Question #1) "I am entering into my first BDSM relationship and we are making a contract first. My Dom wants me to look and agree to different punishments that he has listed for different scenarios if I break a rule. I am not comfortable with some of them so what do I do? Can I not agree to them?"
First I have to say I am very happy to hear that you are both setting down and filling out a contract so that you both know the limits, rules, and consequences of the relationship you want to build. It is a good sign that he wants you to agree to your punishments before signing the contract so that there should be no confusion in the future if you ever have to be punished for some reason. If there are things in the contract, specifically certain types of punishments you do not want to agree to, then now is the time to tell him. Make sure you have very good reasons and discuss an alternative with him that you and he will both be comfortable with. When I say comfortable with, I don't mean comfort because a punishment is just that: Something given when a rule has been broken. I also advise your Dominant to ensure that the punishment always fits the infraction. Example: the sub is supposed to write a journal entry but doesn't. The punishment for this should be something like writing 50 lines of something, not getting flogged or spanked because it is such a minor infraction. Just make sure that everything you and your dominant put in the contract is something that you both can live with and agree on. That is one of the foundations that will help you build a stronger, longer lasting D/s relationship.
Question #2) "I am involved in a bdsm relationship online with a dom that I just found out is married. I didn't know this until I asked him to come visit me and he always had an excuse. I feel like he is cheating on me and his wife but he said it isn't because we interact online only. I can't decide if I should break it off or not. What do you think? Is it cheating?"
This is most definitely a form of cheating. I consider any form of flirtatious interactions/picture exchanges with someone your partner doesn't know about to be cheating. The feelings involved in an online only BDSM relationship can be very deep for some while others treat it like a game or fantasy. If you are not comfortable with his cheating and are not happy in your current relationship, then you have to understand you will need to take steps to break off that relationship. Generally, if you find out your partner is actually attached and you are not, then again you have to decide if that is a relationship you want to be in. If the dominant lied to you about his marital status, the chances are that he has lied to you about many other things. You need to evaluate your relationship with him, your own values, and see what your heart tells you to do.
Question #3) "What is the difference in pushing limits of a sub and crossing the Hard Limits boundary?"
Pushing the limits of a sub is taking them just outside their comfort zone and helping them grow their boundaries for things like flogging, pain play, sensory deprivation play. Pushing the limits of a sub might frighten them a little but should not harm them in any way. When you cross the hard limit of a sub, that is breaking the trust you have established with them. If a sub has flogging as a hard limit, that means they do not want to and will not participate in any scenes or scenarios that involve flogging. If a dominant has a sub bound during a scene and brings out a flogger to use on the sub, even though it is a hard limit, they just committed abuse in my opinion. When you participate in a BDSM scene (S&M), always make sure it is with a partner that knows and respects your limits list.
I hope you enjoyed this week's Talk Tuesday topics and also learned a little bit more about the topics above. If you have any questions or advise you would like me to answer, please email me at email@example.com