Sex education

Helpful Suggestions for Setting Your Sexual Limits

Published: JUNE 29, 2016
Limits. We all have them. We all need them, but sometimes it's hard to figure them out.

Knowing what you can and cannot do is vital in most areas of life. You can definitely balance your checkbook, but you probably couldn't solve astrophysical mathematics equations. You can run a mile, but you definitely couldn't do a marathon without training. You can paint a piece of furniture, but trying to tear down a home's extra wall is likely just beyond your knowledge base. Knowing your limits (and training yourself to push past them) is an important part of getting along in society - and part of what makes up fantastic communities. Well, guess what? Sexual limits aren't all that different. Here's how to find them - and push them a little - for a more exciting sex life.


What Are Sexual Limits?

While you may love doggy style sex, standing sex just doesn't let you focus on the pleasure. You might be OK with rope bondage, but bending your bum knee at extreme angles causes pain for days on end. You like the idea of nipple clamps, but the idea of genital clamps just squicks you out. Whatever the case, limits can be found in our sex lives, and they draw the line between what we will and won't do.

"Limits," as the name implies, are basically things you don't want to do - whether that's for medical reasons, past hurts, disinterest, or just plain distaste for the activity. Knowing what you're interested in - and what you're not - will make sure that everyone is on the same page. It will help you stand up for yourself when you find yourself moving toward a situation you may not like.

Some people differentiate between "soft" limits and "hard" limits. "Soft" limits are the things that people really don't have interest in, but may make an exception about under the right circumstances. "Hard" limits tend to be those things that you just will not do; no exceptions.


Limits were born out of the need for negotiation in the BDSM world. Because BDSM incorporates a lot of different activities for a lot of different people, it became vital to figure out what each person likes and doesn't like - or what may just cause pain (and not the fun kind). Knowing your limits helps expedite that negotiation. Even for people outside of kink, though, knowing what you do and do not like in the bedroom (especially for new partners) can ensure that you're only doing things that you will really enjoy.

Now that you know what limits are, where should you start? These simple tips will help you figure out what limits are important to you in no time!

Start by Establishing Your Safe Word

Before you even start to make a list, think about a safeword. While having a list of limits is very helpful and important, it's more important to have an agreed-upon way that you (and your partner) can end the action right away. No matter how kinky you think you are, you're bound to find a limit you didn't know was a limit - if only because you worked out too hard the night before, so your usual spanking is hurting in a non-fun way. Agreeing on this established way "out" a before you do anything else will provide a lot more comfort to allow you both to explore what you're interested in. Remember, a dominant-person gets a safeword as well; everyone should have a safe word in any given sexual situation.


Make a List of What You Love

Before you do anything else, make a list of what you love. These are the things you think you'd really enjoy (or do enjoy) doing with your partner. This might be things like oral sex, spanking, rope bondage, or whatever else your heart comes up with. While you're making this list, think about any parameters that go along with your enjoyment too. Do you love spanking - but only with hands and not paddles? Make a note of that. Even if you never end up doing a "formal" negotiation, you now have a better idea of what you enjoy and what you might enjoy more of in the future.

Make a List of Things You're Curious About

Curiosity and wanting to try new things is part of being human, and it applies to your sex life too! Are there certain things you've always wanted to try? Whether that may be a new sex position or pet play, there are probably things you've thought about trying if the right circumstances arose. Add these to your "Curious About" list.

Make a List of Things You Absolutely Will Not Do

Every time you think about these things, you feel uncomfortable. Those are the items you probably want on your "Absolutely Will Not Do" list. This is your list of limits! Whether you have bad experiences, don't want to do them with a partner, or just don't feel turned on by the idea of doing them, these are the things that you really don't have much interest in doing. And that's OK.


Talk to Your Partner

If you have a partner, this is the point where you involve them. Notice, this happens after you've figured out what you want for yourself. Once you have a good idea of what you like and dislike, you can talk to your partner and compare lists. Not only will you learn more about your partner (did you know they were curious about using blindfolds?), but you'll also be able to adjust your own expectations. If you were on the fence about wanting to do something before, knowing your partner's really into it might be the final push to giving it a try for real!

Look Online at Fetish Lists

Once you've exhausted both your own brain and your partner's brain, you might want to flush out your list even more. You don't have to if you don't want to, but adding more items to your list helps you learn about new things to pursue. It increases your knowledge about some of the other kinks out there. There are lots of available "lists of fetishes" online; just do a quick search to find lists and use their lists as a thought board for thinking through your own likes and dislikes.

Remember That Limits Are Fluid

Limits aren't static. Don't expect to write these lists and think that they'll stick for the rest of your life. As you learn and explore more about kink and sexuality, you're going to find that you're interested and open to things you may have never known about. Be open to changing your list as your interests evolve, and of course, enjoy the journey.


Mistress Kay

Mistress Kay has a fondness for all things sexual. With a house that's quickly running out of room for all of her reading and vibrating pleasures, she spends her free time reading, writing, and learning about the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World.

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