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lunaKM has been a full-time slave in an M/s relationship for over 10 years. She is the founder and editor of Submissive Guide. Learn more about her here and connect with her on, Twitter, Google+, FetLife.

11 responses to “Safewords During Disciplinary Punishment: Yay or Nay?”

  1. Nacht engel

    It’s my personal opinion that you should never employ the same techniques used for funishment in punishment. If spanking, flogging or whipping is part of the play dynamic its never going to be the right tool for behaviour modification or correction.

    I think the lines can blur if you do that. Potentially making play less pleasant because the same activity is associated with punishment. Or conversely rendering the punishment inefective because the activity is enjoyable. I appreciate that one can do the punishment more sternly without say a sexual element or reserve a particular tool but I still feel the punishment chosen should be constructive.

    Usually I find telling my slave how she has disappointed me and what she did wrong far more effective than physical punishment. Her own feelings of shame and upset at not meeting my expectations are more than enough. But in extreme cases removal of privileges, denial, grounding, isolation etc to give time and reinforcement to reflect on what she has done wrong can be effective. Or perhaps a research assignment to learn about the aspects of the behaviour so that the lesson sticks.

    Therefore in my world there is no place for safewords during punishment.

  2. Boundanna

    There is a very real problem with ignoring a safeword in a punishment context or any context. Basicly by taking away or ignoring a safe word you are effectively removing the submissive’s right/ability to withdraw consent. At least in America the right to withdraw consent is a right that you can’t legally negotiate away. You may take me at my word on the legality of this I am a lawyer, but not presently practicing. Let’s says that the hypothetical submissive decides that she has had enough and the dominant ignores her safeword, and her plain language: no, stop, etc. Then if the submissive decides to have him arrested, legally he is dead wrong and if all parties tell the absolute truth he will be heading to prison. It is safer and more respectful to all parties to stop and have a discussion. Maybe more negotiation is required and the two people can reach a compromise that works for them. Ultimately, If the submissive doesn’t want to be punished the dominant has two meaningful choices: the dominant could continue with the relationship without a punishment dynamic, or the dominant could end the relationship. The simple truth is legally there is an answer to this question once consent is withdrawn legally it is abuse.

  3. Keith Smith

    Thank you very much for this post. I wish to speak from my own experience. When I have BDSM Play it is just that – play. I have safewords. So far I have never used them. This is because the Doms who have played with me have all been very experienced and have known when to stop. It is not unusual for that to occur when I feel that I can take and want more. There are times too when I feel that I cannot take anymore. I readily admit that my judgement during intense play is not a good guide. That is what I find so fulfilling in BDSM Play. I do not have to be concerned at all with what will occur – I know that my safety is in the hands of my Dom who observes every reaction of mine and can pick up how far to go on that particular occasion and with me. Being able to really relax into the situation is liberating in the extreme. I would most certainly Safeword if I needed too. I assure my Dom/Playpartner of this fact. It could be that something happens that they may have missed. We end sessions of play both being incredibly exilarated and incredibly happy.

    I do realise that what I have written is not on the subject of real punishment which is the context and setting of this post. That is something that I feel that I cannot comment on as that has never been a situation that I have really found myself in. Yes what I experience, though it is intense Impact Play, is because it is something that we both desire. It is definitely funishment. I have felt to comment as I have on the subject of Safewords in a funishment setting. I do not understand disciplinary punishment. Is it really and truly consensual?

  4. Katyusha

    The problem with “no safewords during punishment” is that if the Dom over-does it with a physical punishment (perhaps due to punishing while angry or something), and the sub is unable to withdraw consent, there’s a risk of injury. I am of the opinion that in ANY activity involving pain or restraint, whether that activity be play or punishment, it is absolutely necessary to at least be able to use a “yellow” safeword to pause things in the event of a safety issue coming up. Not having a way for the sub to communicate that issue is irresponsible and dangerous.

  5. boundanna

    Respectfully lunaKM I think you are missing my primary point. You are in what I would consider a rather extreme/edgy M/s style relationship. I am not saying this to be judgemental but to indicate that I believe your perspective is rather scued. For example, in the article when you discussed good use of safewords for discipline it wasn’t to stop the activity or because of a limit or distress instead it was to communicate that his choice of punishment was ineffective. This isn’t what I feel a majority of people are going to be considering in the context of safe words and punishments. What I and I’m sure many others use safe words for is communicating either the approach of some sort of limit or distress be it mental or physical, and/or the need to stop for any other reason entirely at the discretion of the submissive. Most submissive are not slaves and a great many people exploring D/s have far less experience than either you or I. In the interest of fairness I will say I have been in a relationship(married) to my submissive for over a decade. We are very much at the other end of the spectrum. We keep our D/s mostly in the bedroom.

    Now back to the main point which is twofold. First, I hope that you believe that consent can be revoked by either partner at any time. I believe that this is a bedrock principle of safe sane consensual bdsm. If the argument is that you can’t withdraw consent during a punishment I disagree in the the strongest possible terms. Consent is the line between bdsm and abuse. Second, individual needs and desires change. It is perfectly possible that a submissive agreed to a punishment dynamic in good faith and that it either worked for them for a while or that they discovered the first time it’s not going to work at all. People have the right to change their minds and for their needs to evolve. This is why I counsel a stop and more communication. This is especially true for newer D/s relationships.

    The more I look at some of your posts and replys the more I think we may have very different ideas of what consent is and how it should opperate. I am guessing that your view is that consent is gained at the beginning and thereafter remains in effect and that consent itself is subject to the negotiated relationship. That the dynamic determines when, why, and how consent can be modified and withdrawn. If my perception of your viewpoint is wrong I would be interested in exactly how you do view consent. In my view consent is something that must be maintained. The submissive continues to give consent and submission and in return I give care and dominance. If there is any withdraw of that consent at any time then the circle of dominance and submission is broken and it’s time to talk. I hope that this elaboration makes my views a little clearer.

    P.S. I don’t wish to argue the point but I think that if you were to research the laws regarding battery and consent to harm within the limited context of non perminant damage you would find them more subtle than you believe at the moment. Think about it in the the context of contact sports and martial arts the laws have had to evolve to encompass these activities.

  6. rllala16

    I am rarely in a position that I break the rules when I am not trying to have fun; however I would like to get an opinion on mine from those that do. If you are a person that is trustworthy with safewords and uses them as stated above, for emergencies when something is too much mentally, physically or emotionally, then the dom should be trusting that it is not that you don’t want the punishment, but that he or she may have gone too far or solely that their sub is in distress and that is a problem. I feel that even in social situations where one person’s mental, physical, or emotional health are in jeopardy (for me it would be running into an abusive family member) then the safeword could be used as a sign to help the other person stop the situation.Beyond my opinion that consent at any point in most anything can be taken away, I wouldn’t trust someone who didn’t listen to me when I said I was in distress.

  7. Keith Smith

    Yes the person must listen to you when you are in distress.

  8. meg

    And this is why I love the stoplight system so much.

    Under no circumstances should a dom ever ignore their submissive’s safeword, punishment or otherwise. I only say “red” when I’m in serious distress (or unbearable pain), and if my dom were to ignore my use of it because I was being punished and they felt I was “using it to get out of punishments” I would beat the shit out of them, leave, and block them from every facet of my life. Just the thought of a dom ignoring my safeword fills me with unspeakable horror. I would never be able to trust that dom with my physical, emotional, or mental safety again.

    Always abide by your sub’s safeword. If you happen to find a pattern of abuse–that is, they frequently use safewords during punishments–then speak with them about it. If they still show no signs of stopping, then find another sub. Don’t ignore their safeword to teach them a lesson, or some such rot.

  9. Lori_Sign

    I personally like real spankings that are not in my control. However, there is one that I don’t like. My boyfriend really like me doing that post spanking dance, hopping up and down while frantically rubbing my ass simultaneously after my hand warm up, and is embarrassing. What is it about guys that like seeing that, I will never understand. But it turns him on so I do both instinctively and longer on purpose.

    On the flip side, I like real spanking. To will myself to endure a real spanking that is not in my control with no safe word is exhilarating. It takes be back to childhood feeling of being loved and discipline at the same time. Although with no swat limit and it hard not know when the spanking is going to stop to push my jeans and panties down myself. I know this may sound weird but feeling the trepidation and anticipation about getting a real blisting is also an adrenaline rush. Its he whole power exchange is so exhilarating for me.

    My boyfriend likes to see the muscular definition my ass cheeks as I involuntary clench up while he is spanking me real hard. I’m fairly petite and I’m over his leg with his foot on a stool and I’m literally tangling above the ground while he is spanking. Me slow and hard with his hand for what seem like forever before he giving me a roasting long finish hard and fast I’m right at my pain limit and he lets me jump off her leg and do that post spanking hope.

    Than, like I said earlier, he tells me to retrieve that dam bamboo backstretcher. He sit down on the chair puts me over his thigh and scissor locks my legs. He begins tapping me the flat part of the handle, the most stingly part of it, and asks me the same dam question. “What’s my favorite movie series, Lori?” he waits until I answer him, “Fast and Furious” the answer is “Fast and Fourious!” “That’s right, and that’s exactly how I’m going to paddle you from the very beginning to the end of this very lengthy paddling and it isn’t going stop until I say, understand!” “Oooo, Yes sir!” He than just tapping away for like what seems like forever. This is the point of trepidation and adrenalin rush I get. I’m clenching and unclenching involuntary. Than out of no where he starts and it catches my breathe always. Especially with absolutely no pauses between whacks. Its goes on and on until I’m bawling out of control with the hiccup type crying. The backstretcher leaves surface welts from the top of my cheeks just below my tail bone to my upper thighs. My eyes get all puffy because tear are streaming down my face, noise is running than endorphins rush through me, its purely cathartic release. That’s what I’m additcted too. It leaves me tranquil and centered. So, I have a love hate thing with real spankings.

    I hate the awful pain of a real spanking but I absolutely love the aftermath. Especially, when he is holding me while I cry it all out. I also hate how fast he spanks me because its so intense but I have such a high pain tolerance that’s what it takes to push me past my fight and flight mode.

    The only I don’t like is having to do that post spanking dance for him after my warm up. I hate it and its humiliating but he likes it. Does anyone else to that post spanking hop?

  10. Robbie

    While I seldom punish anymore, her safeword is sacrosanct. When we started, it was consent based and will only stay that way. We’ve had up/downs with D/d, but always the safeword was there when needed.

    Yes, even to get out of a punishment (which was rare). If I exceeded what we discussed or anger that it was unjustifiable. There were months (even a couple of years) when we shelved D/d because she felt it was hurting rather than helping. That was one of the times when she safeworded several punishments in a row.

    We are much more relaxed about this now and it plays less important of a role in our life. She needs the security of knowing I will always respect her safeword.

    This has kept us closer.

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