Safe Words- What are They Really?


So many times you hear people make the statement that slaves should not have safewords because they are not supposed to say “No” to their Master. Or you will hear others claim that it is topping from the bottom.  I am not sure where this came from, but both statements are wrong – if a safe word is used in its proper context. I will say that if a sub/slave uses a safe word to just get out of doing something that is not fun and kinky, then they are wrong. If a sub/slave uses a safe word to try and control their Dominant, they are wrong. That is abusing something that is put in place to protect the Dominant’s property.

Safe words are strictly for the safety and well-being of a submissive. (I am going to just use Dominant and submissive, but this applies to Tops and bottoms along with Masters and slaves.) They are used to let the Dominant know that something is not right. It may be that the submissive needs something adjusted. For example, while being restrained, the submissive starts feeling tingling in an extremity. The submissive can use the safe word to pause the scene so that the Dominant can adjust the restraints and then continue with the scene. Or the Dominant could be pushing the submissive’s limits (agreed upon by the submissive). Once the submissive has gone as far as they can, they use the safe word to let the Dominant know, and he/she can stop the scene and begin aftercare. The Dominant should not be upset at this. Instead the Dominant should be proud of what the submissive has accomplished in pushing boundaries.

A safe word can also be used to let the Dominant know that there is some other problem that needs his immediate attention. Many people have medical issues that could come into play during a scene. The submissive should feel safe enough to use their safe word to let the Dominant know so that the submissive can be taken care of. A submissive should never fear being released because they use a safe word to let the Dominant know there is a problem.  Dominants are not mind readers and he should want to be alerted that something is wrong before serious damage – either mentally or physically – is done to the submissive.

Here is a good example of what safe words are. All vehicles come with warning lights in the dash. The driver of the vehicle is the Dominant. The submissive is the car and the warning lights are safe words.  You may have a warning light come on, and it is something that can quickly be corrected and you are able to continue on your way.  However, if you choose to ignore it, it could end up costing you down the road. An example of this is the low air alarm. You stop and put air in your tire and continue on your way with no damage to the tire or the vehicle.  This is like the yellow (or whatever word you use to pause a scene).

Then you have warning lights on your vehicle that tells you that you need to stop the car immediately. A good example of this is your gauge or light that lets you know your car is running hot. You can continue on if you choose, but where is that going to leave you when you crack a head on the vehicle? This would be Red (or whatever word you choose to stop a scene).

In both of the scenarios I just gave, who is in charge – the driver or the vehicle? The driver is still in control of the vehicle. The vehicle just let them know that there is an issue that needs the driver to take care of as a good owner. Now you could remove the fuses that work your warning lights and just take your chances on nothing ever going wrong. But is that taking care of your property? Is that proving that you value your vehicle and what it brings to you?

Now I know there are people that will refuse to use safe words, and if both parties agree to that, then that is fine. But do not remove them from a dynamic based on the misguided idea that by having them the submissive is saying “No” or trying to Top from the bottom.  They are something the Dominant wants their submissive to use to protect what belongs to him/her.

And on an end note, submissives, if you have safe words, do not refuse to use them because you feel like you are failing your Dominant. You are only failing your Dominant when you refuse to let him know that something is wrong and you allow his/her property to be damaged. It is your job to take care of and protect your Dominant’s most treasured possession. You are also telling him/her that you do not trust them when they tell you they will not be disappointed or upset that you let them know something is wrong.