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6 Examples of Sexual Boundaries That Could Improve Your Relationship

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Trigger warning / TW: This article has references to sexual assault.

We all have boundaries and limits when it comes to intimacy. Setting, resetting, and reviewing our sexual boundaries allows us to explore our sexuality and ensure sexual health and well-being. However, many of us struggle to discuss our boundaries with our partners.

Maybe we are worried we will be a killjoy by setting boundaries with the people we are sleeping with. Or, perhaps we are unable to really communicate them. Whatever it is, setting boundaries can be challenging. But, setting sexual boundaries is essential to lead a healthy and happy life.

So, we want to help you get to know your own sexual boundaries and express them with your partner. Communicating your boundaries will empower you in your sexuality and enhance your relationship. It builds trust, makes you feel safe, and lets you get the most out of sex.

Sexual boundaries examples

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Sexual boundaries refer to what we are okay with in the bedroom and what we are not okay with in the bedroom. These boundaries are different for everyone and can change over time. This means that no matter how long you have been with your partner, discussions regarding sexual boundaries are an essential part of a healthy relationship.

Before we talk about how to identify and communicate them, let’s look at some sexual boundaries examples.

1. Where you are touched

Our bodies are ours and ours only, which means that other people should only touch us where we like to be touched. You may not like your stomach to be touched in sex, or perhaps you don’t like your hair being caressed. This is totally okay – every like and dislike is valid.

2. How you are touched

A couple enjoying a moment of pure joy, sharing laughter while relaxing in a cozy hammock together.

How your partner touches your body is another important sexual boundary. This can refer to how you are touched during sex and also refers to when you are touched. You may be totally fine with your partner touching your legs in the bedroom, but you may feel uncomfortable with them doing so when you are in a bar or a restaurant.

Sexual consent does not just exist during intimate moments. It exists in how you and your partner interact with each other during daily life.

3. Types of sexual acts

Setting boundaries regarding sexual acts and activities allows you to feel safe with your partner. You may be comfortable with one sexual act, but not another, and identifying them will enable you to communicate your boundaries clearly.

Here are some sexual acts to consider when reflecting on your sexual boundaries:

4. Contraception

A woman holding a condom on a desk full of pills and colourful condoms.

Contraception protects us from unwanted pregnancies and STIs, but did you know it is an important sexual boundary, too?

Identifying your boundaries regarding what contraception you use and with whom allows you to have safe sex and feel confident that you are looking after your body. You may feel much more comfortable using condoms in a relationship, even if your partner wants to discuss oral contraception.

Reflect on what contraception makes YOU feel safe, and communicate your desires with your partner.

5. How you are treated in sex

Do you enjoy cuddling and soft kisses during sex? Or do you like being thrown about a bit? Everyone is different regarding their sexual wants, so it is important to identify how you want to be treated in sex before hooking up with someone.

How someone treats you in sex refers to how they act towards your body, but it also refers to how people talk to you during sex. You may be into dirty talk, or you may like being quiet during intercourse. Some people like being called names in the bedroom, while others like words of support and encouragement.

It is also helpful to reflect on what sex toys you like and don’t like in the bedroom. Are dildos a hard no for you?

6. Kinks and fantasies

A couple enjoying a cozy moment together, sitting in a chair by a window, talking about sex boundaries.

Many of us have sexual kinks and fantasies, and it is important to work out and communicate our boundaries regarding them in order for us to explore them safely. Kinks and fantasies are totally normal and can really benefit your sexual exploration and empowerment. But knowing what your limits are allows you to get everything you can from the world of kink.

Just because you are into flogging does not mean you have to be into choking. Similarly, just because you are into multiple-partner sex does not mean you are okay with your partner having solo sex with someone else. When incorporating any kink into your sex life, it is extremely important to discuss limits and boundaries beforehand to ensure you and your partner are safe and on the same page.

How to communicate your sexual boundaries

A couple cuddling on a bed, smiling at each other.

Okay, this does seem a bit like a minefield! There are loads of sexual boundaries to consider and identify, which can be a bit overwhelming.

But, if you take it step by step, you can improve your relationship and enhance your sex life. So, where do you start with sexual boundaries, and how do you have the conversation with your partner?

Know yourself first

Before approaching your partner or hookup buddy regarding sexual boundaries, you need to spend time getting to know yourself first. Take a look at our list of sexual boundaries by yourself and work through each one. What are you open to exploring with your partner? What is a total no for you?

Remember that every sexual boundary is valid and important. It’s your body and your own preference towards your body. If something doesn’t feel right for you, you don’t need to do it! Basically, if it is not a ‘yes, please!’, it is a ‘no.’

Also, be aware that your sexual boundaries do change over time. Perhaps you used to love anal sex, but the thought of it now makes you feel a bit weird. That is totally fine, and your partner will understand! If they don’t, well, dump them.

Talk outside of the bedroom

A couple enjoying a cozy moment together, sitting in a chair by a window, talking about sex boundaries.

It does feel natural to discuss sex before or after the act. But these are times when both you and your partner are super vulnerable, and this can lead to hesitation and defensiveness. We recommend penciling in a time for the discussion beforehand so you can both prepare.

You don’t want to overwhelm or ambush your partner, so we recommend saying something like, ‘I was reading about sexual boundaries and the importance of communicating them. We haven’t really done this, so do you fancy a chat about it at some point?’ Then, you can either do it then or set a time for you to have the discussion.

When you begin to have the chat, reaffirm your attraction to your partner and what you like during sex first. This makes it a little bit lighter and helps you both relax. Then, honestly and directly identify your sexual boundaries. Tell them what kinks and fantasies you are open to and what ones are a firm no. Discuss where you like to be touched and where you don’t like to be touched. And allow them to open up to you regarding their own boundaries.

Talking about sexual boundaries doesn’t have to be unsexy

A loving couple sharing an intimate moment as they kiss passionately on a bed, expressing their affection for each other.

Discussing sexual boundaries allows you and your partner to open up to new ideas. Saying what you don’t want from sex eases you into the conversation regarding what you do want from sex. And this can be pretty sexy!

After you have set your boundaries with your partner, you may wish to change the discussion to things you want to try out with them. Try an online sex questionnaire for couples, where you and your partner go through sexual questions from the vanilla to the really kinky stuff to find out what fantasies you have in common. The questionnaire only shows you the sexual stuff you are both into, which means you can be as honest as you want!

Reaffirm sexual boundaries

As we said before, sexual boundaries can and do change over time. This means that it is really useful for you and your partner to check in with each other from time to time to see where you are both at.

However, this does not mean that your partner can change or push your sexual boundaries. Your sexual boundaries are all about you and what feels good for you, and if your partner tries to talk you out of a boundary, this is sexual coercion.

What if someone crosses my sexual boundary?

Woman in distress looking outside the window.

If someone crosses your sexual boundary in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, try reaffirming your boundary. For example, perhaps you said you didn’t like your stomach touched, and they did this during sex. This may be a case of them getting lost in the moment and briefly forgetting your boundaries; nevertheless, be sure to express your boundaries again. If they continue to cross your boundaries after that, despite you making your boundaries clear multiple times, it shows disrespect for you and your body – and you deserve better.

If someone crosses your sexual boundary in a way that makes you feel abused or violated, you need to remove yourself from the situation as fast as possible. You must prioritize your safety above all else. Remember that it is not your fault and there is help for you out there if you want it. Check this list of rape crisis hotlines to find out what is available in your area and know that you are one phone call away from getting advice and support from experts.

Disclaimer: #Dating’s blog posts are for you to view at your discretion, and the sexual health insights presented are for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and readers should seek professional guidance if appropriate.

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