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The Safeword Debate

To use or not to use—no, no... that wasn't a question.

(I'm channeling my inner Miranda Priestley for this piece.  They don't make Tops like her anymore.)

"I don't like using safewords, because I don't want to have control."

"Why do I need a safeword when I can just say 'get the f— off me!'?"

"If you keep doing that, I'm going to use my safeword!"

The above sentences were said to me by actual submissives/bottoms who were 100% clueless about the significance of safewords. Even though I explained to them what I am about to explain to you, I'm pretty sure that they never got it. I hope that whoever reads this piece does better.

Once again, I ask you to wipe out everything you've read in books or seen in movies. Safewords are part of real-life interactions, so Fifty Shades does not apply. If you've been to a play party, I'm even going to ask you to put whatever you've heard about safewords in a jar until I'm finished. Afterwards, you're on your own.

Safewords were not invented to make a scene artificial, or to mess with a bottom's headspace, or to give anyone the false impression that the submissive is in control of a given scenario. If you've been led to believe any of that nonsense, please stop.

The safeword is in place for ONE reason: to ensure the safety of the players in a scenario without breaking headspace or the flow of the interaction. It is an instrument of communication, not power. Using it does not make you weak or wimpy; it makes you more of a safe player and less of a nut.

For those who don't know, your safeword can be any word that you choose—except "no" and "stop."  Why? Because for a lot of people, begging to stop is part of their headspace, part of the scenario. Tops ignore those words on a regular basis; don't get upset by it. That's why people pick safewords that are totally outside the language of a scenario. Common safewords at a play party are:

"Green"—"I love what you're doing.  It's okay to go harder."

"Yellow"—"We're getting into a space that I'm not comfortable with.  Let's slow this down."

"Red" or "Mercy"—"I've had enough!" "I don't like this!" "Stop, now!"

If you're interacting with someone who ignores when you say "red," get up, unzip your face mask, and run.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had so-called bratty bottoms push (and push and push) my buttons on purpose, and then when I grabbed their ear with one hand and my strap with the other, they jumped around and broke away shouting "Red! Red! Red!"  

Submissives/bottoms, get your minds right. Your safeword only covers the intensity of what's being done to you. Your safeword does not control the scenario or the Dominant. Remember what I said about playing fair?  Pissing off a Top and hiding behind your safeword is not playing fair.  That is the number-one way to push a sane Dominant away from you and kill your action at a party, even if you're 19 and cute as a button in a plaid skirt. 

For me, it takes me to a place in my head that I'd rather not be in. I will curse the air that you have yet to breathe. Go away and stay away.

*exhale*  Sorry.  Had a flashback.  I'm okay, now.

At a play party, especially if you intend to play with people whom you do not know well, I cannot stress enough the importance of using a safeword. I also stress that you do it correctly. I know that you want to live out your elaborate spanking fantasy, but the person you're playing with has no idea what's going on in your head. And I would hope that you wouldn't want to turn your scene into a therapy session (been there, done that!). Safewords eliminate the need to go into a drawn-out geschichte about why you're scared of hairbrushes. Have that conversation before or after the scene... not during. 

Most play parties take place in very loud spaces. When the club music is slamming into your stomach, not many people can hear the word "red," and that can be dangerous. A Dominant friend of mine who heads a wonderful club and gives many parties came up with a non-verbal communication for people draped across her lap. When they're somewhere between yellow and red, they place a hand on her ankle, which she translates as, "I like what you're doing, but you're hitting me too hard."

Creative, right?

That's really all that it takes... a little extra creativity and imagination, which is well appreciated in the Community. Feel free to come up with your own safe words and gestures: wiggle your fingers, tap out, stomp on the floor. The choice is yours; just have a way to communicate your status without breaking headspace, because guess what? Tops have a headspace, too! This isn't just about the bottom getting off. Dominants live for a submissive's reactions, and when we don't receive what we need, it blows our headspace, which blows the scene. When those sentences at the beginning of this piece were said to me, I responded by ending the scenario and subsequently cutting off contact with the people—not because of their ignorance but because of their unwillingness to respect my headspace.

Team effort, remember?

My biggest pet peeve with submissives/bottoms is when they refused to use their safeword, said nothing through the whole scene, and then accused me of brutalizing them. I have been bad-mouthed in a certain other club (that you couldn't pay me to go back to) because some prissy little nineteenager told everybody that I was "too rough" and "not safe." When the club officers got in my face about it, I told them that she never used her safeword (they never bothered to ask her that first!), so they went back to Prissy, who told them, "I don't use my safeword unless I'm about to pass out." The officers sided with Prissy and told me to "be more careful." Picture the look on my face. God kept me from going to jail that night. That's all I'm saying.

Submissives/bottoms, hear me: if you're in a scene that's going bad for you, and you choose not to use your safeword, whatever happens next is your fault!  You absolutely have a right to feel safe, but you do NOT have the right to vilify a Dominant because you make a conscious decision to be irresponsible!

Whooo... flashbacking again. Give me a minute. 

Okay. Back to the Loving Place.

If you are in a Master/slave relationship, this piece may or may not apply to you. As I've said, that's another level of BDSM, and none of you are ready for me to discuss my views on that. For the rest of you Tops/bottoms, Doms/subs, and casual players of all persuasions, respect yourselves and the people that you play with. Communicate often, in and out of a scenario. 

Use your safewords. Responsibly.

That's all.

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