Every Sunday on her blog "My Bottom Smarts" Bonnie asks a Brunch question and invites her readers to post their replies. This week her question was about safewords. I started to reply there, but my response got so long that I realized it was a blog entry in and of itself.
There are a variety of opinions about safewords. Many spankos believe they are absolutely indispensible and spanking without one is hazardous. On the opposite side, other spankos claim that invoking a safeword constitutes "topping from the bottom." From this perspective, granting control to the spankee during a discipline session interferes with the lesson being delivered. Between these two divergent views, there are many shades of grey.
Do you and your partner employ a safeword? If so, how and when is it used? If not, why not?
My response is going to be after the break, but I also want to invite everyone to offer their own opinion. As you may have guessed from our other entries, the authors here don't tend to hold with the idea of there being such a thing as "One Trew Way."
I've circled around on this topic. Most of the 10 years I've been in the scene, I've played with safewords and without, not really caring one way other the other.
It seemed silly on one level. I agreed with something Janet Hardy (Catherine Lizst -- owner of Greenery Press) wrote once on alt.sex.spanking: "every bottom always has a safeword, it's 'hit me again and I'm calling the fucking cops.'" I felt totally confident in being able to communicate should I need to stop a scene.
But I did have a safeword with Pablo because he wanted it that way. As time's gone on, my opinion has changed and I now almost always play with a safeword. There's two reasons.
I like role playing very heavy CP stuff. I tend to struggle and cry and become very upset. This stuff hurts me a lot. And I HATE having the person stop the scene and ask "how are you doing?" With a safe word I can make it clear from the start that I'll stop the scene if I'm in distress, otherwise they should assume I'm okay and let the scene play out to their fulfillment. (I've never had to stop a scene because it's gotten too heavy btw.)
Otherwise, I've found, the scenes frequently stop when I start crying. That's a hard limit for a lot of tops and for others it worries them until they check in, even if I've warned them about it beforehand. For some reason the safeword makes it clear to them that I know I can stop it, and will. I don't like feeling that via my tears I'm in control of the scene. It feels oddly like cheating somehow.
Also, I wanted to get rid of the safeword between Pablo and me about 3 years ago. At that point we'd known each other and been involved for 7 years, and most of that time he'd been disciplining me. I asked him if we could get rid of our safeword because I'd never used it and my doing so would be an expression of my trust of him. He refused, saying he wanted to know I in a split second end the scene if I need to -- because that was what a safeword meant between us. That everything would stop immediately and any questions that needed to be asked would be asked after. He also said he rightly (because it had never be abused obviously) trusted me not to safeword UNLESS there was a reason. (My safeword is not a toy!)
I was mad. I felt like my gift of trust had been rejected.
Flash forward. A little over two years ago on our wedding night Pablo was spanking me (well, what did you do on yours?) quite hard, restrained over one knee, my hands pinned by his in the small of my back. I'd spent the day very nervous, eating very little until quite late. And then having cheese and crackers and some strawberries and cream. Suddenly I realized I was sick. No, that I was SICK, and that I needed the bathroom immediately. I gasped out SAFE (our safeword).
P immediately released me and I bolted to the bathroom, saying nothing else. Literally it was less than a couple seconds at the most. I honestly believe I didn't have the time then to have said "let me up I'm getting sick" and that I was too uncomfortable and freaked to even formulate those words.
So damn it anyway, he was right.
Some people have told me that they don't think there could be "real" punishment spankings for them if they had a safeword because suddenly they'd be able to stop a punishment. I respect their opinions, but I also think the idea of that doesn't really make sense to me. Because the thing is, if I stopped a punishment spanking with a safeword, it's not like Pab's not going to ask me why I stopped it. If I told him I stopped it because it hurt and I didn't want to be punished, that would feel like a betrayal. Like cheating. Because he knows it hurts and he knows I don't want to be punished. Yet I do consent to this relationship, agreed to accept discipline and punishment from him, further even, have chosen this dynamic between us.
If I don't want him to disipline or punish me anymore, I could choose that. What I can't do is abuse the trust between us. I know he'd feel like he was betraying me if I safeworded and he didn't stop because he thought he knew better. And I'd feel like I was betraying him if I safeworded to see if he'd still punish me after I told him it hurt. That's a form of testing I've never even been tempted to try.
I'm sure this could be more graceful, but it's almost 2am and I need to go to bed!