Safe Word

Safe Word

Our Definition

an agreed-upon term or action that can be invoked by a member of a kink dynamic in order to signal an end or change of a kink-related activity.

Safe words can be verbal or physical, i.e. saying a specific word or phrase or making a specific physical movement.

Common Practices & Experiences

Everyone is different! You'll see this repeated throughout our website and glossary. Common practices for safe words include, but certainly aren't limited to:
  • Freedom to be used by all involved, dominant, submissive, top, bottom or otherwise. 
  • Agreeing upon a specific safe word or set of safe words with partners before play.
  • Having a set of safe words for various meanings. Common types are “stop” “approaching limits” “slow down/ease up” “keep going” and “I like what we are doing but I need to pause for a physiological reason, such as an arm falling asleep or need to go to the bathroom”
  • Using colors or numbers in a scale arrangement, such as green, yellow orange and red to represent incremental closeness to limits 
  • Using phrases that have personal meaning to you, such as a favorite line from a book or movie. 
  • Use of languages other than the primary language used by the parties involved to communicate with each other.
  • Non-verbal alternatives established in instances where it would be relevant (gags, non-verbal subspace, etc) 

Richard and his partner agreed to use “for the love of god, Montressor” as a safe word phrase, because they are both huge literary nerds.

Helen keeps it simple with the stop light system as safe words.
Beatrice uses “Kill Claudio!” as a safe word, since it’s a phrase that couldn’t be uttered unintentionally. 

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Real Life Examples

We're gathering short anecdotes on this topic from experienced kinksters!
If you'd like to be quoted in our glossary, please email us a single paragraph describing the practices you'd like to share, along with whatever name you'd like to be credited with.
If your definition differs from ours, tell us how and why! We want to illustrate as many sides of kink as we can to both normalize kink and the diversity within it.

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