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?


The past few weeks I seem to vacillate between, “Holy Shit, I’ve cured myself! Every thing is wonderful now and I am completely ready to have a healthy relationship!;” and, “Oh my God, what the fuck is wrong with me? Will I ever be normal?” One day I am ready to conquer the world, the next it is a struggle to even leave my apartment. Yesterday I wanted to act out on all my bottom lines and I had to force myself to do anything healthy. Today I am being all kinds of productive and doing everything right.

When I was in the active phase of my addiction, I thought that having a the perfect boyfriend/husband/lover would be the magical cure-all to all of my life’s woes. Now I realize nothing — not even the 12 steps is going to magically cure me. I have to work hard and use all the tools at my disposal to become whole.

Since I’ve been in recovery, I’ve been practicing yoga 4-5 times a week. Like everything else, yoga is not magic. I do, however, notice a huge different in my mind, body and spirit on the days when I practice. I feel more centered, and like I am approaching wholeness. It takes the edge off when I want to act out, when I’m depressed, when I feel like I hate everything in my life. Yoga reminds me to count my blessings, rather than count my disadvantages (which, unfortunately, was my default system of measure for most of my life).

Physically, I am more flexible, stronger, and have more stamina. My balance has improved, but I still fall regularly and am usually the first and sometimes only person in class to fall during a pose. Today, during class, when I lost my balance during a crescent moon pose (high lunge). The instructor said something like, “they say good balance is a sign of a peaceful mind.” That made sense to me, as my mind is always jumping from one extreme to the other.

I suspect when I learn to find a peaceful middle ground in my head, balance between extremes, I  will find physical balance as well.


This morning I woke up with some uncomfortable feelings. I haven’t seen or communicated with HC (the last guy I had a seriously unhealthy involvement with, prior to deciding to work a program of recovery) since early May. Recently, the specific craving for him has lessened. But this morning I woke up missing him. I missed his smell, his touch, his voice, his hands, his body. The feeling was intense. I know if I wanted to, I could call him and he would probably want to see me, but I know the high I would get off the couple hours I spent with him would not be worth the pain that would come after.

Three months without HC in my life, has made the feelings of withdrawal from him more manageable. At first it was absolute agony, though. I know if I see him again, the clock will reset and I will be exactly where I was three months ago, and possibly even worse off.

So instead of contacting HC, or spying on him online (one of my bottom lines and something I could literarily waste the day doing), I took contrary action. I got up and got out of my house and took a yoga class. After that class I took a second one.

Yoga is a huge tool for me in recovery. It not only distracts me from the pain of withdrawal, but it is also healing. After I practice, I feel like a better person. I feel centered and whole.

At the end of the second class, the instructor had us place our hands in prayer position, with our thumbs at our foreheads, praying for clarity of thought. Then we moved our thumbs to our lips and prayed for clarity of words. Finally we moved to our heart to pray for clarity of action.

Next time I am obsessing over HC or some other asshole, feeling the urge to flirt with an unavailable guy , or about to act out, I will practice this and ask my Higher Power for clarity.