7 Safeword Tips to Keep in Mind Before, During, and After You Get Kinky | 30 Days of D/s
We believe every kinkster should have a safeword. Yes, we know, some people don’t “believe” in them (safewords aren’t unicorns or fairies, so “belief” isn’t really a factor, is it?), but for new partnerships and new kinksters, they’re one way (of many!) to keep each other safe.
A safeword is a word that doesn’t fit in the context of the scene and when used, everything comes to a halt. Instead of relying on “no” or “stop,” partners agree to use a word, move their body in a certain way, or use a gesture to indicate that the kinky moment needs to stop.
As you navigate your power exchange relationship and figure out what your safeword will be, here are some tips to keep in mind.
No Means No
Until you choose a safeword, saying “no” should stop everything. As should “stop” or “I don’t like that” or “Get away from me” or any number of other statements or actions. It’s true that “no” and “stop” can be sexy additions to kinky play, but without a conversation about that, no always means no. Stop everything. Check in. Never assume there’s a safeword until you’ve actively discussed what it will be.
More Than Words
While we generally think of safewords such as “pineapple” or “eggplant” or “purple baby buggy bumper,” it’s not always a word. Why? Because sometimes a person can’t speak — either because their mouth is filled with something or for some other reason. Alternately, one partner might be deaf or hard of hearing and won’t hear a spoken word. Gestures, stomping feet, dropping something, a tap on the shoulder: any of these and more can be used as a safe gesture aka a safeword.
What matters most is that a mechanism exists to let the other partner know to stop. Use the signal that works best for your scene and your needs.
Consider the Traffic Light System
John Brownstone and I don’t have a specific word like “lasagna” or “purple people eater” as a safeword. We use the traffic light system.
- Green means keep going.
- Yellow means slow down.
- Red means stop.
Sometimes I get creative in mid-scene. Greeny-yellow means keep going but slow down on that thing you’re doing. Orange means I’m nearing my limit. Sometimes I’ll say, “Red to that toy you’re using but green overall.” We developed this nuanced version over time, and yes, it often requires me to explain what the hell I mean. That’s okay, too. Safewords are a form of communication, and oftentimes a simple color won’t convey the information I want him to know.
Stop Doesn’t Always Mean Done
When a safeword is used, everything should stop. A partner could be in severe (unpleasant) pain. They may be at the limit of their capacity to handle a sensation. Maybe their hand fell asleep and it’s taking away from the scene. Sometimes, they’re in very real distress and/or danger. But once you figure out what’s going on, you might not have to stop the entire scene. Sometimes you simply need to adjust position or switch up what’s being done.
Take the moment as it is. Adjust if needed to keep going. Stop when necessary. The care of your partner is paramount. Sometimes one partner says they can keep going, but the other partner doesn’t feel comfortable moving forward — at that moment, you’re definitely done.
Tops: Check In
Checking in with a partner during a scene is a best practice for a lot of reasons.
- You get feedback about how your partner feels.
- You’re able to gauge what they can (possibly) handle.
- You may avoid the use of a safeword that ends the scene. (Maybe.)
Checking in is a form of communication during scenes that we highly recommend. And yes, it can be sexy as fuck. When John Brownstone growls in my ear, “Give me a color, girl,” I’m definitely still in the headspace of the scene. He’s telling me what to do, demanding an answer, and talking to me in a tone that turns me on. But at the same time, he’s checking to see if we can keep going or not.
Never assume you know how your partner feels during a scene. Especially if they’re quiet. It might be amazing for them, and they’re floating in subspace. Or they may be holding on for dear life, frozen and unable to use their safeword. Check-ins keep everyone safe.
Subs: Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Safeword
If you negotiate a safeword (and we think you should), it’s there to be used. Ideally, your partner will check-in but even if they do, it’s possible for a scene to change from amazing to no-thank-you in a split second. You’re not a disappointment to your partner if you safeword out of a moment or a scene. And beware the partner who tries to make you feel bad about using your safeword. That’s a massive red flag.
All the responsible Doms and tops we know would feel awful if they hurt you in a way you didn’t actually want. They may carry around guilt or anger about it — and it could make it difficult for them to play in the future. They also need to be able to trust you to safeword when necessary, and if they can’t trust you to do that, how can they trust in you other parts of the power exchange?
Everyone Gets a Safeword
Safewords aren’t just for submissives and bottoms. Doms and tops can (and should!) have one, too. Just as subs/bottoms shouldn’t be shamed or made to feel guilty about using their safeword, neither should a Dom or top. Using one means you care about your own limits and boundaries, your personal safety, and your peace of mind in kinky fuckery. Frankly, safewords are about consent. Using one means you’ve withdrawn your consent and everyone has the right to do that.
Want to figure out what Dominance, submission, and power exchange mean to you? You can do 30 Days of D/s, too. Get the 30 Days of D/s workbook here!