thinking about safewords


This afternoon I was curled up with an erotic novel. In this particular novel there was a section with a LOT of references to using your safe word. As in, they were setting up a scene in the “club” and at each step the sub (main character) kept balking and the DMs kept asking her if she wanted to use her safe word.

However, they haven’t fully explained what happens when you safe word, and I feel like that context is important, and has been missing in my play history; I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve been reticent to safe word and I know for a fact, even though it’s not explained, that the sub in question is going through the same thing just from the inner dialogue they expose in the book.
She’s scared people will be mad. That she’ll be put out of the club. She’s not sure if she’d be welcome back. 

For me: I wasn’t sure what would happen if I safe worded. “Everything will stop” is a very very vague sentence. It reassures basic safety only but doesn’t contribute to other needs or address other concerns.

OK, what happens after everything will stop? Will I be sent home? Will I have to get dressed? Will we be able to talk about it? Could there be cuddles and reassurance because the idea of using my safe word is holding a boundary and for some women that can be very scary? What I need from time to time if I have to use my safe word might differ. Is it up for negotiations? Can I ask for what I need? 

Is all play finished if I safeword? What if we discuss and resolve, and I’d like to try again? Is that possible? Or am I sent home summarily, no chance of trying again?

What if it’s worse? What if he just doesn’t want to be with any more because I couldn’t take something?

I feel like the lack of clarity, coupled with the (at times) overwhelming feeling that since obedience is warranted, silence is also somewhat golden, leads to me not being able to give voice to these fourteen questions and more.

Which then led to fear that it’s worst case scenario answers to each question, which then leads to not wanting to safe word unless I’m willing to give up everything.

If I (and the person who is topping me) want to feel safe to use my safe word, I need to understand, far more intimately, what it means if I do. And quite frankly, I’d like to know if I have agency to state what my preferences would be, and negotiate them.

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Vikki McKay

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