(sex)uality: soft & hard limits
Recently, I had a minor television appearance that required me to read Fifty Shades of Grey. It was a tough couple of nights, forcing myself to read the book (though I should say, it actually gets a lot easier to digest the more you read), but overall, I probably wouldn’t repeat the experience.
That said, the novel brought up some interesting ideas for me, in terms of what you are/aren’t willing to do in the bedroom. I know, I know, most of you probably jumped to the thought ‘anal’, right?
I was thinking beyond sexual acts themselves though, to the more obscure elements of sexuality that are often overlooked when it comes to defining what your limits are.
For example, if your sexual partner thought g-strings were ridiculously sexy, would you give yourself a permanent wedgie for them? If your partner preferred the Brazilian look, and you were a full-bush kind of girl, would you consider waxing?
There was a time when I would have thought this was a pretty clear-cut conundrum – of course you shouldn’t change yourself to fit the ideals of another person, no matter how much you want to get dirty with them. The thought of changing the way I dress, or how I groom myself to suit another person’s preferences seemed abhorrent to me.
And I mostly still think this today – within reason. I definitely don’t think that, in a sexual relationship, you should feel you have to change your appearance or habits to suit your partner, and I definitely don’t think you should ever feel pressured to try particular sexual acts if they make you uncomfortable.
That said, I do think that it comes down to you, your partner and the kind of relationship you have as to whether you make concessions on various requests.
For example, I have a friend whose boyfriend did prefer Brazilians. So, she tried it once, didn’t like it, and that was the end of that. In any open, mature relationship, it’s important to discuss likes, dislikes and preferences and I don’t think there’s anything particularly anti-feminist about trying things out before deciding whether or not they’re for you.
Sex should be a dialogue, and it’s undoubtedly important to communicate both in and out of the bedroom about what does and doesn’t tickly your fancy.
One aspect of ‘limits’ that I find particularly interesting though, is where people draw the line about behaviours or traits that put them off sex altogether. For example, we published this piece about ‘box gaps’ a while ago (and man, has it been popular). For those of you who don’t know what a ‘box gap’ is, stop reading now and save yourselves the trouble.
Anyway, we had a lot of borderline offensive comments on the article, which made me investigate further into the box gap community so I could see what people said at the actual source. Well, I wish I hadn’t delved, but I couldn’t help but be mildly amused by all the men commenting with things like ‘I won’t have sex with women who don’t have box gaps’, or ‘box gaps are the single most sexy thing about a woman’. Ok, then. Right.
Are people actually ever this picky about sexual partners? I wanted to ask those men individually, if they were in a situation where a clever, pretty, nice girl was interested in them and they reached the point of undressing, would they seriously pause to ask them to prove their box gap status before proceeding?
I think when we’re learning about our own sexual appetites, there are always thing that stick out as either turn-ons or turn-offs. That’s fine. I mean, I used to say that I only wanted to date guys who looked like Harry Potter, and if my current partner is anything to go off, that just never became a reality.
But that’s just it – when situations occur in real life, you will undoubtedly be in it for more than their box gap, or their scruffy black hair (as the case may be). It’s likely that what will turn you on about an individual is far removed from all of your previously held sexual ideals. And that can only be a good thing, in my opinion.
When it comes to sexual limits, it’s important to have a clear idea of what yours are. But it can equally important not to let them be too limiting.
By Zoya Patel