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What's your safe word? If you don't know, then you'll need to check out this article with helpful hints about picking one as well as a list of commonly used safe words. There's even advice about how you can use safe words in and out of the bedroom!

How to Pick Safe Words & When to Use Them

It’s almost impossible to read an article about BDSM without someone referencing safe words. Even in mainstream culture, the topic pops up all the time in magazines, late-night comedy, sex guides and even movies. Despite all that widespread publicity, many people consider safe words to be more of a joke than a topic for serious discussion. And that could seriously damage their future relationships and sexual happiness.

How to Pick Safe Words

As a quick refresher, safe words are a single word or phrase that couples can use during sex – especially BDSM or kinky play – when they want to stop immediately.

When you’re picking a safe word, it’s important to sit down with your partner and come up with a word that you both agree on. Your safe word could be a color, an animal, a type of food or even a celebrity. It’s best to keep your safe word short and sweet, which makes it easy to remember even in the heat of the moment. Most importantly, your safe word should be something that neither of you would typically say while having sex, especially during kinky role-playing. That’s why “rhino” is a good choice for a safe word and “no” or “stop” are bad choices.

If you’re struggling to come up with a safe word, a recent poll uncovered the most commonly used safe words in America. Responses included: Pineapple, Beetlejuice, Banana, Mango, Oklahoma, Unicorn, Justin Bieber, Marmite, Pie and Superman.

When to Use Safe Words

Now that you and your partner have decided on your safe word, just how do you use it?

You should always remind each other of your safe word before having sex to reinforce it. Then you should use it whenever you want to stop playing for whatever reason. It could be because your role-playing was starting to get out of control. It could be because you’re in an uncomfortable position or your activity started to hurt. Regardless of your reason, your partner should stop immediately after hearing your safe word. The two of you can then try to resolve the problem before continuing to have sex. Or you might need to stop completely that night depending on the situation.

While safe words are typically associated with BDSM and kinky sex, they can prove useful at other times as well. For instance, you might use a safe word at a party to tell your partner to cut back on their drinking. You might even use it during arguments when you both need to take a time out and cool off.

“Stop Light” Safe Words

Many BDSM lovers have switched from using a single safe word to several based on the stop-light system. These color-based safe words operate on the same basic principle as the stop lights at intersections. Green means it’s okay or safe to proceed, while red means you should stop immediately. This system also includes a yellow – which you can use when your partner starts approaching sensitive territory. It’s a great way to tell them to slow down or ease back when you don’t want to put a freeze on your fun.

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