Discussing the limits

The genre of BDSM has become popular for romance readers, especially stories about Domination and submission. Things which were once taboo have become more acceptable to read about.

When I developed my storyline for the series, I didn’t want my heroine to be inexperienced.  Many D/s books have the heroine as innocent or naive about their sexual awakening or for those who are sexually active, they are unaware or unsure of their submissive traits, perhaps even in denial. In many books, the heroine is not a submissive and meeting the dominant is a romantic journey, which results in the failure of the D/s element but the success of  their love, as if love can only be accomplished if they forgo the roles of Dominant and submissive.

My heroine is a submissive from the beginning. She knows she is, she was trained and sought out others like her.  Aware of her sexual abilities, she is confident and independent.  Neither the Dominant or the submissive want to relinquish their natural tendencies when they seek out relationships, instead it is how far they are prepared to take the D/s dynamic. This is where the story travels; it is about how the Dominant chooses to shape and mould her and how much she is willing to surrender to him.

With experience comes the negotiation. A submissive is not a blank slate, they have to give consent and provide the ground rules for where they are willing to take their submission. Limits form part of that discussion and here is an excerpt showing the exchange as Gemma realises her new Dominant is vastly more experienced than her previous ones.


I had taken on a different persona for him, my sassy and self-assured one. She knew what she liked and had the experience to keep her advantage in the conversation. When it came to dictating my tastes, preferences and limits, he had no say in the matter. As a good dominant he listened, questioned and acknowledged what he heard. Once all was agreed he was in charge and I would let him do as he wished. I created the a la carte menu; he would pick the dishes.

I thought, in hindsight, he liked my bolshie approach. He certainly smiled a great deal during the proceedings.

I had told him absolutely no piercing, bloodletting nor electric play.  Public humiliation was a no for me too. “I assume privacy is important to you Jason,” I had pointed out.

He had smiled wryly. “Depends on your definition of public,” and he left his enigmatic remark at that.

I curled my legs up underneath my feet and we moved on.

“Nettles?” he had asked, eyebrows raised.

“They make a nice soup I believe,” I replied impertinently.

“Ah, bloody, ah!”

“Well I sat on some for a few minutes once,” I recollected with a grimace.


“It fucking hurt, what do you think, that’s what,” I paused. “I could try again,” I ventured with a grin.

“Good,” he was pleased with that response.

“Why the keenness?”

“Very useful for training subs who like to masturbate without permission,” he smirked.

“I will endeavour to avoid that then,” I retorted.

“The training or the masturbation?” he queried twirling the pen through his long fingers.

“Both perhaps,” I teased.

“I wouldn’t have thought you needed the training, a good quality sub like yourself.”

I was not sure if that was a genuine compliment. Face back to impassive. Damn, he gave nothing sometimes.

“Who knows, you’re rapidly over stimulating my senses as we speak.”

That last comment was true, I was seriously struggling down below.

Pen poised, “In that case, moving on. Menthol?”

“Fuck no! Can we draw a line under irritants? My experience of chemical play is limited and I don’t want to go there with you until we’re more familiar with each other. Your predecessors weren’t that experienced or capable.”

We discussed bondage, something I was more familiar with and happy to explore with him.

“Generally I liked pretty much anything. Apart from hanging upside down. No batman.” I really could not cope with the blood rushing to my head.

“Shouldn’t that be batgirl?” he retorted. “Ropes OK. What about bondage tape?”

“If you want mummification you can go to the British Museum,” I suggested.

“What if I don’t cover your head?”

“Mmmmm.  Not sure. Let’s see if I cope with your rope play before we go exotic and Egyptian style bondage.”

“Water bondage?”

Crikey!  Never been there before. “No experience. Ambivalence is what I’m feeling. Doesn’t that have more to do with breath play?”

“Breath control plays a big role. How do you feel about me controlling your breathing?”

“Ambivalent again. Hands only.  No devices or tubes.  Choking is out though I don’t mind my neck been held tightly.  Some manhandling is OK.  Soft limit.” I was thinking aloud more than anything.

“That’s a lot of ambivalence Gem,” he noted.

“You’re way more experienced than me Jason, you’re going to have to be patient and guide me.  I don’t mind trying stuff out as long as you keep safe-words in play.”

“I’m not playing without safe-words Gemma,” he reassured.

I did not think he minded my ambivalence. It pushed the issue of my soft limits into his arena, for him to decide on and in all honesty, it was what I preferred in a relationship. However, my hard limits, which were borne out of phobias and impenetrable fears, were for the foreseeable future, untouchable.

I asked him politely, if he had any hard limits. He smiled at my question, thanked me for asking and then implied there was nothing he had not tried. He thought it unlikely I would get near his hard limits.

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