A Serious Discussion About Safewords

Many people introduce safewords into their kinky activities. A safeword is, essentially, a prearranged signal to end or slow down an activity. Think of it as a code word that differentiates fun (or at least consensual) pain or discomfort from un-fun (or non-consensual) pain or discomfort. The use of safe words allows the partner doing the hitting to know that the other party is enjoying things without asking them if their screams of “OWWWWWWWWWW FUCK!” are a compliment on technique or an expression of a heartfelt need to stop the current activity.

The most common safewords are based on traffic signals, typically “Red” (stop immediately), “Yellow” (don’t stop but slow down and proceed with caution), and “Green” (go ahead). This may cause awkward arousal during a driver’s license exam, but is generally still common practice. There are variations, such as giving someone a rubber ball when they are gagged. If the person needs to use a safeword in such a situation, they let go of the ball.

However, such safeword variations are often assigned only out of necessity, and only for a single scenario or circumstance. It is the thesis of the current post that the BDSM community could benefit from a wider variety of safewords to indicate more unusual, but still critical, indications of circumstances which might occur during a scene but not be readily obvious to one’s partner.

Therefore, the following safewords are suggested as additions to the traditional Red/Yellow/Green safewords. For simplicity’s sake, the traditional scheme of using colors has been retained. Individuals prone to screaming out the names of crayons during scenes may wish to use the names of fish instead to avoid confusion. Individuals aroused by Haddock are advised to stick to the traditional color scheme words, unless their partner has been forewarned. Remember, consent is a two way street people. Nobody likes having their ears non-consensually filled with fish words.

With these caveats in mind, we hereby present the…


Red: Stop.
Yellow: Slow down.
Green: Go.
Blue: Shit, I forget to set the DVR for Game of Thrones! Get this blindfold off and give me the remote right now!
Lime: I just saw your DVD collection and we need to end this right now and never see each other again. I try to be open minded, but owning the remake of “The Wicker Man” is where I draw the line.
Black: Wow, black boots, oh my god that’s so original, you’re totally turning me on with your banality and lack of imagination regarding footwear. You must have put entire seconds of thought into that. No, really, my underwear just exploded into flames.
Aquamarine: Your BDSM playlist sucks and if I have to listen to one more god-damn asshole who thinks they’re being original by playing the theme to True Blood I’m going to non-consensually choke a fucker.
Brown: Are you sure you want to do anal? Because I ate a hell of a lot of bran fiber this morning.
Teal: We can do that, but if I have to steam clean this carpet to get my deposit back you’re paying for it.
Brushed Silver: I’ve been bad, take me to Target and make me buy picture frames!
Avocado: Avocado would be really good on tacos. We should go get some tacos when we’re done. And put avocado on them. Can we call the scene and just get some tacos? I’ve got an avocado and I know a place.
Mauve: How about you dial the pretentious monologue back a little bit there, super-domme.
Brick: This is great and all, but I need to get some shit done in Skyrim. Could you hand me the Xbox Controller? Don’t worry, I can do both at once.
Khaki: Giggle break. May also be used for “Fifty bucks, same as in town! Hah, I just got that.”
Coral: Ow ow ow! Toe cramp, toe cramp, toe cramp!
Cyan: And I just remembered I told the realtor they could come by and show the house today. How quick can you untie these knots?

In addition, sometimes when using safewords it can be beneficial to have a series of signals that can note when a situation is fine at first, but may change if the activity continues or escalates. As in the following examples:

Lavender: Are you sure the door is latched?
Plum: Because the cat just entered the room.
Purple: And the cat looks interested.
Violet: And the cat has now entered the scene. This feels weird. Mr. Mittens cannot provide informed consent, give me a minute to put him in the bathroom with some fuzzy toys and a treat.

Pink: Counting the hits is giving me weird Sesame Street flashbacks.
Chiffon: And I think I kind of like it.

Of course there are countless more. Feel free to leave some of your own suggestions in the comments, and remember to always play safe.

Copyright Jerry Jones. Unauthorized use is prohibited.