A safeword is a codeword or series of codewords that are sometimes used in Femdom/BDSM to mean that a submissive (or ‘bottom’) is reaching a physical, emotional or moral boundary or for the dominant (or ‘top’) to stop the scene play. Safewords are agreed upon before playing a scene by all participants. Many organized Femdom groups have standard safewords that all members agree to use to avoid confusion at organized play events.

Forms of Safeword in Femdom

In BDSM, the safeword is generally used so that the ‘bottom’ can scream “no, stop”, etc. as much as he wants without really meaning it, and still have a way of indicating a serious desire that the scene stops. Accordingly, a safeword is usually a word that the person would not ordinarily say during sex, such as red light, big tree, scrambled eggs, or even aardvark. Commonly the word safeword itself is used as a safeword. It is the default at many play parties. With the range of safewords in common use it is important that the safeword be negotiated beforehand.

Green, Yellow and Red

Some partners have different gradations of safeword, such as green to mean “ok” or even “harder” or “more,” yellow to mean “slow down” or “stop doing that” without stopping the scene, and red to mean “let’s stop the scene”.

On Request

Another way to use safe words is for a ‘top’ to ask the ‘bottom’ “What is your color?” – So in addition to red and yellow, green is a common safe word used to indicate, “I’m fine” or even “push harder.”


In other circumstances the safeword may not be a “word” at all, which is very useful when the submissive is bound and gagged. In these instances a signal such as dropping a bell or a ball, the snapping of fingers, or making three clear and rhythmic grunts or some other specific vigorous movement works as a pre-defined signal to stop or otherwise slow down the scene. There is also a convention of tops to put a finger in the ‘bottom’ ‘s hand as a sort of ‘check in’ when the ‘bottom’ has become non-verbal, such as may happen as they reach subspace. In this scenario the ‘bottom’ squeezes the ‘top’s finger to indicate OK.

Dropping Roleplay

In the case of sexual role-play, some simply drop out of character to safeword, such as having the submissive address the dominant by her first name.

Who Can Use asafe word?

It is a common misconception that safeword is only for the bottom’s physical and emotional safety. It is in fact important that it can be used by all participants in a scene: bottoms, tops, dungeon masters at play parties and even at times observers.

For example a common practices in BDSM involves a bottom misbehaving intentionally to indicate the desire for harsher treatment. Sometimes a top will need to safeword the scene to let them know they have gone too far for them.

Third parties observing the scene may have the ability to spot something dangerous going on that both the top and bottom have missed, and need to stop the scene to point it out.


Probably the most common reason that bottoms and submissives hesitate to safeword is fear of disappointing the top. This can cause a scene to go on where it should have stopped, causing some form of harm to its participants. As such it is considered important in many parts of the BDSM community that the use of safeword remain no-fault so that participants feel as safe as possible using it. Reassuring the party that safeworded is a common practice for this reason as well. Discouraging the use of safeword runs the risk of future scenes becoming non-consensual and harming the bottom’s trust.

Play without Safeword

While many in the Femdom community consider safewords an essential part of safe play, there is a significant contingent that does not have any such term in their relationships or their play. Some of these people simply use the word Stop, but this is risky because it may be misinterpreted as role-playing.

Others rely on the ‘top’ to monitor the condition of the ‘bottom’ and stop if necessary, at their discretion. In such circumstances the ‘bottom’ or submissive must have consented not to have control over the duration of the scene in advance.

Interestingly, some of those who recommend safewords do not themselves use them – though this is not often discussed in public. There is an undercurrent assumption that play without safewords is an “advanced” technique and should not be advocated in the hearing of novices. BDSM activity without a safeword is regarded by many as inadvisable and dangerous. Ignoring safewords is considered dishonorable and a deeply immoral practice in the BDSM community.

Discouraging the use of safeword runs the risk of future scenes becoming non-consensual and harming the bottom’s trust.

Article by MissBonnie ©

Further reading:
D/s Contracts – What are D/s contracts? and how do D/s contracts work?
Contract Sample 1 – An example of a simple D/s contract.
Contract Sample 2 – A more complicated example of a M/s contract
Contract Sample 3 – An example of a temporary BDSM poly contract.
BDSM Rights – Know your rights with a Femdom relationship
SSC v’s RACK – Safe, sane and consensual V’s Risk-Aware Consensual Kink
Limits & negotiations – Both Dominants and submissives can express limits. What are your partners?
Partner check list – A list a great place to start to get to know your partner or open up communication channel.
Abuse and P.E – Abuse and erotic power exchange, know the dangers.
Explicit Implicit – Explicit Consent / Implicit consent Play considerately and consensually.

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