The Safe Word Hypocrite

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Under the most basic general principles of safety I am all in favour of subs having a safe word.  With so much discussion focused around consent, it’s an essential part of play that makes safety first and foremost for all concerned.  For sure, the more you trust your partner the less you may feel a safeword is necessary – but the one time you need it, oh boy !!!

I’ve experimented with the traffic light system (green / amber / red), a handkerchief in the hand and a variation of that with a small ceramic bell.  I’ve had safe words, though no domme has tried the trick of suggesting supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – well, not seriously.


I’ve found that the one thing in common with these methods is that they don’t work for me.  It’s too long ago to recall clearly, so I do wonder if the first time feeling the thud and sting after a very responsible lecture on safe word usage was partly macho bravado.  From which the pattern of a lifetime was set.

What happens that’s so odd ?  The deeper into a session I go, the more inward my focus becomes.  Introverted and introspective, I don’t just lose the ability to vocalise, I lose my sense of self-preservation and ego.  I still remember that ceramic bell, at the beginning my hand clamped on it.  There was no way to unwind the muscles to let it go.  At the end she had to pry my fingers from it like a dead man’s hand.

Over the years it’s become totally ingrained.  It’s very likely that my early mindset was one where I said to myself “I’m the sub, it’s not my place to tell the domme when to stop, so I will endure”.  It’s never been about challenging a domme to break me and make me use a safe word, it’s been about trusting that person to have the knowledge and empathy to know when to stop.  I’m very grateful to those who have understood this part of me and acted accordingly, especially my former mistress and now, my current domme.

I’m grateful because I understand full well just how freaking dangerous this has the potential to be.

When I’m on the bench and feeling right at the limit my subspace brain feels like someone totally different.  It feels the crescendo of pain and tells me it can’t take any more, then as the pain subsides and I fold around it, the brain cheekily asks – perhaps one more, then ?  Always it reaches the conclusion that if I’m asking that rational question, then I can’t stop, that somehow I would be cheating both of us.  As a sub, I find that integrity to be a real bitch.  I could play along and call out at about the right time to ‘give her what she wants’.  But she’d know I was cheating and I’d feel like I’d failed and let her down.

This is another dangerous aspect.  The only way that my brain could answer that it has to stop is beyond the point it’s already too late.  I’ll black out.

My domme doesn’t deliberately test this, but the way she operates is to always push and extend my limits.  By its nature, this at times goes very close to the line.  I’m not scared of that line, I’d prefer to stay the sentient side of it but having strayed over it I know I can deal with it.  I did a recent post about taking Jelly Babies to sessions, this is why.  It’s a safety contingency measure, she knows exactly where they are in case I need sugar to bring me back.

I can’t stress enough how much I trust my domme in order to take me to the places where such things have to be considered.  She’s pretty damned adept when it comes to knowing when one more stroke is one too many.

A domme is a natural cynic when it comes to a sub’s claims about themselves.  Although I’d known her for over 6 months of hypnosis before we added CP into a more complete D/s relationship and she’d learned to trust my feedback, I could see it in her eyes when we first discussed my reactions to CP from past experiences:

Me: Marks don’t last very long on me

Her silent eyes: You just haven’t been hit hard enough

Me: I turn inward and am unable to safe word

Her silent eyes: You just haven’t been hit hard enough

Me: I have no clue what my limits are

Her silent eyes: You just haven’t been hit hard enough

There’s a lesson here beyond a discussion on safewords.  Never try to bullshit a domme – you’ll get hurt.  In that discussion I didn’t say (as so many do) “I don’t need a safeword”.  I said “so far experience says that I can’t call a stop.”

So we have our duet, or is it a waltz ?  And I know she’d love to hear me cry “enough” but accepts that my body breaks before my mind does.

And here’s an interesting thing, beyond that first discussion she trusted me enough to not even talk about a safe word – I don’t have one.  I know she’ll stop when she deems that I’ve gone far enough.  I still smile when I consider that her idea of my limits and my idea of those limits are not in sync.  It’s in this area in between that my mind works overtime in trusting that she knows me and my reactions much better than I do.

BenchI have no safeword, and yet I do.  One time I was quite ill when I arrived for a session.  I told her that I had no idea how far I could go.  She wouldn’t have been able to read me as she normally does, so this was my responsibility.  And yes, I safeworded that session.  It probably wasn’t the fantasy image of a sub safewording – “Sorry, but I need to stop or I’ll throw up over your bench.”  And that was fully appropriate.  It might have been a simple “stop”, but I do things with panache even when sub par.  She stopped immediately because she had no consent to go any further – it’s about trust, my friend, trust.

Given the starting conditions of that session, I never saw that as failure.  To the contrary it was a success in taking responsibility under unusual circumstance.  Safety is as much my responsibility as hers when the circumstances require it.

I don’t think that I will ever now have a safeword system.  It doesn’t work for me in the normal, expected ways, only when there are exceptional circumstances.

I actually really value what safewords are and what they should be and what they signify in the majority of cases.  They are invaluable in confirming consent or removing it.  I really do not recommend bypassing the need for a safeword, I regard them as essential.  At least in the early days of a relationship.

Okay, it’s a kind of hypocrisy along the lines of do as I say, not as I do.  But I’d rather you all played safe and avoided getting hurt.