The Beginner’s Guide to BDSM Part I – Safe Words

BDSM for Beginners

So… BDSM. You’ve heard the term, you’ve watched 50 Shades of Grey and you’re intrigued. You should be. BDSM is FUN if you’re into it. But what do you need to know to get the most out of this life-altering experience? A lot. But don’t worry, that’s what The Beginner’s Guide to BDSM is for!

Before we dive into the ins and out of BDSM, there’s a quick disclaimer you need to know. Do not take any BDSM advice from 50 Shades of Grey! Yes, BDSM can involve whips, cuffs, and a St. Andrew’s Cross from time-to-time, but the majority of the BDSM experience is not like how it’s portrayed in the movie. There’s so much more to BDSM and kink. BDSM is actually quite a broad term that incorporates a lot of different types of Domination and Submission. My most important piece of advice if you’re curious and eager to explore BDSM, is don’t rush into it guns blazing. There’s lots to think about before entering into a session so let’s start at the beginning.

For all the newbies out there

First or all, welcome! This is just a super quick break down of the terminology I’ll be using in this article:

  • BDSM – Bondage, Discipline/Dominance, Sadism and Masochism
  • Dominant – The Dominant is the person ‘on top’ or the one who gives the discipline.
  • Submissive – The ‘bottom’ or the receiver.
  • Switch – A person who can be either a Dominant or a Submissive. Sometimes this depends on the scene or the play partner

Safe Words

This is probably the most important aspect of BDSM and the first thing you need to discuss before entering a play session. This is a word that can be used by the Submissive to either pause or halt the situation completely. This doesn’t necessarily mean they want the session to end, BUT at that moment they need to take a break or reposition. The safe word is law and the safe word MUST be respected. No matter how hot the scene feels, the safe word is there for a reason.

Your safe word not only allows the Submissive to feel more comfortable because their limits will be respected, but it allows the Dominant to feel comfortable knowing that they won’t cause any unwanted pain or harm to their Submissive*. It’s important to reiterate and check what the safe word is before every session, even if you’re playing with a long-term partner. Do it every time before you begin. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

*Good Dominants don’t want to cause their Submissives unwanted pain, despite what the role-play situation may lead you to believe

Tips for creating a good safe word

Safe words for BDSM play sessions are a requirement.
Platypus is a pretty common safe word
  • Make it Different! – Don’t use a word that can be confused with being part of the scene. ‘Stop’ and ‘ouch’ aren’t great safe words. The Submissive might be saying ouch but loving the pain, or if you’re role playing then ‘stop’ might fit the struggle-style scenario. It’s good practice to choose a word that could never be misunderstood. ‘Platypus’ is a commonly used safe word for obvious reasons. It’s very rare that a platypus would feature into your fantasy. Fruits, colours and mythical creatures are also popular safe words. Make sure if you need to change your usual one to fit the scene, you do that before you start.

Other types of “safe words”

  • Safe Actions – Safe words are very important but ultimately useless if you have a gag in your mouth. So, while these fall under the umbrella term of safe words, safe actions are important too. If you’re like me, as a kid you watched some form of wrestling growing up. Whether it was the official wrestling as an Olympic sport or the good ol’ cheesy WWF (I’m showing my age, I know it’s WWE now!) During these matches if the wrestler who was being pinned felt they couldn’t handle it anymore they could ‘tap out’. This was a non-verbal safe action. The same principle exists in the BDSM world. I like to use a double tap to my partners leg if I’m struggling. One tap can be misunderstood but a double tap is a clear sign to stop.
  • Traffic Light System – Personally I love to use the traffic light system.
    • Green– Everything is good.
    • Yellow– Slow it down and a little gentler please.
    • Red – Stop!

The Traffic Light System can work on many levels. If the Dominant is allowing their Submissive to edge and playing with tease and denial, then yellow can mean the Dominant needs to slow in order to let the denial go on for longer. If the Dominant is using physical dominance then yellow can mean to ease up, slow down or maybe pick a different area to focus on. It’s a pretty universal system that everyone understands and it’s easy to follow.

-Just a funny piece of info I came across; according to nowtolove.com.au, some couples have been known to use the words ‘Donald Trump’ as their safe word. That would definitely make me stop what I was doing!

Can Dominants use the safe words?

Of course! While we normally only think of the Submissive using safe words, it can go both ways. Consent is a two-way street and must ALWAYS be respected. Sexual encounters are meant to be fun. If it stops being fun, then the session needs to stop or be changed in some way. If the Dominant begins to feel uncomfortable for any reason, they have the right to use the safe word and re-evaluate the scene.

A personal example

Personal stories of BDSM
Sometimes you need to just ‘press pause’ and reevaluate the scene

I’ve used my safe word before when I felt uncomfortable during a session. My partner and I wanted to give something new a try. It was a kink he was curious about and I was open to exploring it but was not entirely sure I’d like it. Turns out it wasn’t for me. I used my safe word, we paused the scene and changed it up for a kink we knew we would both enjoy. This is a prime example of how using the safe word doesn’t have to ruin the fun! We picked a different direction to take the session, kissed (we’re in a relationship so kissing may not be the case in other dynamics but another form of tenderness may work) and went on for the rest of the night!

Safe words = consent

You should never engage in any kind of BDSM play, no matter how gentle or “innocent” it may seem without a safe word or a safe action. Having these at the ready means that you’re both aware of consent within the play. We all know (or at least we should) that consent is the number one priority in any sexual interaction. Having safe words allows consent to be clearly communicated with each other no matter what the role play scenario.

Part II of “The Beginner’s Guide to BDSM” coming soon!

Are you looking to get into BDSM or just starting out? Do you have any fun and unusual safe words you like to use? The wackier the better! Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter post.

Written exclusively for Female Fetish Federation

7 responses to “The Beginner’s Guide to BDSM Part I – Safe Words”

  1. I hope it does indeed help any newbies out there!
    Of course, everyone has to start out somewhere, but doing your research when trying out BDSM, or any kink, for the first time is so important! This week I’ll be posting part 2 of the series so keep an eye out. 🙂

  2. Thank you for this article I loved it. I’ve played with a new Domme or two in my time and found I had to take charge a little which obviously detracts from the sub experience. hopefully this will help them learn

  3. Hahahaha!! Think I might have to start using Donald Trump as the safe word! Although how I’d contain my laughter I’m not sure!

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