Tell Me About: Safewords

One of the first things MrH and I did when we started our D/s journey was agree some safewords.

We went with the very simple traffic light system that is quite commonly used. During impact play MrH would ask me “what colour?”


If I was comfortable and happy to continue, I would respond with “Green.”


If I could continue but was getting close to my limit, or needed a little break, I would respond with “Yellow.”


This isn’t a word a would respond with. This is a word for me to use to call a halt to play.


Any form of edge play, that is to say, play that pushes a persons boundaries needs a way for play to be stopped.

The Dominant needs to know that their submissive will tell them if they are uncomfortable, in undue pain, or want to stop.

The submissive needs to know that if they call a halt to play their Dominant will honour their wishes without coercion or recrimination.

Because I have my back problem MrH was concerned that I would try to endure thinking it was what he wanted. He worried that I wouldn’t stop play for fear of disappointing him.

Over time we have built that trust.

Stopping Play

I have called Red when play got too much. I have called Yellow more. This allows MrH to reduce the intensity of impact to pause and allow me to catch my breath. He will then ask if I’m ok and when I confirm I am, play will continue.

Body Language

For the most part, however, MrH knows how I am feeling. He knows when I am close to my limit and he plays me well. So well that it is rare I need to use my safewords, but they are there should I need to.

Playing in public

While MrH and I haven’t played in public and have no plans to, we were given a tip for safewords in public settings. If you’re in a public place you are advised not to use common words as your partner could think someone else has uttered the word and not you, alternatively they could think you have called a halt when it was someone else.

Playing Safe

Above all, no matter how much you know your partner, you should have some way to stop play. The only time this might change is during an agreed Consensual None Consent CNC scene. This is a specific type of play whereby the ability to stop play is suspended, in order to explore something specific, like role playing a kidnap scene. CNC should only be attempted with a partner who you know and trust, a person who knows exactly how much you can take, and knows you well enough to stop if needs be.

Above all safewords should be something you have and feel able to use if you need to.

To see other people’s views on safewords click the image below.

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