New things and new paths are both exciting and nerve-wracking. They have the potential to go gloriously right but also painfully wrong. Of course, the goal is to have things go as expected, but as anyone can tell you, that is never a guarantee. All we can do is our best and hopefully, learn from our mistakes along the way, avoid trama, and find our limits.
Sadly, exploring kink can be a minefield of unexpected trauma. Trauma occurs when something goes terribly wrong and can be an unfortunate side effect of our personal exploration. How do you find out what doesn’t work for you without crossing the line into damage? Today’s column comes courtesy of a reader that is just starting on their kinky journey and has not yet established limits and boundaries—after all, how do you know what your limits are if you haven’t done anything yet? Is it possible to gauge limits without coming up hard against them? Let’s find out!
“I am new to kink and have been listening to your podcast and now I have a question. Kink is all about consent and boundaries, so when you’re new to it, how do you tell someone what your hard and soft limits are if your experiences are very limited?
My husband and I are trying to explore and we find ourselves saying “I don’t know” quite a bit. How do you find out what you are into without possibly causing trauma or doing any psychological damage to your partner?”—No Trauma Please
Your questions and concerns are good ones NTP, and it gives me hope that you have taken the time to consider such things. Not everyone does. Newbie frenzy is a thing that affects many when they first start exploring kink, and that frenzy can make it harder to think one’s actions through. Cannonballing into the deep end, as satisfying as it may be, significantly increases the chances of something going wrong. The fact that you are considering possible implications significantly decreases the chances of something going wrong between you and your spouse.
But it does not eliminate them.
Kink Itself Is An Exploration Of Limits
Kink at its core is the edgy and dangerous side of sexual exploration. That, in a nutshell, is the appeal of kink. Edgy is why we decided to get on the ride in the first place. Everyone wants the thrill of the roller coaster, nobody wants it to go off the rails. Unfortunately, sometimes coasters do jump the tracks and we have to deal with the repercussions.
We usually find our limits by trying something and realizing it doesn’t work for us. At least most of the time. You might not need to try chocolate syrup wrestling with your spouse dressed up as Willy Wonka to know that it is a personal limit for you, but for things we are not entirely sure about? Generally, we need to experience something to decide if we want to keep it on the table of options. Sometimes we try something and end up really not liking it. These things happen, it is just part of the journey.
The Kink Roller Coaster Can Be Intense
Where it gets tricky, as you say, is when things go wrong causing trauma or psychological damage. I am not going to sugarcoat it. You have a right to be concerned about such things. The kink roller coaster is intense and that is why we got on it in the first place. Buy the ticket, take the ride. Hang on. It is bound to be interesting.
In your case, you are actually in an ideal situation. You are in a safe and thoughtful space with your spouse. You trust each other, you are learning together, and you have already taken the time to consider possible unwanted complications. It really doesn’t get much better than that. Many people don’t have those advantages when they first start off and often have to learn the hard way.
Go slow. Have open lines of communication and a clearly defined safe word. Do scene breakdowns afterward and discuss what did and did not work for you both. The odds that trauma or psychological damage is going to happen between the two of you are exceedingly low. It isn’t zero, but like with everything else we do in life, it is risk assessment. Is the desired payoff worth the risk? If it is, move forward.
Do Your Homework
Another thing I would suggest is doing your homework. Odds are you can find a local dungeon or play space that offers classes. If not, you’re in luck because most classes are available online right now. Classes are a great way to dip your toes into different kinks in a safe structured environment. Additionally, you can watch porn with your spouse to see of there are things that peak your curiosity and make you want to explore them. There is porn out there that covers almost every conceivable fetish.
Notice your reaction to different things while in a class or watching porn. Sometimes you have a visceral reaction to something and say “I never in my life want to do that” or you might find yourself thinking “That is super sexy and I want to try it later.” Either way, both of these options are great ways to vicariously experience what kink has to offer so you can start building your Hot and Not list.
Have A Contingency Plan
Finally, making sure you have an established plan to address things going wrong before they actually happen is a very useful safety net to have. If the two of you accidentally end up in trauma territory, knowing that there is already protocol and a plan in place will do both of you a world of good. Exactly what a “things have gone wrong, here is how we will address it” plan looks like will vary from person to person and only you and your husband will know what will work best for your situation.
Based on the thought and care with which you are currently approaching your explorations, I am not too concerned that trauma is going to be much of a factor in your exploration. Welcome to the kinky side of things! Come on it, the water is fine and you don’t have to wrestle Willy Wonka unless you really want to.
Keep it Kinky My Friends,
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