This is a guest post by Mistress Steel. It was part of her Steel’s Chamber Scrolls which is now defunct. Shared with Permission.

One of the most talked about features of the BDSM community is the existence and usage of the Safe Word or Safe Call or Safe Sign. For a new Dominant and new sub this seems easy, convenient, essential to the creation and sustaining of free will, consent, personal integrity etc. There are lots of reasons and issues which propelled the existence of the Safe Word in the BDSM community. Many were quite valid and useful to distinguish the community from its ugly cousin ‘physical abuse’. The issue of consent being the bottomline.

During the early stages of ‘emergence’ or that part of your life where you are just learning about living an extreme lifestyle you may elect to incorporate the ‘safe word’ as a good rule…matter of course…to be followed and seldom thought about. There is so much to learn, so many other issues to explore that it fades backward into the obscurity to lay there dormant and untouched for sometimes years.

For the new submissive it is the ‘golden key’, held as the ultimate last word. It allows that submissive to retain their personal vision of equity within the standards of societal norms. It blends in quite nicely with all the other assorted ‘rules of engagement’, ‘contracts of conduct’, ‘definition of limits’. Slavery becomes more palatable, more acceptable. “I am not a slave, I am a submissive. I have express rights!” Marginalized, manageable.

For many this ‘key’ remains intact. Both Dominant and submissive agree that this is the boundary in which they wish to express themselves.

Except. The existence of this key is a limit. It gives the submissive an out. While you may be saying “Yes. Exactly as it should!” the mere existence of the ‘key’ alters the event. From the submissives perspective, especially when new, this seems no problem. If things get too hard I will just yell out my word, and I will be safe, and everything will stop. And, for that submissive this is possible. But, as that submissive ‘ages’ or gains experience they may learn to access space. When accessing space the ‘cerebral’ part of the brain seems, appears or feels itself to detach or move away from the responsive part of the brain. As the brain alters the submissives ability to articulate speech fades. From the inside it feels like you cannot remember how to ‘shape’ the words with your mouth. Additionally, as a submissive attaches or bonds to their chosen Dominant they begin to desire ‘not to fail’ their Dominant. They want to ‘please’ their Dominant. In the process of this their desire to use the safe word decreases to the point of utter refusal.

The Dominant may or may not realize this. As the submissive ages they become more dangerous for the Dominant to scene with. The deeper into space that the submissive can go, the higher the level of physical intensity they are able to endure, the more euphoric they become (the more irrational). The Dominant who has come to rely on the ‘safe word’ as the final stop can, may and will exceed that submissives limits. A Dominant can also get euphoric ‘in scene’, for some this is called a ‘blood rush’, ‘going blind’, or even Domspace. The effect of such euphoria is the reduction of personal inhibitions. They are no longer primarily connected to the sub’s response chain.

Many Dominant’s may experience the ‘swelling’ of their sadistic traits, feeling propelled or pushed by their submissives beyond their own thresholds into areas that may later repulse and disgust them. The combination of these two things occurring and or creating each other is where the safety ends. The unsuspecting Dominant may desire the safe word as a way of reducing their personal responsibility for the safety of the submissive. That responsibility is a weight that many do not desire to carry…if they can get the submissive to carry it then they are off the hook if something bad happens. They can say ‘no safe word was used, I am no mind reader I didn’t know the sub was in trouble.’ Wrong. The submissive must relinquish all responsibility during scene. The Dominant must be required to remain in control space.

The submissive deep in space will not be able to rationalize real danger. Their body will be filled with chemicals, pumped up and flying. When the situation intensifies that small portion of their brain which is marginally functional at that point will trigger more chems to compensate for the increased load while offering to the submissives mind that they ‘take it’ for their Dominant. Full trust has been exchanged, the submissive is unable to rationalize that the Dominant may have exceeded their ‘own’ control limits. To the submissive flying, the Dominant is the whole world. The sub cannot question or query. They do not see the wall until they hit it. This is a dissociative state. This is where the mind is no longer able to cope with the level of input. This is fundamentally the most dangerous place a human can go. When a sub hits the wall they sometimes never recover.

Written by F.R.R. Mallory – also known as Mistress Steel. This article may be excerpted from Extreme Space, The Domination and Submission Handbook, Safe, Sane and Consensual, Dangerous Choices or other books by F.R.R. Mallory and shared here with her permission. Please click on the book title for information on how you can order a copy of these books and others by F.R.R. Mallory.