Our Definition

a pre-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. 

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

Real Life Examples

Octavius and their partner agreed to use “for the love of god, Montressor” as a safeword phrase, because they are both huge literary nerds. 

Hyperion keeps it simple with the stop light system as safe words 

Beatrice uses “Kill Claudio!” as a safeword, since it’s a phrase that couldn’t be uttered unintentionally. 

Common Practices

Everyone is different! You'll see this repeated throughout our website and glossary. Common practices for safewords include, but certainly aren't limited to:
  • Freedom to be used by all involved, dominant, submissive, top, bottom or otherwise. 
  • Agreeing upon a specific safeword or set of safewords with partners before play.
  • Having a set of safewords 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) 

Got a beef with our definition?

Of course we don't speak for everyone! If you feel we are missing additional info, context, facts, history, or data, please email us and let us know!

While we can't promise every suggestion will make it, we'll always be working to keep this glossary thorough and inclusive!