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Not All Safewords are Verbal: A PSA by Mistress Lilly

Safewords are vitally important to a scene, but they’re not always said out loud.

For many submissives, bottoms, Tops, and Dom/mes, the stoplight system of “Green” = everything’s good, “Yellow” = proceed with caution & slow down, you’re approaching a limit, and “Red” = whatever you’re doing, STOP NOW! works great. I’m a fan of it myself. However, just like other safeword systems, it doesn’t work for everyone. One of my submissives in RL is very non-verbal in subspace. She loves Pet Play, Impact Play, and bondage–and when she hits subspace, Kitty can’t speak.

Words are damn near impossible for her when she’s really into a scene

—She’s very vocal, but words? Not so much.

For her, we use a system of purrs, kneading paws, and bells– Kitty loves bells. In scenes, she holds a flexible loop of jingle bells threaded through her fingers. Purrs mean she’s relaxing and blissing out, kneading her free paw means she wants to ramp things up, jingling bells means she needs things to slow down, and dropped bells means the scene STOPS (no dropped bells yet, but I know Kitty would if she wanted/needed to–she’s got absolutely no problems jingling them).

The important thing is to establish some method of communication that works for the individuals involved to keep the submissive safe.

Some subs are non-verbal, and some really, really hate using safewords because they hate ‘denying’ or ‘disappointing’ their Dom/me. Using non-verbal systems to communicate (at least until they realize they’re rewarded for communicating something that previous Dom/mes might have made them feel bad about) sometimes really helps when it comes to overcoming past traumas where safewords might have been ignored or punished.

It’s perfectly natural for a sub to want to please their Dom/me– I just wish more realized that using safewords DOES please us, because it shows they trust us enough to listen to them, take care of them, and respect them as human beings with limits instead of just a flogging bench or blow up doll with a pulse. It gives us a chance to prove that we’re worthy of the trust they give us each time they place themselves in our care, and it shows that the trust we place in them isn’t misplaced.

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3 comments to Not All Safewords are Verbal: A PSA by Mistress Lilly

  • mrfire

    Excellent post, Ms. Lilly. Everyone has their different ways of communication, and the dominant has a responsibility to do her/his best to find the means that works best for each different submissive. I love how you communicate so well with you Kitty. Speaking for my self as a dominant man, I totally love it when my submissive uses a safeword or otherwise shares the fact of one of her limits with me. I find it incredibly hot.I think it takes more trust sometimes to use a safeword than to go along with the dominant’s preference, however wrong it might be for the particular person. It alert me to another wrinkle in her personality, and it always is my ambition to know and appreciate every one of those wrinkles.

  • Oh wow, are we going to have to start a “Winners Use Safewords” campaign. Yes, yes, yes to safewords. Not only are they a marker of trust, but safewords also give a Mistress more room to work. In other words, if I know that I can trust my sub to use our safeword, then I’ll give more of myself during a session and really let him have it so to speak. That sure beats tip-toeing around different elements of our playtime for sure.

  • Ms. Lily, I am so pleased that you took the time to write this post. I also do quite a bit of RL play, and I have encountered subs who also have difficultly verbalizing during a session. Safewords are truly paramount in a session – it is the foundation of what makes a scene “safe, sane, and consensual” – and it is so important to have a strong sense of communication between the top and the bottom. Your subbies are fortunate that you understand this so well!

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