With so much content available online for BDSM and kink, getting into the guts of these practices is necessary and important. You can read all the Spanking 101 articles you want, but if you don’t know the basics of engaging in this play safely, you’re not going to be properly equipped.
Learn the basics first and get weird later. There is plenty of time for both!
This is where safe words come in. A safe word is a must for all couples, even if you’re not into “intense” sexual play. Here is everything you need to know about safe words and the helpful boundaries they present.
What even is a safe word?
A safe word is a *nonsexual* word designed to *stop* all sexual play in its tracks. This word basically means “I need to take a break,” “I’m uncomfortable,” “I don’t like this.” It’s a hard STOP. This word is very helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed, upset, or anxious during sex. Trust us, it happens to everyone.
A safe word is designed to safeguard your sexual comfort, but it shouldn’t sound like anything sexy. It doesn’t have to be ridiculous or stupid, but it does have to be something you both understand means “I'm not kidding around.”
When you invoke your safe word, you get a chance to reassess what is happening and even talk about what you’re feeling. You can always continue with the sexual play after you’ve had a moment to discuss what you need to go forward. These words are also an excellent way to maintain your awareness during sexual play.
When a safe word is helpful.
These safe words are useful for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, in certain sexual situations, the word no doesn’t work. For instance, if you’re engaged in a ravishment fantasy or a BDSM scene, saying no might be a part of your or your partner’s character. Meaning, if you say no, your partner might not know you literally mean “NO. STOP.” That’s scary!
A safe word dissolves any gray area you might experience in these kinds of scenes. When you use the safe word, there is zero doubt what you mean. This prevents you from going too far when you’re not feeling comfortable or safe.
That being said, a safe word is useful for more vanilla sex as well. It’s not just kinky scenes where this word can be helpful in acting as a sexual guide. Communicating during sex is awkward; you are naked and vulnerable. There are very few people who feel comfortable being open about their discomfort in the heat of the moment. And this is no good for anyone.
If you push yourself through a sexual act you’re not into because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, you’ll probably end up resentful and gripped with dysphoria. For example, if you’re in doggy style and your partner’s thrusts become painful rather than pleasurable, you can use your safe word to say, “I’d like this to stop.” It’s less emotionally fraught than, “I hate this. I’m hurting. Get off me.” Make sense?
A safe word sets up predetermined boundaries. We need boundaries when it comes to sex, no matter how much we love and trust our partners.
Choosing the right safe word.
Every safe word is different, and each couple should pick a safe word that works for them. For some, the word banana might work. For another couple, banana might be too silly or funny. This couple might use something like sailboat. It’s totally customizable and you should feel free to have fun with it!
For beginners, we suggest using the traffic light method. This is a simple way to use safe words without getting confused or feeling unsexy. When you want more of something, you say “green” (go). If you’re not into it, are in pain, or are experiencing discomfort or anxiety, you say “red” (stop).
Remember, practice makes perfect. Like all things sexually related, it’s about finding your groove. Start with the traffic light system and see how it goes. You can always choose a personalized safe word later.