I’m writing this blog post in English today, for a reason. Since I’ve joined Twitter, and it’s been a few years now, I’ve come across lots of arguments regarding the safeword in bdsm relationships. This discussion is being led on a rather emotional level and usually by English speaking accounts. It seems to me that in the English spoken Bdsm world, a safeword is regarded as a law. Carved in stone. And everyone who tries to explain that it’s NOT something mandatory on all occasions, gets a beating. The German spoken Bdsm world has a much different approach to this. Thus, the blog post in English.
*disclaimer* I’m not the bdsm lawmaker and I’m not holding the golden book of bdsm in my hands. Nevertheless, I will make an attempt to explain here why I don’t think too highly of a safeword.*
First things first. If you meet random strangers in some club, and play with them, or if you are in a brand new relationship of some sorts, and you just don’t know each other well enough, or if you are engaging in some kind of super extreme bdsm play that is – regarded from any kind of objective POV as plain stupid and irresponsible- then a safeword, or a hand signal, or a sound, may be a good idea.
In all other situations, in my opinion, it is not.
There are several reasons. Number one: Because if you insist on a safeword with a new partner to be on the safe side, and rely on it as your only safety net, you may be disappointed. An abuser, an asshole, a wannabe, a selfish guy will not stop just because you say so. Yes, technically, this is sexual abuse or even rape, but practically, you prove it if you are covered in marks anyway. Which you wanted and consented to.
Number two: Because you betray yourself of the chance to let go of control. I mean, TRULY let go. As long as you have a safeword, you are the one who holds the power. Every other definition is bullshit at the end of the day. You can hand the power and control over to your Dom all you want to, as long as you can get out of any situation that you really don’t want or think of as too painful or unpleasant with one small word, you are ultimately still in control.
Number three: The same goes for your Dom/me. Just the other way round. If he or she plays with you and you two explore, for example, impact play beyond a little baby pink ass cheek spanking, then he’ll always have at the back of his mind that if he dishes 5 more out, and even harder, you’ll cry your safeword and it’ll be over for tonight. So he won’t drive you right to that edge. Or a little further. Because….he can’t.
It keeps you two from getting to really deeply know each other. From trusting each other. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t, replace him becoming able to “read” you and your reactions. To develop this gut feeling for how much you can really take even if you don’t WANT to anymore.
It ruins your chances to REALLY push your limits. Including the pride once you’ve made it past a barrier. It is a dynamics killer.
And, all this said, if you are in a relationship and you can’t trust your partner enough to think they know how much you can take, and if he or she is unable or not willing to learn how to read you, or if you don’t feel safe with someone unless you have a safeword….then you probably shouldn’t be playing with that person, in the first place.
Perhaps this is the reason why this unholy safeword discussion always breaks out on Twitter? Home of online relationships that may be 9k miles away from a partner? And within Twitter, the accounts that regularly come up with a shitstorm against people with NO safeword, are often enough the ones who I suspect of never having had a Real Life bdsm relationship in their whole life.
But lecturing others, real life folks with sometimes decades of experience, out of your golden book of Twitter bdsm wisdom, from your mom’s basement, is a thing, right? 🙄