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Kinktionary: Safe Word

July 3rd, 2015

safe-wordThe need for a safe word is a matter of debate around the kink forums. Some are vehemently against them, while others adamantly insist that people shouldn’t play without a safe word.

A ‘safe word’ is a word assigned to a bottom in a BDSM play session. This word is meant to be used if the bottom wants something in the scene to stop, for whatever reason, and, as such, should be a word that the bottom wouldn’t normally use while playing.

Once a safe word is spoken, everything should stop until the bottom’s issue is resolved (or completely if the bottom has reached their limit). A safe word, when used during a scene, should never, ever be ignored. A person should never be coerced into going beyond their safe word if they’re not comfortable with that. And a person should never feel ashamed or embarrassed for using their safe word.

Anything can be a safe word. Some people come up with the most ridiculous word they can think of, while others use what’s called the ‘stoplight’ system.

As you would expect, with the stoplight system, green means, “Things are good! Keep going!” Yellow means “I don’t necessarily want to stop, but something’s off.” And red means, “For the love of God, stop what you’re doing right the fuck now.”

Safe words are considered by many to be a way to let the top know that something is wrong without killing the overall feel of the play session. This way, if the problem is something small, like the bottom having an uncontrollable itch, or a limb that needs adjusting, the top can address it and slide right back into play.

This, of course, doesn’t work for everyone. Some folks feel like assigning a special word that a bottom has to remember puts undue pressure on the bottom. They feel that during a scene, communication should flow freely; that there’s no reason a bottom can’t just say something like, “Hey, my toes are losing circulation,” or whatever.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is what works for you. If you prefer using a safe word, use one. If you don’t, don’t. Either way, be sure to maintain open, honest communication with your play partner throughout the play session, and play within the boundaries of consent.

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