Nonverbal Safe Words – Other Ways to Communicate

Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

I’ve talked a lot about safe words – after all, they are critical to any BDSM play. But what if you’re gagged or something else limits verbal communication? Wink wink.

Here is where NONVERBAL safe words jump into the scene.

1. WHAT IS A NONVERBAL SAFE WORD?


A.k.a. A safe signal or safe sign is used just like the spoken version – it visually or auditorily signals to your partner(s) that something in the scene (or the entire scene) needs to slow, change, or outright stop. Granted, there are people who use various degrees of communication – like “stop” “go” “more” “less” etc. – but if you’re just starting out, a simple signal to cease is important.

Whether you’re wearing a ball gag, mask, mouth tape, hand covering your yapper, or even the order to be quiet (or whatever), make sure you establish your signs BEFORE you start anything.

2. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE ONE?


You might need to experiment a little with these. Maybe you first trying holding something, but you find you can keep it in your hands for very long. Next, you attempt a grunting sound, but it’s too confusing with sounds of pleasure. Talk with your partner after the session and find out what worked for you or didn’t. The same goes for the “top” – maybe the “bottom” prefers rapid blinking, but the other likes them in positions that can’t always pull off eye contact.

3. WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES?


Holding something then dropping it – like a scarf, bandana, stress ball, etc. The positive is that it’s easy to show your signal. The downside is you might have a hard time holding onto it when you’re in compromising positions or in the depths of pleasure.

Use a sound maker – like a bike horn, dog training clicker, bell, etc. The upside is they are very distinct sounds. The hard part is that sometimes you could make sounds by accident

Body language – such as rapid blinking, squeezing the hand a certain number of times,  rolling over, tapping out, snapping fingers, making a fist, raising a hand (maybe in a stop gesture), flipping the middle finger (heehee). If your hands are bound, you can’t do some movements.

Noise pattern – for example, grunting, humming, or pattern/rhythmic noise “mmm mmm mmm”. Even if your mouth is hindered, you can still make noise. Just make sure it’s not confused with any sex sounds.

4. WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?


  • Safewords and signals should always be taken seriously.
  • Never joke about them or teasingly “ignore them” during play.
  • They can, of course, change. However, you need to be clear in your communications.
  • To each their own. Just because someone uses one thing, doesn’t mean you have to copy it. Also, don’t let anyone tell you your safewords are “wrong”.

What are some safe signals you use? Share in the comments!

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