On Safewords

21 Feb

I started a new tutoring job today. Although commuting is a bit of a pain in the ass, I really appreciate the quiet time to myself. My brain works in high gear while I make the familiar drive to campus, lulled into a meditative state by the white noise of the air-rushing, tire-whirring, thrumming sounds of the road. Today, I was thinking about safewords.

Safewords are specific, prearranged words or signals used in BDSM or kink communities and relationships, during sexual and sensual activity, to express that something is not going quite right. Some partners have individual safewords tailored to their relationship. The word can be anything, so long as it is simple, understood, and uncommon for the bedroom. For example…Umbrella, poodle, jello. (Unless you’re somehow involving an umbrella, a poodle, and jello in your sex play, in which case…more power to ya.)

The point of a safeword is that, sometimes, we want to play with activities that might push our boundaries. We may struggle, squirm, kick, cuss, and scream. We may say “You evil bastard, that fucking hurts!” or “No! Please! Stop!” when we really mean “That feels so good…More, please?” or “Fuck yes, keep going!” Safewords are in place so that we know for damn sure that something is up, even when we’re exploring boundaries and pushing limits and getting lost in those sweet, delicious recesses of our minds and bodies.

The main thing on my mind during my drive today was…why don’t we ALL use safewords, regardless of whether we are engaging in kink-related activities? Why aren’t safewords just a regularly accepted component of sexual relationships, especially ones that are in the beginning stages of exploration? They would really come in handy.

You could say “red” when your partner suddenly attempts to sneak a finger in the back door without knocking first. An immediate pause and a discussion would follow. Your partner might learn that the ass does not lubricate itself, so it needs a little artificial assistance, or your partner might learn that you ONLY use the back door as an exit, not an entrance. You could say “yellow” when your partner is going to town fingering you, but is not quiiiite jamming away at the right angle. A slight slow down, a quietly murmured instruction, a little adjustment, and the problem may be solved. Safewords ease the awkwardness of having to shout out, “WOAH. Slow the fuck down and curl your fingers a little more!” They help to make adjustments without truly breaking the flow of the activity.


I think I’m going to become an advocate for expanding the use of safewords beyond the realm of kink. Safewords for all!


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