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Because of all the talk about people, both Tops and bottoms, crossing boundaries and not knowing what to do when someone crosses their boundaries, with a little help from My good friend Alpha, I put this page together based on information found on both vanilla web sites and leather ones concerning this topic.

Although some of this information is set up for the vanilla world, and meant to be used in work, home, school and extra-curricular athletic activities, these principles work just as well in pistachio settings.

Advanced Boundary-Setting
by Rinatta Paries

Are you holding back from letting others know where you draw the line, from setting your personal boundaries? The following points may be just the inspiration you need to set your boundaries and start getting more good stuff out of your relationships.

Good, decent people set boundaries.
In fact, the more boundaries you set, the more you are being good to others and yourself. Establishing boundaries makes you a safe person. People know where they stand with you.

Generous people set boundaries.
If you do not have boundaries, you are essentially giving yourself away. With boundaries, you give only what you want, which means you can afford to be generous to more people over longer periods of time.

To be effective, try to relate to others.
If you want people close to you to consistently respect your boundaries, try to understand why they are crossing them. If you can, make it easy to respect your boundaries by giving them what they need. For example, does your mother call you incessantly because she worries about you? What kind of information can you share with her to make her worry less?

Boundaries allow people around you to grow.
When you set boundaries, it makes others conscious of their behavior. This fosters their own growth. Your boundaries can actually improve other people's lives.

Boundaries help you get more of what you want, and less of what you don't.
Boundaries can be used not only to protect you from unwanted behavior, but also to foster behavior you desire and need. Figure out what you need from others to thrive, and then ask for what you want and accept nothing less.

Stick to your guns.
In order for boundaries to be a reality in your life and not just a nice concept, you must be aware and willing to act consistently. You must have a commitment to uphold what is right and true for you.

Practice makes perfect.
Learning how to set boundaries and how to have only what you want in your life takes time and practice. It will feel awkward at first. People may not like what you are saying. But keep practicing and communicating. You will get better, more skilled, and more graceful.

Enjoy the benefits of boundary-setting:
Freedom from fear and pain
Increased self-esteem and self-respect
More respect of and from others
Contribution to the well-being of others' lives
Finally have a life that you love

Go out and practice. Your life and relationships will blossom from it!

Your Relationship Coach
Rinatta Paries
(c) Rinatta Paries, 1998-2002.

Note: The above information was taken from Father's World.

2 Decisions and 4 Steps
by David Burnet, The Learning Coach
with grateful appreciation to Thomas Leonard & Coach U for articulating and teaching me about basic boundary setting.
These notes would not be possible without them.

Decisions about boundary setting:
1. Decide what you want and don't want from/with people. A good idea is to do this both in general, and with any person or situation that reveals that more boundaries are needed (you know you need boundaries when you are frustrated, angry, or hurt).
2. Decide to be extremely sensitive about boundaries (enlarge your boundaries), and to be constructive about enforcing them.

Steps to enforce boundaries:
1. Educate or inform people what they are doing. Just inform them in a matter of fact way.
2. If it continues, tell them what you want and don't want, and how you feel about that.
3. If it continues, warn them how you will separate yourself from them &/or their negative behavior, either temporarily (while it continues), or if necessary, permanently.
4. If it continues, distance yourself as you said you would, preferably short term, long term when necessary.

1. Memorize this list, it may be all you can remember, the first few times when you are under pressure and need to enforce boundaries. Soon, because it works so well, you'll probably learn to do this fairly automatically and well.
2. The first few times you do this, it will be hard for people who already know you, because they aren't used to this. They may over-react. They may also over-react because the first few times you do this you won't be as skillful as after you've practiced this. Happened to me, and I've noticed to other people.

It can be helpful to notify people about what you are learning and doing, ahead of time, and to let them know that you won't be as skillful, at first; you may be heavy handed...but to please be patient and bear with you. It will help you and them, too, to get along better.

Note: The above information was found at Skysite.

The below is taken from The Compleat Slave by Jack Rinella (Used with permission)
He is writing in respect to two specific relationships, however his advice is sound for all boundary setting circumstances:

There are Master/slave relationships that are totally one-sided in terms of control, but they are neither newly-formed, nor of an occasional occurrence. David, brand new in the scene, and without experience or self-confidence, is in no position to jeopardize his permanent family relationships or to be the kind of slave he's not ready to be.

My advice was to meet the guy again but, before starting another scene, tell him they need to talk seriously, and as adults, about limits, fantasies, and reality. In short, David should approach his partner not as a submissive or slave, but as an adult. They need to negotiate in a responsible manner, and delineate exactly what the two of them could and couldn't do.

I advised him to be humble and respectful, but to make himself absolutely clear. It would be better to end the relationship than to continue playing in ways that were unacceptable to one or the other of the partners.

I'm a firm believer that submissives can't abrogate their responsibility. Master or slave, each is supposed to be a reasonable, consenting adult. Neither ought to give up on creating a satisfactory relationship. I will admit that there are relationships where the submissive can and should abrogate all self-will, but I condone it only when that relationship is mutually and fully agreed upon by both parties, without coercion or deceit. I'm all in favor of total obedience, but that occurs only on the fringes of the bell curve. Most S/M is still R&P (Restraint and Pleasure)!

The third recent indication of the need to play responsibly came in the form of a disturbing message on my answering machine. It seems that my friend Bob and a friend agreed to do a cigar-burning scene where the top would burn Bob. I don't know the circumstances of the agreement, but it was negotiated and they played it out.

The next morning Bob was angry to see that he had been badly burned and perhaps scarred for life. The cigar-imposed marks were extremely painful. What might have been a good scene last night was now a really bad one.

In this situation, both top and bottom needed to be more responsible in their respective decisions. I would suggest that their negotiation wasn't explicit enough. Did Bob know there would be scars the next morning? Did the top really want to make permanent alterations to Bob's flesh? When two people agree to a scene they need to know exactly what they're agreeing to. Bob's regrets could have been avoided with just two minutes more of negotiation, or just one minute more of exploration about the effects of playing with cigars.

Regrets are such bad feelings. That's another reason to negotiate responsibly. Once again, I have no problem with a master marking or even scarring a slave for life, but it is probably not appropriate to do it as a part of a one time, one-night scene.

In fact, it may be that the master thought he was doing exactly what Bob wanted. If such is the case, he should have been thoroughly sure. In this negotiation, verbal clues such as, "I'm going to really mark you" would have told Bob what he was in for. It's at that point, too, that Bob would have had the opportunity to say, "stop."

This is certainly a case for mutual responsibility. Perhaps Bob should now say something to his master about that night so that they both can learn from the incident. Bad-mouthing the master to others would not be productive. The unfortunate incident was co-created. Each must bear his fair share of the blame.

Note: The above was taken from pages 34-35 of chapter 3 of Jack's book. Go to Jack Rinella's web page to learn more.

In closing, important things to remember (for both Tops and bottoms):

If you attend a play party, you are expected to know that the other people there might ask you to play. There is a wide variety of play that is possible. In other words, please read and be familiar with the party's rules.

The person who asks is expected to be polite, and to respect the collar of anyone who is collared, or to respect the relationships of other couples or leather families.

If you want to play with the person who asks, you are welcome to say, "Yes."

If you do not want to play with the other person, you are expected to say, "No." If you do not want to play with the other person, but say, "Yes," or do not safe word (if that is what is necessary to prevent unwanted play), then you have not done what is necessary to prevent any further advances and cannot expect that the other person will know what it is that you want.

If you ask someone to play, and they say, "No," you are expected to respect their wishes, and to let the matter drop. Also, be mindful of other people's personal space.

Honest, open and respectful negotiation is almost always welcome. Nonconsensual play is not!

If you agree to the use of safe words (i.e., Green [everything is good, please continue], Red [stop the scene immediately]), you are expected to use them, especially if your status is anything other than Green.

If someone is bothering you, stalking you, continually following you around, or won't take "No" for an answer, or if you even perceive this to be the case, it is quite all right (and even encouraged) for you to use the safeword to stop the advances. Even if you are not in a play area, if a Dungeon Monitor (here after referred to as DM) hears "Red", they will immediately investigate.

Even if you are in a social area, sitting down, minding your own business. If someone bothers you, won't leave you alone or won't go away, and you have told them that you are not interested, say, "Red". Either they will get the hint, or a DM will.

If you say, "No", or "Red", and the person doesn't heed your wishes and no DM hears your safeword, immediately get up and walk to the nearest DM and tell them what is going on. At that point, they will either call for a supervisor or handle the situation themselves, immediately. Immediately, is when the situation needs to be handled. Not later, not tomorrow and not at the next party. And don't be afraid to do it. You had the courage to come to the party, have the courage to talk to the one person who can ensure your safety - the DM.

Scene Etiquette is dynamic and personal. It differs depending on the individual and the situation. Always practice an attitude which fosters courtesy and respect among individuals within the leather community. Being mindful of scene etiquette is paramount.

If you have any concerns, bring them to the attention of a DM, immediately. Telling someone at the next party that someone did something to you at the last party may not get you the desired response.

Do not interfere with any else's scene. Do not invade their scene space. Keep conversation, laughter and comments to a minimum in the play areas. And, do NOT join a scene unless specifically asked to do so!

To view related topics, go to My Negotiations, Protocol or Etiquette page.


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