A girlfriend of mine (and fellow mother) related a story to me about a recent sexual encounter she recently had.

**Explicit content** –  relatively speaking  🙂

safeword & hair-pulling

She and her partner were having sex one evening.  The two of them proceeded to get a little rougher in their play than normal. It was at the point where they were having penile/ vaginal intercourse “doggy style” when he started to gently tug her hair. She told me she really liked it and started moaning loudly in ecstasy. As he heard her getting excited, he got more and more aroused as well. He started to thrust a little harder and pull her hair a little tighter.  She moaned more, and he thrust and pulled more, which caused her to moan more and him to thrust harder and pull tighter, and so on (you get the picture).

Cautionary Tale

It was at this point she said the hair-pulling started to hurt. She started to whimper, and evidently, he thought she wanted more so he thrust harder and pulled tighter, which by this point was pulling her head back so far that she couldn’t swallow. She was able to say, “Ouch!” at which point he stopped immediately. Being the caring partner he is, he asked, “Are you okay? What’s wrong? What happened?” She explained that she was enjoying the thrusting perfectly but that the hair-pulling began to hurt like hell. He apologized and said he had a hard time making out the difference between her moans and whimpers. He told her he thought to himself, “Wow, she really likes it rough!  All this time, I had no idea! I gotta step up my game!”  They talked it out and made sure each person was okay again, had a couple of laughs about the ridiculousness of the situation, and proceeded to snuggle.

Post-game analysis

There is one really important aspect to this story:  Communication.  I like the level of communication between these two partners about this situation. Once she finally spoke up he stopped immediately. He did not continue on in spite of her pain to “finish”. Also, she was comfortable telling him what worked for her and what didn’t work. There were no accusations, or intentions to hurt the other person’s feelings, or assumptions that he meant to hurt her. He apologized and explained his actions. They were able to move forward by checking in with each other and continue showing each other love, security, and physical closeness at the end (minus the sex) in snuggling.


How to Avoid This? A Safeword

After hearing this story, it occurred to me that it’s probably a good idea for every couple to create a safeword.  It’s also important to practice using it in the off chance a situation like this might come up.   What is a safeword, you ask?  A safeword is a mutually agreed upon word that functions as a code word to tell your partner to stop if something you’re exploring becomes too intense or crosses a boundary—this may even be a boundary you didn’t even know you had.  There are plenty of suggestions for safe words, but one of the clearest that I’ve come across uses the Traffic Light System, which is “red” for stop, “yellow” for slow or caution, and “green” for go.  These unambiguously communicate what the submissive (the person in the passive or receiving role of the situation) is experiencing.

What if…?

There are also examples when a safe word is not a word at all. For example, when the submissive is either bound or gagged. The submissive holds either a rag or a ball and drops it when things get too intense. It is extremely important to note that the dominant (the person in the active or controlling role) must always be aware and paying attention to these signs.  No matter what, the operative words at play here in BDSM are “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” (although there are some that prefer the term RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink).  It is important to also note, that BDSM is not always about *sex* – it could be about power, or relinquishing control, or pain, or pleasure.

For More Information

All of this is really just the tip of the iceberg. One of the most fantastic places to get information about BDSM and related kink play is the Society of Janus. Their website has information, education, programs, and events. There is no way I can cover all of this in this blog, but if you do have further interest, their website is very helpful. Click on the “For Newbies” link to start out. Another place to look for a very basic definition is this Wikipedia link about BDSM.  It is no joke, and should not be taken lightly, but when done right, can be lots of fun and a great way to act out a fantasy or two. As for the safeword, I think finding and using one is a great idea…

Even for the most vanilla couple.



p.s., This video is a bit of a Pop Culture reference but may also be an intro for those of you who are not familiar with BDSM.  There are lots of different types of play depicted in this video –> Rihanna – S&M

About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

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