Recently I was having lunch with two friends, Laura and Bri. Both ladies happened to be single at that moment, one just having come out of a long term relationship. They were both exploring and enjoying their time as sensual and sexual beings, and had their fair share of sexual partners over the past weeks.
“I’ve had just about enough of all these guys groping me” Laura complained. “They try to get into my pants or push for sex when I am not ready yet. It doesn’t matter if I tell them that I don’t want to be touched in this way, that they are too pushy, or that I don’t want to be penetrated.”
Bri rolled her eyes in agreement.
“I mean”, Laura continued, “they aren’t assholes, I don’t think they have bad intentions, and they are not trying to force themselves on me. But their horniness either makes them deaf, or turns their brains into mush so they don’t seem to really hear what I am saying.”
“Or they think you don’t mean it”, Bri added.
“They just keep trying in different ways. I am so fed up with it.” Laura sighed. “They don’t seem to realize how important it is for me to trust them. How can I trust him if he can’t respect my boundaries and totally gets lost in what his cock is telling him?”
“If you want a guy to understand boundaries”, Bri said, “try sticking a finger up his ass.”
Expressing your boundaries takes guts
What I have experienced during my gigolo sessions and also in my private sex life is that it is very difficult for many people, including me at times, to express their boundaries AND be true to these. Expressing your boundaries makes you feel very vulnerable. It seems that many of us have a pleaser in us that wants to keep or make another person, lover or partner happy. We don’t want to upset the other, which makes it difficult to say “no” or state boundaries. We are afraid to reject just as much as we are afraid to be rejected.
We don’t seem to realize that setting a boundary and saying “no” is an act of love and honesty. If you do so, you are true to yourself and also true to your partner.
At times it can be good to investigate your boundaries and consciously cross them a little. As long as you are in a safe situation with someone and you feel an intrinsic longing to see what is on the other side of your boundary, there is no harm in that. But it has to be your decision, and not someone else’s. In most cases, when someone else crosses your boundaries, even if this is someone that loves you, your wellbeing is not the first thing on their mind, but rather their own longings or needs, or if it plays out in the bedroom, their horniness.
Just as my friend Laura said, most people don’t cross another person’s boundaries because they have bad intentions. It is much more likely that they are unaware of what is actually happening, or that they underestimate the importance of it.
It takes two to tango.
When someone crosses your boundaries - not taking into account extreme cases likephysical assault or emotional abuse, when someone is actually consciously hurting you - you are, to a certain extent, enabling the other to cross your boundaries. If someone is unaware of what they are doing, it helps immensely if the other is very clear and direct about what is happening. And if all else fails and the other keeps trying to cross your boundaries, (semi)consciously or unconsciously, it is up to you to stop the action and remove yourself from the situation.
Sure, it sucks big time to do this. You may feel bad about yourself, tell yourself you are overreacting. But you also drew the line and made your words and boundaries count. If you feel bad about this, check within yourself if it’s because you actually wanted to cross this boundary? Or is it because you are afraid that the other is hurt, feels rejected, doesn’t love or respect you that much anymore, or that it will have lasting negative consequences on your relationship with this person?
Of course the latter can very well be the case. If so, ask yourself that if someone can’t appreciate you for respecting your own boundaries, is that really a person you want to keep close in your life or be intimate with? What is more important to you: your relationship with yourself, or with someone else?
In most cases however, you don’t have to worry about this. Setting boundaries in the bedroom can be very straightforward. If you do it in a clear way, and train yourself to keep speaking up in the moment about what feels right for you and what does not, you will experience soon enough that doing so can actually create a stronger, safer, more intimate and connected bond with your partner. You can also ask your partner to express their boundaries.
Expressing boundaries and desires creates safety and juicy sexual play
A good reason to express both your boundaries as well as your desires before getting intimate is that it makes the framework of your sexual play more clear. This makes it less scary for the both of you to try out new things within this framework. Just like expressing your boundaries and saying no is scary because you are afraid to reject the other, trying out new things is scary because you may be rejected.
When you discuss both boundaries and desires before your sexual play, you may open up a safe space for the both of you in which you can sexually explore yourselves and each other.
Expressing your boundaries and desires is a dynamic thing. You can express them beforehand, during and even discuss them afterwards. When you are exploring new sexual interactions, you may sometimes discover a boundary or a desire that you did not know existed. When this happens, it is a great gift to both you and your partner if you can express this immediately. Expressing your newfound desire afterwards is okay too of course. But expressing your newly discovered boundary afterwards, when it has already been breached, is a bad idea. Even though it may seem easier to tell after, as you may still be getting used to this new boundary in the moment or you think you should stick to the boundaries you expressed at the start, speaking up immediately is better. If that is too hard, you can at least take a break so you can feel into the situation. When you express it afterwards, you have not only violated yourself and your own boundaries, but you have also taken away the possibility for your partner to adapt to the new situation.