A guide to the world of BDSM

Safe Word

Safe Word

During BDSM play, a safe word is your emergency brake; it brings the players back into the "real world." If the safe word is spoken, all play must stop. The word, when spoken during a BDSM situation, will stick out and be completely understood as the signal to end the session. A safe word must not be mistaken for playful resistance. Some couples use made-up words that have no other meaning but in the context of power exchange.

There can also be safe words for slowing down, or adjusting the intensity of the play. For example, a Sub is being spanked and the Dom is increasing the strength of the slaps too fast for the Sub's liking. The Sub can say "YELLOW" to imply that he/she doesn't want to stop the play, but wants to slow down. If the Sub wanted the Dom to stop completely, he/she could say "RED"

If the play involves a gag another sound signal or physical motion can act as a safe word: a snap of the fingers or tap of the foot. A safe word must always be respected and taken seriously.

Consent and Communication

Consent and Communication

The most important concepts in BDSM play. All activity that goes on during play must be CONSENSUAL in order for each player to enjoy the experience and trust the other participant(s). COMMUNICATE to your partner(s) about your fantasies, your likes, your dislikes, if you are interested in being a Dom or Sub, Top or Bottom, etc. Communication is very important in any type of sexual activity because it lets you express what you need (as an individual) to get off. It also gives a map to guide you to pleasing your partner(s) in the most effective way.

Here is a great exercise to help open the gates of communication...

Next time you have sex with your partner, verbally ask him/her for permission for everything little thing you want to do. Then wait for the answer before doing it; the reaction may surprise you. It could lead to some very kinky conversation.

This technique is used at certain progressive colleges to prevent sexually-based offenses by making consent completely verbal in order to remove the ability for sex-offenders to use "implied consent" as a defense. This type of play is not only really sexy, but also, your partner may start volunteering comments and sexual actions without being asked.

It is recommended that before you engage in any BDSM play, you create a list of Do's and Don'ts. Some people include Maybe's as well, but if you have to think about the act, it's best to store all Maybe's in the Don'ts pile until you are sure about them.

Example of a Do's and Don'ts list:

Sub consents to:

  • Being restrained in handcuffs
    • — the cuffs can be linked together
    • — the cuffs can be separated with a spreader bar
    • — the cuffs can be separated by being tied to bed posts
  • Wearing a blindfold
  • Light spanking of the butt using the palms of the hands only
  • Giving and receiving oral sex of the genitals
  • Penetration of the mouth and vagina using a clean silicone toy or a jelly toy with a condom over it
  • All restraints must be worn no longer than 15 minutes straight
  • Short term power exchange (4 hours or less)

Sub does not consent to:

  • Restraining of feet or ankles
  • With exception of palm-side spanking using the hands, any hitting or striking of other parts of the body
  • Spanking any body part other than the butt
  • Penetration using anything other than a toy
  • Penetration of the butt
  • Using racial slurs
  • Long term power exchange (more than 4 hours)
Safe word: Piano

See also