What is a safe word? How is it used? Why is it used? Do I need one?
Okay that is actually 4 questions, but they are closely related.
A safe word is a word or a phrase that a bottom can use while engaged in masochistic activity that will alert your top that something is amiss.
A safe word should be something that is simple to say, something that you would not normally use while engaged in sexual or BDSM behavior, and something that is easily remembered.
I’ve used such words as: giraffe, Macon, and pancake. There are “universal” safe words that are known in the community that are also often used: green, yellow, red. If you think of the colors of a stoplight, you understand the meaning of these specific safe words. Green would indicate that everything is fine and that you can proceed as usual. Yellow would indicate that there is something the top should be aware of and that he/she should proceed with caution. Red means stop.
They are words that it only takes a moment to utter and can not be confused for something else like an orgasm.
A safe word is something that is used to indicate to the top you are playing with that either:
A) the activity is too intense
B) the activity is not within the negotiated boundaries established during negotiations
C) there is an immediate issue that needs to be addressed such as a medical issue that could cause severe injury, physical or emotional damage.
A safe word can be used when playing in public at a play party or a dungeon. A safe word can be used in private with your intimate partner.
Not every S&M session will have a safe word in use, but there is a school of thought that it is better to have one than not.
A safe word quite honestly is a method to soothe the anxiety of the bottom. If you use one, it should always be honored – ALWAYS.
The thing about a safe word is that it is, after all, just a word.
If you are with a person that is not ethical and ignores your safe word, the word will not keep you from harm.
The question then becomes, if it can not protect me why should I use it or negotiate it?
You use it like you use training wheels, or any other training device. You hope that in time you will no longer need it, but in the meantime you operate with it.
I went into all of that to basically answer this question:
A Dominant man and I have been communicating for three months. I have talked to him on the phone, I know his last name, we have met for coffee twice, drinks, and dinner twice. I like him very much, and we’ve been discussing moving things to the next level. I’ve never considered myself much of a pain slut, but he’s indicated that he is a sadist. I’ve seen some pictures of some women that he’s played with and I am not comfortable that I could withstand any type of interaction even close to what they took. He wants to set a date for us to play. He says that he can’t consider moving any further along until we get more intimate. I told him that I wanted to use a safeword, because I was not comfortable after seeing how heavy a player he’s been with other submissives. He says that he’s never allowed any of his submissives to use a safe word and that he is not going to start now. I really like him, but I think that I should be able to use a safe word. I don’t know if I should agree to his terms. He is the Dominant, and I am the submissive but this just feels wrong.
There’s a lot going on here.
First I want to tell you that at this stage of your ‘relationship’ your comfort should be a priority to the Dominant. This lifestyle is not something that you should just jump into with the first person that gives you an order without also thinking about what might happen.
There should not be a time limit on how and when things move forward.
I am not one to say withhold sex or play until you see he is “into” you, BUT you must also feel comfortable that you are making the right decision for you.
This is not a movie date that you can slip out of if you hate the cinematography, this is your life, and possibly the person you choose to share your life with. You are trusting (or might be trusting) this person with your life, your heart, your health, and any other number of things that are unique to you and define you.
A decision like this deserves time, vetting, and common sense.
That being said:
A Dominant man interested in playing with you for the very first time, and telling you that he is not going to allow you to use a safe word is a red flag.
I can not say that he is dangerous, I can not say that he is a predator. I will say though that he might very well be over-confident.
Your first time engaging in S&M play, with a person you’ve only known for a short time, deserves preparation and caution. It is not responsible for this Dominant to assume that he can tell you are in distress (or worse) based on dinner, phone calls, and instant messages.
The Man and I do not use safe words. The Man and I have known one another for years, we have been Master/slave for almost 2 years, and he knows my mind and body better than I do most times.
This is not your example. Your example is of a Dominant man unwilling to listen to your concerns and help you work through them, or prove that they are unfounded.
I would suggest that you speak to him again. Be respectful and explain why you want to use the safe word and ask if he would be willing to work with you by using it now but that hopefully in time, its use will not be needed.
If he refuses, you might want to think about how healthy a relationship this could be for you in the future. If 3 months into things he is not willing to make you feel secure, can you trust him to make you feel secure in 3 years?
This beginning stage is where you typically see the best of people. If this is his best do you want to see his worst?