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  1. Use of safewords in BDSM
  2. Objections
  3. See also


A safeword is a codeword or series of codewords that are sometimes used in BDSM to mean that a bottom or submissive is reaching a limit or for the Top/Dom to stop the scene. Safewords are agreed upon before playing a scene by all participants. Many organized BDSM groups have standard safewords that all members agree to use to avoid confusion at organized play events.

Use of safewords in BDSM

In BDSM, the safeword is generally used so that the bottom can scream "no, stop", etc. as much as they want without really meaning it, and still have a way of indicating a serious desire that the scene stops. Accordingly, a safeword is usually a word that the person would not ordinarily say during sex, such as "red", "tree", "anomaly", or even "safeword".

Some partners have different gradations of safeword, such as "yellow" to mean "that hurts" or "stop doing that" without stopping the scene, and "red" to mean "let's stop the scene". In other circumstances the safeword may not be a word at all, but a signal like dropping a ball or similar, or making three clear and rhythmic grunts or vigorous motions, in the case of a person who is gagged or bound. A common convention of tops putting a finger in the bottom's hand is used if the bottom has become non-verbal, such as may happen as they reach subspace. In this scenario the bottom squeezes a pre-determined number of times to indicate OK.

A common request from the top to the bottom, is to ask "What is your color?" In addition to red and yellow, green is a common safe word used to indicate, "I'm fine".

In the case of role-play, some simply drop out of character to safeword, such as having the submissive address the dominant by his/her first name.


While many in the BDSM community consider safewords an essential part of safe play, there is a significant contingent that does not have any such term in their relationships or their play. Some of these people simply use the word "stop". Others rely on the top to monitor the condition of the bottom and stop if necessary, at their discretion. In such circumstances the bottom or submissive must have consented not to have control over the duration of the scene in advance.

Interestingly some of those who recommend safewords do not, themselves, use them - though this is not often discussed in public. There is an undercurrent assumption that play without safewords is an "advanced" technique and should not be advocated in the hearing of novices. BDSM activity without a safeword is regarded by many as inadvisable and dangerous. Ignoring safewords is considered dishonorable and a deeply immoral practice in the BDSM community.

See also

(This article incorporates text from the Safeword article in Wikipedia.)

This article is published under the terms of the GFDL. The contributors to this article were: Tanos

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