SAFE WORDS – Their use, non-use and abuse
Let’s face it this should be a really simple task. It’s a SafeWord. It mean stop. It means chill out and find out why the bottom stopped the play.
The trouble is that safe words are frequently ineffective. There are either:
a) forgotten about,
b) not used because of the abuse that the top will give for using it and stopping play;
c) not used because the stopping of play will kill the play for the rest of the day; or
d) not used because the sub is unable to use the word because the sub is in sub-space and effectively “off with the fairies!” Cut
For many bottoms, the use of the SafeWord is disappointing, Just as it is for the Top. The result is that the bottom will continue with the action despite the extreme distress it is causing. If you have a decent Master, he won’t mind you using the SafeWord, because its the right thing to do if you’re in distress or unhappy with play and he’d rather know.
But the most significant reason that safewords don’t get used is so-called “sub space”, the . Sub space is a state that many people experience when sensation is provided. It’s the body’s hormonal response to physical stress. Brain chemicals are released that act as an anesthetic. The pain actually becomes pleasure. It’s the same sensation that runners get after they pass a point of exertion. It’s called “runner’s high”. The body will continue operating even though the stress is causing damage. This is a Darwinian adaptation that allows us to use our last drop of energy to escape an attack. Fight or flight.
The problem with sub space is that once someone has those hormones flowing, they lose the ability to accurately report the state of their body. A bottom deep in sub space will never safeword. They will just drift deeper and deeper. Is this a reason to skip safewords entirely? Absolutely not. But as a top, you can’t rely on verbal feedback from the bottom to let you know if you’ve gone to far.
The body will send silent signals of stress that you, as top, can read. Here are some of the most obvious: