I’m a bad submissive. I mean, I try really hard to be a good girl, and overall I’m not that bad, but communication-wise, I’m a terrible sub. I don’t talk. During play, I want to withdraw into myself, and either enjoy the sensations or overlay them with my fantasies. I hate being pulled out of my inner world for something silly as saying my arm’s tingling while in bondage or that the spanking is way harder than I can endure. I’m a big girl. I can take it.
I’m a grown-up. I’m a mature woman who understands the need to speak her limits, even when saying these words might mean the scene has to be paused or ended. I might hate having to speak my mind, but deep down, I know safewords are essential.
When my husband and I first started playing together, we also decided a safe word should be implemented. I chose the word ‘hyacinth,’ inspired by the novel ‘Cushiel’s Dart’ by Jacqueline Carey. There’s this meme going around the internet with the text: ‘If she’s screaming ‘Pineapple, Congressman, Philadelphia, Fettuccine,’ she probably forgot the safe word.’
My first safeword reminds me of that. It’s an irregular word, but I don’t know whether I would have remembered it during intense play. It’s also a tough word to pronounce, so chances that I would have used it when I needed it, are slim. I never did use it.
Green = Good
Today we use the stoplight method. Green means ‘everything is okay, continue.’ Orange means ‘I’m okay, but maybe slow down a bit or take a small break.’ Red means ‘You’ve gone too far. Play needs to stop.’
The way we use it is not so much that we’re afraid of crossing limits, but we use this method as a way of monitoring how I’m doing. I use the ‘green’ and ‘orange’ religiously. I hardly ever use ‘red’ in a scene. When asked for a colour, I check myself, I check my state, and really consider if everything is all right and if I can take more. While playing, this is one of the most honest answers you can expect to get out of me.
Next to these three colours, we also have the colour ‘purple’ as a stopword. For us, this means a trigger has been pushed. Because of my history, a phrase used can land wrong, or a particular position can trigger certain memories. Luckily, we’ve not had to use it often, but it’s an easy way for me to express what’s wrong. I may be in tears, and it doesn’t have to be about something my Dominant did, and with this simple phrase, I can still sort of explain what is happening.
More or Less?
Apart from the use of safewords, there are other forms of communication during our play sessions. For example, my Dom asks me regularly whether I want the next spank to be harder or softer than the previous one. Nothing more humiliating than having to ask to be spanked harder. Or he asks whether I want ten soft taps or one hard hit. I often choose the first, only to be disappointed and left wanting after. It does force me to speak, and it keeps me from withdrawing entirely into myself.
Sometimes Too Safe
The use of safewords has a double edge for me. I love being safe. I know it’s necessary for my well-being. I trust my Dom one hundred per cent that he would never hurt me or go too far on purpose. On the other hand, it gives me so much control that it’s easy for me to hold back the play long before we get close to breaching any limits.
It’s a tough balance between what I can safely endure, to what my inner slut wants to bite through.
No Limits Required
However, I do cringe when (usually new) subs say they don’t need a safe word. In my opinion, yes, you do need one. If only because your limits change from day to day. And even though some may claim they’re almighty, a Dominant cannot know everything.
It’s your responsibility to let them know how you’re doing. And in our situation, some replies will come instantly, some after consideration. Still, I always give a ‘green’ or an ‘orange.’ And that’s how we keep our play safe.