1000 words can’t stop abuse but in BDSM a single word stops everything.
Most people in or out of the BDSM world know what a safeword is and basically how one uses it.
A safeword is a prearranged word/gesture/action that is used as shorthand between a sub and a Dominant to communicate when a limit has been reached and/or the activity needs to stop.
If this is the general definition why do some subs/loveslaves feel that NOT using a safeword is a badge of honor?
Somehow needing to stop or not being able to move beyond their limits can be distorted into some kind of epic fail on the sub’s part. (Psst, it’s not!)
I know from experience and a number of subs I’ve spoken with who hate using their safeword. Somehow, even if you believe in the above definition it still feels like a defeat, as if they weren’t good enough, didn’t trust enough, couldn’t suck it up and tolerate the activity… Basically you feel like you failed as a sub.
In both my BDSM stories: Lock and Key & Secured and Free one of the things I explore is a sub’s relationship with safewords. The stories highlight how a Dom(s) can utilize safewords to re-build trust and keep communication open so the participants can reach beyond current limitations.
Of course, I’ve also heard or seen Doms have a piss poor attitude toward safewords as well. For some Dom, a sub just having a safeword reflects negatively on them as if that safety precaution takes away some of their “power.” I’d question any Dom who wants less ways of hearing their sub’s feedback.
Not having a safeword?
Then there’s the sub or Dom who is proud to boast about not having a safeword during a scene. To me that’s like proudly proclaiming, “I ride a motorcycle without a helmet.” In most cases, it’s simply stupid. (Yes, I said it. Now of course, there might be a negotiated contract beyond the scene but in general not having a safeword is ill-advised.) I don’t care how good of a rider you are, things happen. Wear a damned helmet and have a safeword.
I’ve been with my love for 31 years and I have safeword. Sure, he can read every twitch and facial expression. He probably knows exactly what I’m thinking/feeling, and what I need better than I do just by observing me. But cutting the safety belts out of your car because it has airbags is dumb.
Not using your safeword is a disservice to the Dom
(Yeah, I’m totally playing the Dom card.)
Safewords give the Dom the ability to do a scene with confidence they aren’t going too far. Being a Dom or Top is a HUGE responsibility. (If you come across a Dominant that doesn’t understand the significance of what s/he/they are undertaking proceed with much caution or RUN!) Being in charge of a scene requires constant communication with the sub(s). Safewords allow that to happen even if a sub’s expression is difficult read.
This is especially true when you’re working with the higher risk activities: suspension, knife play, breath play. Though any activity of a BDSM even basic bondage, or impact play could go to places where sub/loveslave can be hurt mentally and physically in unexpected ways.
So be a good sub/loveslave have and use your safeword as needed.
To overcome reluctance to use a safeword some implement a stop light system. The Dom can use this to gauge where the activity is putting the sub. Green is fine to go, yellow is still okay but slow down because the sub might be heading for a red light or safeword.
The Dom and sub need to negotiate whether red is a full stop of all BDSM like the safeword or a stop of the specific activity but they want to stay with the scene.
By the Way: Safewords aren’t just for BDSM
When an argument goes south, you don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings or have them hurt yours, right? Why not have a word that simply stops the conversation/postpones it for later. My love and I use Radio Silence. This means no more discussion or even words at that time, whoever says it needs a break from the discussion, debate or argument and it should be honored.
If a family member starts attacking you or yours, and your spouse may be unaware since their filters are different but you need a rescue: safeword. (Picture it: your nagging whoever is going at you and you turn to your spouse “Purple Bunny Slippers!” Instantly, s/he attends to the situation as only a blood relative can. BTW: safewords should be one simple word that isn’t normally said in relation to the scene so Purple Bunny Slippers was a joke not a suggestion.)
Again, please keep in mind: this blog is only one viewpoint, a small sampling of one love slave’s opinion.
I’d love to hear from you so comment here or use the contact information to touch base with me privately.
To contact Z. Allora:
: Z Allora Allora
BIO: Z. Allora believes in happily ever afters for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.