‼️ New College Craze Chapter 6 is available on my Patreon! Click here to get early access with a Dropout pledge today ‼️


How to establish boundaries

Whether it is holding a baby for a stranger on the subway or having a coworker borrow something from your desk without asking, we’ve all been in situations where setting boundaries could have saved us a lot of stress.

While not everyone can be a pro at assertiveness, part of having a healthy sexual life is feeling satisfied with all of your interactions; before, during, and after sex. To reach this point, open and effective communication is vital. You need to be able to sit down with your partner and have a honest conversation.

Two people sit at the same table, engaged in conversation while holding mugs.

When discussing boundaries with a partner, it's important to be clear and direct about what you are and aren't comfortable with. It’s also key to listen to them and respect their boundaries. This isn’t just a one-way conversation. Remember that your goal is to have a productive conversation where everyone can feel comfortable. Here are some guidelines you can follow:

  1. Set aside a quiet time to start the conversation and reduce the possibility of interruptions. Explain why boundaries are important to you and why you want to discuss them. You can start with something casual and reassuring so none of you feel defensive during the interaction. E.g. “I think it’s important we discuss our expectations and hard nos. I’d like to tell you about what I like, is that okay with you?”
  2. Depending on your preferences, it can be easier to list things you’re not open to and follow up with things you do enjoy. Openly explain your own boundaries, be specific as to what types of touch or activities you are and aren't comfortable with. Use "I" statements to express your own feelings and needs.  For example: “While I like the idea of being blindfolded, I don’t feel comfortable being tied down”. Don’t rush even if it feels awkward at times, this is your opportunity to set ground rules for your healthy growth together!
  3. Listening is just as essential! Ask your partner to share their boundaries with you. Pay attention and try to understand where they’re coming from if they have a different limit as you. Take mental notes of points of agreement and differences between their boundaries and yours.
  4. Discuss any areas of potential conflict in your boundaries. It’s important to focus on those aspects you both feel could be hashed out before moving on, come up with hypothetical scenarios involving those limits and ask how your partner would feel in those cases. Present alternatives that address each other’s worries and try to find a solution that works for both of you. You might feel like having some outdoors fun to spice things up but your partner could feel uncomfortable with potential public indecency, a great compromise could be to change scenery but keep it in an intimate setting.
  5. The expression “use your words” can be useful in a lot of situations, but it might get lost in a sexual one. Agree beforehand on how to communicate levels of comfort during sexual activity. You can do this setting a safe word you wouldn’t normally use and that your partner will recognize immediately, you can even have fun choosing it! (like “saucepan”, “rain cloud”, or “soup”) or set a traffic light system when trying new things and check in regularly (green for “go on”, yellow for “slow down”, and red for “stop”). There’s a common misconception that safe words are for super kinky, BDSM-fueled romps, but they have a place in vanilla settings as well. Communication ain’t just for those who like leather! Gestures are also a practical option for a number of reasons, you can set up a sign and practice it with them before any sex begins.
  6. People grow and change over time, that’s normal. Maybe one of you would like to try something different or your preferences have changed. Be open to revisit this conversation without prejudice in a different occasion to adjust your boundaries. This isn’t an open and shut case. Continue communicating, and it’ll be a conversation you both will be more comfortable having in long run and will even look forward to!
Two people tenderly hold hands over a wooden table.

It's important to remember that areas of comfort aren’t static and can evolve. It's also perfectly normal to have different boundaries with different partners. The most important thing is that you communicate openly to ensure that you both feel safe and respected.

Please note that the information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you have read on this blog. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The author of this blog is not a medical professional and the information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice.