When Master assigned this topic, I informed him I had planned on doing a post like this anyway. I took some time to think about how I wanted to handle it, though, and decided a BDSM checklist was a great approach. It gives me a wide array of things to talk about and provides a good understanding of what a BDSM relationship entails. ALSO, it ties into another post I want to do regarding the difference between power exchange/pain and abuse. I’ll do that post next, so the tie-in will be more efficient. This checklist is from A Submissive Initiative, and you can find the template on that blog. It doesn’t encompass everything (I did a LOT of research to find the template I wanted to use), but it’s pretty thorough. For the purpose of this post, I won’t be doing the traditional fill-out. Rather, I’ll take some time to explain a few things and provide commentary.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For beginners, those kicking the idea around, those who haven’t been exposed to many of these things, try not to get too weirded out. Some of these things freaked me out when I first read them. Others I had to Google. I allowed myself to be a little wigged, but remember that you have the RIGHT, the RESPONSIBILITY, to say no to anything you don’t want to do.
Anal Sex (get): Have done, LOVE.
Armpit Sex (get): Have not done and no thank you.
Ass Cheek Sex (get): (Not entirely sure what this means and Google wasn’t too helpful. Assuming it means no penetration, but more like tit-fucking, my answer is) Have not done, not interested, but would not object.
Butt Plugs (get): Have not done, willing to try at least once.
Dildo – Anal (get): Have not done, willing to try.
Dildo – Oral (get): Have not done, willing to try.
Finger Sex (get): Have done, love.
Genital Intercourse: Have done… obviously… LOVELOVELOVE.
Hand Job (give): Have done, not my favorite, will not object.
Including others: Have not done. Not hard limit, but not interested at this time. Soft limit.
Licking (get): Have done, love.
Licking (give): Have done, love.
Massage (give): Have done, it’s ok.
Oral Sex (give): Have done, LOVE.
Phone Sex: Have done, kind of boring.
Sex in Public: Not in the context of BDSM, but if an empty parking lot at college in a car in the middle of the night counts… Have done, enjoyed.
Sex Outdoors: See above.
Swinging: Have not done. Soft limit.
Teasing (get): Have done, enjoy.
Vibrators (get): Have done, enjoy.
Blindfolds (get): Have done, enjoy.
Body Bags (get): Have not done, do not want to try.
Bondage – full body (get): Have not done, want to try.
Bondage – Intricate Rope (get): Have not done, REALLY want to try.
Bondage – Mental (get): Have done, REALLY enjoy. (Definition: Mental bondage often determines the submissive’s daily attire, attitude, and sexual freedom. A common example of mental bondage is when the dominant orders their sub not to climax without explicit consent. Found HERE.)
Bondage – Outdoors (get): Have not done, want to try.
Bondage – Private (get): Have done, really enjoy.
Bondage – Public (get): Have not done, soft limit.
Boxing / Closeting (get): Have not done, soft limit. (Being closed in a box or closet). I’m not claustrophobic, but something about this just doesn’t appeal to me. I suspect it’s mostly for punishment, but it doesn’t fit into the dynamic I want to maintain with Master.
Caging (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Cock Bondage (get): Have not done, will not do. (I had to Google. I did not enjoy the pictures. Google at your own risk.)
Crucifixion (get): Have not done, hard limit for now. (This is being tied to a cross. Not a St Andrew’s cross, like a Jesus-nailed-to-the-effing-cross but with rope. It looked VERY uncomfortable to me. But still, I’m curious. But afraid. So hard limit for time being.)
Cuffs Leather (get): Have done, LOVE.
Cuffs Metal (get): Have done, it’s ok.
Duct Tape (get): Have not done, soft limit. I think this is a hard limit for Master.
Full Head Hoods (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Gags – ball type (get): Have not done, interested. Master has all non-cloth gags as a hard limit.
Gags – bits (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Gags – cloth (get): Have done, enjoyed.
Gags – inflatable (get): Have not done, soft limit. (This one is a bit too humiliating for my taste.)
Gags – phallic (get): Have not done, curious.
Gags – tape (get): Have not done, interested. Master is not.
Gas Masks (get): Hahaha no thanks. Doesn’t scare or worry me, I just find the idea exceedingly unsexy. To each their own!
Gates of Hell (get): FUCK NO. First of all, this is a contraption one places on the penis. Therefore, in my relationship, this would never come into play. However, I deeply regret that Google search and I will never get those images out of my head. What has been seen cannot be unseen. Those who choose to use them and/or enjoy it, I’m not judging you. But YEESH. That scares me.
Harnessing – leather(get): Have not done, curious.
Harnessing – rope(get): Have not done, want to try.
Headphone/Earplugs (get): Have not done, want to try.
Masks (wear): Have not done, soft limit. Master’s not interested.
Mummification (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Padlocks (get): Have not done, soft limit.
Plastic Wrap (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Restraint Duration: 1-3hrs (get): Have not done, willing to try.
Restraint Duration: 3+ hrs (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Restraint Duration: multiple days (get): Have not done, grounds for divorce.
Restraint Duration: overnight or full day (get): Have not done, grounds for marriage counseling. (Please note, these are meant to be funny responses. Master would never violate my hard limits.)
Restraint in public – under clothes (get): Have not done, willing to try.
Restraints – Ankle (get): Have not done, really want to try.
Restraints – Arm leg sleeves (get): Have not done, willing to try.
Restraints – Hand Cuffs (get): Have done, enjoy.
Restraints – Leather (get): Have done, enjoy.
Restraints – Metal (get): Have not done, not interested, but will not object.
Restraints – Rope (get): Have not done, REALLY want to try.
Restraints – Thumb Cuffs (get): Have not done, not interested, but will not object.
Restraints – Wrist (get): Have done, REALLY enjoy.
Restraints – Wrist to ankle/neck/waist (get): Have not done, REALLY want to try.
Silk Scarves (get): Have not done, willing to try. Doesn’t scare me, but I don’t find it particularly interesting.
Sleepsacks (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Slings/Swings (get): Have not done, want to try.
Spreader bars (get): Have not done, REALLY want to try.
Stethescope (get): Have not done, sounds boring.
Stocks (get): Have not done, interested.
St. Andrews Cross: Have not done, DESPERATELY want to try.
Straight Jackets (get): Have not done, soft limit.
Suspension (get): Have not done, want to try.
Suspension – Horizontal (get): Have not done, want to try.
Suspension – Inverted (get): Have not done, want to try.
Abrasion (get): (This is a method of getting the skin sensitive, it leaves marks, my Google image search made me all:
) Hard limit.
Anal Dilation (get): Have not tried, hard limit.
Anal Fisting (get): Have not tried, hard limit.
Asphyxiation (get): Have done some light choking, some light hand over mouth. Interested. Sometimes this is done with plastic bags or other methods of suffocation, and those are hard limits.
Bastinado (get): Have not tried, not interested. (This is when the feet are tied and beaten or whipped. I hate feet. Definition and explanation HERE.)
Beating – hard (get): Have gotten about halfway there, interested.
Beating – soft (get): Have done, LOVE.
Belt/Strap (get): Have done, LOVE. The belt is one of my favorites. It makes me feel a little nervous, but I love hearing Master remove it, I love not knowing when it’s coming, and I love feeling it come down. The thought of it makes me all hot and bothered.
Biting (get): Have done, LOVE. Particularly on that place where my neck meets my shoulder. Not a vampire thing, but it sets off the nerve endings there in a delicious way.
Caning (get): Have not done, want to try.
Choking (get): Have done a little, want to try more.
Clothespins (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Cock and Ball Torture (get): Does not apply. If it did though, hard limit.
Cupping/Suction (get): HAVE NOT AND WILL NEVER DO. Omg, more Google YIKES. Again, to each their own. But no, not for me.
Cutting (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Electricity – Tens Unit (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Electricity – Violet Wand (get): Have not done, hard limit. (A violet wand is a wand that emits electricity, is adjustable in intensity. Can be done for pleasure or punishment. I’m not freaked out by this, but electrical play ain’t my bag.)
Face Slapping (get): Have done, didn’t get anything from it.
Fireplay (get): No. No. No. No. No. Too dangerous. Hard limit. (Although I understand from my research that some Doms are very good at it. It’s not just getting burned.)
Flogging (get): Not with a flogger, WANT to try REALLY badly.
Hair pulling (get): Have done, love.
Hairbrushes (get): Have not done, willing to try. Doesn’t hold much appeal, though.
Hot Oils (get): Have done soy candles and regular candles. Enjoy soy candles, I don’t particularly like regular candles.
Ice Cubes (get): Have not done, interested.
Injections (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Nipple Clamps (get): Have not done, soft limit.
Nipple Torture (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Nipple Weights (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Paddling (get): Have not done, want to try.
Piercing – temp (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Pinching (get): Have done, LOVE.
Punching (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Riding Crops (get): Have done, LOVELOVELOVE.
Scratching (get): Have done, love.
Spanking – on all fours (get): Have done, love.
Spanking – over knee (get): Have done, love.
Spanking hard (get): Have done, love.
Spanking soft (get): Have done, love.
Strapping – Full Body (get): Have not tried, interested.
Urethral Sounds (get): Nope. Nope. Nope. I almost didn’t Google this one because I thought I had an idea of what it was. It turns out, I didn’t. If you’re curious, there’s an explanation HERE. Hard limit.
Whipping – buggywhip (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Whipping – bullwhip (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Whipping – Cat (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Whipping – genitals (get): Have done with a riding crop, LOVED. Other whips, hard limit.
Whipping – knotted whip (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Whipping – Quirt (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Whipping – Signal Whip (get): Have not done, hard limit.
Whipping – switch (get): Have not done, willing to try.
Whipping – Taws (get): Have not done, willing to try. (With whips, there’s just so many. I recommend spending some time on your favorite search engine.)
Abandonment (get): Have not done, willing to try when we get farther along our journey. This is a form of psychological play where the Dom/Domme ignores the sub and does other things not related to the sub during the scene. I have had the fantasy of being tied up and left by myself for short periods of time (like 30 minutes or something, nothing long term) I didn’t think I would find this interesting, but I Googled and my reading proved productive.
Acrophilia: (Sex involving great heights) Willing to try. I don’t have a thing about heights, but adding a pseudo-dangerous element is something I’m up for.
Acrotomophilia: (A fetish for amputees) I’m in a committed relationship where neither of us are amputees. This one doesn’t apply to me. But while I don’t have a fetish for amputated people, I wouldn’t rule out sex with them for that reason, if I were available.
Agalmatophilia: (Attraction to a mannequin, doll, statue, etc.) No thank you.
Barosmia: (Being forced to smell someone or to allow someone to smell you.) No, hard limit.
Being Recorded: Have done outside the context of BDSM. Willing to do so in context of BDSM.
Bestiality (others): No, hard limit.
Bestiality (you): No, hard limit.
Body Worship (give): Have done, loved.
Boot Worship (get): Have done, loved.
Branding (sub): No, hard limit.
Brown Showers (get): NO, hard limit.
Brown Showers (give): NO, hard limit.
Castration Fantasy: NO, hard limit.
Catheterization (get): No, hard limit.
Chamber Pots (use): No, hard limit.
Cock Rings (others): No, hard limit.
Cock Rings (you): I have no cock of my own, so I’m going to call this a soft limit. For funsies.
Corsets (others): It’s just Master and myself, I have no desire to see him in a corset. But if we were ever to bring a third in and that third was a woman, I’d be down with her wearing a corset.
Corsets (you): LOVELOVELOVE.
Cross-Dressing (others): Not interested.
Cross-Dressing (you): Not interested.
Diapers (you): Ahem. I have heard of this before. I am in a baby forum group where this woman said her aunt went batshit crazy and had a diaper fetish and was “pregnant” at the tender age of 65ish… did not end well and I’m pretty sure it was a joke anyway. But the answer is no, hard limit.
Dirty Sex: This needs further explanation. If this includes dirty talking, rough sex, stuff like that, then have done and loved. If it involves urine, blood, excrement, or saliva, then hard limit.
Douching (get): No, hard limit.
Enemas (get): No, hard limit.
Erotic Dancing (sub): Have done outside a BDSM context. Willing to do within context.
Exhibitionism: Have not done, curious.
Fear: I feel this needs a little clarification. But I like a little fear during a scene. I know I’m safe, but it’s still scary. Like a horror movie. Except a major turn on.
Feathers/Fur (others): I’m not into using implements myself.
Feathers/Fur (you): Have not done, willing to try.
Foot Worship (get): Have not done, not interested.
Golden Showers (get): NO, hard limit.
Gun Play: No, hard limit.
High Heel Worship (get): No, not interested.
Humiliation (get): It depends on what the situation is.
Infantilism (others): No, hard limit.
Latex (others): No, not interested.
Latex (you): No, not interested.
Leather (others): No, not interested.
Leather (you): No, not interested.
Lingerie (others): If it’s another woman, maybe.
Lingerie (you): Have done, love.
Medical Instruments: No, hard limit.
Needles: No, hard limit.
Oral/Anal Play (get): Oral? Yes. Anal? Yes. Oral sex in my anal area? No. Hard limit.
Pain: Have done, love.
Piercing (Permanent) (get): I have my ears pierced, but I will not get pierced anywhere else, especially not for sexual reasons.
Posing for Erotic Photos: Want to try, when I’m feeling a bit more secure in my body. It’s getting better every day.
Prostitution (real): No, hard limit.
Public Exposure: Soft limit.
PVC (others): (Have you ever seen the first season of American Horror Story? You know the outfit that *spoiler alert* Tate wore when he knocked up Vivian with the demon baby? A lot of it looks like that. It’s a type of clothing.) Not interested.
PVC (you): Not interested.
Recording Scenes: Want to try.
Shaving (get): Never in BDSM context, but totally willing.
Skinny-Dipping: Never in BDSM context, but won’t object.
Sensory Deprivation(get): Want to try.
Spandex (others): No thank you.
Spandex (you): No thank you.
Speculums (anal): Hard limit.
Spitting: Hard limit.
Supplying victims: Not interested.
Swallowing Semen: No. I can’t stand bodily fluids. I have done it in the past and just do not enjoy it. But I’m not going to call it a hard limit.
Taking Erotic Photos: Want to try soon.
Tasting Yourself: Have done, did not enjoy.
Tattoo (others): Having them? Turn on. Getting one for me? Turn off.
Tattoos (you): I have five, with plans for more. Not one of those will be done in the name of BDSM. Although they may have BDSM imagery, I will not be ordered to get a tattoo.
Tickling (get): It’s fine, it just doesn’t do anything for me.
Uniforms (others): I have a thing for cops. It’s weird, but it does it for me.
Uniforms (you): I am totally down with wearing a uniform if Master orders me to.
Voyeurism: Soft limit for now.
Wearing Fluids: Well, I enjoy when Master comes on my back, or breasts, or stomach. I ain’t going anywhere til it’s cleaned off and it ain’t coming at my face or hair.
Wrestling: We’ve done some light wrestling/struggle. I enjoyed it.
Bathroom use control (sub): No, hard limit. Ever since my second child, if I gotta go, I GOTTA GO.
Begging (sub): Love it.
Behavior Restrictive Rules (sub): I’m down with that.
Butt Plugs – public (sub): Umm, soft limit.
Chastity Belts (sub): No, hard limit.
Clothing choice (sub): Willing to try.
Cock Worship (sub): LOVELOVELOVE.
Collar and Leash (sub): Want to try.
Collars (sub): Wear one every day.
Competition (sub): I don’t think so.
Crawling (sub): Love.
Eye Contact Restriction (sub): Love. Oh my god.
Following Orders: Love.
Food Choice/Directed Eating (sub): We’ve done a little bit of this, nothing too bad. I just asked permission to order something I wanted. I enjoyed it.
Forced Dressing (sub): Have not tried, but I’m willing.
Forced Exercise (sub): Have done, and it did not end well. I’m horribly out of shape when it comes to pushups, crunches, planks, etc. And I got to the point where it was stressing me out, so I asked to call it quits. I got one last punishment for not doing the exercises I was ordered, and then the requirement was removed.
Forced Homosexuality (sub): Have not done, soft limit.
Forced Masturbation (sub): Have done, enjoyed.
Forced Nudity (sub): I don’t think we’ve done this. But I’ve been told to be naked. And I’m not allowed to wear pants before or during a scene.
Forced Servitude (sub): If we defined the parameters and agreed to the expectations before play, I would be willing to try.
Given Away: Permanently, hard limit. Master is my husband and the father of my two kids. Hell to the nah. On the other hand, we may progress to a point where we want to involve others, and temporarily would be a soft limit for me.
Hot or Sensual Waxing (sub): I love wax play.
Housework (sub): I’d be willing to do it, but don’t expect me to like it. You want a bratty sub? This is the surest way to get one.
Humiliation – Private (sub): Depends on the scene.
Humiliation – Public (sub): No, hard limit.
Humiliation – Verbal (sub): We’ve done a little bit. I enjoyed it.
Kneeling (sub): LOVELOVELOVE
Lecturing (sub): See “bratty sub” comment above. I’d get punished so bad for rolling my eyes. But I won’t object.
Manicures (get): Never in BDSM context. If required by Master, fine. He can’t do my nails, though. He’s terrible. But he can order specific colors and stuff.
Manicures (give): I’d be fine with that.
Name Change (sub): I have a hard time imagining this. I like my name. I don’t feel a need to have my name changed. My Master likes my name, too. I guess soft limit?
Orgasm Control (sub): Love.
Orgasm Denial (sub): I mean, you can’t really love orgasm denial. But I enjoy doing it for my master.
Personality Modification (sub): Nope, hard limit. Take me as I am or don’t take me.
Pussy Worship (sub): I would not do it to someone, but I’d let it happen to me.
Serving Orally (sub): LOVELOVELOVE
Sexual Deprivation (sub): Have not tried. Honestly, I think Master would hate it as much as I would. Unless he decided to have me orally serve him for an extended period of time and didn’t allow me release. We did this for awhile after I had the baby and wasn’t ready for vaginal penetration, and I enjoyed that.
Sleep Deprivation (sub): I have a stressful job and two kids. I already don’t get enough sleep. So no.
Speech Restrictions (sub): We do this a little. I’m not allowed to say certain things during a scene, during punishments I’m not allowed to vocalize at all except to count strokes. I like it. It adds a psychological element to our play that makes it more intense. It makes me feel more submissive, more obedient.
Standing in Corner (sub): Willing to try.
Struggling (sub): I love doing this. Sometimes when I’m having an anxiety attack, I just need to be restrained and struggle against it. This is usually done when we’re not in a scene, and my husband will wrap his arms around me or lay over me and hold me down while I push and pull. The exhaustion that comes from it calms me down and lets my neurotransmitters get back to where I need to be.
Symbolic Jewelry (sub): I wear a collar every day, and a wedding and whenever I go out. I enjoy both of those.
Weight Gain/Loss (sub): Mandatory? No. But if I request help with dieting or exercise (I don’t see myself doing that again any time soon), I’m cool with it.
Chauffeuring (sub): I’m not interested, but I wouldn’t object.
Fantasy Gang Rape (get): We’d have to involve others, but I find this interesting.
Fantasy Rape (get): I know it’s a symptom of trauma for a rape survivor to enjoy fantasy rape, but I know I’m safe. And I enjoy consensual non-consent.
Initiation Rites (sub): The only things I could find online about this were fantasy stories about kind of getting into the proper submissive mindset. The Master/Mistress would have the sub do certain things (kneeling, offering his/her body in supplication, accepting a token, performing certain acts) that would get the sub into that headspace. I found it all very sexy. And saved for further reading… during my kids’ naptimes… if Master is ok with me bringing my own release today.
Interrogations (sub): No particular interest, but no objection.
Kidnapping (sub): That sounds hot.
Medical Scenes (sub): Nope, hard limit.
Other Animal Play (sub): No, hard limit.
Physical Examinations (sub): We’ve done the rare light side of these. If I’m required to prepare myself in a certain way, Master will check to make sure I have done so. If he wanted to push it further, I’d be down with that.
Pony Play (sub): No thank you. Hard limit.
Prison Scenes: Not particular interest, but no objection.
Prostitution (pretend): We’ve done this kind of roleplay prior to getting into BDSM. I loved it.
Punishment Scene (sub): Yes, I enjoy this aspect of BDSM. I don’t exactly enjoy the pain, but I love offering this part of myself to Master.
Puppy Play (sub): No thank you, hard limit.
Religious Scenes (sub): No thank you. It doesn’t scare me or worry me, but I find the idea a turn off.
Schoolroom Scenes (sub): Willing to try.
Serving as Art (sub): Willing to try.
Serving as Ashtray (sub): No, hard limit.
Serving as Furniture (sub): Soft limit.
Serving as Maid (sub): See “bratty sub”. Willing, but don’t expect me to be happy about it. At least til we get to the sex part and then I’m all for the Master taking his maid against a wall, or on the floor, or in his bed…
Strap on Dildos (sub): No thank you. Hard limit.
So, there’s the checklist. I have been with Master for eight years, and most of our limits match up. But not all of them. For instance, he’s less likely to want to share me than I am to be shared. And that’s ok. I would never betray him because I love him. And it’s not something I feel I need in order to be sexually satisfied. And I do worry that I would feel incredibly guilty afterwards. I have never cheated on him and I never will. Doing so in a consensual way, though, would probably still cause feelings of guilt and anxiety.
Another difference is that Master isn’t interested in gags. I am. But also, not something I feel I need in order to be satisfied. And limits can change. They do change. When we first discussed our limits, neither of us had tried most of these things. Going through the checklist now and being able to mark a lot more things as “have tried”, I felt pretty good about that. And my limits have changed as we tried things. I also haven’t done a majority of these things, and there are MANY that have no appeal to me or that scare the ever-living shit out of me. And that’s ok. Because it’s a partnership. Both the Dom and sub are equals who get something out of this when they give their consent.
Between an almost-three year old and a 5 month old, it took me five hours to write this post. I really wanted to share my limits because I think it’s important for people to see you can have BDSM without being willing to do every single thing. Some ARE willing to do every single thing, but that doesn’t make them more dominant or more submissive than a person with a lot of limits. It’s what you put into and get out of the relationship, not the types of activities performed in the relationship, that make it what it is.