I was talking to someone at Kinky Kollege and I confessed that I rarely played with established safewords.

Responsible, didactic, insistent me.

I used to mention them, have the submissive tell me what their safeword was, do all the things that I myself say you’re supposed to do.

Over time, though, that became less and less important to me, had less value and merit.

It seemed to me that the habit of establishing some outlandish word I expected someone to remember in a moment of sudden panic was, to be blunt, silly.  It implied that if the submissive I was playing with said “No!” or “Stop!” that I would not, not until they remembered to say “Eggplant!”

A sort of BDSM version of Simon Says or Mother May I?

Now that I’ve said that, let me say this.

There are submissives who want to be able to struggle, to beg for release, to cry in fear, and know they won’t be released until they do say “Eggplant!”

There are specific scenes that require the same thing to work.

That’s fine.  They do require a safeword, a sort of “No, I mean it this time.”

Those are not scenes that would normally be played out in the first time or two of play between partners, either.  They are more likely to be scenarios that established partners embellish on as their relationship deepens and the trust between them grows.

By that time, too, one would hope that the dominant would know the difference between the “No, stop!” that really means, “Don’t stop!” and the “No, stop!” that really means, “No, stop!”

If I play with a submissive, and he or she says, “Stop!” I am going to check.

If he or she says “No!”  I’m going to check.

If he or she says “Ouch!” or “Oh, shit!” I’m going to check.

I might not stop the scene, but I’d scale back the intensity, give them a chance to catch their breath, a chance to be able to communicate something with me if you need that.

Am I going to immediately loosen the restraints and end the scene?

Not unless they are in immediate distress, not unless they have a muscle cramp or an asthma attack, not unless their verbal or physical response indicates that is the course of action I need to take.

I’m going to ask them how they’re doing, ask if they’re all right, ask if they need an adjustment or a change in something.  I’m going to ask if it’s too much, I’m going to ask if they want to go on.

I’m not going to have a lengthy question and answer period, but I am going to establish that they’re ok, and whether or not they want to continue right now.

If they do want to continue, likely I’ll move to a different implement and/or a different sensation.  If I’ve been using a crop, maybe I’ll hand-spank for a while.  If I was using a cane, maybe I’ll switch to a flogger.

I will vary the sensation in some way, and move back in intensity a bit, to allow them to catch up and catch their breath.

I believe that if a submissive has to use a safeword due to the intensity of the situation or the stimulation, most often it is because the dominant hasn’t been paying close enough attention.

One of the things I watch closely when playing with someone is their feet.  Not because I’m a foot fetishist, but because as most people reach their tolerance for pain, they rise up on the balls of their feet.

If I play with someone regularly, I usually know how high I can let him or her rise before I need to back off.  If they’re a new playmate, I will pay particular attention to that, knowing that it will be an easy physical gauge I can use to see where they are.

I pay attention, too, to the way they move and hold their body.

Is their body tensed up in a ball, the way someone receiving unwelcome blows might hold themselves?

Are they moving their bodies away from me, not towards me, as if they are trying to get away?

Are the teeth gritted, the jaws clenched?  Overall, does this appear to be someone who is enjoying an experience, or someone who is enduring it?  For some, endurance is part of what they seek, the willingness and ability to endure pain to please the Master or Mistress.  You should know that is part of their makeup before you get to that point, however.

I’ve only ever had a submissive use a safeword once, and I intended for him to do so.  He had a mental block with using one, believing he was able to endure anything.

Given that we played on a fairly intense and edgy level, though, I needed to know that he would stop a scene if he needed to; his unwillingness to use a safeword limited my enjoyment of our play, because I had to monitor him that much more closely.  So I finally pushed him to do that, to get it out that first time.

How did I do that, you ask, how did I push someone to use a safeword without having to face the very situation that disturbed me, that of him in deeper than he could endure and still be unwilling to use a safeword?

I tied him to the bed and tickled his feet until he yelled uncle, figuratively speaking.  Who says I’m not a sadist?

About MsConstanceExplains

Ms Constance has been actively involved in the BDSM/Leather community since the mid-1990’s. She is the Founder of the Louisville Munch as well as its hostess for ten years, from 1997 to 2007, and was christened as “Louisville’s First Lady” by her community. As a member of various BDSM/Leather organizations, she has been nominated for Pantheon Woman of the Year as well as regional awards, and has been nominated with her slave, drew, for Pantheon Couple of the Year. She serves as Special Events Director for the Great Lakes Leather Alliance. She produces the Bluegrass Leather Pride Contest, sending contestants to Great Lakes Leather Weekend, and was Presenters Committee Chair for Leather Leadership Conference 2010 Great Lakes/Ontario. She has produced and judged Leather events and contests, been instrumental in the organization and creation of various groups and clubs, advised and encouraged other communities and endeavors, and produced a performance by a BDSM comedian. Groups around the country use her writings in information and introductory packets, and she is an occasional columnist as well. She and slave drew hold the titles of Great Lakes Master and slave 2003.

Posted on October 31, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You are such a natural. You seem conscientious of all that is happening which would make you an exceptional Domme for sure. Having not met you, I can only imagine that you are in command of whatever room you occupy. Oddly, this post was very … Exciting from a sub point of view.

    • Thank you muchly for the kind words. I do think that if a submissive has to use a safeword, it’s never their “fault,” it’s always mine. There are also those no-fault situations – the sudden cramp, the unbearably itchy nose, the rope that has shifted and is now cutting into the ribcage… But again, I consider those sort of no-fault problems. If I push you harder and farther than you can bear, then I am at fault, not you.

  2. jeebers! You Dom’s the tickle thing. *shakes head*

    GREAT post…i love love love how attentive you are. Master is the same. He knows my body enough to know when I can’t…just can’t take one more blow..He’ll rub, or blow in my ear or just slide away for a few minutes and let me breath. It’s a skill that I find simply amazing.


    • I think being a dominant – a good one, anyway – requires so much attention. You notice breathing patterns and how the body is held and how the skin looks and how flushed they are and how dreamy they are and how much and what kind of pain they like and which they don’t. That’s not to say that they always get the good kind, but you do need to know what kinds they can tolerate for longer, what makes a good exclamation point versus a nice steady pattern.

      God is in the details.

  3. I agree about the safewords – I think they’re good as a game plan, “Just In Case”, but for the most part, he sees me approaching my limits those few moments before I realize I’m there, myself. We have safewords but I never have to use them…

    I was even more intrigued tho’, by your “behind the scenes” description (for me, anyhow) of something BG does that continually wows me…
    I’ve got neck issues that have caused me (more than once) to nearly pass out on him. He’ll leave me tied but gets my head down, brings me water, directs a fan on me — and then goes right back to a milder version of what we were doing, (all while watching my color…) so I never feel any loss of dominance, or guilt over “ruining” a scene. It completely undoes me, every time.
    It’s a knack for understanding balance that I so rarely see, I’m always surprised when someone actually demonstrates it…

    • Again, I think it’s about attention and judgement. Knowing when more is too much and when it’s just right, and even taking a chance occasionally that it isn’t too much. Once in a while you do push a stroke or two past that because it is about flying, and challenging limits and even enduring something that is difficult, even in small doses. If I never push you, you never see how far you can go. On the other hand, if I push you so far you fall into the abyss, well, then, I fucked up, didn’t I?

      You didn’t.

      I did.

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