No Safeword for Spanking. (I can’t believe I just said that.)

I find that in a few short posts I’ve challenged a lot: brutal spanking, and spank pay sites, and problematic spanking definitions. Of course I appreciate the alternative perspectives and preferences others have, and my goal is not to criticise. What I read just gives me something to push against, to better articulate where I stand.

So here’s another challenge: the idea has come into spanking that the submissive should have a “safeword” which, when used, brings the scene to a close. (Apparently sometimes also a “slow down” word.)

Now readers of this blog will know I particularly eschew brutal acts, and would never participate in or advocate any unsafe practice.

But let’s think clearly about safewords. Where does the safeword or safe signal idea come from? From the world of BDSM of course. It is absolutely crucial in bondage/gagged situations where the submissive can be choking or have airways blocked, or otherwise be struggling in a life- or limb-threatening situation which the dominant thinks is part of the scene.

How does this transpose into spanking? Classic bottom spanking is intrinsically a safe practice. It can leave a very, very sore bottom, but from a serious safety point of view there’s no real risk. As long as she’s not heavily bound or gagged, a spanking safeword is redundant.

That leaves use of a safeword if it “gets tooo much”. Sounds reasonable. But at what cost?  A safeword puts the key decision about how-much-is-too-much into her hands. It is asking her to take responsibility for her welfare (and if she gets too sore, by implication it’s her fault). To me the absolute essence of spanking is he assumes the decision as to what is necessary, and applies it, while she shows her trust in his leadership by submitting no matter what. Responsibly handling the key decision of how much and when to stop is precisely how he builds her trust. If he can’t manage the responsibility she should find someone who can, rather than take over the decision.

So I say spanking works best when she has – at the time – absolutely no say over what or how much she gets. Outside of the scene the couple should articulate their preferences and limits, but even then, if she is to be punished she should not have the right to decide when it’s over.

There is one exception. A safeword does facilitate non-consensual fantasy play. If a couple wants the particular fantasy that he is spanking her against her will, a safeword in the background allows her to vocally beg him to stop, implore him to stop, demand that he stop, even physically resist him, and not mean it.

19 Responses to No Safeword for Spanking. (I can’t believe I just said that.)

  1. Meow says:

    A safeword is also helpful for those of us who are older and may have health concerns that aren’t necessarily visible to the spanker. Example: serious acid reflux in the otk position. Sorry if that’s too much information for some readers, but it is a valid reason to stop or postpone a spanking! Meow

  2. Casey Morgan says:

    In my experience, safewords have felt artificial, like over-thinking the encounter, or like writing out some kind of legal release before playing. IME (again), there are plenty of ways to communicate the effect that play is having on me, and I’ve been lucky enough only to play with people who are sensitive and clued-in enough to read those signals. The one time I recall establishing an actual safeword (though it wasn’t employed) was really for my benefit as top because I was insecure and wanted reassurance that I wouldn’t go too far. (I discussed this in a blog post called “topping as a boy”.) As for health issues, I’ve not personally had trouble articulating them in role. Each to his own, of course, but for me safewords are best for first-time play dates; otherwise, it just feels too artificial, official, and sexually-correct. (If the last isn’t a word, I think I’ll coin it 🙂

  3. Melissa says:

    I love it when someone points out the obvious to me. It’s drilled into us that safewords are absolutely necessary in scenes, no matter the activity. So we use them as a matter of rote. But as a matter of course with spankings? I agree..not necessary and not appropriate.

    Spankings, in and of themselves, are fairly benign. Injuries, while possible, are not common with spankings. I give the point that the spankee may have health issues requiring the use of a safe word, but in general, a safe word should not be necessary.

    I especially appreciate the point that having or using a safeword puts the control in the hands of the submissive. That’s along the lines of topping from the bottom. Egads! No!

    Great post!

  4. wailer says:

    We have a safeword that was agreed over a year ago when we first met. But it’s never been close to being needed. That’s what talking and communicating is about 🙂

  5. arwen says:

    I completely agree. First of all, I think spanking is an intimate act, not just physically but emotionally; and I personally would never consider submitting to the hands of anyone other than one I completely trust. That said, for me, there is a need to feel completely overpowered, to have the control taken out of my hands. I am not in it just for the sensation of pain; spanking brings an emotional effect that is cathartic. It also brings emotional bonding between my husband and I. A safe word would actually hinder that intimacy.
    Enjoy your blog, by the way.

  6. Hermione says:

    We’ve never had a safeword. In fact, I’d never heard of such a thing until two years ago when I started investigating the blogosphere. But our play is never harsh or severe, and although I have never tried to stop a scene, I’m pretty sure all I’d have to do is say so and it would be over. Our spanking is foreplay, and supposed to be fun for both of us.

    Hugs,
    Hermione

  7. cultivateddiscipline says:

    Art, would you consider another reason for a safeword? Not a word to be used by the submissive partner as a way of ceasing a spanking — but instead as a way for new or evolving partners to inform the dominant partner NOT to cease the spanking.

    Often, we hear the complaint from women “He does not spank me long enough” coupled with the comment from men “I don’t want to hurt her too much”.

    I would propose that unless the dominant hears a safeword he can, at his discretion keep spanking. This would alleviate, I think the risk of stopping to soon and can be helpful in a number of circumstances. Situations involving a new dominant spanker who has no experience with spanking women and how they react while receiving pain might fall prey to ‘shortened spankings’. Also, a couple that is embarking on a spanking relationship might need this tool as, again, the dominant might be reluctant to push the submissive partner. And finally, at times of high emotion or seemingly fierce resistance, the dominant partner can look for the use of the word to identify the resistance as an extenuating circumstance while the submissive works through her steps to fully accept the spanking.

    CD

  8. Emma says:

    What an interesting and timely (for me) topic. I have never had or used a safeword, but recently had a few experiences which have made me reconsider the value of including one in certain situations.

    I agree with many of your conclusions in this post, but I think that needs to be qualified by the sentiment that while it obviously works for you, and me, and many of the other commenters it doesn’t lessen the value of people who choose to play (even just spanking) with a safeword. The wonderful thing about all of this is that we can choose what works for us and find partners who needs & desires compliment our own. Will everyone’s style match mine? No and I don’t expect it to. Just as I don’t expect mine to mesh with everyone I meet.

    I would challenge the idea that there is no real risk in spanking. Physically you are right, unless someone is taking the activity to extremes, the risk of damage is minimal. However I would not discount the risk of emotional damage that could occur if a scene were to go wrong and the partner misread the signs.

    I also wonder if it is fair to place all of the responsibility on the top to read their partner’s limits. Most days I can take a pretty hard spanking. Some days the same level of intensity which I usually enjoy becomes way too much. If even I don’t know which kind of day it will be when we start a scene can I expect my partner to?

    And if someone does decide to establish a safeword will they automatically be tempted to use it when not absolutely necessary? I think that shows a lack of appreciation for the bottom. We’re all obviously here because we get something out of the experience – a bottom who used a safeword out of context wouldn’t just be shortchanging their spanker, but also themselves. And from all of the conversations I’ve had with people who do have safewords, it seems more often they’re not used when they should be rather than the other way around.

    Do they really give the bottom more power? You discuss how a top should be able to read their partner to know when a spanking should end. One could look at those signals as a way a bottom can control the spanking, and a safeword as just the next level of that control. I would look at it another way – these varying layers of signals, from subconscious body language to more straightforward safewords, are a way for the bottom to contribute to the scene, not control it.

    Well, as you can probably tell I’m still muddling my way through my thoughts on this topic. Thanks for providing the opportunity to discuss!

  9. Pingback: No Safeword for Spanking, Release 2.0 « Art of Authority

  10. Jen says:

    A safeword never actually ends a spanking for me. If used, it merely means that I either have a temporary problem or have reached my mental and physical limit for the day. But our agreement is that if I use the safeword, the spanking stops for a few seconds to a couple of minutes. He rubs my bottom and asks about the nature of the problem. If it is something that can be fixed (i.e., repositioning), that is done. If I tell him that I am unable to go on with the spanking, then we have agreed that it will end. But, no matter what, I will ALWAYS get six more to complete the spanking. So I never get to say “it ends now” with a safeword. If I use the safeword, those last six are particularly harsh, and he will give me a “second chance” spanking the very next day. These second chance spankings are always quite intense, usually given with a wooden hairbrush that hurts like hell. The end result (pun intended??) is that I try very hard to avoid using my safeword. I really, really don’t ever want the “last six” and the “next day spanking”.

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  13. Lori Sign says:

    My boyfriend and I have an agreement. I always have a safe word unless its a punishment spanking. My boyfriend is always so carefully and has always stopped when he was whacking away and I yell out my safe word three times loadly. Most of the time he uses his hand for mantainence over his knee and starts off slow and builds up hard and fast and always on the bare. However when its come to discipline/puninishment spanking its a difference story. They are nothing less than adult equivalent to a real spanking. Or at least what he calls a real spanking. A real spanking has no safe word, no time limit, no set number of swats and of course no protection. First time I got one I was afraid but I have come to trust him. Most of the time he starts off with a very hard hand spanking g until I get right to my pain limit and lets me up and I do that spanking dance. Pushing my hips forwards, rubbing my backside and hopping up and down. Than he grabs that dam bamboo backscratcher from the dollar store turn me over one thigh scissor locks my legs and uses the flat part of the handle and goes to down hard and fast until I am a sobbing messing of hiccup crying out of control. That’s what he calls a real spanking. I get a real spanking about one every other month. Last time was a few weeks ago because I tipped his motorcycle over in the grass when he told me not to touch it. He makes sure he never hits my tail bone but he doesn’t stop until my entire backside is welted from the top of my bottom to my upper thighs.does anyone else experience a real spanking and if so do you do that spanking dance too?

  14. BelatedBliss says:

    My husband and I are new to spanking. Its something I’ve always wanted but had been afraid to ask for. He admitted it wasn’t something he’d really thought much about before but was happy to oblige. We came up with a safe word as a way to introduce him to how much punishment I can handle. It’s given him confidence to really let me have it. I haven’t used it yet and I really don’t plan to. For me it’s better than having to reassure him I’m okay.,

    • Goofy_Girl says:

      Sometimes when my boyfriend starts backing off when I start to struggle feels like counterproductive in discipline punishment style spanking. If it that type of spanking and my boyfriend back off or stops, I feel I’m letting him down even though I have relinquished control of this spanking to him. Sometimes I actual asked for a real no nonsense spanking about every other month or so. I like this power exchange that happens and I feel the of energy and cathartic release from being spanked beyond being able to make words. It’s that feeling of not being in control anymore and while the pain is intense and physical I want it to stop and I and I’m yelling, begging and for it to stop, deep inside I want need him continue and turn it up notch and keep going until I change from yelling into a pillow to crying hard and getting that endorphin release. Sure I have burses and welts but that tranquil feeling of being centered again is wonderful. The pain from the spanking is catalyst to release negative emotions. So, sometimes I do ask for a no-nonsense no safe word spanking with no specified number and keep going until I really sobbing. As I am pushing my jeans and panties down, sometimes I have to remind my boyfriend before the spanking start to not to back off just because I am starting to struggle and to actual start the non stop rapid fire swats with no pauses between whacks until I get that sobbing release. I have to remind him that for this one, he gets to decide when I had enough and I trust him explicitly and I really want this. I have to remind of that because he is always so gentle and has always stopped when I yell out safe word. He’s big softy and doesn’t ever want to hurt me. But every one in a while, I need and want a real blistering with his office belt or the flat part of the handle of a bamboo backscratcher from the dollar store he has, or a combination of both.

  15. Kim says:

    Now that is a real no safe word belt spanking motherless.com/5776333

  16. Michael says:

    If this was your contract which would choose?

    Punishment Spanking Succession Form

    Fill out and sign prior to meeting and must have proof that you are 18 years of age or older with ___________ and I am consenting to this of my own free will _____ (initials)

    The disciplinarian will comfort, hold and console me after the punishment is over. I acknowledged that the disciplinarian will not in any way attempt to take advantage of, touch or try anything sexual towards me _____ (initials).

    This will be an absolute real punishment spanking secession.
    I _____________ (print full name) understand that all punishment spankings succession will consist of 3 separate spankings, strapped with something leather, a paddling with flat hard surface implement and a final corporal disciple spanking with a cane, tree switch or mini blind wand. I ___________ (print full name) understand and release my disciplinarian _____________ (print full name) from his responsibly for any and all marks, welts and bruises on my backside that will result from being spanked, from the top of my bottom below my tail bone to the middle of my thighs, during the punishment disciple secession. I accept that I will have welts, bruises and marks for days ________ (initials).
    All punishment spankings will have two elements: the corporal disciple spankings and an element of embarrassment.

    Corporal Disciple Spanking
    I understand and accept that I will have no safe word to stop the spankings, once the spankings starts ______ (initials).
    I understand and accept that there will be no warm up spanking with the hand, it will began hard, consecutively (intensity at the discretion of my disciplinarian) with a implement ________ (initials).
    I understand and accept that all spankings will be administered on the bare skin _________ (initials).
    I understand and accept that there will be no time limitation as to the length of each spanking, no matter how hard I am crying _________ (initials).
    I understand and accept that there will be no limitation to the number of swats I will receive in the spankings, no matter how hard I am crying ________ (initials).

    Element of Embarrassment

    You must choose at least three of the following, put a “X” in front of following sections.
    ___ completely bare from the waist to knees or ankles and shuffling across the room carrying implement with you.
    ___ completely naked for the entire secession.
    ___ intentionally do a post spanking dance performance for 30 seconds or more after each spanking (stiffening up, pushing hips pushed forwards, rubbing bare ass with both hands and hoping up and down).
    ___ standing in the corner (forehead against the wall) for 1 full hour before each spankings with next implement in both hands, fully clothed unless completely naked was selected.
    ___ suppository inserted all the way in as safely as possible just before the last spanking, unless enema is selected. Rubber glove will be used.
    ___ enema given after last spanking unless suppository is selected.
    ___ the spankings are to be watched by an unknown person.
    ___ Disciplinarian discretion.

    First Spanking: Strapping
    Strapping with something leather. Choose from the following. There is no minimum number of whacks and no maximum. Put a “X” in front of sections.
    ___ Western leather belt with imprints on it, nothing medal.
    ___ Thin office belt.
    ___ Belt of you bring.
    ___ Belt your choice from assorted collection.
    ___ Disciplinarian discretion.

    Position, choose 1 or more. Put a “X” in from of the selections.
    ___ Over the knee/lap.
    ___ Over the end of a couch.
    ___ Over the knee and end couch
    ___ Over the back of the couch.
    ___ Diaper: on your back, feet up straight
    ___ Disciplinarian discretion.
    ___ Other _____________

    Second Spanking: Paddling
    Paddled with a hard flat surface implement. All paddings with be over the knee or lap. The most lengthily of the 3 spanking. There is a minimum of 100 smacks with no maximum. Paddling will be very intense (hard and fast) from the very beginning until it stops. Choose from the following. Put an “X” on the selection.
    ___ Fraternity Paddle
    ___ Lexicon Paddle
    ___ Thin flat part of handle of a bamboo backscratcher.
    ___ Hairbrush
    ___ Bath brush
    ___ Bring your own implement
    ___ Disciplinarian discretion.

    The Third and Final Spanking
    The final spanking is with long thin round implement. There is no minimum and no maximum number of swats. It will start slow and end in a long flurry of rapid fire blows. Choose from the following. Put a “X” on the sections.
    ___ Mini blinding wand.
    ___ Cane
    ___ Tree Switch

    Restraints
    Unless requested to bind hands together for the last one, there will no restraints. Disciplinarian may hold arm and hand the middle of the back and scissor lock legs. The disciplinarian expects you to accept and expect it will be unbearable and take disciple willingly. If there is an excessive reaching, the disciplinarian has a responsibility to make it safe from hands being hit and bind them together at his discretion. There will be absolutely no restraining you in place.

    I ______________ (print name) willing on my own violation accept and agree to the terms laid out above and accept the proceeding punishment secession accordingly.

    Signatures
    Person being Disciplined
    ____________________
    Disciplinarian
    ____________________

  17. Lori_Sign says:

    My boyfriend really like me doing that post spanking dance, hopping up and down while frantically rubbing my ass simultaneously and is embarrassing though. What is it about guys that like seeing that, I will never understand. But it turns him on so I do both instinctively and longer on purpose.

    On the flip side, I like real spanking. To will myself to endure a real spanking that is not in my control with no safe word is exhilarating. It takes be back to childhood feeling of being loved and discipline at the same time. Although with no swat limit and it hard not know when the spanking is going to stop to push my jeans and panties down myself. I know this may sound weird but feeling the trepidation and anticipation about getting a real blisting is also an adrenaline rush.

    My boyfriend likes to see the muscular definition my ass cheeks as I involuntary clench up while he is spanking me real hard. I’m fairly petite and I’m over his leg with his foot on a stool and I’m literally tangling above the ground while he is spanking slow and hard with his hand for what seem like forever before he giving me a roasting long finish hard and fast I’m right at my pain limit and he lets me jump off her leg and do that post spanking hope.

    Than, like I said earlier, he tells me to retrieve that dam bamboo backstretcher. He sit down on the chair puts me over his thigh and scissor locks my legs. He begins tapping me the flat part of the handle, the most stingly part of it, and asks me the same dam question. “What’s my favorite movie series, Lori?” he waits until I answer him, “Fast and Furious” the answer is “Fast and Fourious!” “That’s right, and that’s exactly how I’m going to paddle you from the very beginning to the end of this very lengthy paddling and it isn’t going stop until I say, understand!” “Oooo, Yes sir!” He than just tapping away for like what seems like forever. This is the point of trepidation and adrenalin rush I get. I’m clenching and unclenching involuntary. Than out of no where he starts and it catches my breathe always. Especially with absolutely no pauses between whacks. Its goes on and on until I’m bawling out of control with the hiccup type crying. The backstretcher leaves surface welts from the top of my cheeks just below my tail bone to my upper thighs. My eyes get all puffy because tear are streaming down my face, noise is running than endorphins rush through me, its purely cathartic release. That’s what I’m additcted too. It leaves me tranquil and centered. So, I have a love hate thing with real spankings.

    I hate the awful pain of a real spanking but I absolutely love the aftermath. Especially, when he is holding me while I cry it all out. I also hate how fast he spanks me because its so intense but I have such a high pain tolerance that’s what it takes to push me past my fight and flight mode.

    The only I don’t like is having to do that post spanking dance for him after my warm up. I hate it and its humiliating but he likes it. Does anyone else to that post spanking hope?

  18. brad says:

    I get so turned on giving my girlfriend all kinds of spankings, from erotic to just because spanking and even real ones that make her loss her composure, cry and sob. I see it as a gift of submission she gives me. Fortunately, I have a girlfriend who likes it also. She actually turned me on to it and brought out the spanko in me. Is it wrong to admit that I enjoy it? I get so turned on as I watch take her pants down knowing that she has given me full permission to spank her or sometime give her a real one. I have conflicting emotions inside. I don’t like woman who are abused but I like spanking my girlfriend now. Its like is a psychological afrodeysic to me. I love the control aspect, its like asking me to discipline her is the ultimate sign of respect and I feel honored she choose me to have that authority. The actual spanking is exciting to me also. I mean when I turn her over my knee and it completely consensual I feel so stimulated by the whole experience. Seeing her beautiful bare bottom in front of me knowing she expecting me to spank her and sometimes until she is crying hysterically is huge rush. Is it wrong to feel good about having that authority and power she gave me. I also really get turned on when I start to spank her usually start out with my hand to start with. I am so stimulated when I see her clench up tight and I see all the muscular definition of her butt cheecks. It is electifying for me to hear her react and I feel compelled to smack harder and faster. To see her feet fluttering and her ass cheecks are turning red to bright red, its like I go into a trance in my mind. The longer the spanking goes on the more I get turned on and I am not sure if I should feel guilty of that or not? I have never seen her do the post spanking hop I heard some described but I might bring that up to my Jill. I usually use my belt over my knee for discipline and I feel the powerful sense of power and authority as I began removing it and I feel extremely respected by Jill as she begins dropping her pants when I order her too. Is something wrong with me, that after experienced spanking someone that I discovered that I really like it myself?

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