everyone. Limits should be respected by a Dominant no matter how silly or small they seem. Decide for yourself what your limits are, be open and honest about them.
Also keep in mind that limits may change. You may trust your dominant more and be willing to take greater risks. You may make something a limit and then see it at a a BDSM event and want to try it. You may think something sounds fun but when you experience it, you decide to add it to your list of limits. Limits evolve as your experiences grow. Discuss them with your Dom and adjust them when you feel the need.