What Are Your Limits?

This line is the, “What’s your sign?” of the BDSM community.

When I started out in the kink lifestyle, I had a fairly long list of hard limits, but toward the end of my involvement in the community, my list had whittled down to just four things: no kids, no animals, no permanent marks, no scat. From the conversations I’ve had, these are pretty typical hard limits.

Sometimes people would also say, “no death,” which I thought should go without saying. As if someone might respond, “You’re not into death? Bummer! That’s totally my thing! I like to murder the person I’m dating. Guess it’s not going to work out between us. Let me know if you ever change your mind.” Or during a play session someone might think, Well, she never said death was a hard limit, so I guess she’s cool with it if I kill her. I figured if I ever had the misfortune of meeting a murderous fiend off the internet, he’d probably kill me regardless of if death was on my hard limits list or not. Not everyone I met in the BDSM lifestyle was… shall we say, the brightest bulb in the box, though.

The fact that my hard limits list was so short was emblematic of my unhealthy boundaries. I thought so little of myself that I would have let a guy do almost anything to me in exchange for a little attention.

These days I’m taking much better care of myself. My boundaries still need some work, but they are getting there. If someone were to ask me now what my hard limits are, in addition to the sparse list mentioned above, I’d add: no sex outside of an exclusive relationship, no objectification, no lies, no disrespect.

What are your hard limits and/or healthy boundaries?

14 comments on “What Are Your Limits?

  1. I honestly don’t understand the appeal of BDSM. As a request from an avid reader, do you think you might do an entry on its appeal, and what is means to you? I’d be really interested in hearing the insider’s perspective.

    • Imperfect says:

      Hi Bimodal. Thanks for your question! The healthier I get, the less appeal that BDSM has for me so I’m not sure I could dedicate a whole entry to it. I’ll try to answer a bit here, though.

      I had to grow up pretty early and I think part of the appeal of being a submissive was that it made feel powerless, like a little kid. I also liked feeling like someone else was responsible for me, like a parent.

      As far as the punishment and pain aspect, a lot of that probably came from years of Catholic School and the shame and guilt that were ingrained in me around sexuality. As a kid, I would get spanked as a punishment. Somehow in my psyche spanking got translated into love and attention.

      Also, deep down, I didn’t like myself so much. A part of me believed that I deserved to be punished, objectified, treated as less than.

      I suspect the appeal is different for almost anyone you might ask, though. I can only speak for myself.

  2. myplacetoworkitout says:

    Wow. I really appreciate your work. Your new boundaries are admirable. “no objectification” especially. Did you write that intending it to be mutual? Also, how do you recognize it? I struggle with that in my life. I objectify (and by that I mean that I use men to satisfy my ego needs) and yet I am indignant when the opposite happens. Just wondering what your thoughts are on this topic.

    • Imperfect says:

      Yes, I meant all of those to go both ways. I don’t want to disrespect, lie to, or objectify anyone I’m with either.

      Objectification is a tough one. It might be difficult to do away with altogether. I just never again want to be interested in someone solely because of what they can do for me (he makes a lot of money, he has a good job, he will empress my friends and family, etc.) or out of lust (he has a nice body, I heard he’s hung, I have a feeling the sex will be good, etc.) I’m only human, though. I’m sure these superficial factors will still play a role in determining who I’m attracted to. But I don’t want to get into a relationship with someone without knowing their character and liking them as a full person, not just an object.

  3. Just wanted to say great job on your recent frequent postings. It’s nice to see you writing a lot.

  4. I love your new list of hard limits. I may need to jot those down too.

  5. You’ve come a long way and maintained a sense of humour too AND educated people in the process! Wow! I also enjoy seeing more frequent posts from you. 🙂


  6. Imperfect… Great content. Excited to have found this blog. Looking forward to reading more!

  7. katy says:

    I came across this, entering into a new D/S relationship (my first one). So thank you for your insight. It is really helpful. Being completely new I have no idea what to expect. This post was very helpful 🙂

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