Day 10: What are your hard limits?Not many.
I've got loads and loads of things that don't turn me on, things I don't want to do right now, or things I don't want to do in certain ways, but as far as things that I categorically don't want to do at all, ever?
It mostly comes down to stuff I think is unethical. I'm not doing anything with animals or with people who don't or can't give informed consent. I'm not doing stuff with someone behind their (or my) partner's back. I'm not doing anything where real-life sexism/racism/etc. is part of the play. Basically, if I don't find something ethically acceptable outside of kink, I'm not going to make an exception for kink.
Other than that, there's not much I find "ethical but too icky to ever consider." I'm an almost-nurse and roadkill-pokingly unsqueamish, so things involving bodily fluids and functions fascinate me more than they disgust me. Permanent marking doesn't necessarily bother me either--I don't want obscenities tattooed on my face or anything like that, but the idea of picking up some incidental scars suits me fine.
Oh! Gunplay! Gunplay is a hard as hell limit, at least in any form that violates the "all guns are loaded, all guns are real, do not point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy" rules. Although knifeplay is fine with me--I've had a genuinely sharp knife right up against my neck--so I'm not consistent or anything.
And of course there's a whole pile of things I won't do that don't come up very often in kink, so I'd feel silly enumerating them one-by-one. I mean, I won't eat a brick? If anyone ever asks me to erotically eat a brick, I will not do that.
Maybe the ultimate hard limit for me is emotional pain. I don't ever want play to hurt my heart. I don't want a scene to ever intentionally make me feel worthless or abandoned or repellent. I want my play to hurt, but I don't ever want it to truly hurt me.
"I'm not doing anything where real-life sexism/racism/etc. is part of the play"ReplyDelete
Could you elaborate on what you mean by this? Like, what is the difference between "call me a slut" play and "real-life sexism" play? I'm asking because the former is something that really, really works for me and as a heterosexual female that sort of play always includes a bit of a sexist element to it, since it's always a male dominating and humiliating me. And now I am concerned about it being unethical or over-the-line somehow? Am I just thinking of this the wrong way?
Ugh. Sorry for being such a baby kinkster. I feel so ignorant sometimes...
I think the difference here is between role-play and real-life? Like, if you can turn it off and say "but of course actually there's nothing wrong with how many partners a woman has," that's different from when there's an element of real belief.Delete
This is a complicated one for me. On one hand, I enjoy being humiliated and degraded by my partner and unlike Cliff, I enjoy emotional pain, as long as it is with someone I know cares about me and isn't sexist. So I can enjoy being called a slut and told I'm worthless as long as I know that outside the scene, my partner respects me and doesn't consider being a slut to be shameful.Delete
I also think that since sexism and slut-shaming is something I have to deal with and work round in my everyday life, playing with it in a scene can parody those interactions, reduce their power and help me resist sexism and slut-shaming.
Original Anon here: This does make sense and proves that I was just way overthinking things. It's the difference between a dom telling you to make him a sandwich cause it's all for play and fun and a dom telling you to make a sandwich because, no, for real, women need to make sandwiches for men.Delete
And I definitely agree with Second Anon- working through these things with a partner who genuinely cares about me helps with real life autonomy and strength in so many ways.
The role-play v. real life difference is what makes it acceptable, yes. But I still struggle with it some times. I'm a (mostly) heterosexual man, but sometimes I like to dress all girly/slutty for someone and get used/humiliated. It works out for me as a feminist because it is all "just a fantasy", "just a play". But then again, it only works as a play/fantasy, exactly because the sexism behind it is a very real thing. I think that it gets somewhat close to the whole topic of jokes on certain subjects. Can you make jokes about sexual violence for example or is doing so only part of the rape culture we live in? I would argue for the latter, but at the same time that makes me feel like I am being inconsistent on the whole sexual fantasy v. sexism thing.Delete
Interestingly I feel completely different about fetishized racism. That just feels utterly wrong to me.
I interpreted "real life sexism and racism" as involving bigotries outside of the play itself. Like, having a scene planning conversation that goes, "we should totally have a scene with so-and-so. She'd definitely be into doing all of us, all at once."Delete
"Oh, I didn't realize you knew her that well."
"Well, I know she's bi, and poly, so it's not like she'd have any reason to say no."
My bf and I had trouble figuring out the role play vs. real life line. I'm *really* into feeling demeaned, being called a slut, etc. during sex. The first time we tried it during sex my bf said something like, "worthless slut. Sorry!" On the one hand, it totally ruined the mood. On the other, the fact that he feels bad about it makes me feel better, because it's clearly not something he *actually* thinks.Delete
My partner likes some things that I'm happy to do (not a hard limit by any means) but that don't turn me on in anyway, other than he's naked and that's enjoyable. Like, if I'm wrapping him, or he's totally immobilized and wants clothes pins or a zipper line, I'm happy to do it, but I don't *enjoy* it. I want to enjoy it with him. Maybe that's selfish? What can I do to make it more for both of us?
Delurking to tell you that I really agree with you on the racism/sexism thing, and it's kinda gross the number of people who I've seen say things like, "Well, if it's his *fetish* to shout racial slurs at black women, it's not really the same thing as just wanting to shout racial slurs at black women." It's become one of those things that, when I start talking to someone in earnest about kink, I secretly wait for something that gives me a stance one way or the other, and it can really impact my opinion of somebody.ReplyDelete
My first interaction with the idea of raceplay came from reading an interview with a submissive black woman. I can't really think that I'd feel confident telling her that she shouldn't find someone who enjoys giving her what she wants.Delete
My first interaction with raceplay came from a submissive black woman. My second interaction came from a bunch of white guys on the Internet who call it "raceplay fetish" when they leave wildly racist comments on black women's photos. So.Delete
I don't think involving race in play is an absolute taboo, but that's a different thing from racism itself being the "play."
Well, those guys clearly didn't get the "consent" memo.Delete
I ate an entire brick erotically once.ReplyDelete
It wasn't literally a brick made of hardened clay and such, but a big brick-shaped mass of potato strips deep-fried together (a "french fry brick"). My stomach hurt for an hour afterward.
My stomach hurts at the THOUGHT of it. I didn't know you could DO that with potato...Delete
THE MORE YOU KNOW.
I would completely eat that.Delete
Reminds me of this comic...Delete
At the risk of a smart alec, didn't you make fun of 50 Shades for including animals and children (who are generally considered people unable to give informed consent) on a list of hard limits?ReplyDelete
Although my problem with it in 50 Shades wasn't so much that they listed it, but that Ana reacts with "I'm glad he says he's not into kids or animals, because you never know with these kinky people!"
Also, I'm pontificating here about everything I could possibly consider a limit; in an actual pre-play negotiation, I wouldn't bring it up.
I'm trying to think of what my hard limits are. Anything that can't be undone, I think, needs to be saved for texty-roleplays. I'm a very tactile person, and fire is bad for my tactile-ness, so I need to avoid anything bad with heat. Other than that...ReplyDelete
I mean, I can get into a lot of things, psychologically. It depends on my mood at the time. Sometimes I want to lavish affection on someone, or serve them and be praised for it. Other times, I want to be verbally demeaned and physically abused. I know for sure "Things that exist in real life" isn't one of them. While I'm fortunately white, and male, so I don't have to deal with the sexism or racism, I do have to deal with homophobia, and am willing to have someone try to fuck me so hard I'm only into women, or to be demeaned for being into guys... It all depends on my mood. Honestly, I always need to be 'forced' into cumming, but one of my biggest fetishes is being submissive as a master, being able to order someone to overpower me is erotic to me. It means that I'm so in control that I can control someone clearly stronger than me.
All in all, my hard limits are what I can't undo (Broken bones, death, etc) and fire. With further limits depending on mood
Gags are a definite hard limit to me-- I can't imagine ever trusting someone enough to give up the use of my voice. There was one person who was absolutely perfect in his read on my body language, was seeing my upsets before I knew I was feeling them, would absolutely have respected a safe signal and made damned sure he noticed it... and I considered letting him tie me up, but not once did the idea of letting him gag me ever cross my mind. I just can't give up that level of control. I need to know that I could get the Top's attention by shouting if something goes wrong.ReplyDelete
And, you know, the standard "no dismemberments, no brandings, nothing that will leave permanent marks or long-term damage", but while you should state everything in kink, those ones *really* should be understood to be limits unless stated otherwise.
Not saying you should try gags if you don't want to but when I've played with ballgags, I found I could still communicate quite well with noises even though I couldn't speak. I could definitely communicate 'stop' or 'keep doing that'. Just mentioning it because I didn't expect that.Delete
On the other hand, I couldn't communicate nuance and that reduced my ability to guide my partner and control the scene that way. So I had to be a bit more submissive and passive than I'm used to.
I have a really weird hard limit of "not the face". pain anywhere else on my body is absolutely lovely, but even the mildest tap on my face and it really really upsets me. I don't even know why.ReplyDelete
Same here. I love getting spanked and have very much enjoyed different kinds of impact play on the body, but getting slapped just hurts my feelings.Delete
exactly! if someone spanks me its because they like/love me. if they slap my face then my brain tells me it must be because they are really cross with me and want to upset me. glad its not just me!Delete
The only thing that anyone has ever suggested I actually *do* that turned out to be that "NO" was cutting my hair. But then no-one has ever suggested things like "can I break your arm" or "will you fuck my dog"; there's a lot of things in the real of "permanent damage" and "animals" that I would never do. Also I am not going to have any babies, doesn't really matter how hot anyone finds the idea at the end of it you have a baby and I don't want to be a parent.ReplyDelete
Hi Cliff! Just wanted to point out that genuine emotional pain IS a major kink for some folks. You have an excellent understanding of kink mindsets generally but I sometimes get the impression you overlook emotional masochism as a thing.ReplyDelete
Really? What I got was "nope, not for me".Delete
Uh... this is a post about Cliff's personal limits, not about what is and is not "a thing".Delete
I do overlook emotional masochism, being as it's not my thing, but I don't think it's inherently wrong or anything. I just don't have much scope of experience with it.Delete
(And I have considerable experience with non-fun emotional pain that may at times cause me to get a bit sloppy with saying "well for gosh sakes don't hurt people's feelings," and I will try to phrase that in a "don't hurt people's feelings unless that's your agreed-upon deal" sort of way in future.)
TW: familial abuseReplyDelete
Even my "hard" limits aren't as hard as I probably think - I'm discussing with my Dom various ideas, such as punishment and protocol, that give me the heebie-jeebies. I'm talking to him about an interrogation/dehumanisation scene culminating in him shaving my head.
Safeword withdrawal would be up there. Ummm... stuff being done to my feet freaks me out, but I'm not saying "never". I doubt I'd go in for rainbow play, scatology etc. I choose my play partners and sex partners, and choose how I interact with people outside of the ds. I don't wanna be come on or spat on or pissed on. And we recently discovered that being woken up in the middle of the night for sex is a bad idea - I go along with it, but am just confused, distressed and disoriented through out, and don't think to say "um, I don't want this" until I've had at least one pleasureless orgasm :-(. Maybe, if serious time were taken ensuring I were properly awake...
But kissing with tongue is fucking out. That's a "no", today, tomorrow, forever. You can thank my elder brother for that :-(
I have health-related hard limits. I will not do ice play, because I have Reynaud's and ice is just misery and torture. I will not kneel in a way that sits on top of the scar from my knee surgery. That sort of thing.ReplyDelete