The Hard Limits That Changed

It’s #KinkMonth this October. To celebrate, my lovely affiliates over at Lovehoney are offering 15% off any purchase of £50 or more and I’m writing a post a day inspired by Kayla Lords’ 30 Days of D/s project.

Today is all about limits. Kayla and John ask:

Do you know what your hard limits are? Are there a few things you’d like to try but you’re a little nervous? They’re such a big part of D/s and kink, it’s never a bad idea to think about them no matter where you are in your relationship.

A close up on a section of a barbed wire fence for a post about hard limits

Hard limits are an interesting thing. In a nutshell, a hard limit is a thing you absolutely will not do under any circumstances. We all have them and we must respect and honour our own and our partner’s.

What people won’t often tell you, though, is that hard limits can change. Some will never change, and that’s okay. But some will shift over time. A “fuck no” might become a “well, maybe…” From there, it might go back to being a “no,” or it might become a firm “yes.”

Mine have certainly shifted over time. I have a few that will almost certainly never change (DD/lg, ageplay, scat, cutting, to name just a few) but others, like those included below, have fluctuated and evolved over the years.

Anal sex

I wrote a post about my turbulent relationship with anal sex over the years. Pressure to engage in it long before I was ready made me shut down and close myself off to the possibility. For a long time, I declared anal a hard boundary and made it clear to anyone I had sex with that butt stuff was off the table.

The secret to cracking this limit was that I had to come to it in my own time. I had to be in a situation with enough love, trust and intimacy to enable me to explore it safely. In other words, I needed a space where I could peek around this particular door, knowing it’d be safe and okay to slam it shut again if I needed to.

I’m only engaging in it with Mr CK at the current time, but anal sex has moved from a hard limit to one of my favourite activities in the space of a few years.

Topping

Yep. Your card-carrying Twue Switch over here once insisted that she would never, ever Top or Dominate somebody under any circumstances. I once safeworded out of a threesome because the guy tried to Dom me into Domming the other woman.

And then, well, I got curious. I wanted to see what it was like. For science, you understand. To better appreciate the other side of the slash. What I didn’t expect was to like it as much as I did. (I wrote a little about that, too!)

I’m still about 80-90% sub (percentages vary on any given day!) but switchiness is a pretty key component of my sexual make-up and how I like to play these days.

Play-piercing

For years I simply could not understand the appeal of this. The idea of it viscerally squicked me the fuck out.

So why did I try it? Mainly, I think, to say I had. I thought it might be a funny story, a crazy anecdote to share about that time I explored a super edgy activity. And also, a little bit, because I was annoyed at myself for being so afraid of it.

It’s still very much in the “soft limit” category – a very occasional activity (literally three times ever) and one I have to be extremely careful with, for mental and physical health reasons as well as obvious safety concerns. Not to mention, of course, the sheer amount of trust required and the fact that I wouldn’t let anyone do this to me who hadn’t been trained in at least the basics by an expert.

And one that changed back: 24/7 D/s

This one could be a whole post by itself, and I may write that post at some point. For years, I insisted I would never do a 24/7 relationship – the idea of letting somebody have that level of control over me was, frankly, too terrifying to comprehend.

So why did I decide suddenly, in my early 20s, that I wanted it? Why did I ask my sometimes-Dom boyfriend to be my Master? The answer to that is complex and multi-faceted, but sadly the kernel at the core is this: I did it to justify to myself the fact that he already had pretty much complete control over my body, emotions, heart and life. I already barely breathed without permission, so why not stick a collar on it and call it kink?

Of course I understand that not all 24/7 relationships are abusive. There are some great and wonderful ones out there! (Hi, Kayla & John!) But that experience was valuable for me, if only because it taught me that that life isn’t for me. I don’t want to answer to anyone except in very limited and negotiated capacities. I certainly don’t ever want to hand over control over my entire life again.

Remember: limits can change! And that’s okay!

I now have three categories of limits: hard limits (NOPE NEVER ABSOLUTELY NOT,) soft limits (sometimes, under certain circumstances, with lots of negotiation,) and only-with-Mr-CK limits (things I won’t do with anyone but him.)

Your limits will change over time too. We’re humans and change is part of what we do. What’s important is to check in with yourself regularly, and keep communicating with your partner along the way!

Kinky item of the day: Jute 5mm, my bondage rope of choice. The smell, the feel, the tightness across my skin… mmmm! (This is not an affiliate link and I have no connection to the company, I just love their rope.)

It’s Okay to Play When You’re Depressed

It’s #KinkMonth! I’m celebrating by writing a post each day inspired by Kayla Lords’ fab 30 Days of D/s. A week in and I can say that it’s been a brilliant and enlightening experience – I’m already thinking about things I hadn’t considered, or hadn’t considered in a long time, and looking at approaching them from different angles.

Today’s prompt is all about negative emotions:

How do you handle negative emotions like anger, jealousy, and fear now? How do you expect that to be different in D/s?

A cute black dog looking up at the camera. For post titled It's Okay to Play When You're Depressed - the dog refers to the Black Dog metaphor for depression.

If you’ve been doing kink for any length of time, you’ve probably heard “don’t play when you’re depressed,” “don’t play when your mental illness is flaring up,” or some variation thereof. While the sentiment kind of makes sense, I don’t think this is useful or even realistic advice. Let me tell you why.

For some of us, managing our mental health is a daily reality.

Statistics state that 1 in 4 adults will suffer from a mental health condition during their life. For some of us, these conditions are permanent. I have depression and anxiety which, well-managed though they are, aren’t going away.

It’s actually really ableist to imply that someone who is suffering from a mental health condition can’t engage in kink, BDSM or sex. Why should only neurotypical people be able to enjoy kink? Why should mentally ill people only be able to partake in it on especially good days?

For some people at some times, playing can actually help.

Sometimes, when I’m bone-numblingly depressed, a good hard fucking or a nice cathartic spanking – the kind that makes me cry – can really help to lift my mood. It could be the rush of endorphins. It could be the feeling of being wanted. Maybe it’s the sheer release that comes from being pulled out of my head and into my body. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all of them in some combination. All I know is that sex and kink (including masturbation) can be really wonderful tools in managing my mental health.

Only you know your own limits.

Having said all this, there might be times where your mental health is in a place where playing really isn’t wise for you, but you’re the only person who can make that decision! You know your mind, your body and your condition, if you have one, the best. You know what types of scenes will work for you and what is likely to trigger you or be mentally unsafe, as well as if there’s a point where you can no longer meaningfully consent. No-one else knows these things as well as you do.

“Don’t play when you’re depressed” is vague and subjective to the point of meaninglessness. Different people’s definitions of “play” (as well as their definitions of what constitutes a good or bad mental health day) vary wildly.

Instead: cultivate self-knowledge and communication.

Learn your triggers, your tipping points and your safe limits. Look out for your partner’s best interests and expect them to look out for yours. Communicate, communicate and communicate some more!

Be excellent to yourself and to each other.

Kinky product of the day: A classic Wartenberg Pinwheel, which is great for sensation play and less scary than it looks! (It doesn’t break the skin. Promise.)

Note: this post was not sponsored. The above is an affiliate link and if you buy through it, I may make a small commission. All opinions are and will always be my own.

The image featured in this post was offered under Creative Commons licensing.