The concept of limits in BDSM stems from the concept of placing things “off limits,” whereby individuals would set limits on specific activities and the limitations of activities with particular participants based on emotional and physical tolerances.
Sharing one’s limits or negotiating with new people you are interested in playing with is essential before any play should ever begin. So when you start talking about what you want from a potential BDSM relationship or a one-off play scene, many people will begin with a list of the things they want to do together but more importantly should be the need to clearly express the activities and items that should not be included.
In BDSM, limits are boundaries set by either an individual or all parties involved in a kinky scene. Participants will negotiate what activities will and will not take place. This is where all participants involved will begin to negotiate what will be determined to be acceptable consensual play for all participants. The participants say what they do and don’t want, what will and will not tolerated. This allows everyone involved to understand the boundaries that can not be crossed.
Why Have Limits In BDSM
Since the cornerstone of BDSM is consent, having all parties involved agree to what activities are considered on and off limits not only makes sense, it is essential for consensual play. As opening communicating and consenting between people helps build trust, fulfills fantasies and is what bind a submissive and dominant together.
When engaging in BDSM, limits produce a safe environment for a submissive and give a Dominant a clear idea of appropriate activities that can be utilized in play. With limits in place a submissive can feel more at ease knowing that their Dominant is not going to do anything they don’t want, or will hurt them physically or mentally. They feel safer to become vulnerable of giving up all control, and allow themselves to be free.
For Dominants knowing the limits, removes all guesswork from play and allows them to clearly stay within activities their submissive is comfortable with. The Dominant can not feel comfortable to be free to play within agreed upon activities, which makes for better scenes and training for everyone involved.