The Pathway To ‘Magic’ – The Space Between Soft & Hard Limits

As I sit down to write this post, I’m finding it hard to put words to express what my experience of ‘magic’ is — that special something that the submissive and I experience in mind-blowing BDSM play. In some ways, words won’t ever do justice to something that has to be lived to fully comprehend it’s all-encompassing brilliance.

So the question remains, what can I put words to?

The pathway to the magic” says my subconscious.

As I think back to what has been the most magical play experiences, they all have one common thread. It’s when the submissive and I broke through into the space between her (and at times my own) soft and hard limits. And not just pushing the limits, but taking them to their absolute limit — to the ‘edge’. It’s where we reduce the fine line between ‘Oh my God’ and ‘this all too much’ to mere millimeters.

Let’s explore soft and hard limits, but first, consent in regard to limits.

CONSENT 

Consent is a two-way street which helps navigate soft and hard limits and both the submissive/bottom and top/Dom retain both responsibility to communicate honestly about what they are feeling, thinking and wanting. They both have the ability to give and withdraw consent – at any time for any reason. In my opinion, unhealthy communication regarding consent and negotiation hinders the path to the magic. Examples of this would be where a submissive may say “just go ahead and do whatever you want to me, and I’ll let you know after if you went too far” and a Dom may say “once we start there’s nothing you can say to stop me, and I’ll go as far as I want”. 

You’ll hear submissives who enjoy Consensual Non Consent (CNC) bragging about how they have no limits and no power, because they have given it all to their Dom. You’ll hear Dominants boasting how their submissive has no limits and they can do anything they want to them. It’s misleading, fuelled by ego, and I don’t completely buy it. Neither should you.

Usually, what they’re really saying is that they have total trust in their partner and over time they’ve built up a kind of telepathic awareness in the relationship, so extensive verbal communication and negotiation isn’t as necessary anymore. This is a great place to be within a D/s dynamic.

You never hear CNC people saying “I feel totally unsafe with my partner and that’s hot”. They always feel safe, and the reason for that is that they trust that there is communication and it is being respected.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re communicating with negotiated safe words, normal conversation, body language or telepathy, if you trust that communication is effective and you are safe with your partner, then there is responsibility and consent.

SOFT & HARD LIMITS

Limits and consent are intrinsically linked. Another word which has been interchanged with limits is ‘boundaries’. You don’t need to sit down and draft out some kind of written agreement on limits, but everyone has the right to refuse to consent to anything and stating that something is a limit (especially a hard limit) is basically a shorthand way of refusing that consent upfront.

Hard Limits (or Off Limits) are those things that a person will not do under any circumstances. They exist for things that will change that person’s self-perception negatively (such as evoking shame or disgust), cause emotional pain, cause physical pain that they do not even want to experiment with or bring about consequences they couldn’t live with.

Common hard limits are scat, blood and intentional cutting of the skin, but every person has the right to set their own limits, to state and enforce them, and to have them respected. 

It’s important to note you can even include certain words as hard limits. Quite a few submissives I have played with have had traumatic experiences in their past where certain words such as ‘slut’ now have a negative association with them. If certain words trigger negative feelings and thoughts, vocalise that when you are negotiating play with someone as dirty talk is hot but while triggered by a word that pulls you out of your groove is not.

Soft Limits (or Conditional Limits) are limits that we might agree to adjust, modify or re-negotiate with the right person, at the right time, in the right place or in the right circumstances. Anal sex and caning are common soft limits. In the right circumstances they might be hot, but not with someone you don’t have a significant level of trust and intimacy with.

RESPECT AND NON-JUDGEMENT

Regardless of how hard, soft, malleable, elastic or otherwise limits are, it’s up to the person who set them to determine when with whom or whether they want to “push it”. When a submissive communicates they are not willing or interested in a certain thing, it’s the responsibility of a Dom to respect that. 

Great Dominants not only respect that, but they don’t judge the submissive on their limits. Even if they ask questions to understand the submissive better, they meet the clear communication of boundaries and anything communicated about them with gratitude. 

Respect is also a two-way street so conversely if a Dom has limits, it’s up to the sub to respect them too. I have heard stories of where a Dom has expressed a limit and the sub has ridiculed them and called them ‘weak’ — this is highly disrespectful and if you want to have your limits respected without being judged, then return the curtesy.

BENDING THE BOUNDARIES

Sometimes, limits are not clear and are a bit of a grey zone. For example, a submissive may love the idea of being flogged, but not know how far they can go in that scene with a particular Dominant — especially if it’s their first time playing together. That’s a form of soft limit, and again it comes down to responsibility and consent. Consent for this example flogging scene with the submissive would be conditional on (verbal or non-verbal) communication prior to and during the scene. They would trust that when the limit becomes clearer as the scene progresses and is communicated it will be respected. Dominants should, without fail and to the best of their ability, not break this trust.

When the submissive is communicating honestly and proactively via verbal and non-verbal means, this ensures the Dominant is understanding when consent is given and withdrawn.

To ensure that the submissive’s trust is not broken and is enjoying the play, the Dominant will respect and react accordingly to the withdrawal of consent during a scene. A good Dominant will also proactively check in with the submissive at intervals to make 100% sure that everything is going smoothly – especially when the Dominant wants to increase the intensity/force of an activity (eg flogging). This is especially important when playing with a submissive for the first time. A great Dominant though can check in with a submissive without breaking their ‘subspace’ and the flow of the scene. 

The pathway to magic lies in the zone between soft and hard limits. 

THE MAGIC HAPPENS

The submissive surrenders more control while the Dominant leads the submissive into ‘more’ and ‘deeper’.

Play intensifies, impact increases in force, bondage restricts more, dirty talk gets hotter, spankings are harder, levels of arousal start to peak, hearts beat harder, endorphins increase, subspace deepens, Domspace is heightened, taboos are shattered, time fades away, trust is strengthened, intimacy grows and sex is yummier.

The Dom and sub definitely know they have experienced the magic because when the play session is over, it feels like they have literally been on a journey. They have gone ‘somewhere’ together previously uncharted — emotionally, psychologically, physically and sometimes spiritually. The process of aftercare is where they ‘come back’. To me, this is magical and it’s what I crave when I play.

Who is ready to co-create some magic? I know I am!

Contact me to make it happen as bliss awaits.

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