I was reading a post over at Finding my Submission (listed on the left), and there was a bit of discussion/disagreement between the commenters regarding safewords. Since my thoughts all revolved around the comments, I came back home with my little soapbox lol.
One commenter said that she had never understood the use of a safeword, that having one means you don't trust your Dom, and if you have a safeword, you are actually the one in control.
I disagree completely.
For one thing, I absolutely hate conversations where someone comes off as "more submissive than thou," as if the submission of one person has any more quality than than the submission of another. You see it pretty blatantly sometimes with people who don't have safewords and enjoy criticizing those who do.
Ironically, I have read things over at Finding my Submission that would have had me screaming a safeword at the top of my lungs regardless of whether I had one or not lol. Yet she hasn't.
ttwd is about what works for the individual, it's not a "one size fits all" kind of thing.
Anyways, back on point.
It could just as easily be said that the sub is really the one in control in any D/s relationship because she has given consent for her consent to be taken away. If she does not submit, there is no Dominance.
Does saying that make me feel in control? Nope. Not in the least little bit lol. I could say it until I'm blue in the face and it won't make me anymore in charge than I was five minutes ago.
A safeword isn't something you spit out because you're tired of playing, or because a break would be nice. In fact, I think most subs are quite willing to go to extremes in an effort to avoid saying it.
There's also the little fact that sometimes we forget we have them, or using words at all is like trying to speak a foreign tongue one has never heard.
A safeword is not a tool to control your Dominant--it is a tool for Him to know absolutely that He needs to pause then and there to evaluate His sub's condition.
Does having a safeword make you better or worse than someone who doesn't have one? Does it mean you have more or less control than someone else? I don't think so.
After the first year or so of exploring ttwd, I asked Alpha for a safeword.
Because I felt like He was spending a lot of time holding back, that having it in place would give Him more freedom to do as He wanted without as much fear of damaging me.
I wanted to be able to scream "no, stop" until I couldn't breath and have Him ignore it completely.
And the safeword served its purpose well though I never used it.
A while back, Alpha suggested we get rid of my safeword. I hemmed and hawed and stumbled around the idea. He pointed out that were I really to need it, I probably wouldn't be able to open my mouth and make words come out anyways. I had to admit, He was right lol.
And really, when I'm so far under that I can't see straight, I'm not a good judge of what is to much for me and there were a couple of times I should have used it but I didn't. Times when He was relying on the fact that I would if I needed to instead of just relying on His own judgement.
So we got rid of the safeword.
But do I think they are a good idea? Yes. Like wearing shoes in a junkyard (ooh, I'm gonna hear about that one, "you compared our relationship to a junkyard?!" lol), it's just common sense.
Am I lacking common sense? Maybe. I also hate shoes though.
Safeword or no safeword, ttwd is about the individual and their needs. So in the end, it doesn't really matter as long as you're doing what's right for you and your partner.
Though if you don't have one? You had better be damn sure the person in charge actually gives a shit and knows you better than you could ever hope to know yourself.