This is a guest post by MermaidHooked.

The scene is built upon personal limitations and the ability to be self-aware in the midst of dangerous situations we willingly put ourselves in for the goal of receiving and giving pleasure. Finding and voicing limits can often be the most daunting part of the BDSM lifestyle. It can be intimidating at first when you are new to the scene. I can recall my early days when my response to “what are your limits?” sounded something like “no kids, no animals, otherwise, I’m good.” The recollections that I have about my early negotiations came across as minimal, uneducated, and insincere due to the fact that I had no idea what my limits were. In those days I was more concerned with being liked and getting play than being honest with myself about what I really wanted. Discovering limits is almost as innocuous and confusing as exploring the kinks and fetishes we do want to play with.

Some limits may be obvious to an individual. Some are not so obvious. My personal mantra when it comes to limits or certain aspects of play I’m not initially thrilled with is “try it three times.” When I realized I didn’t like something I owed it to myself to know why I didn’t like it instead of discarding it in an instant. I have a methodical brain, and when I am met with an element of play I’m not in love with I need to know why in order to process, and learn more about my reactions and feelings.

One example of this phenomenon would be my first experience with the violet wand. At first, I had a curiosity to know what it felt like, and when I finally experienced it I found the feeling annoying. It got under my skin and reminded me of the tickling I received as a child that I so much hated. Even though my first encounter wasn’t heaven, I was still open to the idea of trying it again in another setting, with another person. Sometimes the use of a toy, idea, roleplay, etc. can be unsatisfactory not because of the implement but because of the person, the environment, or the energy of the scene.

Taking my advice I tried the violet wand again in a completely new setting, with new purpose, and with new energy for an electric branding. The branding had a completely new feeling than the harsh electrical prickling of the violent wand in its original form. Instead of a direct contact buzz, the violet want was used to transfer electricity through my body, and the man who branded me used a metal tool to etch stars into my flesh. It was such a transcendental experience. I couldn’t imagine loving the violet wand before this experience, but it was used in a mind altering way that utterly changed my perspective on it entirely.

Recalling the last time I came into contact with a violet wand, my third try, had more of a lighthearted mood. It tickled! It tickled mercilessly, but instead of resisting, I gave into the ridiculous feeling of electricity striking my skin. I giggled, laughed, and howled from the pulsing electric tickles! It may have appeared to those outside of the scene that I was severely harmed by the touch of the violet wand, but by the end of our play I was panting, and sighing like a child after a tickle fight.

This last experience was so unlike the others. My first contact with the violet wand was triggering, and rather close-minded. My second experience was mood altering and beautiful. Thirdly I decided to let go completely and give into the terrible tickling sensation that I have grown to both hate and love! My personal experience with finding and expressing limits has been eye-opening and illuminating. I have come to terms with so many ways to embrace and reject experiences I’ve encountered by doing so with an open mind and heart. I believe that is most important when I can be honest with myself about what I want in a scene and what I absolutely do not want. By knowing with certainty what is a limit I am more comfortable to discuss them with potential partners.

Limits can manifest themselves in many different ways. I truly believe that we grow from our experiences in the lifestyle by how we are able to experience and process them with an open mind. I tend to be more open-minded than I was 5 years ago when I entered the scene. I believe that my kinks have varied all through those 5 years. Many experiences that I had pegged as limits my first year are what I enjoy most about my BDSM scenes today.

-MermaidHooked is a writer, poet, burlesque performer, and adventurer. Michigan kinkster, submissive sadomasochist.