Navigating sexual boundaries can be tricky. Sometimes it’s hard to even figure out what your sexual boundaries are, much less enforce them. Other times you don’t even know you have a boundary until just after someone has stepped over it. And then there are the times youknow exactlywhat your boundaries are but you’ve been socialized as a woman to always be “nice” and not stand up for yourself, especially if it’s going to upset your sexual partner. Yeah, sexual boundaries can be really tricky — but knowing what yours are and enforcing them is essential for a healthy sex life.
One group of people that’s really good at setting sexual boundaries is dominatrixes. After all, their jobs revolve completely around the setting and obeying of their boundaries and those of their clients. “Women are often brought up to be people pleasers and appeasers,” Miss Couple, Head Mistress of La Domaine Esemar, the world's oldest BDSM training chateau, tells Bustle. “This tendency towards politeness often leads women down a path of compromising their boundaries. Well, I say to hell with that! It is important to give oneself permission to consider, know, and assert one's boundaries.”
And while this advice is good for people of any gender, I’m sharing it particularly for women and feminine-presenting people who have been through the socialization I touched on above. In addition to being told to “be nice,” we’re rarely taught how to say “no” and how to say “yes.” We’re taught that men and masculine-presenting people are the ones who not only are allowed to but should call the shots in sexual situations. And Miss Couple, along with Miss Deirdre, a pro-switch in New York City, are living proof that women can be just as in charge as in the bedroom (or dungeon) as any man. I take inspiration from their ability to be clear and direct in all aspect of their lives, but especially when it comes to sex. Here's their best advice on setting boundaries: