Safewords: To Red or not to Red
By miria hunter
miria_hunter@softhome.net

To begin with, let me explain what a safe word is. It is a word or gesture used while scening to either slow the scene down, or to stop it all together. The most common safe words are red meaning, "STOP" or yellow that means, "i like what you're doing, but it's getting to be a little to much, to fast". Normally a safe word is only used if endurance, tolerance, or hard limits are being pushed. i have heard many arguments on safewords and why they should or shouldn't be allowed. i have also heard many arguments that state a "true" slave should not even be allowed a safeword. The following is my opinion only on this topic, and it is that of a slave. I am also fully aware that there will be many who disagree agree with me. All i ask is that you read what I have to say with an open mind and heart before commenting. Constructive criticism is always welcome that is how we ALL learn.

Having a safeword does NOT mean you do not trust the Top you are currently scening with. A safeword is a way for you to ensure that your physical, emotional, and mental well being remain safe. No matter how well your Top knows you, YOU still know your body better than anyone else. Thus, there are many reasons you may feel the need to use a safeword when normally you never would have dreamed of it.

One of the most common reasons your body may change in its reaction to external stimuli is medication. Different medicines can raise or lower your tolerance to pain as well as change how easy you bruise or mark. When taking a new medicine be aware of the side affects and make sure your Top is fully informed as well. Caution should be exercised until you both know if anything has changed. I was once in a scene with my Master and on new meds. Nothing in the precautions gave any concern with respect to my ability to scene. However, just as I entered into subspace, the endorphins my body released mixed with my new medication and I was suddenly very ill. Illness, as well as stress, can also change your tolerance levels. Thus, from first-hand experience, I firmly believe that all good Tops INSIST that the bottom have a safeword and or gesture.

A safe gesture is one to be used if you are gagged and cannot speak. Signaling could be as simple as something held in the hand that is to be dropped or thrown in case the scene needs to be stopped. Not being able to speak should not be a reason for you to get hurt.

You have a safeword, but will you use it? For a long time I felt that if I did use my safeword, I was failing my Master. I envisioned using that phrase as a symbol of defeat, a limit that I must, and should be pushed to test. He finally made me realize that by not doing so, when I felt I truly needed to, was failing both Him AND myself. If He could not trust me to let him know if something was too much, then we would not scene anymore. Using your safeword does not mean that you or the Top has failed. Indeed, it is a sign that you both have communicated in a deep, intimate manner. Communication afterwards about what went wrong will help both to learn and can make what you thought was a bad scene, a very good and informative one. How else are people to truly to know one another without some form of communication? If you are owned as i am, then you have a responsibility to your Master to make sure His property is kept in perfect shape. You should be His most prized possession, and should be guarded carefully against harm. Using your safeword very carefully is very important to keep from damage, and to prolong the possibility of future, safe activity.

You should never use a safe word lightly. Just because you do not like a scene or a punishment is not a good reason unless these activities push a hard, pre-stated limit. Think before you use your safewords.

It is my view that subs, bottoms, and slaves should all have a safeword. No matter how well a Top knows you, you know yourself better than anyone else does. Over time, you will more than likely find the need for using your word to be less and less, as experience between you and your Top grows. As your Top gets to know and understand your body gestures, He will be able to tell where you are within your range of colors. i rarely have to use my words anymore as Master knows how to read my body signals, and stops or slows the scene down accordingly. Tops, please think twice before not allowing a bottom a safeword. Bottoms, it is in your best interest to NEVER go into a scene without one. As I have previously stated, many things can change your tolerance, and or your endurance. We all want our scenes to end on a good, positive note, even if that means safewording. But most importantly of all, talk things out afterward. Both participants should learn something from the scene, and if so, it has TRULY ended on a good note.

Rick's miria

I wish to thank my wonderful friend peter for his help in editing this article and making it readable to everyone else.

Copyright 2001 miria hunter


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