+100 Good Safe Words [Used By Real People]

Today we’ll cover how and when to use safe words, as well as some safe word ideas to help you choose the perfect one!

Go to the most used safe words:

  1. Safe words – Words you say out loud.
  2. The Traffic light system – Different Colours you mention (every color has a meaning e.g. yellow means that the dom should proceed with caution).
  3. Safe signals – If you have a ball gag in your mouth you can’t say safe words, and you’ll have to signal it with your body instead.

What is a safe word?

Safe words and safe signals allow you and your partner or partners to clearly communicate boundaries and consent during a BDSM scene or other sexual activity. Using the safe word indicates you need to stop everything and reassess whether you want to continue.

Why are they so important?

Whether you are breaking out your new BDSM tools or using your favorite restraint kit. BDSM involves walking a fine line between pushing your limits and taking it too far, so it’s important to establish clear communication. Not being able to stop an activity in time can lead to psychological or physical harm.

Using a safe word is just one aspect of safety. Whoever is in the dominant role should also check in with the partner in the submissive role often to see if they are doing okay, enjoying the activity, or if they should adjust the intensity. This can involve asking directly, using the traffic light system (read further down to get this system explained), and/or learning to read their body language.

Safe words and consent

Consent can change during an activity as we can never really know how we will feel in the moment. In the FRIES model of consent (left), the R stands for reversible, meaning true consent can be taken back at any time.

Essentially, this is what a safe word does. It tells whoever you are playing with you do not give consent for them to continue and they should stop immediately.

Are safe words only for BDSM?

While safe words are primarily used in BDSM due to the riskier play involved, they can actually be a great addition to all kinds of sex. Sex of all kinds can be emotionally and physically vulnerable, so having a clear and easy way to tell your partner you have reached or are reaching a limit can help you both feel safe. For example, if you are trying anal sex for the first time, it can be good to have a safe word to let your partner know they are going too fast and need to stop. Establishing this safety and trust can help you to feel more confident exploring new sexual activities together.

Some people also use safe words during arguments or emotionally heavy conversations to signal they have reached a limit and need to take a break or de-escalate the situation.

How to choose a good safe word

A safe word can be absolutely anything you like, but there are some criteria it should fulfill to be fit for purpose. As with anything, what you choose will be unique to you, but before you choose a real mouthful like antidisestablishmentarianism, consider the following guidelines for narrowing down your safe word ideas and finding one that works!

  • Choose a distinctive word that can’t be mistaken for anything else.
  • Avoid words that you might say during the scene (e.g. no and stop are bad choices)
  • Your safe word should be easy to say. Don’t pick anything overly difficult to shout out clearly.
  • It must be easy to remember. Safe words with personal meanings can be easier to remember in the moment.

Take the time to discuss your safe word with your partner to make it something personal to you and your needs. Some people choose a very unsexy word that will kill the passion to bring things to an immediate stop. Although this might not be a great option if you want to get back in the mood after. Of all the examples I came across researching this article, I think Donald Trump has to be the biggest mood killer, although it might run the risk of putting you off sex completely forever!

1) The 100 best safe word ideas

Most sources list red (from the traffic light system explained below) and pineapple as the most common safe words. Both of these are great options as they are unlikely to get mixed up in the play or mistaken for something else. Here are some more common themes for safe words and a few examples for inspiration:

  1. Pineapple
  2. Banana
  3. Cabbage
  4. Chicken
  5. Coconut
  6. Broccoli
  7. Batman
  8. SpongeBob
  9. Dobby
  10. Scooby-DOo
  11. Tokyo
  12. Florida
  13. Paris
  14. Zucchini
  15. Butterfly
  16. Chocolate
  17. Dinosaur
  18. Telescope
  19. Sunflower
  20. Porcupine
  21. Avalanche
  22. Bumblebee
  23. Carousel
  24. Watermelon
  25. Firetruck
  26. Rhinoceros
  27. Spaghetti
  28. Candelabra
  29. Pterodactyl
  30. Snapdragon
  31. Harmonica
  32. Jellybean
  33. Quicksilver
  34. Rattlesnake
  35. Silhouette
  36. Toothbrush
  37. Umbrella
  38. Volleyball
  39. Windmill
  40. Xylophone
  41. Yacht
  42. Zeppelin
  43. Astral
  44. Broccoli
  45. Caterpillar
  46. Dragonfly
  47. Espresso
  48. Flamingo
  49. Grapefruit
  50. Hedgehog
  51. Icicle
  52. Jackal
  53. Kite
  54. Lemonade
  55. Muffin
  56. Nebula
  57. Octopus
  58. Pancake
  59. Quasar
  60. Raspberry
  61. Seahorse
  62. Trampoline
  63. Unicorn
  64. Vortex
  65. Wombat
  66. X-ray
  67. Yo-yo
  68. Zucchini
  69. Acorn
  70. Balloon
  71. Cactus
  72. Daffodil
  73. Eel
  74. Frisbee
  75. Gopher
  76. Hibiscus
  77. Igloo
  78. Jigsaw
  79. Kiwi
  80. Llama
  81. Mango
  82. Noodle
  83. Ostrich
  84. Pecan
  85. Quill
  86. Raccoon
  87. Starfish
  88. Tulip
  89. Ukulele
  90. Vase
  91. Walrus
  92. Xerox
  93. Yodel
  94. Zephyr
  95. Apple
  96. Bagel
  97. Crayon
  98. Dolphin
  99. Ember
  100. Falcon
  101. Astronaut
  102. Marshmallow
  103. Cucumber
  104. Rainbow

The 3 worst safe words I don’t recommend

  1. Stop or no — You might say these without actually meaning them during BDSM play, especially if you are exploring consensual non-consent.
  2. Anything that sounds similar to a sexual word or a sound made during sex. Words with lots of soft sounds and vowels can be more difficult to distinguish, so go for something with harder-sounding consonants.
  3. “Smell the milk” — a suggestion made in the office that got the appropriate reaction “that’s just a bit disgusting”.

2) The traffic light system

Another popular safe word idea is the traffic light system, which gives you more nuance when communicating your limits and provides an easy way for your partner or Dom to check in on how you are doing. It’s extremely popular in the BDSM community because it ticks all the boxes — it’s easy to say, easy to remember, and unlikely to get confused with anything else.

As well as the Sub using the colors as they wish, the Dom or partner in the active role can ask what color you are on in that moment to get an idea of how to continue.

  • Red means you have reached your limit and stop the play immediately. You might need to take a break, reduce the intensity, or stop for the day.
  • Yellow means you are nearing your limit and you need your partner or Dom to proceed carefully and slowly.
  • Green means keep going — you are enjoying whatever it is you are doing and you are happy to continue.

3) The 5 best safe signals

Some types of play restrict the mouth and therefore your ability to say your chosen safe word. For example, if you are using a gag, such as a ball gag, O-ring gag, or any other type of gag or you are wearing a BDSM muzzle, you won’t be able to say your safe word clearly. In that case, you need to establish a signal using another part of your body.

What you choose will depend on personal preference and what other sexual activities you will have planned. However, the same criteria apply as with safe words — the signal must be distinctive enough that your partner recognizes it. Repetitive signals are great as they aren’t likely to happen by mistake. Here are some safe signal ideas.

  1. Hold something in your hand that you can drop on the floor. Keys are a popular option
  2. Tap your partner or knock on something, such as the chair
  3. Stamp your foot
  4. Have something that makes a sound when you shake it, like a bell or small percussion instrument
  5. Repetitive blinking — this is good if you are completely bound and gagged but it might take a second for your Dom to notice it as there is no sound cue to catch their attention.

When to use your safe word, traffic light system, or safe signal?

Once you select your favorite safe word idea, you should use your safe word whenever you feel you are about to take things too far or when a boundary has been crossed. This could be a physical or emotional boundary or anything that makes you feel unsafe. While safe words can and should be used during any kind of sexual activity, here are some examples of how and when you might use them.

During impact play & sensation play

Using spanking tools, floggers, canes, pinwheel or other BDSM tools can be exciting and arousing. However, it can be difficult for a Dom or partner to gauge how hard to go, as they don’t get any biofeedback and everyone’s pain tolerance is different. You can use your safe word if the hits become too intense physically or you feel emotionally overwhelmed.

During restraint play

Bondage play using restraints, bondage rope, or bondage tape is a fairly common and exciting kind. However, restraint puts you in a very vulnerable position, where you are relying on whoever you are playing with to release you. You can use your safe word to tell your partner that they need to stop what they are doing and possibly release the restraints. This could be for any reason, but some common ones could include the restraints causing you pain or restricting your blood flow, you feeling claustrophobic and panicky, or the stimulation being too intense.