June 19, 2009 5 Comments
One of the things I love about the spanking communtity – nay, the single thing I love most about it – is it is full of thoughtful people who are ready to think deeply and write honestly about their experiences. This is, in my experience, relatively rare in other areas of kink.
Anyway, a while back I put up a post “No Safeword for Spanking (I can’t believe I just said that)” here, with a shortened version in a Fetlife foum. At the risk of flogging a dead horse 😉 the basic point was that the safeword is crucial in BDSM, but not in spanking where safety is simply not an issue (although the wellbeing of the sub is), and it erodes the top’s core function – to take responsibility – so is fundamentally corrosive of what the spanking is trying to do.
Well, in all there were over 60 comments and cumulatively they have fleshed out the issue in my mind, but not changed it, mostly because the comments were generally in agreement. I did get mildly flamed for apparently prescribing to others. This was not my intention. Of course, live and let live. If a safeword works for you, use it! On the other hand, it is intellecually weak just to retreat to a whatever-works-for-you position. If the safeword is merely a dogma, or an inappropriate BDSM import, or political correctness, let’s shine a light on it.
Some pointed out the obvious: if you don’t know/trust the person use a safeword. Absolutely yes! This is, actually the corrolory of my point: the safeword is all about the bottom having an “out” in a high-risk or low-trust situation. Dispensing with it is the sine-qua-non of creating real trust.
There were people who said they need a safeword for medical reasons, reflux and the like. Sure. My thought about this is the same as my thought about all who argued for the need for feedback – which is that a “feedback word” is fine. That’s not the same as a safeword. Saying “reflux” and meaning time-out, is not the same as deciding when the spanking ends.
The fundamental point must remain the spankee does not decide. Or at least not during the spanking.
CultivatedDiscipline offered 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”.
This is an interesting “niche” use and I agree it would be applicable. Basically the safeword in place frees up the top. This is related to the consensual-non-consent use of a safeword that I mentioned in the initial post, the presence of which allows the bottom to resist vigorously or vocally an to be certain to be ignored in the absence of the word.
EmmaEnchanted also made a very pertinent point: (Anticipating the bottom to use the safeword if there) “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.”