A Consensual BDSM Essential: The Hard and Soft Limits Checklist.

Feb 23, 2022

A successful BDSM relationship should be a safe haven for you and your partner. It should be a place where you can both openly express yourselves sexually without the thought or fear of harm, both physically and mentally. A consensual BDSM relationship is where you both ensure that nothing transitions to abuse, and both of you can let go completely and enjoy the fun. 

 

And that’s where limits come in!

 

Now before you run into the bedroom with whips and handcuffs in your hands, here’s what you need to know about limits in your BDSM relationship. Talking ahead of time and being upfront about these limits helps create an environment where your boundaries, needs, and desires are heard and respected. The goal is to be in a BDSM construct where you can freely communicate, feel pleasure, and experience intimacy without fear.

 

What are Hard and Soft Limits?

 

We all have rough edges. Hard limits are things you’ll never do under any circumstance. These are the Hell-nos. When considering them, you should consider those things against your moral code, things that can trigger your fears or something that “ick” you out. 

 

No matter what, no one should ever attempt to go beyond your hard limit. However, if you have been into consensual BDSM play for a long time, your hard limit may drift towards a soft limit, and that’s fine too because we are constantly evolving.

 

While soft limits are things that are not in the “never gonna happen” zone, these are the things you feel a little nervous about, maybe a bit squeamish, but you always hear a little voice in your head wondering if you might like it. These limits give the “I don’t like it when you do that, but it’s not worth causing tension” kind of vibe. 

 

Telling a dominant partner something is a soft limit means that if you choose to explore it, they need to take things slow and check in many times to ensure that you are still okay. It also warns the Dom ahead of time that you might use a safe word because now that you’ve tried it, you have decided that no, this is not something I want to do again. Sure it sounds great and fun in your head, but now you are not so cool about it, and you’d appreciate it if it stops.

spanking whip

Examples of Hard and Soft Limits

 

Common things that appear on most people’s hard limits in a consensual BDSM are things like

 

  • No pedophilia
  • No bestiality
  • No illegal acts
  • No electrical play
  • No blood play
  • No force-feeding
  • No scat play
  • No illegal drugs or being drugged
  • No face slapping
  • No body-shaming

 

Soft limits are more fluid and are likely to change with experience. Examples include:

 

 

How to Set your Limits and Apply them in your Relationship

 

Your limits should not be broken or pushed. Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries is a red flag.

 

Setting limits in your relationship does not have to be formal as the contract in Fifty Shades of Grey. Once you have figured out your limits, make it easy to access. You could put it in a folder in your mail or save it on your phone. You need to do this because if you are just starting to dip your toes into the BDSM community and feel ready to meet people, they need to know your limits. You should know theirs too. 

 

  • Always be honest

 

Honesty is essential to consensual BDSM. Your partner(s) need to know basic information about your emotional triggers and turn-offs. Don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader and understand your needs, wants, and limits automatically. If your partner doesn’t ask you these things, make sure you tell them! We all have things we can handle, and their always reasons behind our choices. If you are going to practice BDSM, your play partner needs to know these limits, or there is no way they can play safely and sanely

 

  • Take things slow

 

I understand you want to have fun. But take your time and know that the process is also enjoyable. Try the easy things first and see if you will like them. You don’t have to be spanked with paddles and spanking whips before you explore consensual BDSM. Start with small play. Once you’re sure you love the play, you can take things higher. There is no shame in taking things slow to feel comfortable. Moving too fast can scare you away from the beautiful experience altogether. 

Consensual BDSM
  • Keep Talking

Now that you’ve had that fun, sexy, and maybe a bit silly conversation with your partner, you’ve got a cuff in your hands, and you are ready to race to the bedroom… but don’t throw that list away. Keep it around and revisit the list with your partner. While total restraints started as a “big no,” they may, after some time, become a “maybe.”

 

The checklist is not only a means of facilitating a conversation about your sexual desires but can also serve as a sexy “to do” list that both of you can always look forward to checking.

 

How to Identify Where to Place your Limits

 

When you are new to BDSM, you might find it hard to identify your limitations when there are many types of play you have never been exposed to. I mean, figuring out your hard and soft limits checklist can be both confusing and overwhelming. Your best bet is to start with whatever inspired you to explore BDSM in the first place. 

 

When did you realize you wanted some kinky play? What did you see or like? Are there things about plain sex that you don’t like? Include them in your limits, too, because they will come up in a consensual BDSM relationship. 

 

These could include little things like not having your toes sucked or being irritated by the thought of swallowing. Also, think about the things you enjoy and the ones you will love to try out.

 

Even if they are few, knowing what you are into can be a starting point to discovering what you are not into. Never say you don’t have limits. Are you open to electro-shock? Do you like being branded? 

 

Don’t be afraid to have limits, and don’t allow anyone to tell you that you shouldn’t.

 

A great way to also figure things out is to search for an extensive hard and soft limits checklist from the web with your partner. Both of you should fill in and discuss accordingly. 

bdsm pinwheel

Growing Past your Limits

 

Like all kinks, limits are not rigid or set in stone. It is completely fine for them to change with time. You can always grow past your limits. It is a great idea to regularly review your hard and soft limits checklist with your partner as you both evolve to learn more about what works and doesn’t work for both of you.

 

When exploring consensual BDSM, there is no need to rush to create your own “Red Room of Pain,” just like 50 shades. Setting limits and boundaries make things safe and more enjoyable. It strengthens your communication and creates a sense of trust so you can let go of your fears and explore kinkier sex comfortably.

 

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