Exploring Kink – setting boundaries and saying no

When listening to couples talk about their process into kink, every couple has a unique path, rules, and boundaries. The road is often bumpy, you won’t have the answers right away because you’re forging your path and making adjustments as you go along. There are often more no’s than yes’s. It’s okay to say no to an activity or a feeling that comes up, both partners have the full right and responsibility to know their limits and honor them. Setting boundaries and saying no when exploring kink is the way to ensure your relationship remains strong.

While many who venture into the world of Kink take to the saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained” your partnership should be kept in the highest regards, and if one partner isn’t comfortable or has a gut feeling something doesn’t feel right, both partners will immediately stop what they’re doing and respect that.

One of the biggest misconceptions with exploring BDSM, Kink, Alternative Lifestyles, is that one person makes all the decisions (the Dom/Top) and the other person follows them without any argument or discussion.

Many incorrectly think the submissive/bottom isn’t supposed to question any decisions the Top makes because the Top is leading them through a kinky sexual experience. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When exploring kink, setting boundaries is important and you should say no as much as you say yes. While it’s common to be nervous and uncertain about what might happen, when you do say yes it should be something that makes you feel like you’re enjoying doing it.

In fact, if you want any chance at enjoying what Kink has to offer, both sides should equally enjoy whatever it is you’re doing. Kink is an umbrella term for many things sexual – role play, voyeurism, bondage, pegging, golden showers, adult nursing relationships, hentai.  Some couples may test the waters, ease into it and act out porn scenes, others may fantasize about a threesome, or they successfully have threesomes for a while  and then explore swinging.

The key word here is successfully. To be successful at introducing kink into your partnership there needs to be discussions, honest inner reflection and boundaries.

Couple in bed together

Here are some of the most common discussions about the entry into alternative lifestyles I’ve heard from couples:

It took us 2 years of constant re-evaluation before we finally decided to open up our marriage and start exploring with other people.

We almost went through a divorce before we decided to try an open marriage. When we finally decided to open up our sex life it saved our marriage. It was our last resort. We’re both happier now.

She feels 100% confident and knows without a doubt I’m going to come home to her tonight. She doesn’t worry about me leaving her to raise the kids or falling for someone else.

Here are some of the most common boundaries I’ve heard couples discuss:

We only ever see someone together, or we do it when we’re out of town and traveling. We never venture out in our home town.

We have never had a threesome or invited anyone into our bedroom that we knew personally. We only hire professionals or we pick someone up at a bar when we’re on vacation.

He only watches. If we invite a third female, she’s for me. He never touches anyone else.

When we go to sex clubs it’s strictly for voyeurism, she likes it when people watch, but we never touch anyone else.

Disrespect is out. Neither of us ever disrespect the other person and as soon as we feel like something like that is happening, we stop everything we’re doing and talk about it.

If either of us ask for details, the other person tells them EVERYTHING they want to know. Without hesitation.

Kissing is out. We only kiss each other and we never kiss anyone else.

Jealousy is something we still have to work through, even though it’s been 10 years. I blocked my partner on my FetLife account because it drove them crazy having the temptation to troll my pictures, and although I do everything I can to reassure them, and they know no one else is a threat, jealousy doesn’t just go away.

Some of these comments may strike a hard-no cord in you, and that’s totally okay. That’s why it’s so important to discuss and honor you and your partners needs.

Boundaries and saying no is important when exploring kink. 

When you’re beginning to explore different sexual avenues you may not even know what your sexual boundaries are. You may be deep into an experience and realize it’s not really a turn on after all. At this point, it’s important you don’t just power through. This is one of the reasons you should talk before, during and after an experience, especially if it’s a new activity. You do not need to be quiet and just go along with the flow if you aren’t enjoying it. That doesn’t serve either of you and you’ll likely hesitate trying it again.

This is particularly important for the submissive partner, regardless if they’re male or female. The person handing over control is vulnerable and may feel like they’re expected to be nice, say yes, and do what the other person wants since they’re calling the shots. That is not the case at all.

How to set boundaries. 

Make lists – of activities that you may be interested in; the hard-nos; the soft-nos; and the maybes. And start small. If you’re starting with role-play, there is no need to make a list about activities you won’t be doing this time because covering everything can be overwhelming and become a barrier to even starting. Just talk about what may come up during the role-play, such as name calling (it may turn one partner on and the other not so much). Think about what actually does turn you on (and off), and reasons it turns you on (or off), and discuss it.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, its completely fine to re-assess. Talking about your experience afterwards is one of the most valuable parts of the experience. Go over what worked, and what didn’t. You may have discovered something turned you on more than you expected and you want to explore it further next time, or you may realize certain activities really didn’t do it for you at all. Discussing your experience is the way you’ll navigate into this phase together knowing works for both of you, and is how to ensure your relationship becomes stronger for it.

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