I Insist on having and using a “safeword/signal” because I Don’t “Play ‘safe'”
Somehow, I’ve managed to acquire a reputation as an “edgeplayer”. Yes, I do like to use a variety of knives in My S&M play, sometimes taking what some people believe as excessive risks, as well as floggers and whips and many other “tools of the trade”.
I started making My own toys and eventually started a small leather business in 2003, of which I remain and integral part.
I began My service as a dungeon monitor shortly after entering the public scene when it became known that I was and active paramedic. I am still active in the field as a paramedic and firefighter.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been asked multiple times about My opinion on safewords and safe signals. Rather than embroil Myself in threads and politics of any specific area, I’ve chosen to make My opinion public in this manner instead.
I was taught about the use of “safewords/signals” almost from the time I entered the public scene in San Francisco in 1997. I’ve made them available to all My play partners since I started and continue to do so today.
As I use and understand them, safewords/signals are the final way of communicating between playpartners when all else has failed. It indicates a situation adversely affecting the scene and its outcome. This situation can be internal or external.
Internal causes could be intensity exceeding the bottom’s ability to withstand. It could also be unexpected physical illness on the part of the bottom. It might be a psychological crisis. Or any combination thereof.
It can also be a situation involving the Top. In most playspaces/events/parties, simply calling for help might well be ignored as simply part of the ongoing play, whereas the use of a safeword should result in the requested assistance being rendered in timely fashion, regardless of the underlying reason/cause. In My particular case, I once used a safeword to get assistance for Myself when I dislocated My shoulder while flogging.
Use of a safeword can also indicate withdrawal of consent. When previously agreed upon limits are broken, a safeword can be used to indicate that a violation of consent has occurred, whether accidental or intentional.
External causes could be the actions of others adversely affecting the scene, or environmental factors causing unacceptable distress including but not limited to temperature, pressure, lighting, sound, other players, and other factors otherwise uninvolved in the scene over which the players in the scene have no control.
I also believe there is a fallacy surrounding the use of safewords/signals, which is that the use thereof always ends a scene. I have not found that to be true. The use of a safeword brings a halt to a particular activity. During this break in the activity, the adverse situation is addressed and mitigated. This may be as simple as adjusting the bottom’s position, changing toys, of even just taking a brief rest. But yes, It CAN mean the end of the scene.
Once, years ago, I was playing with a bottom outdoors. After I had restrained her to the post, I began to warm her up with floggers, intending to move on to singletailed whips. Almost immediately after starting to flog her, she used her safeword. I was startled to say the least since she had a reputation of being a heavy masochist, but stopped the scene to inquire about her situation. At that time, she made Me aware of a very small spider nearby which was the cause of her distress. I removed the spider carefully and after a brief recovery time, the scene continued to a satisfactory conclusion.
Without her ability to communicate her distress to Me through using a safeword, I am sure the scene would have ended poorly. Fortunately, the adverse situation was able to be mitigated quickly and easily and the scene went forward.
Another fallacy about safewords/signals is that they will/must be used. If a bottom CHOOSES to not use a safeword or safe signal and continue the scene regardless of what may or may not be occurring, that is Their choice. Just because I require My bottoms to have a safeword or safe signal available doesn’t meant they Will use it. I believe the same principle applies in general.
I know there are bottoms who reach a point in play where they are unable to use a safeword and/or safe signal. In these particular instances, whether a safeword or signal is required is a moot point. It becomes incumbent on the Top and bottom to have communicated sufficiently prior to starting play that harm does not occur.
In summary, My PERSONAL opinion is that safewords/safe signals should be required to be available for use by ANY player, whether Top or bottom, and their use should result in mitigation of the adverse situation, understanding that the actual use of safewords/signals is to the greatest extent dependent on the choices and abilities of the bottom. Failure to respond appropriately to the use of a safeword/safe signal should result in intervention by dungeon monitors and/or party/event/playspace staff when such are available.
I view failure to have safewords/safe signals similar to driving 10 miles an hour or more, over the speed limit. You may well “get away with it” for quite a while, but sooner or later you will have an undesirable result. Hopefully, it will be no more than a ticket. But excess speed is a significant cause of fatal vehicle accidents. I hope all you get is a ticket.
Please note: The opinions expressed in this post are strictly My own and do NOT reflect the position, official or otherwise of any other person, group, or organization.
Submitted by – PantherProwLs