Stop. No. I don’t want to! Help! Those are all words that in daily life are considered cause for alarm, letting someone know you don’t like something that you want it to end or stop as it were. We use them without thinking. It’s how we automatically say to someone that we are not happy or don’t want to engage in a certain kind of play or behavior.
It’s how we alert one another to something being wrong or to the fact that we are in general being pushed to do something we do not want to do. But they don’t work in BDSM, because of the nature of many fetishes the play becomes something where the submissive might say “no” but mean “yes”. This is not to be confused with rape or anything that is truly not consensual.
BDSM play is always to be done between 2 consenting adults. Adults who know the nature of the games and have joined into a partnership where one is the submissive partner and one the Dominant partner. This submissive has chosen to take part in any fetish play that occurs and boundaries are set up ahead of time to make sure everyone understands the others wants and needs and that we are all on the same page, so to speak.
Limits are set initially by the submissive and be they soft or hard limits a Domme will only push just so far. This is why a D/s negotiation and the need for everyone to be upfront in the disussion is necessary, because without these limits and what is known as a “safe word” the play could turn into something less than enjoyable for one of the partners.
So, what is a “safe word” in BDSM terms? Well it’s a word, chosen before play begins by one of the partners, normally the submissive. It is normally a word that wouldn’t be heard during BDSM play and one that is easy for the submissive to both remember and say. The point is to give them an out at any time during the fetish games.
A way to let the Dominant partner know that they want to stop or that a boundary is being pushed too far and they are uncomfortable with what is happening. This is essential to any and all legitimate BDSM play and must be taken seriously and respected by all parties engaging in the fetish. It is required to make play safe, sane and consensual. Many Dommes will not even engage in any kind of sensual, erotic or more hardcore play with a submissive who does not choose a safe word. This is the ethical practice and should be observed at all times.
When choosing a safe word, you must pick something that can be said and remembered without any degree of difficulty by the submissive. This would seem to be a simple task. As I told you earlier, we all respond to words like “no” or “stop” when we hear them. We know they register a level of unhappiness with a situation and it would seem that either or one of the many variations would be a perfect choice for the submissive.
This isn’t case though. Due to the nature of a fetish in many cases a submissive will say “no” just to be in the moment with the scene being played out. Submissive partners often enjoy feeling as though they are being made to submit to a Domme and not that they have agreed previously. To keep the excitement there for them, a Dominant partner, will ignore pleas to stop or pronouncements of “no” or “I don’t want to!” as they are part of the game. Making these words useless as safe words.
Instead choose sometime simple like orange or purple, or even cat or tree. Something that would not slip out accidentally but also something easy to say. This word will stop all play immediately, so you wouldn’t want to choose something like “hot” as a submissive might use that word for other purposes in the BDSM play. You want to only pick something that would be clear to both parties did not belong.
This ensures that no one is confused as to what is meant. If in the middle of an erotic spanking a submissive partner says “tree” there is no way that word fits and would be a cue to the Dominant to stop immediately. You can see why a safe word is important and necessary for consensual, sane and safe BDSM play.