What the famous safeword is all about

Author: Ginger San
A to Z | Basics

What is a safeword?

One of the few terms that is well known outside of the BDSM world is the safeword, sometimes also called a code word. It represents a word or series of words that are agreed upon before the start of a session or entire relationship in order to end it. The safeword is primarily used by the submissive part or bottom, but dominant people or tops can and should use it in the same way.

Why is the safeword so important?

The most important basis of all BDSM acts is mutual consent, which can be revoked at any time. While words like “no” or “stop” usually signal that someone disagrees with an activity or action, in SM activities these can certainly be part of the game.

For this reason, it is important to specify a different word or symbol that is not ambiguous to indicate a serious desire for a session to end.

Which words or terms are suitable as safewords?

Actually any word, preferably a noun, that is not used in your sexual context, is unmistakable and easy to remember. Everyday objects such as “kitchen roll”, “laptop bag”, “notepad”, “remote control” or “jam” are best suited. Unless of course the latter is part of the game.

Slow word and traffic light system

A popular and easy-to-remember variant is the traffic light system, in which mentioning the color “red” indicates the termination of a session and “yellow” serves as a so-called slow word. The slow word or “yellow” is intended to let the other person understand that he or she should not stop the session, but should not increase the intensity any further. The color “green” is usually only mentioned in the traffic light system when asked and signals that everything is okay and the actions are being enjoyed.

Signs instead of words when speaking is not possible

In games in which a person is prevented from speaking, for example by a ball gag or gag, a safe sign must be agreed upon beforehand that indicates the desire to abort and that the other participants can clearly interpret and see. This could be finger or knock signals, or an object being dropped when necessary.

A slow level can also be incorporated into gestures that replace the safeword. For example, three outstretched fingers could mean “this far and no further” and a ring formed from the thumb and index finger could mean immediate termination. Knocking once could mean “slow down”, twice could mean abort. An object in the right hand, preferably a yellow one, can mean “it’s just going, but please don’t go any further” and a red one in the left hand can mean “stop immediately”.

What to consider

The mention of the safeword is binding

The mention of the safeword is unmistakable and the session must be ended. Point. If the safeword is ignored, it not only destroys any basis of trust between those involved, it can also cause serious physical or psychological harm to the person who wants the termination.

Discuss the safeword beforehand and set a duration

Safeword and, if necessary, slowword or the corresponding symbols must be determined before the start of a session if everyone involved is of sound mind. The validity and duration must also be discussed mutually beforehand. For example, whether it only applies to the duration of a session or to an entire relationship. In the latter case, agreeing on a pause word can also make sense.

The safeword does not replace regular check-ins

Sometimes subspace can lead to a deep, trance-like state, leaving the bottom unable to speak. Under these circumstances, it is important to constantly monitor the bottom’s reaction time and ability and to define safe signals in advance. If these do not occur, the session must be ended. The traffic light system is also suitable here: If Sub is no longer able to respond to a request with green or an agreed positive gesture, the process is aborted.

Aftercare is mandatory

When the safeword is used, the most important thing is that those involved engage in intensive aftercare in order to talk about the reasons and what they experienced without judgment or judgment. Precisely because the probability of a crash after an aborted session is much higher.

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