The Danger Word
It's like the opposite of a safe word.
These days, everyone knows what a safe word is. It's a word, or a short phrase, you can say as a signal to let other people know you are no longer comfortable with an activity, and you need it to stop. The word originally comes from the kink community where participants would be engaged in scenes that might push boundaries, and trigger unwanted emotional responses. Bondage, whipping, consensual non-consent, etc. In some cases a person might even want the freedom to shout stop without their partner actually stopping.
Unless they heard the word kumquat that is.
Safe words are smart, because they represent the most important part of any kind of activity; consent. While you might consent to do something, like get tied up and whipped, that doesn't mean you can't take your consent back to stop the activity. Your safe word revokes your consent, and says loud and clear you no longer want to participate.
So What Is A Danger Word?
If a safe word is a way to signal you want an activity to stop, a danger word is a signal that says you'd like it to start.
Imagine this scenario. You're feeling a little randy, and you start testing the waters with your partner. Maybe you send them a teasing text, and put an innuendo out as a hook to see if they take the bait. If they're nearby, maybe you curl up close, start with a soft touch, and see where it goes. Or, if you're open and communicative with each other, you tell them how you're feeling, and what you need.
Sometimes, though, you might feel uncomfortable walking up to your partner and telling them you want sex. It can be a delicate subject to bring up, even if you've been together a long time. Other times you don't want to come in slow to make sure they're ready for you. You just want to grab them and shove them against the wall, or onto the bed, and have your way with them. And if either of those applies to your partner, you want to give them a simple way they can signal their interest and willingness without being misunderstood.
That's your danger word.
You could make this as complicated, or as simple, as you want. For example, if your safe word is home then you might make your danger word tag as a way of saying the game is back on. Or if you want to add a touch of literary flair, your safe word might be Jekyll, while your danger word is Hyde. You might even use something silly, like out of the old spy movies, where one of you leans in and says, "the sun is shining," and if the operation is a go, your partner says, "but the ice is slippery."
As long as your safe word and danger word won't come up in average conversation and be misconstrued, they're perfectly functional ways to tell your partner what's on your mind without making a misstep and killing the mood before it can even get started.
About the Creator
Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.
Blog: Improved Initiative and The Literary Mercenary
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