Oct 252011
 

For your amusement (and for your information), I present the fourth installment in Dumb Domme’s BDSM Lexicon, “safeword.”

View all past entries here.


safeword,, n. /‘seɪfwərd(IPA)  [seyf-wurd] (spelled)

Definitions & Usage:

safeword, n.: A safeword is a code word or phrase used during BDSM “play” by a submissive or bottom to indicate that she/he/eir wants or needs to stop the activity. Safewords are generally agreed upon by the dominant/top and submissive/bottom before play begins.

“He was saying all kinds of crazy stuff when I smacked his ass with the wooden spoons, but when I pulled out the frying pan, he called ‘Gwyneth Paltrow.’ That’s our safeword, so I quit.

“Fuck… oh fuck. [what the fuck is the safeword…?!?!?] Tangelo! Shit. Persimmon! Umm… pluot! Gogi berry? Kiwi? Kumquat! KUMQUAT! KUMQUAT!”

Variations:

safewords are important for bdsm play safety

Color Codes:

To allow for a wider range of expression, individuals in D/s relationships or those engaged in D/s activities may use a color code safeword system, as this relays more information than a single “stop” word.  Perhaps the most common set of color code variations is “red” (meaning stop now), “yellow” (meaning slow down, ease up, or as an indication that activity is reaching a boundary/limit), and “green” (meaning, fuck yeah! more please! or as an indication that everything is okay and activities may proceed).

Tangible (Dropped) Object:

So you’ve negotiated hard limits with your dominant and decided that your safeword is “Mitt Romney.” Fantastic! Now imagine yourself in the throes of passion, pleasure, and pain with a jawbreaker ball gag shoved in your pie hole. Imagine that your dominant has decided to torture you by forcing you to listen to the entire Season One: Glee soundtrack and you cannot hang. Listening to eight part vocal arrangements of “Jessie’s Girl” and “Golddigger” is too much for you to handle, but not something you would have ever imagined you’d have to include on your list of hard limits. While you’d love to scream “Mitt Romney!” at the top of your lungs just to make it stop, you are stymied by the ironically sweet candy ball gag lodged between your teeth.

In anticipation of these sorts of situations, specifically, those where a sub might not be able to speak their safe word, play partners may arrange a more visible “safe word” in the form of a tangible object. The sub is directed to hold something in her or his hand–a small ball, a bell, a fist-full of grapes, whatever. If the sub is unable to speak and wants to use the safeword, she or he simply drops the object. This method is also useful during breathplay as an indication that no, you moronic fucking dominant, your sub’s shallow breathing and eyes rolled back aren’t markers that she or he is deep into subspace, but rather, she or he has lost consciousness.

Grunts:

Using grunts–typically indicated by the number, as in “three grunts in a row = safeword,” is used in much the same way as methods involving a tangible, possibly dropped, object. However, based on my experience with the inhuman noises often produced during playtime, this isn’t the most reliable method for the transmission of information.

Controversy/Discussion:

 It appears there are two schools of thought on safewords:

1) Safewords are necessary, helpful, and contribute to the “safe, sane, and consensual” creed of many BDSM players.

safewords and safety during bdsm play

2) Safewords are stupid, harmful, and essentially undermine a “true” D/s dynamic. Those who endorse this line of thinking often cite that “true” submissives should have no limits and/or “true” dominants should already know, anticipate, or sense their submissive’s boundaries and stop without the need for the sub to call a safeword. Additionally, the agreement on the use of a safeword might “empower” the submissive to ultimately have control over the scene, being able to stop it on command. If the sub is able to stop the scene, then the dominant isn’t really in control, is she/he/e?

Dumb Domme Commentary:

Any claims of universal rules, judgments on the activities or preferences of others, and self-labeling as “true” anything is fucking stupid. If I might start with the last of my complaints, this whole “true” dom/me and “true” sub shit is rubbish. True, real, half, considering, actual, sincere, or otherwise, who the fuck cares–as long as you’re okay with it, and you’re partner is okay with it, go forth and play on.

As for my preferences, I’m not so fucking smart as to think I can anticipate my sub’s every emotion, sense when he is in too much pain (physically or emotionally), or think that I’m queen-of-effing-everything to such a degree that I don’t care what my sub is thinking or feeling. I think that knowing what my sub is thinking and feeling, and knowing his soft and hard limits actually empowers me to make the decisions I want to make. Of course, that “outs” me as someone who gives a flying fuck about my subs. And I do. I do care. If that means I must turn in my Domme card, so be it.

How to Choose a Safeword:

Choose something that you’ll remember. “Sesquipedalian” and “electroencephalogram” certainly demonstrate your extensive vocabulary, but might not be so easy to remember when you’re dominant tries to ear-fuck you with a cucumber and you aren’t into it.

Terrible Safewords:

There are a number of terrible safewords. For ease of reading, I’ve divided the horrible ideas into categories of general stupidity.

Words that indicate pain: “ow,” “that hurts,” “ouch,” and “holyfuckitburns” are not appropriate safewords, seeing as how ow, that hurts, ouch, and holyfuckIhopeithurts might have been the intention.

Words that beg, ask, plead: “more,” “harder,” and “fuck me,” might not be appropriate, seeing as how they may be interpreted as requests.

Words that are too difficult to remember: “antidisestablishmentarianism,” “autosuggestibility,” and “unidirectionality” might be too much to remember when Sir/Ma’am pulls out the enormous dildo affectionately nicknamed “Bertha.”

Words that sound like gibberish: See above. Think of “Bertha.”

Words that you don’t want to say during sex: Of course, the purpose of safe words is, generally, to stop whatever sex/play activitiy. However, keep in mind that you might be yelling out “Mitt Romney, ” “Paula Deen riding things,” “or unicorn sparkle princess” while you’re buck naked and might actually want to continue playing in some other way. In my mind, any mention of Mitt Romney or sparkles means no more playtime on that particular evening.

Words in a different language: Inappropriate languages, both real and imaginary, include Espiranto, Vulcan, 1337 speak, Pig Latin, and Pirate.

 


works consulted: wikipedia urban dictionary “13 Mistakes to Avoid when Selecting a Safeword for BDSM Play”
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  4 Responses to “BDSM Lexicon Entry #4: “Safeword””

  1. This method is also useful during breathplay as an indication that no, you moronic fucking dominant, your sub's shallow breathing and eyes rolled back aren't markers that she or he is deep into subspace, but rather, she or he has lost consciousness.
    Ha ha ha ha ha! This whole post was fun, but I broke out laughing at this point.

  2. @WeekBiWeek: "I broke out laughing at this point."

    At least you were at home (I imagine), laughing at a computer screen. In public play spaces, I've learned that laughing at clueless dominants is generally frowned upon. Um, don't ask me how I know. ;)

  3. Hmmm maybe my safeword should be Republicans, because that kills any sexual desires. Fast.

    • “Republicans” might work, actually. Also, “social conservatives” would work for me. Boner killers, each and every one of them. :)

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