BDSM: Safewords vs. Plain Language

Oh, safewords! One of the first things that many people believe is a “must” in any type of BDSM play. I am not disparaging of safewords, they cam be integral, but I truly believe that too many people in the BDSM community disregard the idea of plain language.

Plain language is just that – words mean words. If either partner says “stop” or “no more”, it means stop. Clearly, this wouldn’t work if you are engaging in any type of consensual non-consent (CNC), but it is particularly good for people who are new to these types of activities.

Many subs feel that they are somehow disappointing their Dom if they safeword (I am not an exception to this, even though logically I know it is not true. I still struggle to safeword). Some also feel that it is awkward to say a predefined safeword as it doesn’t feel natural in the moment – which some may argue is the point, that the safeword stands out. And that point is not wrong. I just want to suggest an alternative to the standard “you must ALWAYS have a safeword!” advice that is so often seen online.

I do believe there are some benefits to using plain language (perhaps in with a safeword as an added backup!) when starting out on the journey into BDSM. I have often found myself in relationships with vanilla men where I tried to introduce BDSM into our relationship, my partner was always afraid of hurting me. Which is an understandable concern, most people have been raised not to hurt others, and when they are not getting any inherent sexual enjoyment out of causing me pain it is difficult. Despite repeating over and over that I would use my safeword if things got to be too much, they all continued to struggle.

With my current husband, I moved to the idea of plain language and he felt much more comfortable. “Stop” and “Please no more” became my safewords. It was clear to him, there was no confusion.

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