I've always believed that safewords are only good if you know how to use them. Good ole communication is great for things like numb limbs, an itch you can't reach or a bathroom break. Submissive Guide is here for novices and it's always good to teach about safewords and recommend that you have one.
In every beginning BDSM book, you will find information on safewords. On this site, I have an essay on safewords. What I've read recently from Emma is some very obvious news about safewords that most people don't pick up on their own and never share with others. Well, I'm going to share it with you.
Protect Your Safety
In a play situation, you need to establish trust with your play partner. If you choose to play with a relative stranger you are putting yourself in danger of not having your safeword respected. Safewords can not protect you from someone who intends to do you harm. No matter how many times you shout 'red' in a dangerous situation a predator will not heed. Just like a stop sign, it only works if drivers obey the law and actually stop. The trust that is needed in a relationship is what makes a safe word really work for you.
Don't ever expect your safeword to protect you. I've read horror stories where a submissive said she thought her safeword was all she needed to stay safe. A lot of the BDSM play we engage in is inherently dangerous and risky (even if you believe in Safe, Sane and Consensual). A verbalized stop word is not going to make you any safer.
It Starts With Trust
You can not have safewords without trust. As you've read and hopefully understand now a safeword is a false blanket of security. Building trust with your partner is all about open, honest communication and respect. How do you build trust?
The answer is acceptance.
Once you accept your partner for who they are then your trust will come right along with it. Sure that means you need to accept yourself first and we are always hearing about that, but in this article, we are building trust with our partner so that if we choose to use safewords they will work.
Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
Every relationship starts somewhere, even the quick and casual play partners are relationships. I can't stress enough that you need to communicate and share your needs and desires in order to get them. Doing this also includes requesting and agreeing on a safeword if works for you. Even if a Dominant doesn't believe in safewords, a negotiation where a safeword is requested should be honored.
In the worst situation imaginable where your safeword is being ignored, begin screaming 'no'. Unfortunately, this won't necessarily make the person stop but it will give you some legal leverage later. Not all legal authorities understand or respect stop words, our safewords. They will ask if you said 'no'.
Wrapping It Up
It's not my intention to scare you or convince you that you shouldn't have a safeword. I'm hoping that what you've learned is that you need to have more than a word to protect you if you plan to play.
Do you have any other advice about safewords that you'd like to pass on?