The Importance of a Safe Word

Beginning as a new submissive one of the first things I learned was that I needed a safe word, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized why and how important a safe word actually was. If you are curious about the BDSM lifestyle, a safe word should be one of the first things you and a potential partner discuss.

By Jessica Cocker

 

 


First, a safe word is a word used during play at any time the submissive (or Dominant) feels uncomfortable, has reached a hard limit or needs medical attention. This could be as simple as needing a restraint adjusted or realizing they aren’t enjoy the anal play as much as they’d hoped… or it could mean the scene needs to stop altogether.

During a scene both the submissive and the Dominant go into their respective “zones” and sometimes that means being in a euphoric state. A safe word acts as a sort of “trigger” to jolt them out of this zone and be attentive to their partner’s needs.

This is extremely important if the scene involves any play that could be harmful, but is just as important in light play as well. Even if you are only using velcro restraints and a toy, a safe word is important to have! You never know when something out of the ordinary will occur and a safe word could mean the difference between a small scrape and larger gash (metaphorically speaking).

Use your safe word sparingly. A safe word interrupts play and it’s not much fun if you are having to constantly stop and readjust. To avoid this kind of situation, be sure you and your partner are aware of your soft and hard limits. This way they are less likely to try something you aren’t comfortable with during play and you will use your safe word less. It is always good to discuss beforehand what your play will involve and whether your Dom will attempt to push your limits during play, which is fine if you agree to it and can be quite liberating. However, do not let your Dominant push you beyond your means! BDSM is a balance of trust and creating that balance can take time, so communicate your needs and desires so you and your partner are on the same page.

Once you have established the need and importance of a safe word you can decide what word works best for you. Keep your safe word simple, preferably a one syllable word that can easily be said. It is common for couples to use “red” for stop and “yellow” to mean you are reaching your limit, but you can use any word! Blood, dragon, rose, grass, etc.. these are all great words as long as you can remember then easily and your partner will recognize them.

Along with safe words, many have implemented safe signals or objects to use when they are either unable to speak or unable to move, usually during breath play or rope bondage. A safe signal could be having two fingers crossed, the peace sign or even the middle finger (lol) and would be used if you are gagged, wearing a hood or mask or otherwise unable to verbally communicate. A safe object is something a person can hold onto when tied or bound and is unable to verbally communicate. The submissive would hold the object in their hand and drop it to signal when something is wrong.

There are a few in the community who will disagree that a safe word is completely necessary. Usually they will argue that their partner can tell when to stop, can read their body language or they have been with them for a long time so they trust them. I honestly do not agree with these excuses and STRONGLY feel that playing without a safe word is dangerous!

It is better to have a safe word and not have to use it, then to need a safe word and not have one! SSC!

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