Creating A Safety Net – Safe Words

Hello again! So I decided to continue the series with safe words. This is something that I feel is more well-known and having them in your figurative back pocket is rather common but also something I’ve noticed that can be pulled into debates. There are those that believe that safe words are pointless unless you are doing consensual non-consent (CNC) or some other type of play where regular “stop” and “no more” would have been discussed and chosen to be ignored. However, safe words still have their use and it never hurts to add them to the weave of your safety net if it helps you feel more comfortable in order to let go during a scene whether as a top or bottom.  And yes, tops can use safe words, too, when things are too intense or they have their own limits pushed too far. They can also reinforce or really emphasize what you are experiencing and need in the moment, too. Therefore, I’ll go over safe words as well as other measures such as signals.

To start, some people don’t have safe words. That works for some people. Usually, it’s because there is enough trust or at least familiarity  that either they have other ways of knowing when stop means stop or they have negotiated keeping safe words off-limits as part of their dynamic. It may also be a situation like a punishment where it will not stop since it’s not meant to feel good or be fun unless it’s the equivalent of “red” because something has gone very wrong. For those doing casual play, still getting to know their play partner, those trying to take precautions will have them, and pretty much anyone who wants to use them, safe words a perfectly understandable and usually expected part of negotiations. I’m of the opinion that many people will benefit from having safe words negotiated because of the clarity as well as the opportunity to not only reinforce trust but also to slow down and talk about what they’re going into. Some people might cry out “stop!” but not really want to, in which case a Red or Banana or Osmosis (or any other safe word) will make it clear and less confusing. Maybe you’re trying out something new and it feels reassuring or easier to say Yellow or Red or whatever you need to especially if you feel overwhelmed and it’s the only thing coming to mind. Maybe it’s loud out on a play floor and the bottom says “Don’t stop!” but only the “stop” is heard and leads to some confusion and a break in the building tension. Again, safe words help establish that clear line. Perhaps your safe word won’t ever be used but some parts of kink involve pushing boundaries and if that’s what you’re going for, you may encounter a situation that feels too intense or was not at all how you expected or that you misjudged someone. You may find that if you’re using the traffic signal system, you will rely more on yellow than red and rarely ever use green but they’ll be there to help lead you through tough or tricky spots and not have to resort to yelling like a mad person or risking harm because your need to stop was not heard or understood. Maybe you negotiate that “Stop” or “No more” is a perfectly acceptable safe word and that works! Ultimately, it will come down to talking about what will be going on and agreeing on when it all needs to stop.

As for the safe words themselves, many people in kink know the basic traffic signal set of safe words especially if they play in public spaces such as a dungeon or large play party in someone’s home usually. Red means “stop all play” and is widely recognized so in spaces such as a dungeon they will probably have procedures to ensure the scene stops and may even turn the lights on especially if something has gone seriously wrong. Meanwhile, Yellow or Amber is recognized as “check in with me” which could be to slow down, have a moment to breathe, maybe the spot was wrong, whatever it may be but that it’s time to pause before continuing. Green is go and is admittedly the least used but is good to have in case. Again, these might come in handy even in more public places like a dungeon because of the universal understanding. However, people also prefer to have their own safe words for a myriad of reasons such as it being more personal, it would be more discreet, and so on . The key to these is to make sure it’s a word that isn’t likely to be used during play for clarity’s sake. Common ones include colors such as the previously mentioned “Red” as well as “Blue” and the like, fruits such as “Pineapple”, “Mango”, or “Apple”, and other ideas like celebrity names, car names, and whatever else you can think of. Aside from making sure that it’s not likely to be used during play and cause a false alarm, another good rule of thumb is to make sure it’s not too long, difficult pronounce, or hard to remember. This is something that would be used just as easily when you need a simple, quick check in as it is during an intense panic or pain or some other thing gone wrong. For example, some people may feel comfortable using “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” but it is quite a mouthful and you may not be able to get it all out in a timely manner. It probably won’t hurt to let a Dungeon Monitor or host know what you are using, too, so that they can keep an ear out in case the top misses it or the use of it isn’t taken seriously. At the end of it all, it’s about making sure you can clearly communicate your need for a check in or a full stop to take care of yourself.

Now, one other related note would be safe signs. These are nonverbal cues that can come in handy in a variety of situations. For instance, perhaps a gag is being used or your sub space leads to you becoming nonverbal yourself (I’ve been told I get super quiet and that it’s hard to understand what I’m saying if I’m even able to say coherent sentences depending on how deep I go). Another example would be the loud space of a dungeon or general play party. It can be difficult sometimes to hear one another over all the noise, so having a nonverbal cue can help avoid a miscommunication or missed cue. In these cases, safe signs would provide an alternative to still effectively communicate your needs and where you’re at. As for the types of safe signs, this could be dropping something like a ball or cloth or even moving something such as a ball such as when locked inside of a sensory deprivation box. It could also include finger signs similar to nonverbal commands that some D-types choose to use which can then be differentiated into versions of slow down or yellow and stop or red and any other safe words you choose to incorporate. A combination of sounds and physical signs could be used as well, such as waving a cloth and grunting out something like the tune of the Meow Mix commercial song to get the tops attention to check in (little bit of my kitten there haha). Because of the limitations in communication, it can make the negotiation of these signals that much more important to ensure that clarity so that  no one gets seriously harmed in silence. Some scenes have the goal of hurting but rarely are they meant to harm.

One last thing I want to touch on and try not to be too much on a soap box over is the notion that “true submissives” or that “proper slaves” don’t have safe words. There is no one true way, which I know has become a very common and hot issue of debate. However, I am talking about safety nets to catch you if (and most likely when if you’re really pushing limits or just over time because of probability) something goes wrong and you need a breather or to stop for the time being and pick up later. Some people do not want to have safe words and some will not play with those that have them. To each their own and their risk profile. However, there is no shame in having safe words or using them. It is not meant to offend the top, as some people seem to insinuate. If anything, it helps build and reinforce trust because they’re hopefully responding to the use of a safe word and making sure everything is okay and therefore show that they will listen and pay attention if you decide to dive deeper. It could damage trust to not communicate needs and end up hurt because the top didn’t catch where you were and may question how far they can go. Now, as the level of structure in the power exchange increases there is also most likely an increase in communication and familiarity so it is not uncommon for there to be submissives, slaves, pets, and the like to not have a safe word. That is because it has probably been negotiated and there are measures in place to ensure safety be it a debriefing after, weekly, or whatever it may be or simply knowing each other’s faces, noises, and such enough which tends to accompany longer term relationships. It will ultimately come down to personal choice whether it’s about which word to use or whether to have them at all. Trust will play a big role as well communication, familiarity, and your risk profile.

I do want to caution that safe words are not a fail safe against predators or bottoms who push too far, so I want to reiterate that sharing your safe word with a DM or using the traffic signals helps add an extra layer of protection.

Overall, safe words are there to protect you and provide a level of clarity to either slow things down or stop them completely. Keep in mind that the traffic signals set of safe words tend to be pretty widely recognized and if you choose to use a more personal word keep it memorable, easy to say, and short enough that you can say it quickly at a moment’s notice. If verbalizing will be difficult or there will be a barrier to the communication – like the aforementioned box – safe signals will come in handy. Like finger signs! (I’ll just leave that bad pun there haha) Having and using safe words should not be a source of shame or guilt since it is taking care of yourself and preventing any serious damage to yourself or the bond. Using them reinforces that the bottom is reliable in communicating their needs just as the top responding promptly reinforces that they will listen and can be trusted to push the limits without going too far. For some, knowing they have that part of their safety net added on will help them let go more. For others, it may simply be something there for emergencies and they may never face such a situation. Ultimately, taking care of yourself means more time to play and could mean diving deeper because you feel safe doing so. Things can and may go wrong but this is one option for adding to your safety net. No matter what, do what you need to do to feel safe, open, and prepared in your exploration and fun because that’s what this journey is about!

Here’s to an abundance of fun and the courage to explore your delightful desires!

Love always,

Miss Lunissa

 

I want to continue adding additional resources at the bottom so here are a few that I have used through my journey as well as a way of providing additional perspectives since different styles or wordings can help certain things sit easier 🙂

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Creating A Safety Net – Revisiting Consent

Hello again, my lovely readers! Due to some recent consent violations that have been coming up in the local kink community as well as online and around other kink communities, I’ve decided to revisit the topic of consent. Again, it is a simple concept that can seem complicated but doesn’t have to be. There are gray areas that pop up and it can get messy, but the fix can be relatively simple – ask! But what all can you do to clarify and stay within the boundaries of consent, even when mistakes occur?

I still stand by the idea that it is a simple concept because it’s the use of “yes!” and “sure!” and “heck yes!” versus the use of “no” and “I’m not sure” and “oh my goodness nonononooo!”. Consent comes down to whether a person agrees to something and consent violations occur when someone else either willingly crosses that line that’s been drawn or ignorantly crosses a boundary without checking in first before going full steam ahead. A good example of how that can end poorly is butt stuff. When someone wants it, the muscles are relaxed and pleasure ensues! However, if it’s not something they want or something they’re not prepared for it can be awkward at best but can also be painful and even damaging. No surprise butt stuff! Unless that’s been negotiated, of course. Same goes for other surprises and boundaries. The consequences can range from a “hey, I really didn’t appreciate that” to the end of a relationship to legal trouble.

Now, with all of that said, gray areas can and do happen! It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment which is why tops also have the ability to call yellow or red (if using the traffic signal method) in order to regulate themselves or stop things before it gets too unclear, messy, risky, or whatever else. They also have the responsibility of not going beyond what they have discussed or negotiated and be able to maintain the control to avoid doing so. Reckless does not pair well with tops. Madness can suit many people! Reckless does not. Bottoms also can speak up when things maybe don’t turn out the way they expected and change their mind rather than bearing it or if they can feel themselves entering subspace and know they lose the ability to communicate but didn’t prepare for that or want to express caution. In relationships where there is more rapport and trust, those discussions may not need to happen as much or as in depth because you know each others desires and cautions and hard limits and hopefully respect those!

However, things happen. As a community, we are dealing with emotions and intensity and passion and energy exchange and sex and relationships and love and fun and exploration and so much more! That is where the complexity comes in. Not everyone is comfortable speaking up, bottom or top or whatever you identify as. Not everyone realizes that the discomfort they are feeling is too much for them to process in the moment. Maybe they are in a state of shock and freeze or flee instead rather than fight back or at least speak up. Maybe in the moment all of the good feelings make the bad ones feel fuzzy and it’s when it all settles down again later, minutes, hours, days after that they can process things and realize “Hey, that’s not what I agreed to” or “wait did that really happen?”. Because of the vulnerability involved in kink, no matter how small, it relies on trust between partners be it casual or serious but also can put you in a position where you may not know how to react or even be able to like if someone suddenly brings out the big scary toy while you’re so deep in subspace all you want is more of what you’re feeling. It can seem black and white, but as relationships build more gray seems to come in. Sometimes, the lack of a relationship can make things pretty darn gray too!

Now, does it all mean it’s a big, serious event? It depends. Each person has their thresholds and what might be a consent violation to one person could be something another person can brush off. What matters is communication before, during, and after! Feedback is important for all parties in involved even if it’s as simple as a “that was great! Thanks for the fun!” or more towards “it wasn’t quite what I expected. This went well but that wasn’t what I had imagined” and so on and so forth. Sometimes just having the space to talk things out and get on the same page can help lessen some of the rough emotions going on when things don’t go as planned. Much smoother than if those words don’t come out and the emotions swirl into something bigger or darker. It can also help with sub drop or top drop, too, because of the reassurance for those that need it or maybe didn’t realize they needed it.

Emotions are not logical or straightforward and can be quite unpredictable. Being able to process them or at least have the space opened up to do so can be a big help even if it’s by checking in and offering a quick reassurance in minor situations before they part ways to continue processing. Additionally, things can change because emotions are so unpredictable. Perhaps you find an invisible trigger and switches on a freeze response mid scene. Perhaps you’re trying out a fantasy and it feels much better as a fantasy than a reality. Maybe they’ve had a rough week and that stroke was just the right one to unleash all of the stress from the week and they lose their composure. Maybe nature decided that it’s the perfect time to be that time of the month and anyone be damned if they make a sensitive area ache more! Life is messy, unpredictable, and brings together so many things just as much as it can be fun, passionate, wild, and thrilling. We’re also not mind readers. When life gets messy and decides to break open the dam of stress during a scene or trigger a panic attack because of something that happened a different time in a different place with a different person, it’s just as much our responsibility to let our play partners know as it is theirs to check in and make sure they’re clear about what we want and can handle when it comes to play.

Unless we are doing kink on our own, there is never a way to fully tell how our lives will impact a scene or others let alone ourselves. Then again, that’s just life in general. Its using our words and doing our best to listen and discuss and get on the same page that can help keep things fun. And when mistakes are made or an unpleasant surprise accidentally occurs, it’s using our words and doing our best to listen and discuss and get on the same page that will help validate the experience and learn, grow be it by making a mental note of a newfound limit or realizing an incompatibility or just needing a small break to step back and rebuild trust to play again. I say this often but ultimately the goal of exploring our kinks is to have fun and enjoy ourselves and communication helps make that easier!

Now, I do want to make one more note. Unfortunately, severe consent violations do happen. It can take more courage to speak up especially if there’s other factors at play like gaslighting. Talking things out may or may not help. But it can provide closure and can also maybe add to a chain of events that can prevent the same from happening to someone else either by making the perpetrator aware or making others aware. In situations like rape or assault, no amount of talking might prevent that egregious consent violation. Some predators will not and do not want to change. But talking to someone, even if it’s not them but a close friend or mentor or whomever you can trust with this, it can help whether it be just having someone who knows what happened and that can provide support when the pangs of what happen hurt a little too much or going further and involving community leaders to take steps to minimize the possibility of another occurrence. No matter what step you take, it’s a step filled with bravery in the face of pain and anguish and will make a difference. You don’t have to be alone.

No matter the situation, you have a voice and it matters. Anyone who says otherwise does not deserve to share in the words from your lips and the thoughts from your mind, especially the deepest and darkest parts of you.

Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. We’re a community. And, ultimately, have fun!

Love always,

Miss Lunissa ❤

Creating A Safety Net – Beware The Frenzy

Hello again! It’s been quite a while since I first intended to do this series but at last I’m making progress. In a way, the balance I was striving for served as a good reminder for this topic because of what frenzy can do, whether it’s being swept up in a new kink, a new partner, or just the lifestyle in general! Even when things seem balanced and steady, frenzy can still happen as the excitement and shining new thing fill you with emotion and begin to take some of the place of logic and reasoning and processing.

So, what is frenzy? What I personally think it comes down to is an overstimulated nervous system. With something so interesting and exciting and thrilling, it can move the system away from logical thinking to more emotional driven action. We are adults and so our decision making skills and ability to think ahead should be fairly stable, strong, and developed by our mid-20’s or so. However, different things and situations can cause a shift back to a different part of our brain, or at least a struggle between our developed, logical brain and our more primitive, emotional brain we used primarily as children when we were not capable of self control or thinking through our consequences. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of frenzy.

There are different kinds of frenzy and how you are affected by it can vary. Some commonly heard types of frenzy include sub frenzy, dom frenzy, kink specific frenzy, and general kink frenzy.

I’ll start with sub frenzy to paint an idea of what frenzy can look and feel like. Sub frenzy, put simply, is the urge and drive to submit. This particular frenzy can be triggered when someone first discovers or acknowledges their submissive side and needs to submit and serve. Submission can be a want or it can be a need, but usually it is a part of someone on the right side of the slash. Some only need a bit of submission to feel fulfilled while others need more intensity and depth to it. They might feel an urge to show their grace and ability to serve and hope for pleasing someone so as to feel happy and proud themselves, perhaps even with purpose for some. Some slowly start to explore and understand this side of them. Others want to go straight into it and perhaps it might lead to a frantic search for a Dominant or acting subservient to everyone on the left side of the slash because it can maybe, kind of satisfy their drive to submit. There is nothing inherently wrong about either form of expression and exploration; however, this can become dangerous when someone gets so overwhelmed by the emotional excitement and urgency that they submit to anyone or without using caution. Predators will take full advantage of this frenzy, lulling the overly excited and eager submissive into a false sense of safety or satisfaction from finding someone to serve or belong to. In actuality, they may use this frantic energy to encourage the submissive type to rush through negotiations, if they even happen at all. In the rush and urgency to serve and submit and please, some submissives might even ignore their own limits because they must do well and not lose this connection and dive ever deeper into their submission. That is, until the rush wears off and reality sets in. This is not what they want. This is not what they enjoy. This is not what their submission is. Frenzy can sometimes lead to harsh lessons learned and, at times, far worse. It can be painful to come out of if they were preyed upon by those knowledgeable enough to recognize it but morally bereft to be kind, help guide, or move on from someone in the throes of their own passion and desires. Sometimes it can lead to wanting or even needing to shut that part of themselves down because of those experiences. It’s a potentially delicate time and easy to fall into.

Dominant types can fall into their own frenzy. They can harm themselves, but they can also harm those that trust them with their submission. That is not to say submissives can’t do the same since Dominants trust their submissives to let them know if something goes too far and if they cause harm during a sub’s frenzy, that can also cause its own form of trauma or pain. However, Dominants need control. This need comes in two ways: the actual need for control over someone to satisfy their desires and the need to control themselves to avoid crossing a line. The first type of control can fall to frenzy by way of taking on more submissives than is feasible for themselves. Each bond is one of trust, connection, time, energy, and more. The more bonds, the more strain on each of those things whether it’s because of finite things like time or more than someone is capable of handling like tracking one too many lists of limits and kinks. What may happen with the end of frenzy in this case is the relinquishing of control, leading to pain from the end of a dynamic and any emotions that may come with that from sadness to resentment. As for the other type of control, that form of frenzy can lead to more dangerous consequences depending on the situation and dynamic. When a submissive calls out their safe word, they trust their Dominant to follow their agreement and stop or at least check in. It is possible that, in a moment of frenzy, that the Dominant cannot keep themselves in check and continues, whether it’s one more or many more because of the rush, the adrenaline, the power. It might also be that they go harder than they should or realize because of how wrapped up they get in the thrill of the moment and wanting to experience that over and over. The end result can be harming their partner, harming their relationship, and even harming their own confidence in their abilities.

As for the other types of frenzy, they can have the same effects and consequences as the sub and Dom frenzies. It all comes down to the thrill, the rush, the joy of discovering a new or deeper part of yourself. At this point, I cannot stress enough that it is not all about self control. We are human. We are animalistic. We have instincts with urges and desires to go with those instincts. Sometimes our own natural bodies and brains will go against those instincts or run wild with them, it just depends. Someone with little self control might never have frenzy. Someone with an iron will can succumb to it. We have three parts to our brain and sometimes the base of it can lead to what some call a reptile brain where logic, reason, looking to the future, and consequences can become foggy or even obstructed. That is not to say it can’t be stopped or preventes. It can be unpredictable, but awareness can help especially if you find that you are susceptible or simply want to be ready. It can be easy to want to go looking for partners and kinks and toys and all the deliciously dark and devious things the kink world has to offer! But building up your safety net will keep you, well, safe! It will make it more likely that you will have someone looking out for you, whether as a friend or because it’s been negotiated. You will have the tools in your box to pull out so you can stay empowered to advocate for your safety, needs, and wants even if that includes giving up power to someone else in a power exchange. There may be bumps along your journey and they may not be bad, perhaps more frustrating or annoying than harmful and I sincerely hope that is the case! But life is unpredictable, kink is unpredictable, frenzy is unpredictable. Take care of yourself so you can enjoy your journey and use those bumps along the way as lessons learned instead of them turning into big falls or darkness that can lead to fear or anxiety in your exploration or even the end of your kink journey when you weren’t ready for its end rather than the joy and satisfaction and thrill of connecting with those parts of you. I say it a lot, and I’ll keep saying it – keep yourself safe so you can keep enjoying your journey another day.

I’ll be including some links for further reading and research at the bottom, though please never hesitate to start a discussion with me regarding any questions, concerns, or feedback!

May your journey be as dark as you desire but never a darkness that seeps into your very soul to rob the light and may you always find yourself, your passions, and your own kink world (however that may look) so that you may enjoy this other piece life has to offer.

Love always and well wishes,

Miss Lunissa ❤

Additional reading:

Note: I’ll keep an eye out for more articles besides sub frenzy but you may also find that it is heavily focused on because many find it to carry more risk

Creating A Safety Net

Hello fellow kinksters! This time around, I am preparing a small series of posts around safety. It can be so, so easy to be swept up in the magic and passion and thrill and fire (sometimes literally) when the interest in kink is sparked, be it discovering kink for the first time or a particular kink. Because of this, safety can sometimes go flying out the window and forgotten until things settled down or the damage is done. It is very tempting to simply give into the part of you that you are discovering in the dark corners of your being and what brings that part to life whether it be the catharsis of a biting whip, the the exhilarating rush of degradation, the empowering space of dominance, the hidden light of a little, or whatever else may be emerging at the time. This temptation can lead to frenzy, the skipping of negotiations, and just a general lack of communication or pushing down of needs. In the next few posts, I will do my best to touch on a few different aspects that can create a safety net of sorts for when things don’t quite go as planned.

Now, I perhaps harp on safety too much at times, but I feel that it is crucial to protecting yourself when you are so vulnerable. You are, after all, exposing your desires which in turn can expose your body, mind, soul, or everything all at once! Safety will never be 100% in kink, or life for that matter, but it can hopefully mean the difference between enjoying the overall journey, coming across destabilizing pain, or even ending your kink journey because it made things much worse than the pleasure was worth. This is especially true when there are people hoping to catch those that are unprepared, unaware, or too enveloped in that sweet rush of excitement to be fully rational and careful. My hope with this small series is to provide you with the awareness and knowledge to safeguard yourself as much as possible as well as figure out how to discover those who will respect your needs so that you may better fulfill each others wants.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions, feedback, or other comments regarding this and any other topic. Wishing you a wonderful journey with the wonderful darkness within!

Love always,

Miss Lunissa