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The importance of safewords

By The Cage Staff​(staff)     09/02/2016 2956

Safewords have special importance in BDSM culture. Lots of couples have one, and it’s usually a word that would never otherwise be spoken during play. When it’s uttered, it means that one or other of the people involved in the scene has had enough, and wants to stop.

The default safe word is “Red”, and pretty much every kinkster understands its meaning. Red means stop – it’s as simple as that. Even if you agree a different safeword with your partner, most people on the scene would treat a cry of “Red” as a safeword regardless.

You might think that there’s no reason for you to have a safe word. Perhaps you only play fairly lightly, and so probably won’t ever reach your partner’s limits. Perhaps you don’t engage in consensual nonconsent or similar play, and so take any signal to stop as meaning the end of a session. Perhaps you can read your partner well enough to know when the scene should end.

Even when all these things are true, there’s no harm in having a safe word just in case. Giving each person involved in a scene the ability to stop it if they need to is an essential part of safe, consensual play. And it can be handy in other situations as well – perhaps your partner is simply uncomfortable, or needs to let you know that they’re about to faint. Using a safe word is a quick way to draw attention to something important, and make sure that the scene doesn’t continue until the issue has been resolved.

This is even more important when playing with ideas of consent, roleplay and fantasy. Sometimes, in the absence of a safeword, it can be impossible to know if your partner is truly upset or suffering – or is simply deeply engaged in the scene. Build a safeword into your routine, and you’ll have one more thing to keep both of you safe and happy.

What about scenes that involve gags or bondage? Safewords are still possible in these situations – you simply have to be a bit inventive. If your partner is gagged, you can give them something to hold, which they can drop if they wish to end the scene. You can even buy small buzzer buttons for this exact purpose.

Safewords are a key part of safe BDSM play at any level, and their importance should not be underestimated. Agree one with your partner today – you might never need to use it, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind it brings.