Safe Words

Editor’s note: This column may contain content that is offensive to some people.

I know that I’ve probably talked about this before, but it always bears repeating. The use of safe words and hand gestures are one of the cornerstones of our community. When you negotiate to play with someone, I cannot express enough that you need to have safe words and or safe hand gestures.

    The reason I bring this up is because of some communication that has transpired in the last month or so about some situations that occurred over a year ago. One I was just informed about and the other was a situation where I was attending a class. So, let me explain.

    Because of the type of play we engage in, it is paramount that you use a safe word and if you can’t use words, then have safe hand gestures. This is so that the person you are playing with knows that you have reached a limit and the play needs to stop all together. So if the person uses the safe word, which means you need to STOP right then regardless of what is happening. Safe word means they have reached their limit and they can’t take anymore.

    My partners and I use a very simple set of safe words, words that normally would not be said or used in any type of play we do. We use Red, Yellow and Green. Easy to remember and something that just about everyone knows, Red – Stop, Yellow – slow down, Green – go, I’m doing good. If you are doing any type of play where the person is unable to say safe words, then you need to decide on some safe hand signals. Just remember, it needs to be something easy to remember and something that will not occur in the type of play you are doing.

    At a class I was attending a year or so ago, the bottom who was the demo, used their safe word and the person doing the class ignored it. Those of us in the class didn’t hear the safe word the first two times it was used, but we did hear the third time. Both I and another Dom in the room stood up to intervene and the person doing the session saw us and finally stopped. Needless to say, that person will never be back to teach a class again.

    The latest happened about a year ago and it was a situation where the Dom just simply ignored the bottom because they were into the scene and didn’t care about what was happening with the bottom. They were only interested in their feelings and not about the submissive. BAD BAD BAD. You should never break your toys! They won’t want to play with you again.

    Whenever you have someone who ignores your safe word, you need to 1) never play with them again 2) let other submissives know so that they will not end up in the same situation with the person and 3) let the leader(s) of the group and or community know what transpired. Because when someone ignores safe words, it is no longer consensual or normal BDSM play but it is physical and mental abuse. When you ignore the safe word, you have just gone from consent to abuse. And abuse is something that is punishable by law.

    And it’s not just locally that this is occurring. As more and more people jump into the community (thank you, 50 Shades of Grey), we are seeing more and more of this type of abuse. I was talking with a friend in Tennessee this week and they are having the same issues there.

    So, the point of this discussion is to educate everyone that safe words MUST be followed and MUST be adhered to by everyone. Don’t play with anyone who is not willing to use safe words and tell others when someone violates the use of safe words.

    So how do we stop this? Let others know what happened. Don’t wait a year like the one I just heard about this week. Let people know ASAP. The violation of the safe word is NOT normal, is not condoned by the community and should not be tolerate by anyone.

    If you know of a situation where safe words were ignored, please get with someone you trust and talk with them. If you don’t know someone, please contact me or someone in WOOLF.  We have individuals who can talk with you and we have counselors who are aware of our lifestyle who can work with you.

    If you want to learn more about consent, safe words, safe play or anything about our community, please come to one of our classes or reach out to someone who is a member of WOOLF, we are more than happy to help teach and educate you. WOOLF meets the fourth Saturday of each month at The Center. Come join the fun! l

LPcover-Dec17

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Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.

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