Step Three: Safety
Come up with a safeword. Always. Even if you don’t think you need one…fantasies are one thing, actual enactment of them is another, your partner may not actually enjoy the reality of a particularly Dom/sub play once (s)he experiences it so always play safe than be sorry.
The most common safeword system is the “green-yellow-red” light system:
- “Green”: Everything is going great, keep going!
- “Yellow”: Starting to feel anxious/worried/hesitant, please be careful and check in with me.
- “Red”: STOP NOW!
In cases in which you may not be able to use a safeword (i.e. gagging, breath play, having your face shoved into a pillow, face-fucking, etc.), you will need to establish a “safe gesture” – it can be anything like blinking one eye a certain number of times, tapping your partner’s wrist a certain number of times, holding up a certain number of fingers for your partner to see, snapping your fingers, whatever.
Another thing in regards to safety is if you are ever engaging in anything potentially risky – i.e. breath play (including light choking), knife play, impact play, bondage, etc. – please do your research (consult online resources, books, guides, BDSM communities, etc) so you know how to engage in these acts safely and responsibly!
Used with permission from http://apolloniasaintclair.tumblr.com/
Lastly, constantly be aware of yourself and your partner during your play sessions. If (s)he appears to hesitate, looks anxious or uncomfortable in their behavior, STOP IMMEDIATELY. Check in with them, ask them if anything is wrong, MAKE SURE NOTHING IS WRONG. Or if you just want to do a quick check in, ask for a color (assuming you are using the “green-yellow-red” light system). You can still check in with your partner without breaking the Dom/sub dynamic: You can ask them questions while still engaging in the Dom role: “I think you deserve to be punished, you’re going to get 10 spanks to your tight little ass. Tell me, do you think that is a fitting punishment?” “I want you on your knees sucking my cock until you’re gagging. Now tell me, are you going to be a good girl and do what I say?” You can determine a lot by their responses to these kinds of questions – whether they are enthusiastic and eager in their reply, or whether they seem a bit nervous or anxious or hesitant.
If you have any doubt in your mind, just stop. If (s)he uses the safeword, STOP IMMEDIATELY. Give her/him a second to relax and decompress. Talk about it, get them to communicate what went wrong. Please, please DO NOT continue, even if (s)he says (s)he is okay to get back into it. Just stop for the night. And please reassure and ENCOURAGE her/him to use the safeword.