a Barak & Sheba Article

Let's Talk Limits...
Friday Feb 19, 2010

Let's take a minute and talk about Limits. I have seen a couple of threads and posts on Fetlife, and believe this discussion to be absolutely necessary. Many of these discussions are about the limits themselves, i.e. “I won’t do this,” or “I would never do that.” Ad infinitum. The thing we don't talk about is the fact that it is our right and privilege to set our own limits, to state and enforce them, and finally, to have those limits respected – as they are. Period. End of sentence. That's it. The end. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

But before we get into all of this, perhaps we should just define and differentiate Hard and Soft limits?

For the most part, a Hard Limit is one that a person will not do, under any circumstances - as it will change their self perception to the negative. For instance, many people have commented that Animals are a hard limit. This makes a good example as we can delve into the why... Animals, by their very nature cannot offer informed consent. Many people love animals, and believe that bringing them into a human sexual experience is abhorrent. It would cause emotional pain, or bring about consequences that we couldn't live with. There are other pieces, but suffice it to say, if this were done, most of us would have a permanent emotional scar that would evoke shame and disgust. Hence the hard limit - we don't do it.

Now… on the other hand, there are Soft Limits. These are limits that we might agree to adjust, modify, or re-negotiate with the right person, at the right time, in the right place, as the stars align, etc... For instance, one of my soft limits is anal play. Why? You might think that is perfectly acceptable and hot. I do to too - both giving and receiving. But not with everyone at every instance. I don't want every Tom, Dick or Mary fondling my ass. I keep that for very intimate occasions and people I care deeply about and trust.

The cool thing is that we get to decide what our own limits are. We get to choose when to flex them, and what never to deviate from. Which reinforces comment I made in a different group - The other person's limits, no matter what they are, are not yours to determine or supersede. If someone says, "No this," that means exactly that. If they say, "No that;" don't do that either. It doesn't matter if you want that or not - if they are not willing, interested, or whatever their rationale is... it's your responsibility to honor those limits.

Both Sheba and I recall when we first got into the Scene. We went over one of those online BDSM Checklists. We had more limits than likes. But over time, it has narrowed down to about 5 each.

This doesn't mean that either of us will simply jump right into any scene. Heck no. If we are going to go into something, especially if it is outside the realm of basic play, we certainly want to give informed consent. After all, if we are going along in a flogging scene, and just expected (and negotiated for) being flogged - an anal fisting is probably not on the table, and we may have agreements in place around that type of contact.

Which brings us to another level of limits. In the above case, I referenced Anal Fisting. However, it is clearly not on the limits list. The truth is, either of us will happily fist someone, provided the energy is there, and we are all in that mood. We are very open people, and have an open relationship. However, this doesn't mean that we don't have agreements in place. Boundaries, if you will. You can find a full explanation of those on our personal website. Suffice it to say, even though we don't list direct genital touching as a limit, touching only with a barrier is still part of our agreements - and should be treated as a limit when expressed.

I recall a scene, not so long ago, a play partner taunted me with, "You don't have the stones to do that..." To make her "eat her words," I had sewn her labia shut after inserting some heavy stone and crystal eggs into her. I made her wear 'em all day. When it finally came time to release them, one of the larger eggs was stuck behind her cervix. We couldn't get it out. So I had her lay on her back in a bathroom and I went fishing with a larger soup spoon, while having her push - like she was literally giving birth. Well, long story short, between the pressure of the spoon and her pushing, she released a hot jet of urine all over my hand and arm.

She was humiliated, more than she had been, and I was hard as a rock. I can still remember the feeling of warm wetness, and the arousal. Whether it was from the urine itself, that I had wrested that power from her, the humiliation of it all, the scent, our connection, or a combination of the above... I understood that piss play could have many different aspects to it. And while not for everyone, or with everyone, it was fucking hot.

We can go on and on, but the truth is, as people stay in the scene for longer and longer, erotic impulses change, shift and grow. Don't stay set on anything, including limits. Spend some time each year re-evaluating what makes you hot, wet, hard and horny. Then clarify in your own mind what you will do, and what you absolutely won't.

Good luck in your journey-
Barak & Sheba

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