When it comes to any sexual relationship we all have personal boundaries around the things we want/like to do and things we don’t want/like to do. Over times those things may change and evolve as we explore and experience different things but some of them will be firmly set in stone and are never to be crossed. Understanding what your sex boundaries are and being able to communicate them to your partner(s) is a really important part of having a happy and healthy dialogue but what are your boundaries, how do you explore them and how do you talk to your partner about them?
What are your boundaries?
Well that is not for me to tell you obviously because everybody’s personal sex boundaries are exactly that. Personal to them and will depend on a lots of different factors but they can be broadly split into two areas. Boundaries or limits that are set in stone, in the BDSM community these are known as hard limits and sex boundaries or limits that could potentially be a bit more fluid or are based on lack of experience/knowledge. These are often known as soft limits.
What are hard limits?
Hard limits are exactly what they say they are; limits that are not open to being explored or crossed in an circumstance. They are not open for negotiation. As I said above, they are set in stone. They are boundaries that you do not want to do cross for whatever reason. Hard limits are quite important to define for yourself and definitely important to share with any potential or current partners. Think how you would feel if you went past someones sex limit because they had just not told you that they didn’t like it. Taking time to think about what they might be is really important but also it is worth remembering that you can always add things to your hard limits list and even take them away of you change your mind. You and your partners should always be aware that people change which is why open ongoing dialogue is so important.
Depending if you are kinky and into BDSM your hard limits list would then extend to include various kink play that is not your things but even if you are not kinky we all have things we don’t want to do. For example some hard limits for me are: rimming (where someone licks around their partners anus) face slapping, being choking, semen in or near my eyes, fucking me with your thumb.
- As you can see some of these are fairly specific things and often peoples hard sex boundaries are like that as they are often connected to past experiences or even past traumatic experiences. Again why it is so important to have conversations about sex boundaries with your partner.
What are soft limits?
Soft limits are essentially things that you are not sure about. What that means for any given individual can vary widely but as a general rule they are things that either you have never done and might be interested in or have done but are not really sure about them. They may also be things you are ambivalent about. So whilst they might not be a turn on for you, you you would do them if your partner was into it. For example having my toes sucked is not something I am particularly into but if I had a partner who really was into doing that then it is something we could maybe try.
Sort limits are far more fluid than hard limits and more likely to evolve and shift as you have more experiences. You may think that you would not want to try anal sex but are open to some sorts of anal play. Sometimes exploring more anal play can lead you to wanting to take that further. However it can also lead you to the opposite which is all part of learning about what you like and don’t like. As I said before it is absolutely OK to like something and then go off it or come to love it but it is important to communicate any changes to your partners.
Soft limits can be particularly relevant when it comes to things like exploring threesomes or going swinging. It might be something you like the idea of but have never tried or are nervous to try. Exploring these kind of limits with story play and sharing fantasies with your partner can be a good introduction for you both to see if you want to take them further.
Exploring your sex boundaries…
The first rule of exploring your sex boundaries with your partner is that hard limits are not there to be broken or pushed. Anyone who is trying to get you to change or adapt your hard limits is someone who is not really listening to you and probably someone you would want to be very cautious having a relationship with.
Soft limits can potentially be explored but they are still limits and so really they would be things that you and your partner would want to spend time really talking through before you made any attempt to actually try them out. Again using the example of having a threesome. That is something to really properly explore with your parnter before attempting and both considering what your hard and soft limits are when it comes to multi-person sex.
Talking about sex boundaries
Clearly it is important to spend time defining your sex boundaries for yourself but once you have done that then it is important to share that with your partner and also find out what their limits are. Anyone who is resistant to such a conversation is someone to be very wary of. After all wouldn’t you want to know what your partners limits are?
If you are starting out with a new relationship then make talking about boundaries something you do from very early on. It can start with simple with questions that inquire about what kind of things your partner may like. For example… I love kissing, do you love kissing? Those kind of conversations will help you to connect and communicate around the subject of likes and dislikes.
If you are in an established relationship and never really had the conversation about limits and boundaries then you still absolutely should even if you think you know your partner really well they might surprise you if you create an environment where they feel free to really share openly with you. Start by bringing it up as a playful kind of conversation. What sex thing have you always wanted to try? And see where it leads. From there hopefully you can start to share more openly both the things you might want to do but also explore your sex boundaries with your partner too.
Either way the most important thing to remember when it comes to talking about your sex boundaries is that this is a conversation that should be revisited throughout your relationship as you both learn and explore together. Boundaries and limits need to be respected but also are subjects that should be constantly reviewed and discussed because they can and will most likely change.