In consensual slavery, the term limits refers to things that someone will not do no matter what. There are also some things which the slave cannot physically do. I am not speaking of the latter form of limits in this case.
Limits can be imposed by the slave on the Master, the Master on the slave or the Master on himself. When most people talk about limits, they talk about slave set limits. They do not speak of owner set limits. All types of limits setting should be included.
In most forms of consensual slavery, they are things that the slave may declare up front that these things are limits on what her Master can do with, to her or to make her do. The most common ones are doing things with children, scat, mutilation, death, illegal activities and often permanent marks and body modifications. They are usually called hard limits. There are also some times limits they place which they don’t want to do but they might do. Those are called soft limits.
Many people speak of having or being a no limit slave. Many slaves do claim to be no limit slaves. When it finally comes down to what people do, not say, they have limits beyond which they will not go. As we are humans, this is probably for the best whether slave or free. The ultimate limit any consensual slave can have is whether or not to be a slave. No Master has a legal hold or can have a legal hold on any person as a slave anywhere on Earth at this point. This is part of the legal limits that our societies impose on us. There are certain legal protections or requirements which an owner cannot remove from their slave. However, the slave may choose to not apply those limits with her owner. What happens with non-consensual slavery is not legal and more, it is not what we do and call consensual enslavement. While some things may be the same in practice, there is still the technical difference that the slave consents and agrees to them. The ultimate limit of someone deciding that they will no longer be the slave of a specific person does not, for out purposes, count as a limit of the type we are talking about.
Except for the ultimate limit, can a slave have no limits on her owner? Yes. She can simply obey or disobey and be punished and remain his slave. The last usually, but not always, means obeying in the end.
Can someone be a slave and have limits? Yes. Can someone be a slave and have no limits on their owner? Yes. Is one more of a slave than the other? Sorry to some believe or claim, but yes. The slave who does not put limits on her owner is submitting and surrendering at a deeper level than someone who lists things they will not do.
If someone is more of a slave, or at least potentially more of a slave without limits, then how can they be safe giving up that control? Their safety comes from two places. The first is that the slave should very carefully chosen who their owner will be. This is usually called the Last Free Choice a slave will make. The second is that over time, limits for many things tend to relax with familiarity, safety or sometimes because the Master, slave or both, wish them to change.
Carefully choosing and matching the owner to the slave should be a part of potential owners and slaves learning each other and seeing if what each wishes in how to serve and how to live meshes. It can be a negotiation where both talk over what they want and what they may be willing to modify to be Master and slave. It may mean that they decide that they are not right for each other and go their own ways looking for someone else. That doesn't work so well if they are already married to each other, but some strange combinations and permutations have occurred.
This negotiation and learning each other should happen in every consensual slavery relationship. It doesn't. Hormones and other things make people do things on impulse that they shouldn't or there can be other reasons why it is not done, especially in the transfer of a slave to a new owner. Where it is a new beginning for both Master and slave then learn, ask, tell and decide. Consensual slaves can and have been transferred directly to a new owner or freed and then they submit to a new owner. It can be with or without the consent of the slave.
In cases where such negotiation has not occurred, the best that can happen is that the Master and slave should spend as much time learning each other as possible, assuming they have not already been in a long term relationship with each other and already know most of this. Part of the enjoyment of owning a slave for the owner is learning their slave and everything he can know about her. This is where the concept of the owner knowing his slave better than she knows herself comes in. The sudden ownership and transfer situations usually means that the only limits set are those of the owner or that were set in the transfer of ownership.
Many slaves say that their owner would never do certain things because they chose someone who would not do whatever. This statement is probably true. I say probably because even people who really believe they would never want to do something at one point in their lives can change their minds. This, while not common on very important things to the owner, is not uncommon either.
Some of these same slaves also say that if their owner ever tried to do something on their hard limits list, they would be instantly gone. They are almost never talking about things like death or dismemberment and if they were, they should, in my opinion. leave as quickly as possible. There are other slaves who say they would die to save the life of their owner and a few who claim that if their owner no longer wanted them, he should kill them. I do not know of any who have gone to the latter extreme, but I cannot dismiss the possibility of it. I can believe that an owner or a slave might sacrifice their life for the other just as any other couple might do.
In the end, I cannot say someone is not a slave because they set some limits on their slavery. I will only say that they will never know the depths possible in consensual slavery with those limits. Most slaves never reach those depths in any case. Therefore, my belief is that a slave should never set any limits on her owner save those required for physical or medical reasons. Only the owner should set limits on himself and do so more strictly than those a slave might set on him.
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