What I Never Want to Hear From a Woman Before Sex
S1: You’re listening to this week’s exclusive Slate Plus episode. Thanks for your support.
S2: Warning this podcast contains frank and explicit discussions about sex.
S1: Hi, I’m Stoya
S2: and I’m Rich,
S1: this is how to do
S2: it, and here is today’s letter,
S3: dear, how to do it. I’m a 35 year old heterosexual man who’s into BDSM when looking at prospective play partners. One of the things I ask about are hard and soft limits. I’ve long since lost track of the number of times a woman I’m talking to gets this almost exalted look on her face and says something like, I don’t have limits, do anything you want to me. On one hand, it’s useful for screening them out. But on the other hand, it’s profoundly troubling that people like this exist and go to munches. Where do they come from and how can I get better at spotting and avoiding them signed? Not sorry, I asked.
S2: I mean, it’s troubling that people like this exist for you can do exterminate them, people like this exist. Like what? It’s a little harsh.
S1: Well, I was thinking, you know, you might use the Socratic method to help people kind of think through that right? Rather than being like, Oh my God, you got away from me. You could be like, Wow, that’s really brave. Can I ask why you’re so open to a stranger that you don’t have limits? Do you do you perhaps have boundaries rising there, like all sorts of questions, like why do you have no boundaries or limits that could help a person think about, you know, Oh, is this actually how I want to be? And I think the writer and I differ in that. If this is actually how the person really wants to be, they’re an adult. That’s their choice. And while I’m not comfortable, engaging in anything complicated or emotionally intense with a person who doesn’t have limits or boundaries like that’s a valid way of doing things.
S2: Also, another way to look at somebody without limits or boundaries is that then you can create them. They’re kind of like putting it in your hands, which A allows you to explore wherever you want to, apparently because they seem game. And B would not require you to go anywhere outside of your comfort zone if they’re giving that to you. I would suspect that these people do have limits. I would suspect that actual violence enacted on their bodies in a way that might cause lasting injury probably isn’t something that these people want. I think if someone said, I have no limits and you said, OK, can I cut off your arm? They’d say, No, you know, I would assume maybe not. Maybe not. I don’t know. But I would assume that, like I don’t have limits is shorthand for like. It kind of comes with an agreement within certain limits. Exactly, exactly.
S1: I think that’s absolutely the case, and I think if he sticks around for a few minutes and talks to these people, he’ll realize it’s the case and they may realize, like, I’m assuming that they’re new to BDSM. And I think there’s a chance that they’ll realize like, Oh, I do have certain limits and I do need to state those because sexuality is so diverse and vast that there’s no predicting what a person might fantasize about and want to enact. However, you get into like the tyranny of words and the impossibility of predicting everything. So asking someone to provide an exhaustive list of things that will not be done to them and considering anything not explicitly on the list free game is hugely problematic.
S2: Totally. And there is this new kind of like, well, not new discourse. In the past year, there have been multiple books about this have kind of probed the idea of consent as being the be all end all of ethical sexuality. Obviously, consent is very important. But what about people who don’t know what they want? Can’t kind of articulate themselves, want to feel their way through sex as a way of exploring and attaining pleasure? That all seems OK with me as long as they have a responsible partner who’s not going to take advantage of that, but instead honour it. It is really important to communicate, you know, I am nothing if verbose, I communicate to an annoying degree. I understand this. At the same time, you got to kind of let people have their vibe and figure out how they want to communicate. I think what you said about maybe these people being new is really important to think about because if they’re new, then they have to learn the language. And the only way that you get to learn a language is by practicing it. So what I don’t like is this impulse that I see a lot on social media, but just in general, someone says the wrong thing, whatever that is and whoever is making that determination, but is the wrong thing. And then they’re immediately shut down. And that leaves no room for growth, for understanding, for them to even to be able to explain why what they said actually might not be the wrong thing. They might be exactly what they meant to say, you know.
S1: Yeah. You know, and it’s really it’s up to the letter writer if they want to contribute to the good of the social group around the munchies and help these people who are responding this way. Grow into people that he does want as sexual partners. Or if he’d rather just avoid them. And if that’s the case, don’t go to munchies and a munchies where we send people who are curious about BDSM like that is new territory.
S2: Yeah. And I think he has the right idea in one respect, which is, you know, if you’re going to be so judgmental and hard, then you can take that which offends your sensibilities as data. OK. You said this. I don’t like that. You’re screened out. That’s it.
S1: I think that covers it. OK, that’s it for now. Thanks for your support as a Slate Plus member, if you are in need of sex advice, check our show notes to find out how to reach us. And if you love the show, please rate, subscribe and tell your friends. Thanks for listening!