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6 Things You Need to Know About Safewords

Ever since Fifty Shades of Grey, the meaning of “safewords” has become more popular.  But many people, even in the BDSM community, still don’t know how to use them the right way.  The definition of a safeword is a code to communicate when a submissive is at their limit, or close to it.  I’ll show you some practical examples and a list of ones  you can use in your next play session.

BDSM
Safewords
To use
Meaning 
Examples 
List
Definition 
Fifty shades of grey
Pineapple

1.  Why “pineapple” is a good safeword to use

By definition, the words “No” and “Stop” are not safewords. A safeword needs to be something you would not normally say in a play session or scene. That’s why “pineapple” is such a good example. If you pick a word that is too common, the meaning can become unclear.

Why Fifty Shades of Grey used “Red” and “Yellow”

There’s a good reason why Fifty Shades of Grey chose those two examples. The most popular safeword is “Red”, meaning the sub cannot tolerate any further demands. When this word is said the Dominant’s actions cease completely with immediate effect.  The safeword “Yellow” is used to bring to the attention of the Dom that the sub is close to their limit of endurance.

Red and Yellow are my favorite and the ones I use with my Dom, but we also have an alternative.  Back when we were vanilla but also doing kinky things, I would use his middle name as a code.  I had used it for so long that it was still a habit so we decided to keep it.

When you are in the middle of a very intense situation, it is somewhat of a knee jerk reaction to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.  So pick a safeword(s) you feel comfortable with.

List of popular examples:

  • Apple
  • Red
  • Pineapple
  • Dom’s middle name
  • Banana
  • Yellow
  • Safeword
  • Mercy
  • Oklahoma

2. Safewords can help establish BDSM limits

If a couple is exploring something new like anal play, safewords can help guide the Dom as to what is acceptable and what is too far.  One of the roles of a good Dom is to push the boundaries of their sub a little, to see what they are and aren’t OK with.

To use safewords in this way a Dom can check in with the sub during a scene and ask, “What color?”  The sub can then replay “Red”, “Yellow”, or even “Green” to indicate that they want to go further.  You could even practice this technique to get a sub comfortable using safewords.

3. Subs can abuse their safewords without meaning to

Let me start off by saying that there is nothing wrong with using safewords.  They are a sacred part of BDSM, and are there to make sure everything stays safe, sane, and consensual.  A sub should never feel guilty when they use them legitimately.

The problem arises when it becomes a way to get out of something they just don’t want to do.  It can become the vanilla equivalent of saying they have a headache.  Besides sexual requests they may use a safeword when a situation becomes too emotionally difficult and they just want a break.

In short, the sub becomes the one in control when they safeword because they just don’t feel like doing something. Find out what the Dom and the sub can do to fix this here.

4. You can try getting rid of them… maybe

In some Master/slave relationships there is the concept of Total Power Exchange (TPE).  This means that the slave has relinquished all rights, even the right to a safeword.

If the sub consents to this (and they have to consent) there needs to be complete trust in the Dom’s control, and his knowledge of the sub. This is best for long term, 24/7 relationships.

If you’re not ready for this step, an alternative could be agreeing to forgo safewords during discipline.  This has the advantage that a sub is more liking to learn from their punishment or not misbehave, if they know they cannot safeword out of it.  The Dom would then have total control over the discipline and not the sub.

Another possibility would be to not let the sub use “Red” while being punished, only “Yellow”.

5.  You need a nonverbal signal too in BDSM

If choking or gagging is acceptable you won’t be able to talk, so agree beforehand on a safe gesture instead of a word.  This can be a hand signal or placing an item in the sub’s hand that they can drop when they have reached their limit.

The downside to these is that their arms and hands would have to be free at all times.  And there is the risk that the Dom may not be able to see the signal during a BDSM scene.

To get around this my Dom and I have the agreement that my hands and arms are always free during choking, and our “safeword” is that I will tap his body anywhere I can.  Once he feels it he releases me immediately.  Try a practice session before committing to your signal.

6. Subs can forget to use their safewords

Sometimes the Dom may make demands of the sub that cannot be met without incurring physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or other harm.  That is when the sub should use their safewords.

However, in that circumstance the sub may already be distraught because of the severity of the situation, and they may forget their safeword.  Or it may not instinctively come to their mind.  If the Dom is sensing that the sub’s condition is becoming deeply upset and agitated, he should remind them of their safewords.

Also if something new, or if something extremely intense is going to happen, then the Dom should remind the sub of their safewords again beforehand.

My Dom is very good about this, but one thing I like to do during something very demanding is to repeat my safewords to myself in my head.  This way they will more readily come to mind if I need to use them.

No one should ever say, “a real sub doesn’t have safewords.”  If a sub is new to BDSM or coming in to a new relationship, it is a huge red flag if they say they don’t have safewords.  Safewords build trust and bring meaning into the relationship.  Be comfortable using them and you will experience greater pleasure.  🖤

What’s your favorite examples of BDSM safewords to use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Keep reading: Myths you need to stop believing now

BDSM Limits: Learn What’s Hard and Soft

Limits are a topic that is sure to come up in any Dom/sub relationship or contract negotiation. Even if you don’t have a BDSM partner yet, it’s good to have your boundaries clear in mind so you’ll be prepared when you’re ready to start playing. But what exactly is the difference between hard and soft limits? Here, we’ll define what limits can mean for you, and I’ll even give you some examples.

Bdsm hard and soft limits  List Examples  Meaning Define  Checklist  Contract Vs Difference between  Dom/sub

Why have limits in BDSM?

Having limits while engaging in BDSM allows the submissive to explore their sensuality safely.  They never have to be afraid that their Dom is going to do something they don’t want, or will hurt them physically or mentally.  They can give up all control, and be free from making the decisions. Dominants benefit from set rules also because it takes the guess-work out of what their sub will and won’t do. Both individuals will be able to completely let go, and fully enjoy living the lifestyle.

There are two kinds of limits- soft vs hard:

Soft

These are things that the sub maybe interested in but is hesitant about exploring.  You cannot assume that just because someone has agreed to be a submissive that they are OK with everything. The boundaries of soft limits are flexible as the Dom sees fit and the submissive agrees to push and expand slowly.  However, once something has been decided upon (hopefully in a contract) it can be freely asked or demanded.  Get your free Dom/sub contract here.

Some examples are: oral sex, swallowing semen, nipple clamps, spanking, flogging, being blindfolded, butt plugs, gagging, wax play, and bondage with tape.

Another soft limit is the sub’s tolerance of receiving pain, which can be worked up slowly and with consent.  Light bruises might be acceptable and tolerable, but permanent scars or marks may not be. Always discuss what types of pain, punishments, and discipline are allowed, and the intensity and severity of each.

Hard

Both parties need to specify what they won’t do, and respect it.  Examples could be things like: choking, anal sex, electro play, fisting, needles, suspension bondage, whipping, caning, fire play, and blood/urine/feces. Doms can have boundaries too.  The point is, no one should be pressured to do something that they are uncomfortable with.

Limits can change over time, and some can be more fluid than others.  For example, a sub may only be comfortable with something like rimming on some occasions, but their Dom has to ask first.  And sometimes boundaries can soften in the presence of alcohol, but even so, the Dom should always make sure the sub really wants to and is giving their full consent.

Dom/sub requirement limits

Requirements are not always talked about online when discussing the subject of limits but they deserve to be mentioned. These would be things that a partner has to have. It could be, “I need you to pull my hair when we have sex in doggie style.”  Or, “If a punishment makes me cry, good aftercare is a must.”  Get your free aftercare checklist here.

Remember: Safewords can help establish limits too. If a couple is exploring something new like anal play, safewords can help guide the Dom as to what is acceptable and what is too far.  One of the roles of a good Dom is to push the boundaries of their sub a little, to see what they are and aren’t OK with.

What to do if limits aren’t respected

If boundaries aren’t respected it really depends on the situation and the individuals involved. Sometimes for a seemingly minor offense the Dom could be warned never to do that again. But for more major breaches of trust, submissive always has the power to terminate the relationship.  And it’s always a good idea to discuss beforehand the consequences of breaking a contract.

So as you can see, limits are for the benefit of everyone involved, and are in no way restrictive.  To make it easier for you, try creating a list, either by yourself or with your partner.  Ultimately this will bring more pleasure and trust to the relationship. 🖤

What are your feelings on limits? Share your hard and soft list below.

Read more about etiquette in the lifestyle »