The night Sarah and I met, we immediately fell into bed together — or that’s how it felt. Our first date became an all-nighter after she asked to go home with me. As soon as we got in the door I opened my mouth to offer tea, but she kissed me instead, and I pushed her against the wall and then led her into my bedroom. I felt magnetically drawn to her skin, to putting my hand up her skirt. One of the first things I asked her, sitting next to her on my bed, kissing her neck, was, “What’s your safeword?”
I meant it in a sexy way. In a I want to do dirty things to you but I don’t want to go too far so I can trust you to tell me to back off if I do, right? way. In a I know what I’m doing I can speak the BDSM lingo way.
She gave me this look, a combination of confusion and pity and a little bit of condescension. (It was a signature Sarah look. A look I would get to know very well.) The few inches between our bodies seemed to grow.
She twisted toward me, sitting cross-legged. “Are you going to stop if I say ‘stop’?”
I straightened too, feeling awkward and exposed since she had already unbuckled my belt and unzipped my jeans. “Um. Yes. Of course.”
She smiled, and I relaxed. “Are you going to slow down if I say ‘slow down’?” She wore a low-cut summery dress with big watercolor splotches of color on it, blue and purple and red. It wrapped around her with a belt made out of fabric, tied in a bow at her waist. I love those dresses, with the threat of opening and falling right off of her curvy body, and the tease of it entices me. I wanted to slip my fingers into the bow and tug.
“And if I say, ‘Hey wait, move, you’re on my hair,’ or something?”
“Yeah, I’ll move.”
“Then I don’t need a safeword. You’re not going to keep going even if I say stop, we’re not playing with consensual non-consent or some sort of force. I mean, don’t get me wrong,” Sarah took a breath, then looked back at me with smoky, lustful bedroom eyes. Her lips looked redder, her skin flushed. Her voice dropped quieter, lower. “I like playing with force. Love it, actually. But I don’t play risky games with tricks I just met.” She gave me a playful shove.
I shrugged a little, feeling like I was receiving a lecture. But she was right. “Yeah, I get it.”
“I mean, I think there are other scenarios where having a safeword is useful. For some folks, it’s easier to say ‘yellow’ than it is to say ‘please slow down’ or ‘I need to check in with you’ or ‘can we take a pause and switch to something else but please don’t stop touching me entirely.’” She moved closer again as the conversation about BDSM theory folded back into foreplay, and started to finger the buttons on my shirt. “I’m not saying the only time you should play with safewords is in consensual non-consent. But to me, it’s the only time they’re really necessary.”
“Right, I suppose not everyone is as articulate as you are. Or able to be articulate during sex.” I wasn’t distracted at all by her fingers on my buttons, the way her hair smelled. I was completely coherent. “You know, when you’re turned on, all the blood is flowing elsewhere, not necessarily in the… head region.”
“What would you know about how I am after I’m turned on,” she purred, moving closer. She gave me that sly look again, the one that made me squirm so much that I fought to keep my face stoic.
Her mouth was nearly next to mine, and I strained forward to reach her. She kept our mouths just an inch apart, close enough that I could taste her breath on my tongue. She was almost crawling into my lap when I leaned back onto the bed and landed awkwardly on the pillow.
Sarah straddled my hips and slowly, slowly, sat down on top of me, letting out a little groan. My hands went to her hips through the thin, soft fabric of her dress. The bow was under my palm. I could feel her skin through the dress, but couldn’t feel her panties. Was she wearing any? I explored her hips with my hands, grabbing handfuls of her as she kissed me.
“So, you don’t need a safeword,” I said when she paused the kissing and nuzzled into my neck.
She nodded. I didn’t see it, but I could feel it. Her hair tickled. “Don’t worry. I’ll let you know when I like something, or when I don’t. I like this,” she said, pressing into the strap-on I was packing. “I want to see it.”
“You do, huh,” I teased, pressing my hips back against the pressure of her hand.
“I want you to fuck me with it. I want you to start really slow, and when I start bucking my hips a lot, go faster, and deeper.” I could feel her mouth on my ear as her lips moved around the words.
“I have a feeling you’re good at it. And maybe, someday, just maybe, we’ll do the kind of play where we need a safeword.”