In spite of being an assertive badass, I have a deeply conditioned desire to be “nice.” Compassion is one of  my core values, and I never want to make someone feel bad about themselves.  In other words, I can struggle with boundaries.

More specifically, I can struggle to communicate boundaries—even those I am crystal clear about.  This has led to:

1. Tears and bruising from massages gone wrong,
2. Wanly smiling as someone walks by and grabs my breasts whilst saying “honk!” 
3. Painfully smile/grimacing as some clammy,  overconfident stranger humps my leg on the dance floor like a feral dog. 

And all of that was just out and about in everyday life.

Add sex to the mix and shit gets really complicated. Go to the play party/bedroom/playroom/dungeon….where people are simultaneously at their most vulnerable and least logical (and maybe also a little drunk) and maintaining boundaries becomes incredibly tough.

Enthusiastic consent is ideal when we talk about sexy encounters, But sometimes you get sexually wound up, your logical frontal cortex goes offline and you are being driven Lusty by Lizard Brain. Suddenly cautions are thrown to winds and it’s all going well until…. It isn’t. Or, sometimes anxiety or fear can rob you of your words, making you feel frozen in a situation that you want to run away from…but can’t.

So, how do you stay true to your boundaries in the middle of sex? 

Some limits are clear and easy to communicate: Ouch! Wrong hole! You’re gagging me (in a bad way). Your cock is stabbing my lung.

But what if you are in a sexual situation with a perfectly nice partner who is angling for something you don’t want to do?  How do you tell the wife of a new play partner that you aren’t that into girls? Or, worst of all, how do you tell a potential partner who just took his clothes off, “I don’t want to do this anymore”?

Sometimes our limits surprise us. By definition, sexual adventures contain elements of the unknown… sometimes we don’t even know a line is there until it’s behind us. Or sometimes a “hell yes!” activity with one person is a “fuck NO” with another (Anal? Just me?).

I have found it helpful to have a list of stock responses to nicely say “no.”

Sadly, certain people will press forward in the absence of boundaries, oblivious to the nonverbal signals we may be sending. 

“Use your words” is fine advice…if you have the words ready.  I have found it helpful to have a list of stock responses to nicely say “no”. I literally practice saying them out loud, so that those neural pathways are established and the words come easily when I need them.

Here are some of my favorites:

When you have met them and it’s yes for them and no for you (but they are super nice):

  • I really enjoyed spending time with you tonight! I’m just not feeling the energy between us that I’m looking for right now.
  • It’s such a compliment that you want to meet up again! Thank you. You are very sexy but I’m looking for a different kind of connection right now.

When the sexual experience is generally good, but you don’t like that move so much, or the play has gone on too long:

  • (sultry tone) Hmmm, what would drive me wild right now is…. [either describe what would feel great or move their body and narrate while guiding them what to do].
  • Let’s switch this up a bit
  • Can you do that a lighter please—like a butterfly, my body is very sensitive; or
  • I want you to take a break… what can I do for you?

When it’s generally good, but you REALLY don’t like that move:

  • Hold on a second… that’s uncomfortable/hurts/doesn’t feel good
  • Let’s table that move tonight
  • Sorry, that’s not doing it for me, but I would love…
  • Or just: hey, that’s not my favorite

When the person is good peeps, but their touch is unwelcome:

  • Hey now! What happened to asking first? or
  • Put your hand on the middle of their chest, or take their hand off of you with your hand, get some space between you and say, “No thanks, Sexy, I’m good.”

When someone unwelcome is trying to get in on a good thing or inserting themselves into a situation they are not invited into:

  • “I’m/We’re really enjoying what’s happening among us right now, thanks.”
  • Thank you… we’ll catch up with you later (while shaking your head no).

When someone starts doing something you don’t want while you are distracted with someone else:

  • Put your hand over the parts that are being touched and say “I’m good, thanks” while shaking your head NO
  • Remove your body from the situation and then say: “hey, sorry, but we are really enjoying just playing together, thanks.”

When you need a break:

  • I need a minute to come down
  • I need a  second here to reset

When you need out:

“I’m sorry, I need to take care of something.” Go to the bathroom to get your thoughts together and come out with some clothes on and say: “I’m really sorry to do this, but something is going on that I have to take care of.”

It can be hard to be assertive, especially when there is a risk of making someone feel bad. But you can assert what you want without being a dick. We are NEVER obligated to go along with something that we don’t want or like, and we are the only ones who knows what that is! While we wish others would stop to check in a sexy way, more often than not, we have to take the responsibility to find the words.

Feel free to use my words, or to use them for inspiration to pre-plan your own. 

One Comment
  1. I loved this article! Practicing ways to enforce your boundaries is a great idea. I really don’t want to hurt anyones feelings or cause a scene if it’s not needed, but I’m not willing to throw myself under the bus in order to avoid it. Though sometimes I end up not saying something when I should because of a desire to keep things pleasant. I’m getting better at speaking up but I’ll definitely be taking your advice and practicing some ways to change the direction or get out.

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