This week’s Ask Me Anything comes from a bunch of discussions we had on Facebook this week, some of them sparked by my Ask Me Anything from last week on good resources for getting into the kink lifestyle (read it over here), and it’s a really important one to have so I hope you enjoy! Curious what the #AskMeAnything is? Check out the official AMA page on my site over here.

Q: What’s all this about soft limits and hard limits? What are they and why do I need them?

A: Thank you invisible internet people for asking this and/or talking about it, because limits are absolutely necessary in every kink relationship. Really I think all relationships should have them, but I guess it doesn’t come up as often for vanilla couples.

What are limits? You might have asked yourself this once or twice, or you already know and I’m being repetitive, but that’s okay. To put it simply, limits are a list of things you don’t really want to do. And they should be an actual list. I keep mine in a note on my phone so I can easily copy + paste + send to anyone I’m thinking of playing with. I also highly suggest that you come up with your limits list before you’re thinking of playing with someone specific. The reason for this is that your excitement to play with a specific person might color your true feelings about an implement, or an act, or a situation, and you might let someone do something you really don’t want them to do. Which isn’t good for you, and if they’re a decent dominant it will probably make them feel like shit too. So, avoid that. Write these down as you think of them. Keep it updated and fresh.

What are soft limits? These are the things on your limits list that you feel a little nervous about, maybe a little squeamish, but there’s a little voice inside you wondering if you might like it. Telling a Dom it’s a soft limit means that if you choose to try it, they need to take it slow. They need to explain everything, and they need to check-in a lot to make sure you’re still okay. It also warns them ahead of time that you might safe word because maybe now that you’ve tried it you’ve decided that nope, you are definitely not into being covered in chocolate and having it eaten off by a swarm of bees. Sure, it sounded cool in your head, but now you’re not so cool, and you’d really appreciate him blowing his bee-summoning whistle to remove them. (ridiculous example used so as not to offend anyone’s kink!)

What are hard limits? These are the hell-nos. The fuck-off-and-die-with-that-idea limits. Everyone has these, because these are the over-the-line things that you refuse to participate in. BUT! If you’ve been playing a long time some of your hard limits may drift towards soft limits, and that is okay too, because we are always changing. It’s why I said in the first section to keep your list updated and fresh! Who knows when you’d like to try that chocolate + bees thing again, right? No matter what, a hard limit should never even be attempted in a session with a good partner. Hard limits are off-limits. Doing something on a hard limit list is equitable to assault and/or sexual assault to me, and most SSC individuals in the community. It’s a major violation of trust, of someone’s body, and of every foundation of BDSM. Hard limits are no joke, and both subs and Doms get limits. If your Dom has a hard limit on something, it’s not cute to violate it. It’s wrong. Don’t do it! Don’t let someone else do it! If they do it, you need to decide if you feel safe enough to continue in that relationship.

  • Side note: If a Dom ever flat-out ignores your safe word. Not an “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you the first time, but I did the second time and I stopped”, but a flat out ignoring of your safe word. Run. Leave. Get out. Report them to someone, if not the police. This is a terrible, gigantic red flag, and behavior like that will most likely only get worse. They don’t respect you, they don’t want you safe, and that is no longer BDSM. For real. Alright, back to the fun stuff.

Why do I need this and what do I do with it? Well, once you’ve figured out all your limits, keep it easy to access. Pop it into a folder in your email, save it in a note on your phone, but keep it accessible. You need this because if you’re starting to dip your toes into the community and you think you might want to meet someone, they need to know your limits. You should also ask about their limits. When you first start out, you might have a soft limits list a mile long, and a hard limits list just as long – and this is okay. We all have different things we can handle, we all have reasons behind our choices, and if you’re going to play in this community your play partner needs to know these things or there is no way they can do it safely, sanely, and with your consent.

What all can be on a limits list? Is it just implements? Certain acts? The short answer is anything can be on a list if it’s important to you. Now, to be fair, I’m going to share my obscenely short list with you just to give you an idea of the kinds of things you can have. Please remember, I’m a painslut and a masochist, and I’ve been in the community and playing for over a decade. I’ve done a lot of stuff, and soooooo no one needs to have a list anywhere near as short as mine. Okay? Okay.

Soft Limits

  • No photography or video without express permission, that includes security cameras and “oops I left it on”.
  • No marks I can’t cover with normal work clothes, seasonally appropriate.
  • No watersports.
  • No age play.

Hard Limits

  • Clean movement from anal to anything else.
  • Condoms for vaginal/anal.
  • No scat play.
  • No blood play.
  • No public activities.
  • Name calling is fine, just never “wench”.
  • Pre-determined safe word. I usually go with yellow/red cause they’re the most common. Nonverbal is three snaps or three hard taps.

So… this is pretty much all I have to say on limits, but I wanted to take one more chance to say just how fucking important they are. Before you play (or before you play again if you have been playing and never taken the time to write these down) WRITE THEM DOWN. This is me being a protective, crazy, mama bear, but I adore you lovelies and I never want anyone to take advantage of you, whether they know they are or not. As always, my inbox is always open for more questions. If you have questions about my limits, or your own limits, please ask. I’d love to talk about them.

PS – Send me more questions! I’m loving this weekly opportunity to chat about BDSM and all kinds of stuff.