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?