The adventures in the bedroom or dungeon are a lot of fun and you can get lost in the intense responses and pleasure during these moments. It is not without its own challenge of safety and communication. When the intensity of activities go up it's not uncommon for tops and bottoms alike to lose the ability to communicate clearly. Often, the play also incorporates a mock resistance to it so saying no and stop may actually be a part of play rather than a way to halt what's going on. So, something developed to help us is safewords.

A safe word is a simple word or phrase that requires very little thought process to utter as a sign of distress or caution.  There is a wide variety of safewords used in the kink community but one of the most common is the stoplight. Red means stop. Other places around the globe use Mercy. Persons can also have a preference for saying their full name or their partner's name. It can be anything that isn't a frequently used word or phrase during play.

There will be occasions during BDSM play where you will be unable to speak. In these cases, it is nice to have a backup signal to slow or stop the play. Many of these times you are tied up, gagged or otherwise unable to vocalize. When you can’t talk you need a safe object.

When the time comes that you may need a way out of a scene then these can be some useful signals.

  • Hold a set of keys or another noisy item in your hand to drop when needed.
  • A dog trainer’s clicker to raise an alarm.
  • Hand signals.
  • Making three clear and rhythmic grunts as a pre-defined signal to stop.
  • Top places finger in bottom’s hand; squeeze to check in with an ‘OK’.
  • Something easily visible in low light, glow sticks work well.

A top and a bottom in play should have a safe word. It can be the same one, but it's a clear understanding that if either partner utters the safeword that plays halts immediately.

Sure there are people who use conditional safewords; things that mean slow down or I'm physically uncomfortable, but that is rare. It requires too much cognitive thought when immersed in play, in my opinion, to have too many safewords.

You have a safeword for a reason. It’s very likely that you came up with the word or words yourself to protect your interests during a scene. You never know what may go on, how you will react or where your limits are that day. Using that safeword will protect yourself.


Don’t ever expect your safeword to protect you. I’ve read horror stories where a submissive said she thought her safeword was all she needed to stay safe. A lot of the BDSM play we engage in is inherently dangerous and risky (even if you believe in  Safe, Sane and Consensual). A verbalized stopword is not going to make you any safer. You must be aware of the risks and trust your partner. That's why playing casually with strangers will never be encouraged on this site. Keep your panties on for awhile and get to know them - trust them - and then you can play a bit safer. With a safe word.

Videos on Safewords (affiliate links)