A friend of mine is dating a young lady who likes rough sex. So far, so good, but she categorically refuses to use safe words. She says she doesn’t need them, and that they’re ‘lame and boring’.
I’m not going to go over the obvious reasons as to why safe words are a good idea; that line of reasoning isn’t going to convince someone with that sort of attitude.Rather, let me give you an analogy about ropes.
That image was a rather clever misdirection on my part, as I’m not going to be talking about bondage at all. My analogy will actually be about using a rope while rock climbing.
I’m an avid fan of climbing. It’s healthy, fun, and makes you sexy (at least if you’re a guy). It’s also dangerous, which is where the ropes come in. With the right rope set up, a fall from 20m above the ground doesn’t have to be fatal. Mistakes still happen, and people still get hurt, but the likelihood that a climber will end up in a heap at the bottom of the cliff is greatly reduced by the use of a rope.
The relevance of this to rough sex is that the use of a rope allows a climber to climb higher and more difficult climbs than otherwise they would feel confident to. Without a rope, I wouldn’t climb higher than a few meters, and even then I’d want a big cushion below me. With a rope, I’ll climb stories high. I’ll also climb more difficult walls, including ones which I’m not sure I can do. If a mistake meant death, I’d be so conservative a climber that there would be no point. With a rope I can push my boundaries without fearing the ultimate consequence.
Safe Words: Rough Sex’s Extra Layer
Similarly, having a safe word actually lets you push things harder and more extreme than you otherwise would. With a safe word you can push your partner’s boundaries with the knowledge that the likelihood of things going wrong is minimized. Of course, mistakes can still happen, but a safe word acts as an extra layer of defense against them.
Here’s a hypothetical example. Imagine a girl who wants to slap her partner around fairly thoroughly. In the absence of a safe word, the girl has to wonder at each turn whether she can really push it further, and may stop at a certain level of intensity because she assumes her partner couldn’t handle any more. With a safe word, she can test the waters. If a harder slap or a deeper scratch doesn’t elicit a “Yellow!” or “Red!”, she can go even harder. If a safe word does come out, at least she knows the limit of how hard she can push that kind of play, rather than being doomed to idly wonder if she could do more.
Safe words aren’t there to kill the fun. They are there to elicit the fun.Without a safe word, the boundary is invisible. Safe words explicitly demarcate the boundary of what is acceptable, allowing you to play as you wish within those boundaries without having to worry about what happens if you accidentally go too far. Outsource your anxiety to the safe word, cast aside all the bullshit of everyday life, and fall into a session of deeply explorative and amazing rough sex.