Let’s Talk About… Boundaries In BDSM

A barbed wire fence at sunset, suggests boundaries

Whenever people enter a new relationship, it’s quite often that they come with some ideas of what they will or will not accept. Perhaps they won’t accept any pet names relating to a physical feature of theirs, or maybe they won’t date anyone who forces them to drink, smoke or take recreational drugs. Whatever it is, most self-respecting people have boundaries, but what about in BDSM? In this post, I’m going to shed some light on boundaries in BDSM, and that one time that I foolishly ignored them.

Rules VS Boundaries In BDSM: What’s The Difference?

Unfortunately, a lot of people get these two mixed up. They say that they are setting boundaries, when what they are really setting is sneaky rules. Generally, if it starts with “you cannot…” rhen it’s a rule. If it begins with “I will not…”, then it’s a boundary.

Boundaries are the terms you set for yourself. Rules are the terms you set for other people.

Can A Submissive Set Boundaries?

Absolutely! And they should, if they don’t want to end up kissing a few frogs along their kinky journey!

What Do Boundaries Look Like In BDSM?

Now that we’ve established what boundaries are and that submissives – as well as switches and Dominants – can set them, perhaps you’re wonderign what they might look like? Here are mine:

  • I will not engage with anyone who addresses me as anything other than “Helen” or “Elena” without prior given consent
  • I will not engage with anyone who encourages me to drink excessively, smoke or take recreational drugs
  • I will not engage with anyone who shows bitterness or contempt towards my partners, family or friends
  • I will not play with anyone who cannot responsibly control their temper, for my own safety
  • I will not have unprotected sex, and of any kind, with anyone outside of my marriage, for at least 12 months
  • I will not maintain a relationship with anyone who treats me as lesser outside of a scene and because of my submissive role
  • I will not have a relationship with anyone who repeatedly abuses others, be they people or animals

As you can see, this is not me telling others what they have to do, this is merely me stating what I will and will not tolerate around me. People who want to pursue a relationship with me will respect my boundaries, and hence, that’s respecting me.

And who doesn’t want to be respected? Respect is a hellishly sexy thing.

That One Time I Forgot All About Boundaries

At the start of this post I mentioned that I’d ignored boundaries once, and perhaps you’re wondering what I did? Well Twisties, it’s storytime.

When I firsr started on my journey in the BDSM scene, I had two kinky male friends, Kevin and Simon. Kevin was a cheeky, playful slave, and Simon was a switch. Kevin used to love tormenting me, often teasing me when I got myself into trouble. One day, I threatened to give him a spanking.

“You wouldn’t dream of it” he grinned back.

“Oh I do, often” I laughed. Before the end of the night, I’d waited patiently and, as he left, I landed my palm firmly across Kevin’s backside.

I can never unsee the horror in his eyes.

In many BDSM relationships. a submissive partner is considered untouchable without the Dominant’s given permission. In a mere few seconds of intended harmless fun, I’d managed to offend not one, but two of my closest friends.

For which Kevin never spoke to me again.

 wooden heart wrapped in barbed wire, suggests bondage, bdsm, boundaries in relationship, love

Boundaries matter to many people (and couples) because they protect what lies within. By spanking Kevin without asking for his Mistress’ permission, I disprected their boundaries and hence, I disrespected them.

But all is not lost!

How To Make Boundaries Work For You

1. Remember The Distinction

Remember, rules are what you set for other people, boundaries are what you set for you. You are not telling other people what to do, you are telling them what you’ll accept. Not everyone will respect your boundaries, and that’s okay. If they don’t, stand firm, cut ties, and move on.

2. Set Boundaries For Yourself AND Your BDSM Relationship

Those that I’ve listed above are only my personal boundaries, but I have others within my marriage to Matt, like not spending the night away from home, not having vaginal sex outside of the marriage and even not going to the aquarium without one another! Remember, these are your boundaries, so only you get to decide whether or not they are reasonable.

Top tip: Remember to write them down!

3. Don’t Force Your Boundaries

When setting boundaries, it’s really important not to have a “number” in mind. Do you only have one or two boundaries? That’s absolutely fine. Got ten or fifteen? That’s cool too! If you’ve got four down but can’t think of any others, that’s totally okay. If you’ve filled a side of an A4 page, well, maybe you have a reason?!

4. Be Open To Your Boundaries Changing

What is a boundaey right now might not matter in a couple of months for now. For example, Matt and I know that right now vaginal sex is absolutely off, but with time and the right partner(s), he might feel completly fine about it! The core to a healthy relationship really is good communication, so if something no longer works in your dynamic, talk about it and change it!

5. Respect Other Peoples’ Boundaries

Respect is a two-way steet, my friend, and that means that in order to be respected, you have to give respect back. It’s okay to ask for an explanation as to why a boundary stands, but remember, it’s not your place to change it. If you don’t like a boundary, remember that you always have two options – accept it and love the person anyway, or say goodbye and move on!

6. Love Yourself, Because At The End Of The Day, You Are Awesome!

For some people (myself included), setting boundaries can feel kinda counter-intuitive. You want to get along with everyone, but sadly, not everyone will get along with you without trampling all over you in the process. Self-love can feel selfish when you’re so used to putting others first, but it is so, so worth it. Loving yourself is not narcissistic, it is simply a sign of knowing your worth. No matter what others think of your boundaries, they are there for a reason: because nothing worth having is free 😉

That’s it for this post, Twisties! What are some of your boundaries? Do you have any boundaries in your BDSM relationship? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time!

Stay safe & have fun,

Helen xx

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