Posts Tagged limits


”I don’t like to be tied up.”

Every once in awhile in my relationship with Joy, I get to work magic. I know you probably don’t believe in magic, but in this case, that’s what it feels like. I get to make an obstacle, something that’s been blocking our progress, vanish, and through some sort of BDSM theory of relativity, its disappearance creates a massive burst of excitement that burns for Joy and I like fire in the darkness. It may not require a wand or a book of spells, but it’s magic nonetheless.

Like all good acts of sorcery, this requires lengthy preparation. In fact, the best way I can think to describe the process is to liken it to planting a flower. Growing something from seed is magic of a kind, and to do so successfully takes considerable time and effort. First I must prepare the soil, making sure the seed bed is fertile. Then I carefully choose and place a magical seed, covering it lightly and leaving it there hidden in the warm, dark soil. Over time I must carefully water and nourish it, watching over it to help it grow. If I have chosen wisely and do a good job of taking care of it, the seed will sprout and I can force it to bloom. And in the act of flowering, it will imbue Joy and I with its power, transporting us to a new plateau of Dominance and submission, granting us extraordinary feelings of arousal and excitement, and providing us with some of the best sex of our lives.

”I’m sorry, I can’t make you come in my mouth. It’s gross! I don’t like it.”

Naturally, I’m not really talking about working spells or even gardening here. Instead, I’m talking about those wonderful, enchanted moments when a submissive, despite what they have told their partner and despite what they have told themselves, discovers that they can and will, in fact, do something they said they never would. And if the Dominant partner did a good job of selecting the proper magic seed to plant, the submissive finds that not only can they do it, and not only will they do it, but that they actually want to do it. In fact, they often realize that they secretly desired to do it all along.

To a large extent, this is a reference to the process of overcoming limits. Limits are a meaty topic and one I’ve written about before, so I’m going to refer you to my previous posts for definitions and more description if you want to read about them. For today, suffice it to say that there are many types of limits, and in general, I’m focused more on soft limits in this post (though limits have a way of changing over time, and what was once hard can sometimes become soft) as they are more malleable and easier to work with.

”Oh, I could never do that! You’d never respect me again if I let you into my ass!”

Working with limits is dangerous and touchy territory. Proceeding slowly, watching your partner for caution signs and taking satisfaction in incremental progress are definitely in order here! Be willing to take a step back now to obtain two steps forward later. And remember the following:

  • We practice only consensual BDSM. Forcing your partner to do something they truly do not want to do is not permissible—don’t do it!
  • Trust is paramount here! Betraying your partner’s trust, even in a minor way, will lead to failure. Mean what you say and say what you mean when working with a limit, and show understanding and patience rather than frustration.
  • ”Baby steps.” Say it with me! “Baby steps!” Remember the flower metaphor I used above. It will almost certainly take months for whatever flower you plant to bloom, and it may well take years. It’s also possible you selected the wrong seed and it will never flower. But taking baby steps and being patient gives you the best chance for success.

”The thing I’m afraid of is being tied spread-eagled to the bed. I’d be too helpless!”

Planting one of these magic seeds is relatively easy—it can be as simple as mentioning the action or situation you desire, though it helps if you bring it up in a situation when your partner is receptive to hearing about it. However, deciding on what seed to plant presents one of the biggest challenges for the Dominant partner. Partly that decision is governed by what you, as the Dominant, want. If you’re not interested in pony play, why plant a seed for it? But to a great extent it’s governed by the submissive partner as well, and that presents a challenge. How can you tell what limits might prove to be overcome-able?

Until science develops that mind-reading device I’ve been waiting for, I’m afraid my best advice is the following:

  • Plant more than one seed. That way if you guess wrong on one, you have others growing away unseen underground. Another advantage to this is that the seeds grow individually and at different rates, so when one blooms, another may already be half-way to maturity.
  • Listen to your partner when you bring up the act or situation you are interested in, but listen with your eyes as well as your ears. How do they react? Was there any sign of interest despite what their words said? Do they react differently to the idea when they are in the throes of passion (and therefore ruled by their desire) then when they are fully clothed and sitting in the kitchen?
  • Remember the line I’m about to mis-quote from Shakespeare—“Methinks he doth protest too much.” My experience with Joy has been that the acts she immediately declares out of bounds sometimes prove the most fruitful to focus on, especially if her actions betray interest and belie her words.
  • Use any external knowledge you have about your partner to help make a determination. For instance, Joy hates the sight of blood in all situations, and anything that triggers that association for her immediately turns her off. Because of this, we’ll never pursue any sort of edge-play. She has a hard limit there, and any seeds sown around this topic would be futile.

”I could never do that with another woman!”

Once the seed has been planted, leave it alone for awhile. Remember too much water kills a plant just as surely as too little. If you bring up the act you desire day after day, or even week after week, you’ll create a feeling of pressure that will be counterproductive. Plant your magic seed and let it be. Come back after a month or two and check gingerly to see if it needs water. Take your very first baby step towards it and see what happens. Use your partner’s reaction to gauge when the ground needs moisture, but err on the side of too little rather than too much. With luck, patience and perseverance, you’ll begin to see signs of sprouting.

How do you water the seed you planted? That very much depends on your partner, the act or situation you are striving for, and you. In other words, I can’t tell you what you should do. However, in general, I’ve found that approaching your desired activity slowly, leveraging fantasy to help lead toward reality, and using your partner’s own hidden desires to assist you all can play a key role.

There’s much more that could be said on this topic, but I’ve probably droned on long enough for today. As a final note, l wanted to point out that all of the italicized quotes that have appeared in this post are things that Joy at one time or another said to me. All of them represented limits that she defined in our relationship at some point. All of them have since been overcome. And while I took credit above for being the one to work these acts of magic, the reality is that I only instigated them. Joy did the really hard work herself, and we only succeeded where we did because she wanted us to.

Enjoy yourself,


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Dominant Limits

In keeping with the introspective theme of my last post, I thought today I’d outline my limits.

What’s that you say? You didn’t think Dominants had limits? Not so, good reader—-we all have limits!

Generally submissives find it more necessary to define their limits explicitly, because they wish to relinquish control and want assurance that they won’t be taken into areas they cannot handle or truly do not wish to go. Because the Dominant usually steers the direction of activities and the relationship, the need to expressly define limits is less—they can simply be sure they steer away from any barriers before they crash into them. However, this does not mean their limits don’t exist!

Here are my own limits as best I know them, arranged in no particular order:

  • I will not do anything that I feel might place Joy or myself at serious risk of bodily harm. Therefore, breathplay, for instance, would be a non-started for us.
  • I will not make Joy do anything she truly does not want to do. As an example, Joy has a serious dislike of blood or needles, so any kind of cutting or piercing is out.
  • I will not intentionally do anything to tear Joy down mentally or emotionally, even if it would be beneficial to her submission. It’s somewhat fashionable to talk of “breaking” one’s partner– to me this term holds negative connotations of subverting their will and personality through physical force and/or destructive psychological techniques, and therefore I don’t like it. I won’t take this road, and instead try my best to always build Joy up.
  • I will not do anything illegal. This covers a wide range of activities, most of which you can probably figure out yourself.
  • I have zero interest in water sports, enemas or scat play. Frankly, full-on humiliation isn’t my thing either. There are other fetishes that hold little to no interest for me (mummification would be an example), but they also don’t trigger my avoidance mechanisms, so I don’t class them as true limits.

I’ve spent about the last thirty minutes staring at this page and trying to think of more than these items, but I’m not coming up with anything else. This seems like kind of a brief list to me, but perhaps it’s accurate. Maybe I’m more adventurous than I thought!

It’s important to recall, however, that this list constitutes items that I truly do not wish to do. There are many other activities that I don’t really care about or that I’m not attracted to, but if Joy wanted to experiment, I’d be willing to participate. And if it turned out she liked them, I might find some excitement in them as well. Just as with the mummification example I listed above, I don’t count these as limits.

Joy’s list would be a bit longer, I’m afraid, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the interplay between her limits and my desires that provides much of the charge that BDSM provides.

Enjoy yourself,


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Art of Performance

As you may know from previous posts, my wife has a limit around exhibitionism. Or to be more accurate, perhaps what she has is a limit around being observed and judged.

The root cause of this, per Joy, is lack of self confidence. When Joy wears lingerie, she worries that it’s a bad color or it doesn’t fit right. When she is naked, she worries that her breasts are too big (or too small—the worry can vary from one day to the next). When she is performing fellatio, she worries that her makeup may be smudged or her hair’s a mess. In other words, Joy can find angst around just about any sexual situation, because she might be less-than-perfect, and that’s not good enough.

The consequences of this are far-reaching. One is the above-mentioned fear of exhibitionism. After all, what if she exhibits herself and someone doesn’t approve of what they see? Another is her long-standing preference for low-light conditions when having sex, because bright lights might expose hidden flaws. It took me several years of work to overcome that. Another is her concern about being watched when she is in the throes of passion. Not watched by someone else, mind you, but watched by me when we are in bed together. She doesn’t like to feel like she is performing, you see, because what if the performance isn’t good enough?

While it might sound as though this limit is rather debilitating to our sex life, the reality is that it’s a source of much excitement for both of us (okay, frustration sometimes as well, but mostly excitement). The reason for this is that, while Joy is afraid of being observed, judged, and found wanting—the driver for the limit—she also very much wants to be observed and found highly desirable.

In other words, there is a constant battle between fear and desire that takes place within my wife, and this makes this limit an excellent prospect to be worked with. As with any limit, I have to tread gingerly, but as long as I’m careful, there’s much progress that can be made. And because we are working so closely to the edge of Joy’s comfort zone, there’s a lot of energy and excitement that we can engage.

Since we incorporated BDSM into our relationship, this limit has shifted outward many times. Where once Joy was uncomfortable even wearing lacey undies, now she can often wear crotchless leather panties and an open-tip bra into the playroom with aplomb. However, note that word “often” in the sentence I just wrote. There are other times when her fear returns, and she’ll feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, even though she wore the exact same outfit the week before without a qualm. I’m not certain what causes this escalation in her fears—she knows I find her attractive, and any judgment I pass upon her comes out in her favor every time. The good news is that over time, these escalations seem to occur less frequently and to be less severe.

I’ve taken many different approaches to working with the limit, some successful, and others less so. For instance, we’ve had several enjoyable dates in which Joy has dressed relatively conservatively on the outside, but highly non-conservatively beneath her skirt and top. (Remember those crotchless leather panties? That’s where we started, and we’ve gone much farther than that since then.) This has proven very successful because it allowed Joy to express her inner need to be desired while camouflaging herself behind a veneer of nondescriptness. On the other hand, scenes in which we role-play performing in front of an audience have been much less successful—Joy can make it through the scenario, which is progress, but she still feels uncomfortable to the point that it prevents her from enjoying herself.

And it’s the feeling of “performing” that we’re struggling with a bit right now. Joy doesn’t like to feel that I’m observing her during an adventure. She wants me to be participating in the activity, to be lost in excitement and action, so that I can’t study her. Often that’s fine—there are few things better than to be lost in excitement and action with Joy. However, sometimes, studying her is exactly what I want to do. I want Joy to perform while I observe. I want her to be helpless to prevent her body from reacting to the stimuli I provide, to be so taken by pleasure and excitement that her orgasm overpowers any misgivings she may have. Lately I’ve been successful at that, but afterwards, after the excitement has had a chance to dissipate, Joy’s feelings of discomfort return. She’s afraid that she looks foolish or ugly when she climaxes, and she’s embarrassed that I observed her.

So, we’re working through this. Hopefully my assurances that she’s beautiful, that I love the way she comes, and that bringing her to orgasm in this way gives me great excitement all sink in. And hopefully patience, practice, trust and a gradual approach will allow us to continue to make progress.

Enjoy Yourself,


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Appreciate Your Limits

For many of those who live on the Dominant side of the fence, limits have a bad reputation. Limits are, of course, activities that one or the other partner in a BDSM relationship (and frankly, in a vanilla relationship as well) are not comfortable with, fear, or just plain will not do or participate in. Limits can exist around almost any situation or activity, but for illustration purposes a few, potential BDSM-related examples might include:

  • no sharp objects (edgeplay) or activities that draw blood
  • no latex (perhaps due to an allergy)
  • no polyamorous activity (threesomes, swinging, etc.)

While Dominants can and do have limits, because they are the ones to steer the course of a relationship and decide the activities that the two partners engage in together, they can relatively easily avoid transgressing their own limits. The limits of the submissive partner, however, often come between a Dominant and a desired act or situation.

One can easily understand how this might cause frustration. “I want to do this, dammit!” the Dominant might think, “But that limit is in the way!” Because of this, some Dominants disdain limits and regard them as nothing more than an obstacle. “If only my partner didn’t have these limits,” they tell themselves, “then how much fun we could have!” This, however, is precisely the wrong attitude to take. There is nothing that promises more opportunity for fun and excitement within your relationship than discovering a limit within your partner. Limits are where the fun is.

I know perfectly well how counter-intuitive that statement sounds. However, it is true nonetheless. Let’s think about the topic of limits, and I’ll do my best to explain why I believe this to be so.

To begin, consider the statement above: “If only my partner didn’t have these limits, then how much fun we could have!” One way to test the validity of an idea is to take it to an extreme and decide if it remains true. In this case, consider the extreme case of a partner with literally no limits. What would a relationship with that partner be like?

Well, the most obvious thing is that the Dominant could do whatever they wanted to with their partner, and the submissive would willingly participate. Sounds great, right? But what would happen? Well, for one thing, the Dominant would very likely go straight to the places they want to go, skipping all the intermediate steps to get more quickly to their destination. If they were excited by the idea of pony play, for instance, there would be no reason not to go immediately into full regalia, with bit, bridle, tail, harness and a cart to pull all in place the very first time. After all, with no limits, why waste time on half measures? But once this fantasy has been enacted a time or two with no resistance encountered, it begins to lose it’s lustre. It starts to feel a bit “been there, done that”. When that happens, what do you do? Move on to the next fantasy, of course! But eventually, in a few months, perhaps, you and your compliant partner have covered all your fantasies, fully and completely. And at that point, boredom sets in.

You know what though? In our hypothetical scenario, boredom actually arrives much more quickly than that. Why? Because the excitement in a BDSM relationship does not spring so much from the activities that the two partners engage in together as it does from the feeling of Dominance and submission that exists between them. Dominance and submission are what makes the relationship electric! And in the example where the submissive partner has no limits, where exactly can the submission come from? To Dominate someone, one must compel them to do what you want, rather than what they want. In the circumstance where the submissive partner has no limits, then they are fine with whatever. Trying to Dominate them feels kinda like this:

Dom: “Slave, tonight I’m going to give you to the single-tail whip. Pray that it does not devour you with its fire!”

Sub: “Okay, sounds good.”

Dom: “How many lashes do you think you deserve? A dozen? Two dozen? How many do you think you can withstand?!?”

Sub: “Ummm…well, why don’t you just go until your arm gets tired and we’ll see how many that is?”

Obviously this is exaggerated, but hopefully it illustrates the point that Domination isn’t really possible without some sort of resistance, and submission isn’t really possible unless there’s something that the sub is afraid of, or intimidated by, or doesn’t believe they can handle…in other words, unless the submissive has a limit. With all limits removed, the submissive provides no resistance, and the D/s dynamic no longer exists.

When examined from the extreme perspective of a partner with no limits, the statement “If only my partner didn’t have these limits, then how much fun we could have!” proves to be false. In fact, it becomes apparent that the existence of limits underlies all D/s relationships and contributes greatly to the fun and excitement within them. It does so by providing a foundation against which to Dominate the submissive, and by slowing down the progress along the various paths of BDSM so that the couple can appreciate each individual step, rather than rushing headlong down the path to its end.

There are two additional contributions that limits provide, however. First, as they are approached, they trigger a heightened excitement that can release adrenaline within the submissive’s body, greatly increasing the impact of the adventure they are engaged in. The greatest state of arousal one can experience comes when taken just beyond one’s zone of comfort, and it is the limit that establishes the edge of that comfort zone.

Second, because limits mark the far boundaries of the submissive’s comfort zone, they act as signposts to direct the Dominant toward the types of activities that have the highest potential to thrill. A smart Dominant makes note of the limits their submissive partner reveals and then uses them as foils around which to design their scenes and adventures. It is never a good idea to charge headfirst down the path towards a limit, crashing into it at full force. That’s guaranteed to cause casualties. However, it is often a wonderful idea to sidle towards a limit sideways, or move gradually towards it, or circle around it and come up from behind. By doing so, a wise and careful Dominant can leverage the power the limit holds within it to enhance an adventure for both themselves and their submissive partner. And with patience, persistence, and a firm-but-gentle touch, sometimes the limit may be moved…or even overcome.

If you’re interested in reading more about limits, I wrote a series of posts about working with them awhile back. In the meantime, appreciate the limits that exist within your partner. As I said above, they are where the fun is…for both of you.

Enjoy yourself!


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The Witch’s Ball

Joy has a bit of a limit around exhibitionism. She was very much raised to be a “good girl”, and that includes dressing conservatively, avoiding excessive displays of public affection, and not doing anything that might be considered lewd and lascivious behavior where it can be seen by others.

This limit, however, is one of inhibition, and therefore, working with it stands a very good chance of being rewarding. How do I know that it is a limit of inhibition? Because if you give Joy a glass of wine or two, she worries a lot less about pulling her skirt down over her knees or buttoning up her sweater to hide her cleavage. And when I am with her in private, she feels free to enjoy dressing as wantonly and behave as lewdly and lasciviously as anyone could wish. Her limit comes from being educated that displaying herself in public in any way is improper.

We’ve been working with this limit for awhile now, and have made some progress. For instance, Joy can and will go out with no panties on under her skirt as long as it’s at least knee length, and I’ve had a modicum of success in convincing her to wear lower cut blouses or dresses. Once or twice, on occasions where it’s highly unlikely to be seen by anyone, she’s even consented to wear her dress collar (a leather choker with an o-ring on the front) outside the house. However, to date she’s not been able to get beyond that. Skirts have had to be long, and overall, her dress has shied away from sexy and instead trended towards prim.

Allow me to digress for a minute here. You might read the above and think that this is a situation I’m not happy with, or that it’s a stressor for our relationship. That is a false impression. Limits are where the fun is. I’m going to restate that, and any Dominants out there who lament their fate because their partner can’t or won’t give them what they want, pay attention. Limits are where the fun is! You dominate your partner by requiring them to do something they would not ordinarily do. If your partner has no limits, they’re happy to do whatever, and while you can direct them, you cannot dominate them. However, if your partner has inhibitions, or lack of knowledge (or even to some extent, fear) of certain acts or situations, you have something to work with!

Forcing someone to do something they truly do not want to do is mean, no fun, and often illegal. Let me clearly state that this is not what I’m talking about! Instead, good Domination take places when the Dominant partner discovers an act or situation which the submissive partner desires but has difficulty letting themselves face, and then through bondage, verbal instruction, “punishment” or other BDSM techniques, frees them to let themselves experience it. That is what I am doing with Joy. If Joy routinely liked to dress like a “ho”, then requiring her to do so presents no challenge—she’d do it anyway. On the other hand, imagine the feeling of adrenaline-charged excitement for Joy and the sense of triumph for me if I can work with her so that my requirement and her sense of submission give her a mental “excuse” to overcome her inhibition and wear provocative attire out, catching the attention of every man she passes…something she secretly longs to do.

This Halloween provides Joy and I with the opportunity to take a large step forward. We have been invited to a Witch’s Ball—essentially a costume party with food, drinks, dancing, etc. Joy has already consented (and in fact, suggested) wearing considerably more risqué apparel that usual, with the idea that it will pass as being part of her costume. She plans to dress as a witch, and will wear her dress collar and a pair of leather cuffs along with her witch’s outfit. Under her skirt, she will wear the pair of fishnet, thigh-high stockings with built-in garter belt I bought her and no panties, leaving her deliciously bare underneath.

However, I know Joy, and if I leave it to her, the witch’s outfit that she chooses will consist of a long black skirt and a black sweater, perhaps with some sort of vest over it. This will not do– I want something much sexier than what I just described. Therefore, I have been looking at costumes for her. Her skirt must be long enough that it covers her, but short enough that she must be careful not to flash the room. And her top should be cut so as to show off her cleavage to its best advantage. Perhaps I’ll need to instruct her to wear her cupless bra out as well—we’ve talked about that before, but to date she hasn’t been able to take the plunge.

There are lots of fun costume options out there, and I’m going to select a good one. However, something I always need to remind myself is not to overreach. This is my personal downfall as a Dominant—I tend to want to go too far, too fast, and I always have to remind myself to take baby steps when working with a limit. So I’m going to try to rein myself in, but still capitalize on this opportunity for progress against the limit. Wish me luck!

Enjoy Yourself,


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