Using Hard Limits As Punishment In A M/s D/s Dynamic

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Pushing hard limits with the exception of the consensual non-consent agreement is involved.
A hard limit should Not be used as a punishment.
Limits under punishment have another set of limits.
After all, punishments are things someone doesn't like, Right?
So in turn keeping a limits list would make a good resource for choosing punishments, right?

Wrong!!

Punishments are also subject to consent, negotiation and limits.

The idea of pushing limits in general can be a positive experience in educated, healthy dynamics and a huge mistake in an abusive or unhealthy dynamic. Part of the problem is that so many BDSM dynamic idealisms are with the unstated assumption that Masters, Doms and Tops have no limits to abide by and are going to do whatever they can get away with, as often as they can get away with it, with stated limits being the only defense subs have against severe bodily or emotional harm.

I have heard said before that 'Doms get to push limits, as long as they are slick enough in how they go about it'.

Wrong!!

Limits "belong" to the person who sets them. Period!!

Not only that, it also includes the how and under what circumstances it is a limit, like under punishment conditions.

The choice that other people have is whether to honor the limit or to decline the situation. If you won't honor the limit as communicated, then you have no business being in a situation where the activity being limited is involved.

But, while there is a very good reason for "Limits 101" to be about "I have a limit, so we'll never, ever do it, and you're not even allowed to ask about it," that's only the very basic understanding, and only the simplest version. This is so because limits change over time, therefore constant communication is a must.

Because you can set a limit as "I won't do it and we won't discuss it." But you can set the limit as "I won't do it, but we're free to discuss it." You can set the limit as "Don't assume I will do it, but you can ask, and someday I might change my mind and give it a try." You can set the limit as "I won't do it, but it bothers me that I can't, and I am open to discussing ways of leading up to it or working around it so that someday I might change the limit, which I think would be wonderful if it ever happens."

As I said, limits "belong" to the person who sets them. So no, Doms don't get to decide on their own because they're the Dom that a limit doesn't count and can therefore be pushed.

But the person who *sets" the limit is perfectly free to set the limit in such a way that it can be pushed under whatever circumstances they choose, if their playmate or partner also consents to do the pushing. Masters, Tops and Doms are free to decline, especially if they're asked to handle the sub or slave that may induce severe bodily or emotional harm for lack of experience or ability respectfully.

Setting a limit doesn't mean closing the option off forever. Some people misunderstand that, and because they feel that they want to keep the option open, don't set limits that they really should be setting in the meantime.

People, correctly, say that a hard limit is "No, not at all, not ever," but that's often misinterpreted. What it means is, as far as the other person is concerned, that "You don't get to expect that there comes a time when you get to decide that the limit gets relaxed."

It does not mean that a hard limit has to be locked in forever without change or it was never a hard limit, or that if you can foresee a theoretical possibility that you might someday change your mind, you shouldn't set something as a hard limit now. Today's hard limit can become tomorrow's soft limit, or even tomorrow's favorite activity, without being invalid as a hard limit today.
So, on the one hand, no. Limits should not be "pushed." Not from the outside.
But on the other hand, yes, if, at the option of the person setting the limit, the limit is constructed so that under some circumstances they consent to having it pushed, then that's as valid an option as putting it entirely off limits. And a partner who agrees to push a limit that the person setting it wants pushed, that's perfectly legitimate - "within reason."

Another misconception is that if a sub accidentally let the Top in once, the Top has complete freedom to do whatever they want forever after. We're all human beings who have an obligation to behave within the bounds of the actual consent being offered or recieved to us.

But more on the specific idea of using limits as punishments.

People get ahead of themselves thinking primarily in terms of limits. The primary term to think in is consent.

A limit is merely a clear and shorthand way of expressing in advance that you won’t consent to something if it’s raised as an option. It can narrow the focus of discussions and make establishing compatibility more straightforward though, rarely simple.

But it doesn’t replace consent. You don’t agree to something until you agree to it. Putting some things on a limits list doesn’t mean you consent to everything else. Consenting to something once doesn’t mean you consent to it every time it comes up. Agreeing to try it doesn’t mean consenting to continue it.

It is always about consent. If you start with that as the foundation of the idea, discussions of limits often get a whole lot clearer.

Back to the question at hand, if you don’t consent to something, you don’t consent to it. So having someone decide that it would therefore be the perfect thing to use as a punishment would be violating that consent. Unless you specifically consent to allow having that thing used as a punishment even though you don’t consent to it as a form of play.

New play partners;
If Someone keeps a working list of what you do Not consent to
OR
If Someone dose Not have a working list of what you 'do' consent to
They may have another agenda so this someone may need to be avoided.

Remember, too, that punishments are also subject to consent, negotiation and limits. A lot of people choose to have different limits for punishments than for play, for the very reason that they agree that being punished should be a more negative experience. But it’s still subject to limits, and you have to consent to the concept of punishment, as well as to the specific punishments being proposed.

Another thing to watch out for is people who tell you that a punishment dynamic is automatically a part of any D/s relationship, because it’s not. Lots of people - possibly even the majority - don’t include formal punishments in their dynamic, and talk things over or express disapproval rather than picking up a paddle or a whip.

You’re free to put a limit in place for play but agree that it’s on the table for punishment, or you can put a limit in place that is a limit in all situations. You’re free to refuse to consent to being punished at all. If some Dom doesn’t like that, then they’re not the Dom for you.

Giving up control is not an all-or-nothing thing. It’s up to you - and the person who is accepting control - to mutually determine the scope and limits of the control you give up. You can still have delightfully extensive areas in which you give up control, while fencing off the areas you’re not going to consent to. And that includes what you don't consent to be used as a form of punishment.

Remember that most of us that live a heathy BDSM dynamic have rules to live by and we have fun in exploring O/our kinks and sexuality as part of the relationship that involve potentially dangerous acts can be done safe, sane and consensual. Have fun responsibly.

Master James

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