No Safeword for Spanking. (I can’t believe I just said that.)
May 12, 2009 19 Comments
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.