Safewords: Red, Yellow, Green Are Just Words – BDSM for Beginners

BDSM for Beginners – Safewords
Red, Yellow, Green Are Just Words and Mean NOTHING by Themselves!
by Caged Heart

Beginning Explorers in the BDSM World hear a lot of advice from more experienced ‘players’. Unfortunately, a lot of that advice is worth nothing more than it costs…NOTHING. A person new to BDSM might hear, “Oh, don’t worry about playing with me, I honor safe words, you will be fine!”

Sadly, in our eagerness to experience this amazing world of BDSM, many of us trust everyone we meet. True, that ‘experienced Master with 107 years of stellar and well-recognized standing in the community’, may really be just a guy with a penchant for hurting women. Or, that ‘Mistress of the Dark World on High’ could be a man-hating freak, but people new to the lifestyle ache to explore, and ache to trust the first person who takes an interest in us.

Safewords are intended to protect participants from going further or doing things they don’t wish to do. Safewords are also intended to end or slow down the scene for other reasons, such as a cramp, charleyhorse or a sudden onset of dizziness or shortness of breath. Common safewords are RED, YELLOW and GREEN. Many BDSM Clubs have a standard safeword for use by all participants, such as ‘Mercy’. Dungeon Monitors and Event Staff are trained to respond to any safeword situation, by checking in with the players to see if they need assistance. The word ‘safeword’ is itself, yep, you guessed it! A safeword. Long term partners often designate their own private safeword.

The whole point of choosing a safeword is to select a word that you would not normally use in conversation, not even in animated conversation. Choosing a word like ‘stop’ or ‘OW’ wouldn’t work, because often stop doesn’t mean stop, it means ‘if you stop now I will scream!’ and ‘OW’ can mean ‘this is so yummy, please may I have another?’ Choosing ‘elephant’ or ‘babysitter’, ‘froglegs’ or ‘chicken fried steak’ as your safeword is a frog legsmuch better idea. Ok, chicken fried steak might be too hard to remember, so maybe stick with the one word safewords. I mean, really, how often do you think a person is tied to a St. Andrew’s Cross enjoying the flogger so much they are flying into subspace and the word babysitter comes to their mind?

A lot of BDSM players employ the stoplight method of safewords:

RED – means stop whatever it is you are doing to me RIGHT NOW! and get me out of, off of, or away from whatever it is we are doing! It means ‘I need help NOW!’ When the safeword RED is used, the Top immediately ends the scene, and does whatever is necessary to help the submissive.

YELLOW – means ‘hey, Bub, slow down, give me a minute, you are getting way too close to my hard limits’. When the safeword YELLOW is used, the Top needs to slow down, check in with the submissive, or maybe switch implements or stroke intensity, AND check in with the submissive. Communicate, if possible. Find out what the submissive needs, maybe a drink of water, or it could be he needs a ‘potty break’ or some snacks to raise their blood sugar.

GREEN – means ‘oh yeah! This rocks! Keep going please!’ When the safeword GREEN is used, the Top needs to continue doing whatever wonderful and erotic things they are doing to the submissive, and enjoy the submissive’s reactions. It does not mean the Top can be less vigilant about communication or observation, and it means the Top needs to remain fully aware of any possible concerns.

The Myth of Safewords is that a safeword will protect the submissive from harm. That is utter crap! A safeword has absolutely no power to protect the submissive from harm. In fact, I believe that trusting in safewords can often create a false sense of safety for submissives. A submissive is falsely comforted by the Top’s giving them a safeword. The safeword is of no value whatsoever, without knowing and trusting the Top, and how in the world could a submissive possibly trust someone they spent a total of a few hours on the internet with, prior to agreeing to play with them?

Before agreeing to play with anyone new to you, check them out. There is a whole slew of internet and dating safety tips on the internet, but the most important, in my opinion, is to KNOW the person, not the role! Anybody can play knowledgeable, experienced Top on the internet, but, why trust your life to someone you don’t even know well enough to know where (or if) they work?

  • Never give your home address to someone you don’t know.
    • Meet several times in a public place, like a restaurant for example, getting to know a little more about a potential play partner. Pay attention to his general demeanor, not just his ‘scene game’.
    • Don’t buy into the garbage that ‘you aren’t really submissive, if you won’t let me spank you, it doesn’t matter we just met ten minutes ago’ or “I am your Dominant! You will do as I tell you!’ (Please – run from this type, they are wankers.)
    • After getting to know the potential partner a bit in a public place, you may wish to consider attending BDSM events together, but be clear that you will not play with him (or her), until and unless you are comfortable. And, then NEVER play in private the first few times, at least.

Some experienced BDSM lifestyle people, Tops and bottoms alike, will tell you that having a safeword is protection against harmful or potentially harmful people and situations. It isn’t true, and you will be much better off trusting in your partner than trusting a mere word.

PS – my RED safeword is ‘Master Bastard, you better let me up now because I know where you sleep, and everybody has to sleep sometime!’

Safewords: Red, Yellow, Green Are Just Words – BDSM for Beginners
Scroll to top