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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Time out"

Discussions abound regarding safe words, the need for them, people who don't want them, what happens if they're not used (or heeded), and so forth. I'm not going to enter into that debate here. Suffice it to say that it's fairly universal in any kink: If you need the action to stop, right now, you use a safe word.

Some people use colors instead of words; red means stop, and yellow means slow down, lighten up a little -- don't stop, but modify, please. Personally, I think this method is contrived, as I'd feel kind of silly hollering out colors in the middle of a scene. But that's just me. It works for others.

But what if you don't want to stop the scene, or even slow it down? What if you just need to pause it for a moment? If you say "stop" or "wait," the top may not heed it, thinking that it's just part of your scene talk (since it's not the established safe word or phrase).

I have a bit of tendinitis in my left shoulder; common symptom of overuse/repetitive stress. I overdid it with the weights, and I've since backed off a bit. I am never going to have magnificently cut arms; my genetic makeup won't allow it, no matter how many lateral raises and military presses I do. I am destined to have old-lady arms, just like my mother. Blech.

I digress... Anyway, the shoulder thing is more of a nuisance than anything else, but if my arm is moved or pulled a certain way, it hurts. Cut to a few weeks ago, when New Guy and I engaged in our bondage play. When he first tied my hands behind my back, I found the positioning of my left arm was pulling on that bad shoulder a bit. I thought I'd settle into it, but as things progressed, the discomfort didn't pass, it escalated.

What to do? I didn't want to stop the scene. I didn't want to break the mood. But I had to, somehow. So I whispered, "Time out." Immediately, he paused, and I added, "Please adjust the rope a little -- it's pulling on my left shoulder." Quickly and quietly, he made the adjustment, and then we slipped seamlessly back into the action.

I think the phrase "Time out" would be a very useful universal phrase within TTWD. It's perfect for those times when a safe word isn't quite right. "Time out -- sorry, but this position hurts my back," "Time out -- leg cramp!" "Time out -- may I have a tissue?" (Runny noses during a scene are SO not sexy.)

I wish I'd thought of this earlier. There have been times in the past when I just needed a pause, but I didn't ask for one because I didn't want to disrupt the scene. One example comes to mind, from years ago. I was OTK in my living room, and my partner was sitting in my recliner. After a while, my head dangling over the side got uncomfortable, and I noticed that my computer chair was just within reach. So I stretched out one arm, grasped the chair and gave it a yank. It came wheeling over very quickly -- and the edge of the seat rammed right into my eye.

AGGGHH. I kept my head down and turned away from him, grit my teeth, blinked and teared, and sucked it up. Never let him know what was happening, because I didn't want him to stop. If I'd simply said, "Time out -- I just damn near put my eye out," he could have paused the action long enough for me to stop seeing stars, and then we could continue.

What do you think? I have visions of "time out" becoming as well-known as "mercy." :-) Of course, as with the safe word, "time out" should not be overused/abused. You can't just say, "Time out -- ow, that hurts." Sorry, fellow spankees... the top would then reserve the right to reply, "Time in -- it's supposed to." (sigh)


  1. Great blog! I like your "Time Out" idea! Works for me... and I could have used that a time or two myself.. as I have a horrible right rotator cuff, and if you pull my hand behind my back for any length of time... I have excruciating pain. Didn't realize that till it happened once - and I fought through that pain (bad bad bad for me for nearly 6 wks) ... but now.. I don't do hands behind the back... and I tell the Top why.. but I'm real good at gripping ankles!

  2. Zelle -- and I categorically refuse to grab my ankles! LOL Besides the fact that it's hard on my back and makes me feel lightheaded and like I'm going to topple over, I HATE the "enhanced exposure."

  3. Yeah.. me too .. I'm talking about gripping THEIR ANKLES.. not mine.. ugh on the enhanced exposure.. I do enough toe touching at the gym.. with clothes on.. LOL

  4. Good topic, Erica.

    I don't have that much experience, but I think that there should be some kind of indication that some kind of adjustment needs to be made and then just get on with it. "Time out" is a good one as long at the top knows that it means the bottom needs to make a shift in position or something like that. I have a couple of problems that I would need to make sure I was comfortable OTK. Left shoulder, right hip. Just a wonderful combination. I would be squirming before anything started and would probably take me five minutes just to get in the best position for me. LOL Not really, but you get the idea. So if something started hurting more than the activity, some way of saying so to make the adjustment I would see as necessary. This, of course, needs to be discussed thoroughly with the top. And I suppose there are some tops out there who wouldn't care how much you needed to adjust, but we don't need to go there.

    I don't like the bend-over idea either, unless I was ballanced on my knees. Ankles? Forget it! I would prefer OTK on a couch.

  5. Just thought of something. If a top doesn't listen to a needed time-out, dig your nails into their ankles. If they spank harder, dig harder to let them know you mean it. Not that it would work. Just an idea. :-)

  6. Zelle -- oh, THEIR ankles. I like to do that too... or grab their pant legs.

    Bobbie Jo -- (laughing) Tops who don't listen get a bad reputation verrrry quickly. Much more effective than any nail-digging! :-D

  7. Congratulations on being Blog of the month at the Spankings Bloggers Network!!

    I do have a specific health issue regarding my neck, which means that certain actions can cause me severe pain.

    One of these actions, thank goodness (GRIN) is pulling my hands together behind my back. Apart from having a total phobia about it (do not know why), it hurts like hell..

    But more importantly certain spanking positions, unless I support my neck, will certainly create serious problems for me.

    I am fortunate that between Nick, and the two local disciplinarians, they are very aware of my body language, even before I can say something - and therefore will allow time for me to adjust to another, more supportive position.

    This is where a time-out safe word is so important - the chance to adjust before a slight discomfort becomes a more serious problem.

    I can only imagine the conversation I might have with my neurosurgeon, trying to explain to him the origin of new neck problems. Somehow I do not think telling him that I was left dangling whilst my bottom was being turned into a shade of red, will go down well...

  8. I go with what you say, but 'time out' here in the uk is more associated with a publication called, not surprisingly 'Time Out', listing shows, clubs, events etc in London.

    Imagine the scene: I, for one of the usual reasons, cry "time out!". He dives for the magazine rack and either starts beating the sh*t out of me with a listing magazine, or instead starts calling a agency for tickets to 'Wizard of Oz'

    Joking apart, I agree safe words are contrived in our scene, although necessary in more extreme BDSM scenarios, where going too far can scar for life. And, you are right that guys can ignore them anyway. I confess to raising the sexual temperature as a most effective way of creating a pause that isn't even noticed by his majesty. Monroe you taught us so much! We need a phrase like 'time out', perhaps one that comes from a British sport. The only problem there is that everything said on a soccer field is profane, or biologically impossible. Cricket is closer with 'bowling a maiden over' (six balls without a run being scored),and willow can be used for canes or making cricket bats, and indeed, cricket balls are made of leather. But it loses promise when one remembers that women aren't even allowed in the 'Long Room' at Lord's Cricket Ground. Tennis, well that's just testosterone and tantrums, and the breaks in play are used for drinking Robinson's Barley Water (don't ask!).

    So, here's the challenge for those subs and bottoms living on this damp little island (well the Romans thought so). Come up with a word or phrase as appropriate as 'time out'.

  9. Hello my Erica this is a great topic i agree with you about using safe words :-) i have fibromyalgia and it is very painful and uncomfortable, so the word time out would be very useful for me, even though i tend to push my limits as far as i can possibly go, but if my fibro was hurting EXTREMELY badly i would definately call a time out. my favorite spanking position is OTK with the spanker sitting on a chair, or a couch or a bed. you DON'T have old lady arms, you have NICE arms :-) LOL and Hugs from your naughty girl Jade XOXO

  10. Hi Erica,

    I guess I'm one of those color people.

    Just the other day, when the belt was making firm contact with my bottom, there was too much wrap around. I sure could have used the “time out” phrase then, but I didn't want to stop the proceedings and ruin the mood.

    Another possibility, one that's used in chess, would be to yell out, "I adjust!" which means I need to rearrange the chess pieces for aesthetic reasons. But for spanking it would be for the rearranging of body parts for the sake of comfort, like relieving pressure on a rotator cuff.

    Or if you’re an obsessive-compulsive type like me, you could call out “Wait, that picture is crooked!” and jump up quickly to set it straight.

    Finally, if the TV is playing in the background to drown out the spanking sounds so the neighbors won’t hear, you could say, “That’s a rerun!” and beg the top to let you change the channel so you won’t die of boredom!

  11. Raven -- thanks! :-) Ah yes... spanking-related injuries, and how to explain them to one's doctor. Yet another reason to be cautious! Sorry you have neck issues... neck pain SUCKS.

    NC -- how funny about the Brit association with "time out." I'll have to give that some thought regarding an equivalent phrase!

    Jade -- fibromyalgia is nothing to mess with, I know. We're supposed to be a little uncomfortable (it's a spanking, after all), but not THAT uncomfortable!

    AP -- I would prefer to grab the remote and change the channel myself. Then, when Mr. Top says, "change it back," I casually fling the remote across the room. (Yes, I've done that.)

  12. Great idea, Erica! - and I must say I appreciate your sense of humor :D I was literally laughing out loud by the end of this post! :)

  13. Rayne -- making people laugh is something I love to do. :-)

  14. Permit a man to comment on this. The spankee should always feel free to use time out or any other straight forward language and the top should always honor it. This is just simple respect. You can always resume your roles.

  15. My play partner has back and neck problems so I have to be very aware of her posistion, however at the beginning she did not always tell what was hurting her, its all part of the learning process and part of what makes a good top is knowing your partner.
    We use yellow light or red light and it works for us. Its so out of character to make this comment during a scene it never fails to catch my attention and find out what the problem is.

    I think its funny that people refer to spanking as a power echange when in reality the Bottom or spankee has all the power. One simple word, No, or red light, controls everything.

  16. I think the "Time Out" idea is great- I know I have used it for just the same kind of reasons. I did not want to make him think something awful was going on or make him think I was being cheeky.
    You most certainly deserve to be Blog of The Month- congratulations again!

  17. OBB -- I agree. In a perfect world, etc...

    Poppa -- I like to think I have the power, but I am choosing to give it to him, and once he has it, I have no choice. Probably a rationale, but I like the "consensual non-consent" thing. It's nice to know I have an escape clause, but it has to be for a very good reason. Otherwise, I am in his hands.

    Poppy -- thanks, sweetie. It works, doesn't it? It's not a STOP, it's a brief PAUSE.

  18. "Poppa -- I like to think I have the power, but I am choosing to give it to him, and once he has it, I have no choice. Probably a rationale, but I like the "consensual non-consent" thing. It's nice to know I have an escape clause, but it has to be for a very good reason. Otherwise, I am in his hands."

    My point exactly Erica. the choice to submit, to make the power exchange, is yours alone to make. There lies the true power.

  19. Love it -- D & I have been using it for awhile now, too. It doesn't break the scene and allows us BOTH to enjoy it. It's inevitable that some unintended discomfort could weasel in to the play, so I do think it's important to have a phrase that can alert your partner to it.

    And congrats on Spanking Blogger of the Month! It's very well deserved. :)

  20. Erica, As someone very new to TTWD, this was wonderful advice. Thank you!

  21. Poppa -- good point. :-)

    Pink -- thanks much! Yeah, who need EXTRA discomfort??

    Darling C -- my pleasure. :-)

  22. Well, you KNOW what I think about safewords!