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?