Safewords Survey – Are safewords essential in BDSM punishment


BelasariusThis article looks at how strongly 499  safeword survey participants felt about using safewords in BDSM punishment.

Readers may find it interesting to contrast these results with earlier, articles where I asked people  whether safewords were essential in all BDSM transactions and whether safewords were essential in BDSM play.

In the article on safewords in all BDSM transactions, only switches were more likely than not to agree with the statement “Safewords are essential in all BDSM transactions”. However, the  BDSM play article shows general, agreement that safewords are essential – with some groups being more emphatic in their agreement than others. Only masters (mistresses) and slaves were more likely to think that safewords are NOT essential in play. This article shows a more mixed picture than either of the above. I wonder if that may be because BDSM people have not yet come to a common understanding of what they consider punishment to be (for reference, my thoughts on this are here and my proposed definition (for voting and debate) is here).

The first chart, below, shows how inclined, or not, all respondents (split by gender) were to consider safewords essential in BDSM punishment (the method I have used for calculating the charts is under the subheading “Data used in this article” below).

Punishment1

The people who took part seem pretty split on this one. Women were slightly more likely to disagree with the proposition than men, but not by very much at all.

However, when it comes to BDSM orientations there are some significant differences in perception (below).

Punishment2

There is a very clear difference of opinion between bottoms/submissives and everyone else. Submissives were three times more likely to disagree that safewords are essential in BDSM punishment than   either tops/dominants or switches. And they were the only group who were less likely to think that safewords were essential in punishment than to agree that they were essential. Switches were the most likely to think that safewords in punishment were essential. But, there is a clear difference of opinion between dominants and submissives here.

Punishmnt3

The chart above shows that there are also clear differences in the views of respondents from different BDSM components. Sadists/masochists are split on whether safewords are essential in punishment. Dominant’s submissives are more likely than not  to say that they are essential (though the extent to which they disagree is almost identical to S/m respondents) and masters (mistresses) and slaves are nearly five times more likely to disagree with the proposition than to agree.

Data used in this article

The article uses data from a question where people were asked whether they considered safewords to be essential in BDSM play. 500 people answered the question. People were able to pick from the following responses:

  • Agree
  • Agree strongly
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Disagree strongly

To produce the charts used above I manipulated the data as follows:

  • Agree (scored 1)
  • Agree strongly (scored 2)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (eliminated from responses)
  • Disagree (scored -1)
  • Disagree strongly (scored -2)

I totalled the  scores and then divided that by the total of all responses (including “Neither agree nor disagree”, in order that a high neutral response would influence the outcome by reducing both negative and positive scores). I expressed that in percentages for convenience.

The data used is in the tables below:

What is your gender? (All) Safewords are essential in BDSM punishment
What is your BDSM orientation? How would you describe the most important component of your BDSM Dynamic? Agree Agree strongly Disagree Disagree strongly Neither agree nor disagree Grand Total
Bottom/Submissive Dominant/Submissive 37 34 26 66 27 190
Master/Slave 2 7 38 7 54
Sadist/Masochist 4 5 6 12 4 31
Bottom/Submissive Total 41 41 39 116 38 275
Switch Dominant/Submissive 10 19 6 2 10 47
Master/Slave 1 1 1 3 6
Sadist/Masochist 7 3 4 16 7 37
Switch Total 18 23 10 19 20 90
Top/Dominant Dominant/Submissive 14 22 10 27 10 83
Master/Slave 1 2 24 27
Sadist/Masochist 3 8 4 7 2 24
Top/Dominant Total 17 31 16 58 12 134
Grand Total 76 95 65 193 70 499
What is your gender? Male Safewords are essential in BDSM punishment
What is your BDSM orientation? How would you describe the most important component of your BDSM Dynamic? Agree Agree strongly Disagree Disagree strongly Neither agree nor disagree Grand Total
Bottom/Submissive Dominant/Submissive 5 7 5 18 6 41
Master/Slave 1 1 1 2 5
Sadist/Masochist 1 1 5 1 8
Bottom/Submissive Total 6 8 7 24 9 54
Switch Dominant/Submissive 8 9 4 8 29
Master/Slave 1 1 2
Sadist/Masochist 3 1 3 10 2 19
Switch Total 11 11 7 10 11 50
Top/Dominant Dominant/Submissive 9 16 7 20 7 59
Master/Slave 1 2 17 20
Sadist/Masochist 1 6 3 4 2 16
Top/Dominant Total 10 23 12 41 9 95
Grand Total 27 42 26 75 29 199
What is your gender? Female Safewords are essential in BDSM punishment
What is your BDSM orientation? How would you describe the most important component of your BDSM Dynamic? Agree Agree strongly Disagree Disagree strongly Neither agree nor disagree Grand Total
Bottom/Submissive Dominant/Submissive 31 27 21 47 20 146
Master/Slave 1 6 37 5 49
Sadist/Masochist 3 5 5 7 3 23
Bottom/Submissive Total 34 33 32 91 28 218
Switch Dominant/Submissive 2 9 2 2 2 17
Master/Slave 1 1 1 3
Sadist/Masochist 4 2 1 6 5 18
Switch Total 7 11 3 9 8 38
Top/Dominant Dominant/Submissive 4 5 3 7 3 22
Master/Slave 6 6
Sadist/Masochist 2 2 1 3 8
Top/Dominant Total 6 7 4 16 3 36
Grand Total 47 51 39 116 39 292
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Author: Belasarius

I possess the submission of curvy_bottom, we have a medium protocol, D/s relationship - based on the feeling that we are equa and opposite and that we love each other.

3 thoughts on “Safewords Survey – Are safewords essential in BDSM punishment”

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