Let’s talk about sexual boundaries folks… even if you are not in a sexual relationship or if you're never been in a sexual relationship, understanding your own sexual boundaries can be empowering.
We’re often bombarded with messages about sexual boundaries on one of the two extremes- “yes means yes” and “no means no.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% behind “no means no”...but is it always as simple as “yes means yes?” A very sexually empowering statement, yes...or “YES!” if you will, especially when given with enthusiastic consent. However, we’re not all into the same stuff, we have different comfort levels, different values, needs, desires.
We often don’t think about our sexual boundaries until we find them pushed on. What would it be like to explore our sexual desires, needs, fantasies, dislikes, fears in advance? Exploration can be done on our own, but also, communicating our boundaries with sexual partners is key if you are engaging in sexual practices with others.
What do I want to disclose?
It can be hard to open up to a sexual partner about our fears and fantasies. Some things to think about- What do I like? What do I want to try? Where is the line? How do I share my sexual history? When do I talk about my disability? How does my disability impact my communication?
What are my boundaries around physical intimacy?
We all have varying comfort levels with physical touch or certain sexual practices. We might have strong thoughts regarding safer sex practices. Maybe we’ve tried incorporating spanking or biting with a partner and decided we either do or do not like it.
Privacy and Roles
Will assistance be needed to help set up sexual situations? Will I ask a partner to provide assistance? Is my partner comfortable with assistance? Are there aspects of my disability that impacts my ability to accurately identify privacy?
What are my boundaries around relationships?
You mean there’s more than one type of sexual relationship?! YES! (said enthusiastically) We can write a whole other column on relationship styles, but for the sake of this conversation, we’ll stick to the basics. Am I looking for only monogamous relationships or do I want multiple relationships at one time? What are the parameters of my romantic/sexual relationships? Boundaries may be different from relationship to relationship, and that’s ok.
These are just a few areas to explore when considering your personal sexual boundaries and what you may want to discuss with sexual partners. Included throughout these conversations should be consent. Remember “no means no” and “yes mean yes”? We need to keep in mind that consent can also change. Sometimes “yes” might change to “no”….or a “maybe” might change to “yes.” For this reason, it’s important to stay open to ongoing conversations about boundaries with sexual partners.
For more ideas on different sexual boundaries to explore, see this handy on-line checklist.
Here’s wishing you all enthusiastically consensual, non-coercive, caring, and fun sexual endeavors!