What are your hard limits?
There are hard limits, and there are hard limits. That is, there’s the list of things that I find objectionable on principle (either moral or personal) and would never consider under any circumstance. Then there’s the list things I’d never do without an extremely high level of trust in my partner. I don’t trust people easily or often, so I list these as hard limits with essentially anyone other than my husband.
The first list begins with the please-God-tell-me-these-are-obvious: children, animals, any play in which any involved party is not not explicitly and soberly consenting.
Knives and/or blood play of any kind. Not under any circumstances, ever. Frankly I’m not all that comfortable with the safety shears we keep on hand for bondage.
Consensual nonconsent. I have seen people turn this into what looks like fun roleplay, but I just can’t do it. I don’t want to play or sleep with someone who would prefer to imagine that either of us isn’t eager and excited to be participating.
Non-standard bodily fluids. I don’t find many things irredeemably, viscerally disgusting. Scat, urine, vomit, phlegm, etc. though, are things I want to never see or think about, let alone bring into a sexual context.
Unsafe sex. It’s unsafe. Enough said.
Pain aimed at my feet. I will safeword so fast it’s ridiculous because (1) it is not a good pain and (2) I am embarrassed of my weird monkey toes.
The second list is a little more complicated. These things carry a risk of panic attack and/or spiral of self-hate, so I don’t engage in them lightly.
Bondage. I had great fun being tied up as a teenager, even if it required more patience than I like. These days knowing I wouldn’t be able to move or escape if I needed to is panic inducing. There was no traumatic experience involving rope, I just gradually became less comfortable with it.
Gags. I need to know that if I do need to say something, I can. As for gagging a partner, if I do that I don’t get to kiss them or hear them talk. These are two of my favorite things.
Fellatio. Giving a man a blowjob involves far more emotional commitment than intercourse. He’d have to be completely nonthreatening and someone I care about before I’d even consider it. This is the only limit I have that’s sex-specific and it does make me feel a little sexist.
Humiliation. I can handle being humiliated and even made to cry, but I need a lot of reassurance afterwards, sometimes even days later. It could all too easily lead to paranoia that partner X really thinks I’m worthless or unintelligent or ugly or whatever, and even more paranoia that they’re right, and then I’d just have to never speak to them again. I’m just as reticent to humiliate anyone else, because I’d hate to see anyone go down that same paranoid spiral. Teasing and sexual objectification, on the other hand, are lovely from both sides, and it can be a bit difficult to toe the line between them and humiliation.
That’s pretty much it, aside from a more nebulous attraction/compatibility rubric. If someone is not attractive to me in terms of appearance or hygiene or attitude, we won’t be getting involved. If someone thinks that BDSM is ultra serious, no laughing or smiling allowed rather than playful and fun, we obviously aren’t on the same page and should not play together. And most importantly, if I catch someone in a lie and/or they make decisions that clearly show a failure to understand the importance of boundaries and consent, that someone is moved immediately to my list of people to never ever get involved with.