Safe Words and Their Importance (Even Outside of the Bedroom)

Pushing soft limits in a BDSM style relationship can be fun for both the dom and sub involved, but they’re called limits for a reason. When I relinquish power and hand the reigns to my dom, I trust that he’s familiar with when to push, and when to stop. This isn’t always the case if we’re trying something new, and the words “no” and “stop” are used as the dom’s fuel to keep going. This is where ‘safe words’ come in. If I find that I’m in ‘bad’ pain or if I’m generally uncomfortable, I have two safe words I can call out that mean different things. The dom’s goal is to push limits without having their sub call out the safe word(s) but that line can be crossed easily depending on everyone’s mental state as well as other factors.

Let’s move on to something else

“Yellow.” I muffle into the pillow. My arms are cuffed behind my back and my shoulder injury is acting up. Knowing full well how bad my shoulders can be, my partner quickly frees my hands and we move onto a different position.

The word yellow is my ‘warning’ safe word. What’s happening at that exact moment is making me uncomfortable either physically or mentally and, while I’d like to continue having sex, I want to stop doing that specific thing. Yellow allows me to call this out without taking away from the moment or breaking the scene.

Sunstone

My ‘stop everything’ safeword is Sunstone, taken from our mutually loved graphic novel by Stjepan Šejić. This safe word is rarely used, but there if I need it. This is called out when I no longer want to continue due to physical pain, mental tribulation or of I just really don’t want to keep going.

So why are safewords important?

There was one instance when we were having sex that I had a flashback to a not-so fantastic experience that I had in the past. I should have used Sunstone then, but I didn’t. I let it go on much longer than I should have, and I brushed it off like it was nothing. I was in ‘sub space’ and my mind was set on making my dom happy. We had a long talk afterwards because, as much as I trust my dom to not break boundaries, he needs to be able to trust me to use my safeword if I need to stop.

Maintaining the mutual trust will keep the experience enjoyable for everyone. If I don’t call out my safewords when needed, my dom will constantly question if he’s going too far or if I’m actually getting off on what he’s doing.

If safe words are called out at all, we take the time to discuss them further during the ‘debriefing’ period. We’re able to talk about things and decide whether situations were avoidable or what we could do differently the next time around.

Even outside of the bedroom?

Yes, even outside of the bedroom. While our power exchange relationship isn’t 24/7, he will use his dom voice and demand tasks be done. These tasks can range from adult responsibility that I’m procrastinating on, to him telling me to stop biting my nails, to putting a plate of cake on the floor for me to get down on my hands and knees and eat. Some days, I’m really not in the mental state to handle this OR I strictly need love and affection. My safe words are in place for those specific instances and helps keep our relationship enjoyable and respectful.

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Does identifying as a submissive mean that I’m dependent on my partner?

The traits and personas of my power exchange relationship don’t remain solely in the bedroom for my partner and I. He will give me commands in our day to day life (generally when no one else can hear because people might get the wrong idea) that I can choose to follow or, get ‘punished’ for later.

This raises the question: does being a submissive mean I’m dependent on my dominant partner?

In short: no.

While we don’t fully restrict our dom/sub relationship to bedroom play, we are both incredibly independent people. We have our own sets of friends, our own video games, tv shows and, as I’ve mentioned before, our own bedrooms. He doesn’t support me financially, I don’t need him to take care of me, I don’t need him in order to handle my day to day responsibilities. He helps me, yes, but I am fully capable of being my own person. To summarize, he has no real control over anything I do. I am my own autonomous person.

In fact we are continuously pushing each other to exercise our independence. It happens every so often that one of us will get stuck in a routine rut and either get slightly snappier, depressed, or in my case, have a breakdown on New Years Eve because the wait for a drink took over half an hour. We have gotten better at acknowledging when we’re starting to feel that way. Though, sometimes, we have to nudge each other to make plans outside of one another.

Winter is a difficult time for that. It’s far easier to snuggle up beside each other on the couch and play Overwatch, than it is to sacrifice warmth, time and money by making plans to go out. It’s not that we don’t enjoy our time together, we do. We both need that time apart, not only to appreciate our time together more, but also to maintain our relationships outside of each other.

I’ve been down the road of codependency already. I’ve seen what being dependent on someone can do to my own mental health and the mental health to those around me.

So no, being a sub doesn’t mean I’m dependent. In fact, I feel as though it reinforces my independence.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

I enjoy being a sub because I know I’m equal

The D/s relationship dynamic has always fascinated me. I read somewhere that a large amount of submissive women tend to hold a lot of control in their personal/work lives so the idea of relinquishing power is enticing. I can absolutely relate to that. When I feel as though I don’t have control in many aspects of my life, my anxiety tends to kick in. When a fall into my role as a submissive, I’m able to let go of that. It’s like taking a deep breath and falling into the moment.

It wasn’t always like that though. I questioned why power dynamic relationships never really worked out with previous partners. Was it me? Was I doing it wrong? Or did I just like the idea of being a submissive? It wasn’t until I was getting my hair done by a long time friend that I heard the answer to that question. She explained that what had make things work with her dom was that he saw her as his equal. This fantastic statement and insightful information didn’t really click until I had met my current partner.

One of the most captivating things about my partner is his respect for women, and how intelligence and strong personalities don’t intimidate him. When I hear him swoon over his childhood and current crushes, he often mentions powerful, strong women. Women who are independent, don’t fit the mold and who don’t take shit from other people. Some examples include Seven of Nine from Star Trek, Detective Kate Becket from Castle, Special Agent Scully, Black Canary, Winry from Full Metal Alchemist to name a few. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, he has never been interested in pursuing any kind of relationship with a woman who doesn’t challenge him.

What I think makes our sexual relationship work so well is that he views me as his equal. Just because he’s the dominant one in the bedroom, doesn’t mean he holds all the power. When we play out the scene, yes the illusion is that he in control when he gives me orders, and I choose to follow (or not follow if I’m feeling particularly bratty that day). The reality is, all I have to say is one word, and everything stops.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

50 Shades of Misconceptions

I’ve toyed around with this specific post for the last three or so days. Although this is a lifestyle that I’ve been practicing for two years, and have had an interest in for significantly longer, I’m having issues making one specific point. BDSM is such a broad topic with an obscene amount of misconceptions. Not only that but, I feel like this has been an incredibly private part of my life for so long.

While I make it fairly publicly known about my sexual orientation and my relationship preferences, one thing I’m always hesitant to open up about are my bedroom interests. Media portrayal of the BDSM kink has caused a massive lack of understanding of what it entails. I myself have been guilty of the same ignorance in the past.

“Oh yeah, I like rough sex too.” is generally the response I get on the off chance that I do bring it up in conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I was never one to turn down being choked or slapped while things were getting hot and heavy but, even I was unaware that BDSM was so much more than that.

It wasn’t until 2 years ago, I was discussing my interest in (what I thought was) BDSM with a good friend, and he suggested that I read Sunstone; A graphic novel by Stjepan Šejić documenting the lives of two women exploring their lifestyle interests for the first time (mostly), together. I won’t get too far into it because it’s a must read for anyone that… actually just anyone. The story is beautiful and super informing about the trials and tribulations people in the kink scene can face. If you’re a sucker for romance like I am, and can appreciate the absolutely breathtaking art, you won’t be able to put it down.

The more I read into the story, the more I learned about the importance of safe words, aftercare (I honestly didn’t even know what aftercare was until I read Sunstone), and how BDSM is more about pushing boundaries than it is taking control. I plan to write more in detail about all of these topics in the future.

After two years of practicing this lifestyle, specifically the last year or so with my current partner, and one magnificently failed attempt at being dominant, I’ve discovered that I’m a sub (submissive) through and through.

I read an interesting theory that women or men who spend a lot of time making decisions in a day, or who generally have a lot to control in their life, end up being submissive in the bedroom. The lack of control and decision making is freeing, I can attest to that. As someone who who is consistently making sure my daughter is cared for, my work is efficiently handled, finances are taken care of, it’s refreshing to let someone else take the reins (or ropes) at the end of the day.

Trust is also a huge factor. While the dom has the illusion of power, they don’t just take control. I have to have enough confidence in my dominant that when I say my safeword, everything stops. We are constantly communicating with each other. We don’t schedule in our sex life but we will spend time here and there discussing what we have enjoyed in the past or things we would like to try. We’ve discovered a lot about each other’s interests that have made a significant difference to the quality of our sex life. During the aftercare portion, we always debrief and discuss what worked and what didn’t work. Being clear about what boundaries you have and what hard lines are not to be crossed will help prevent undesirable situations from arising. Open communication, trust and boundary setting are the fundamentals of a dom/sub relationship (in my opinion).

There are a plethora of misconceptions and misunderstandings that relate to the bdsm lifestyle that I could go on about. I feel like if people were more informed on what it actually is and what it entails, they would be able to see that it’s not all whips, chains and claiming power over an individual.

I urge anyone reading this to put down 50 Shades of Glorified Abuse and go pick up Sunstone. You’d be shocked at what you can learn from a comic book. At least I was.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!