We use safewords in our relationship.
The words my Dom chose for us are probably quite common to lots of people in our lifestyle: The Traffic Light System.
Red: We need to stop right now please.
Yellow: Can we pause for a moment please, I’m struggling with this & I need to talk to you.
Green: All good, go for it!
Funny as this might sound I used to forget I had a safeword early in our relationship. Not that I ever really needed one, as we spent most of our time discussing potential scenarios & my feelings about them. Sir used this method to get to know me & understand my likes, dislikes, triggers & fears.
So for example he might spend a long time setting out a scene (with words), using lots of details, then asking me for my thoughts on it. I’d explain how the scenario had made me feel & express what I liked the sound of & what I hated. On more than on occasion I’d express that something he described I would hate to happen. “What would you do?” he’d ask…. cue a blank look from me, and him patiently suggesting “You wouldn’t use your safeword?”
Aaahh… then would come the dawning realisation, I have a safeword. I can stop anything if I really need to, and he’ll respect that. It certainly wasn’t bravado on my part that stopped me using my safeword, it was lack of experience. Over time though I have come to understand this isn’t merely an optional safety net for me, it’s a serious responsibility too.
Just as I trust Sir to respect my safeword, he has to trust that I will use it when I need to. As well as he knows me he isn’t a mind reader. He won’t always know how I feel about something, unless I open my mouth & tell him. He doesn’t want to hurt or damage me, I am precious to him, and by not using my safeword when I need to I risk that. Not only physical or emotional damage to me, but to him & to our relationship.
I must admit I still have moments of hesitation about using my safewords. Oh, don’t get me wrong I have used them, and will continue to do so. What I worry about is the line between the pouty ‘I don’t like this‘ whine, and the very real ‘I can’t handle this at all‘. That line between the specifically inflicted pain that is part of our dynamic, and the genuine discomfort of, for example, terrible menstrual cramps, that stop me serving my Dom as he and I would wish.
I come across some funny safewords in my reading, or talking to friends, and often wonder how they came about. One friend uses ‘bottle’, another uses ‘hippo’, which makes me smile.
Really though, it doesn’t matter what we use, be it a word or some other pre-arranged signal or gesture. The important thing is that they are respected. Always.