As a BDSM practitioner, few things make me more sceptical than when a lover tells me they have “no boundaries”. As part of the negotiation and communication that I do with anyone I play with, I like to have a candid conversation about our mutual desires and preferences, and boundaries form a crucial part of that. It’s just as important to me to observe a client’s boundaries, as it is that they observe mine, yet often I find that people either claim not to have any, or have just never thought about it. On other occasions, because I’m going to be subbing, they suggest that their boundaries are irrelevant. Yet all of us, even if we don’t instinctively recognise them as such, have limits, especially when it comes to something as intimate as sex.
Thanks to a wealth of kink experience, along with a deeply-held belief in the importance of good sexual communication, I’ve worked to understand and define my own boundaries. This is the case whether I’m being submissive, or if I’m taking a more dominant role, or even just as part of some good, old-fashioned, vanilla fucking. I know which things are a definite ‘no’, and which are more flexible, and available to be negotiated on a case by case basis. Shibari, for example, is something I love to experience as a bunny (the person getting tied up), but I’m only comfortable doing it with an experienced rigger. It’s not a flat ‘no’, more a ‘yes, but only if..’. Regardless of the type of boundary I’m drawing, I know my own preferences and am generally very comfortable articulating them.
However, I appreciate that this isn’t always straightforward for people, as education still lags woefully behind when it comes to talking about our bodies and consent. Socially, a great deal of emphasis is placed on the type of sex in which all parties can somehow magically infer what someone else wants, without so much as a word being spoken. The prevailing logic of ‘good’ sexual chemistry is that you won’t need to do much communication because it’s naturally occurring. This is, quite obviously, utter bollocks. The best fucks of my life didn’t start out as such. We worked at it, we talked, we muttered filthy things into one another’s ear about exactly how and where we’d like to be touched. We told each other when something felt amazing, and when something didn’t feel as good. Together we made a feedback loop that resulted in something mind-blowing. This is especially true when it comes to edgier kink play. Recently, I got the chance to bring a long-held ‘home invasion’ roleplay to life, with a fantastically sexy and communicative lover. Considering the consensual non consent present throughout the scene, and the type of acts we would include as part of it, we spent a significant amount of time discussing both our limits, and how to avoid the things that might shift the experience away from sexy, towards unfulfilling or unpleasant. Happily, we got it spot on, and it’s a memory that I’ve been jerking off to ever since.
These are the kind of connections I’m always looking to foster, but this is a little harder when a partner hasn’t done at least some entry-level critical analysis of how they like to have sex, or tells me they don’t have any limits at all. A lack of awareness around one’s own boundaries often stems from a tendency we have to naturalise the (highly subjective) way in which we have sex – as if the way we do it is obviously the ‘normal’ way. As such, when a lover tells you they have no boundaries, but recoils when you ask if it’s ok for you to fist them, it’s generally because they haven’t thought beyond their own frame of reference. What’s more, I find that people that have taken the time to consider their boundaries treat mine with a greater level of respect. Hearing that someone believes it’s normal to have ‘no boundaries’ makes we concerned they will assume that mine can be taken with a pinch of salt.
Boundaries are important to us all, not just kinksters. As this great tweet pointed out, even if you’re more inclined towards a softer, GFE-sort of experience, it’s always worth considering what your boundaries are around this. Perhaps certain types of language or words turn you off – I’m personally always more aroused by crude, sexualised words like ‘cunt’ or ‘cock’ than I am by more clinical, biological terminology for genitals. Or maybe there’s a part of your body you don’t like touched, or a part of someone else’s that you don’t enjoy getting into close contact with. When it comes down to it, outside of professional contexts, people generally have a little more time to get to know one another and navigate these things gradually. Yet in the world of companionship, two people will find themselves at a stage of intimacy far quicker than in a more organic connection. This isn’t to discredit or undermine the nature of these engagements – more just to emphasise the even greater need for robust and direct sexual communication in the heat of the moment.
As I’ve advocated elsewhere on this blog, it is always worth examining one’s own desire to gain a greater understanding about what you like, and also what you don’t. Because once you understand this, and can communicate it to a lover, I can guarantee you’ll never look back.