When One Safeword Isn’t Enough: A brief guide for edgier play

Below is a post I wrote to contribute to the first annual #KinkySexTips Blogfest hosted by Mona Darling. I asked to contribute as a sex writer who likes to write educational pieces — and I was interested in writing a piece less “Kink 101” and more for the kinkster who’s been doing what it is we do for awhile. I’ve been practicing kink for about six years and have been involved in the scene for three. I love touching on taboos and subjects that people are hesitant to talk about, even within the kink community itself.

Suddenly, the tip of his cock is at my lips, prodding, and I keep my mouth closed, not sure if I really want to suck it. But we’re roleplaying and forced fellatio is nothing unusual in our scenes — we’ve done it countless times and he has no reason to think he’s pushing my boundaries tonight. In fact, my fighting back is in character; this is a scene in which my character does not consent. I give up and open my lips. He fucks my mouth.

Several thoughts run through my head: Wait, I don’t know if I like this right now. But I don’t want to stop the scene. This is something I usually like. Actually, this is exactly what I like. I fantasize about this when I masturbate and this is actually really hot oh my god I’m gonna come.

He eventually pulls out of my mouth and the scene continues. When we’re finished and come out of the space of the scene, I tell him that I was having conflicting feelings during the forced fellatio. He becomes worried because he “should have known” something was wrong — but I tell him not to think that even for a second because don’t you trust me to safeword? He nods. I’ve safeworded before. I trust him to stop.

Something was different about this time. I wasn’t really into that particular activity at that particular moment, but I was in my right mind enough to decide whether or not I wanted to safeword. I decided not to because I didn’t want to stop the scene. Red, our safeword, would have ended everything.

Even though I decided not to safeword that night, after the scene, I felt my boundaries/limits had been pushed, but not by my partner — he wasn’t doing anything we hadn’t done before. I pushed my own boundaries by making that choice. If we had had a word that means “stop doing that particular thing, but don’t stop the scene,” I may have used it. But we didn’t. We just had “red” and I didn’t want to “red.”

Yes, we’d been doing this for about six years at this point, but we never stop learning. We are constantly learning about ourselves, each other, and how to make our experiences even better. After this particular experience, we decided we needed better guidelines in place for ourselves. Our play got more intense, so we needed to re-open the safeword discussion. This is how we came up with our safewords — plural.

Typically, using colors as safewords looks like this:

Green — everything’s good

Yellow — pull back a little

Red — stop the scene immediately, the ultimate safeword

We adjusted some of them and added an extra one for ourselves. Our safewords are:

Green — everything is fine! I just need to pause the scene for a moment to communicate with you about something.

Yellow — pull back a little

Red — stop the specific thing you’re doing and move on, but don’t stop the scene

Blue — stop everything immediately, end the scene, the ultimate safeword

It’s a long list, yes. Maybe it’s too much for some people, in which case, figure out what works for you! This is just how we do it. We pretty much just added “blue,” and gave “green” a little more meaning. So that night, the night of the “questionable” forced fellatio, I might have said “red” and he would have stopped fucking my mouth, but he would have known not to worry, that I’m OK — keep the scene going. Or maybe I would have decided to keep going no matter what, wishing to push my own boundaries anyway.

Now, before we begin scenes that we’ve negotiated to push limits or that may be particularly difficult or dark, my partner says each color and I tell him what it means as a way of reviewing our safewords before we start.

I would add a couple of caveats to these ideas, though. If it feels like too much to remember, just stick with what you know. This is just for if you find yourself needing more ways to communicate during play (and you’re also able to speak, i.e. not wearing a gag). If you’re playing with someone new, you may not want to have such detailed guidelines: with someone you don’t know well or have never played with, “red” is probably the best, easiest go-to, the safeword that most people are familiar with.

Ultimately, my goal with this post is to shed light on the fact that sometimes, safewords are more complicated than having one simple word to mean stop. To even suggest such a thing in a world where even the most mainstream publications talk about safewords, is a little scary. Telling the “forced” fellatio story itself is scary because the last thing I want is someone to think that I was too scared to safeword or to tell me I should have safeworded. The point is that I didn’t want to, even though I had conflicting feelings at the time — and it’s OK to have conflicting feelings at times like that. It’s probably pretty normal. And if we don’t talk about it, how are we going to improve our communication in the bedroom and beyond?

To be perfectly honest, I’m happy to have had the “forced” fellatio experience and I appreciate having pushed my own boundaries as it gave me a new perspective on boundary-pushing and fulfilled a major fantasy of mine. I even masturbated to it in the days after it happened — which was enough to tell me that I was right in listening to my gut when it kept me from saying “red.”

If you want to read more contributions to the Kinky Sex Tips Blogfest, click here! There are even prizes!