Monday, April 7, 2008

Edge play

Limits .. hard, soft…. medium? Imprecise catchphrases used to create a false sense of security … facile explanations that ostensibly delineate an individual’s psychological barriers and physical realities.

I am often amused at the eagerness with which the concept of “limits” is embraced. How creating a finite “list” somehow ensures personal emotional and physical safety. When the reality is that limits are there to be pushed, exceeded, broken down. Limits are in essence merely a starting point, beyond which lie monsters … monsters which we embrace.

I do not deny the necessity of clearly defining limits – but the bottom line is that any self-respecting dom will inevitably – but hopefully carefully and with great restraint – PUSH a submissive (or bottom) beyond those limits.

Although an inveterate list-maker myself, creating a “list” for my limits strikes me as amusing – for ultimately, no matter what my limits, I know the inevitability of having them pushed, expanded and destroyed, thus creating such a “list” would be an exercise in futility.

I suppose it is all in the context.

Should you choose to “play” (another euphemism I find irritating and imprecise), it does make sense to have something concrete with which to negotiate as in many scenarios the participants are not familiar with each other and thus unaware of the individual’s personal kinks and, more importantly, hang-ups.

The reality is that many participants in kink enjoy multiple partners, social events and intimate parties where it would foolhardy indeed to venture into a scene without giving the top a very good idea of just how far you care to go – and what indeed is absolutely off-limits. Ultimately, this type of set-up necessitates a clear indication of likes, dislikes and absolutes – otherwise there can be issues.

Kink play can be not only physically demanding and potentially dangerous but the intensity of certain actions and the way in which a person reacts can be devastating emotionally. There is a place that a bottom goes when certain buttons are pushed, when experiencing certain tweaks, that if handled incorrectly can cause major emotional damage.

The reality is that physical harm can usually be dealt with; our bodies are remarkably resilient and with exceptions (of course) will eventually repair itself, but pushing somehow beyond where they have clearly indicated they do not wish to go; involving someone into a scene in which they have indicated they find potentially disturbing; in short, a top choosing to indulge his or her own kinks a the expense of the bottom is a betrayal and unacceptable. Lasting psychological harm can be done to somehow who from past experience – sometimes rooted in childhood – CANNOT tolerate certain actions or scenarios.

The reality is that limits are not set in stone. Newcomers need to carefully evaluate and consider their honest reactions to certain activities and most of all, start of SLOW. Experienced kinksters have a moral imperative to introduce newcomers carefully, maintaining a constant awareness of unvocalized and vocalized reactions, reading cues, acting and reacting accordingly.

The concept, however, of “limits” for those of us in long-term relationships, where the roles are intrinsic and not roles at all but who we are, is ultimately self-defeating and pointless. Because it’s not play. It’s real.

No matter what my limits, I know he will push them.

No matter what the limits, I know he will manipulate them.

No matter what the limits, I know he will hammer them, destroy them, reduce them to so much rubble …

and in so doing, somehow make me like it in the doing .. somehow make me crave it in the doing, somehow make me want it, in the doing.

I have gone places I would have once thought I would never have gone. I have internalized experiences that once would have left me frightened and emotionally distraught.

What I find fascinating is that the human spirit is so incredibly complicated, so multi-faceted and quirky that with the breaking of each new limit, there are a myriad of reactions that create such a cacophony of emotion that like an addict, you reach beseechingly for more …

and another limit is smashed.

today, my throat aches …


Buffalo said...

Interesting subject. It seems to me, stress on the "seems," setting a list of limits is similar to making rules for a game. Perhaps, on the other hand, limits are the difference between sub and slave.

selkie said...

I'm not sure if I agree with that; but then I will probably offend some people as I find the entire concept of "slave" invalid - if endearing.

The reality is that there is NO slavery at least in North America and Europe (I know it still goes on - for real - in certain regions in the Middle East and in parts of Africa)

I understand and accept that some individuals perceive their service as 'slavery"and more power to them if that is what they want; BUT, but the reality is that if for SOME reason they chose to walk away- they COULD - becuase under the law slavery is not allowed here! (which brings up a whole OTHER discussion - who has the power and control??)

But in the context of your remark, you're correct - a self-perceived 'slave" would indeed see his or her limits as non-existent when it comes to their Master- and entirely UP to their Master.

I guess I tend to think that with the exeption of a very disturbed individual, ultimately, everyone has SOME limits - as the nature of the human species is to survive - and except for the above-noted reasons, I think MOST individuals would have death as a limit!

Buffalo said...

The term "slave," as commonly used in BD/SM circles, bears little resemblence in reality to the true meaning of the term.

Slaves do exist in North America. There are men and women that have been stripped of every vestige of freedom and reduced to a point they can only endure - or not.

The debate over who actually has the power in a D/S relationship will probably never be resolved. Pehaps it comes down to whomever, when faced with a choice between compliance and the other walking away, acceeds to the demands of the other.