Knowing what you can and cannot do is vital in most areas of life. No matter what you’re into, kink is about consent, communication, and compromise. Before trying any new sex act, obtaining enthusiastic, continuous consent from all parties involved is a must. Your kinks may not perfectly align with your partner’s, and that’s okay. As you explore, what you’re okay with and what you’re not will likely change, so it’s important to keep a running dialogue about your likes and limits.
We tend to focus on hard limits a lot. What grosses us out or is something we cannot tolerate, what gives us a bad feeling. What sounds so disgusting and horrible that we (kind of, sort of) wonder what might be wrong with people who do like it. And there’s a good reason we tend to focus on them – making someone do something they desperately don’t want to do is a violation of trust and it shows a lack of consent or even an understanding of the importance of consent.
But that’s not the only conversation you should have about likes or limits. Broadening the conversation to include likes and soft limits can open a whole world of opportunity. Soft limits, from my perspective, are the things I’m unsure of but I’ll try at least once, although I reserve the right to make it a hard limit if it really bothers me.
Hard and Soft Limits explained
Hard Limit: A specific element or action that a person isn’t comfortable with, this will most likely cause emotional and/or physical trauma. It calls for a safe word, ends a scene, and can even end a relationship.
Soft Limit: A specific element or action that a person isn’t really comfortable with, but could be some time in the future. It could be something that requires further education and understanding before making their decision. It doesn’t mean you won’t do it, but it must be done very cautiously with a lot of discussion and negotiations.
Not A Limit: Something that you don’t enjoy, but doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable or put yourself at risk or trigger you in anyway. Mowing, doing taxes, going to work, writing essays, and so forth for example aren’t fun, but they aren’t limits, you just do like them or care much about them.
Check sheets can help you define your own likes and limits. Here at Dom(me)’s Life, we have prepared a list to help get you started. Take a look at the listed kinks and fetishes and think about where each one fits into your personal limits currently. The things we love, enjoy, are sceptical about or won’t even consider change throughout our journey. Complete this list as a reflection of who you are at this point in time and journey.
This will provide a quick “head-start” to identifying limits, negotiating and finding common ground for play. Doms and subs may wish to work through the checklist, to get a better handle on their specific interests. Switches should go through the checklist twice; one persons Dom and Sub interests may be quite different.