Safewords are a good idea. So are seatbelts. Or so conventional wisdom would indicate. Take a deeper look at the statistics, however, and the story becomes more complicated.
I remember reading a post for DJ Black, an author and dominant that I had come to respect, indicating that he did not use safewords. I was horrified. I though this sort of reckless behaviour was the sign of an unsafe and predatory person.
But I’ve recently come to realise that there is a difference in forgoing a safeword out of carelessness versus consciously opting out of that particular protocol, something I’ve chosen to do in two distinct circumstances.
The first is similar to the dynamic DJ describes. When I’m engaged with a trusted, experienced partner with whom I’ve established a relationship and who has demonstrated their ability to spank safely, I’m more inclined to follow their lead and let them push me past the point where I would have been well tempted to call a halt to the proceedings.
The second, ironically, is almost the exact opposite. When I meet a new partner at a play party, I’ve only rarely established a formal safeword for the first spanking. Even on reflection, I don’t see this as a significant risk. For an initial “get to know you” spanking, I don’t so much submit to the spanking as evaluate it. There is a good deal of two-way communication, verbal and non-verbal, throughout the experience. On several occasions I’ve had no trouble stopping the scene or slowing things down,when it became more than I had bargained for. I’ve found that phrases like “that’s quite enough, thank you,” or “please ease up a bit,” are every bit as effective as “red” and “yellow”. (I have it on good authority, however, that phrases like “fuck you bastard” do not produce the same results).
Will I make an effort to correct this oversight now that I am aware of this tendency I’ve developed? I don’t think so. I’m not convinced that, should things truly be going wrong, that a spanker would be any more likely to stop should I should “red” or “pineapple” than if I simply asked them to stop.
More to the point, I’d prefer to have a more meaningful dialogue with a new partner during the first spanking than a monosyllabic indication that I’d had enough. I would rather have a discussion before the spanking about what I am looking for and what I can take than relying on an emergency brake for when things go awry.
Besides, a place where only a seatbelt- or a safeword- is saving me is not a place I’d like to be.