always get a kick out of guys who tell me they have no
limits. Everyone has limits, even those fools who think
the other hand, I tend to avoid those Leather folk who
have limits to every thing imaginable. Sorry, Honey, or
whatever your name is, your paranoia is getting in the
way of having fun.
one exception to my no-limit laughing is when it comes
to a real slave with a real Master. I'm delusional enough
to think that slaves ought not to have any limits, at
least that's what I tell Patrick from the privacy of my
bed. But Patrick can afford to be limitless on the sole
condition that his Master respects his own (meaning the
Master's) limits. After all, in this case the limits of
the one safe-guard the other.
sometimes think I don't have any limits. It's probably
some macho-control thing in my subconscious. I do have
them, of course. I have lots of them. Many are health-related,
such as the safer sex things. Some are simply derived
from common sense, others from experience.
are personal, based simply on preference, while others
are rooted in morals, laws, or, frankly, just the desire
to keep my good reputation.
health-related ones are easily derived from a talk with
your doctor or a visit to a place like Howard Brown or
the Test Positive Awareness Network. It's mostly a matter
of research, though there are some real gray areas where
no amount of scientific investigation is going to give
you one of those nice, clear-cut, black and white answers.
is like that, you know. And life's ambiguities creep into
limits as much as they do into the stock market and Chicago
first off, don't fool yourself into thinking you have
all the answers. 'Cause if you do, you'll find yourself
wrong more than once. On the other hand, it doesn't help
to be so anal-retentive, paranoid, and closed-minded that
you're all bent out of shape. This is life. This is the
way it is. Doing your best is always good enough.
is, unfortunately, no such thing as a safe bet. So set
your limits to ones that are realistic, healthy, and commonly
accepted among Leather folk of good repute.
lies a clue to good limits. Seeking information from more
experienced Leather folks will help to insure that your
limits are good ones. Don't be afraid to ask. We're always
ready to give opinions.
of course, leads to the next idea. Ask. Before you get
out the door with a prospective date, find out what their
limits are. Just knowing whether they've even bothered
to think about them holds an indication of whether or
not you want to play with them.
person who doesn't know his or her limits probably doesn't
have much Leather experience. Now there's nothing wrong
with that, as novices are quite often lots of fun, but
at least you'll know that they are novices and you'll
be able to plan and proceed accordingly.
are good that they're not ready of a night of blood sports,
raunch, or scat. Here it's always best to find someone
whose limits match yours. That makes for the best sex
and the best SM.
you know what your limits are? Have you given thought
to what is safe sex, to how much pain you can endure,
to how much bondage (and for how long) you want, or exactly
which fetishes you will bring out a resounding "No?"
Leather sex is based on planning, on reflection, on having
the right information before you need it.
limits go both ways.
on I was surprised to find out that I had limits when
it comes to giving pain. Now the receiving side of the
equation is pretty easy to understand, but since there
is no pain on the giving side, it's a little harder. For
me it meant over-coming some feelings I had about sadism
and about accepting the fact that what I was doing was
see, just because my partner may want to go somewhere
doesn't mean that I can, or want, to take him there. In
this case it's up to me to say no.
is an important idea. Not only are we free to say no,
we probably should say no whenever we feel like it. There
is nothing wrong with having limits. It doesn't make you
any less of a person, a partner, or a member of the Leather
operative word in the last paragraph is "feel." Sometimes
it's not a bad idea to go by one's gut instincts. If something
doesn't feel right, don't do it. Better have missed one
experience than to have a bad one.
limits that have something to do with health or preference
are probably easily derived and understood. Other limits
have to be more thought out, though for most of us that's
not a big problem. After all, most of us know whether
or not we want to be flogged to blood or fisted to the
can be learned. When we're new to the scene it's difficult
to know what we like or don't. Unfortunately we usually
have pretty poor imaginations and can't see ourselves
ever doing such and such. My philosophy has always been
to try something at least once. Having the experience
of it is the best indication of whether I want to do it
again or not.
if you find yourself in a situation that pushes you too
far, you can always just say "Stop."
people aren't like me, as if that's something that's not
obvious. So they start with great caution and only over
time to their limits change.
strange to think that now my limits have to do more with
avoiding boring situations rather than dangerous ones.
That's mostly because there really are few actually dangerous
things in the Leather world. At least our world is no
more dangerous than that of any other culture.
in point: Dahmer didn't pick up Leatherfolk for dinner.
He picked up men who were drunk enough to ride a bus to
Milwaukee with him.
brings me to one of my real limits: alcohol. Sex and drinking
don't mix. If your prospective partner is drunk, find
another date. And likewise, if you're under the influence,
go home alone, in a cab.
you see, are mostly common sense and preference. They're
relative, too, since how far you're going to go depends
a great deal on whom you're with. Trust, after all, can
lower your limits pretty quickly.
make sure you can live with yourself and your conscience
the next morning.
2000 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied
in any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay,
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