Fair warning, none of what I am about to write should be interpreted as applying to anyone but myself. This is not a guide, not common practice, and probably wildly different from many other points of view on the subject of ‘safe words’. Actually, after suggesting the use of safe words as prompt, I was quite please that May and Floss adjusted the prompt to include ‘words that make us feel safe’. There are things that make me feel safe, they just happen to be ‘words’ that are unspoken.

In many ways, I’m damaged goods. I have had many interactions with people who I did not know, who expected me to do as they say — that’s what most people assume when they hire an escort who openly advertises her willingness to be a sub in BDSM scenes. This is, of course, not the typical scenario. However, it left a lasting impact on me.

Most had some understanding of BDSM and wanted to live our their desire to be in the dominant position. They typically read-up on the subject, but few had much, if any real life experience. Using a ‘safe word’ was one aspect that almost everyone was familiar with. What few understood, was the nature of a D/s dynamic. How could they, after paying to more or less get what they wanted?

In a power structure where the dominant partner is not only given the responsibility, but on top has paid for a service, there is effectively no safe word. I learned early on that experiencing power over another person, for possibly the first time, can easily lead to an abandonment of caution. Almost like getting drunk for the first time. Surely, so the thinking goes, ‘red’, ‘stop’, ‘no’ are just part of the game, meant to make the dominant, paying, client feel even more powerful. The power to ignore a safe word is intoxicating for the novice.

So, rule number one, for me, was never to trust a safe word. I had to be in control of the situation at all times, rather than being a sub, I was the bottom who directed the scene more like a magician tricking the audience. The notion that a ‘fetish escort’ would throw caution into the wind and let a stranger possible harm her, inadvertently or not, is an illusion. Over time, this meant that I developed a genuine mistrust of words, and an excellent instinct for personality traits.

Now that I’ve been out of the escort business for a few years, I realize the ups and downs. Earning my trust is both easy and hard. Trust, more than words, allow me to engage in safe, sane, and consensual behavior. Few people have earned that level of trust, and it cannot be gained through negotiations, promises, agreements, or safe words. When I do trust a person, it is deep, to the point where body, emotions, and sexual responses are my language. I don’t use words during intense scenes. But I constantly communicate.

I am not in a D/s relationship and I don’t anticipate being in one anytime soon. Still, I crave being a sub, giving up control, pleasing my partner, and transcending my own boundaries. I have one former client, now a friend, with whom I travel for several days at a time. We have never used a safe word. I have done fairly extreme kinks following his lead, not knowing what was going to happen. Zero safety-net. He is not my partner, could walk away at any moment, and has absolutely no responsibility for me. And yet, I’ve been his sub for days at a time in more countries that I can count on two hands.

This sounds insane. But it works. And I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.