The importance of a safe word has been emphasized. Here are a few thoughts, not sure though if they make much sense to you.
I can honestly say that I am not a huge fan of safe words. Nevertheless, if I recall correctly, I have given Gregory a safe word right from the beginning. I told him "Your safe word is "David Hasselhoff" ". In any interaction between Gregory and me, Hasselhoff usually does not come up. And if Gregory suddenly mentiones Hasselhoff, I know for a fact that Gregory has reached his limits ;-)
I do understand that - in theory- a safe word is important. That´s why I gave one to Gregory right from the start. It was clear to me that having a safe word is the reasonable thing to do.
I dont want a guy to fear me. I have feared men in my life. I dont wanna fear people anymore and I dont want to be the one who is feared neither.
I dont want a man to do something for me out of fear. I want him to always have the possibility to say "No".
If a man has to obey me because he doesn`t have another choice, I am not turned on at all. I see this in court often. I "win" and the oponent "has" to do something. This is a completely different dynamic. And it is far away from the domestic discipline situations that I am craving. Domestic discipline situations that are based on love and respect and common goals, not on winning or losing.
For me, personally, the whole safe word discussion does not make much sense anyway. I have never experieneced ever that a guy used a safe word with me. Never. Not one single time.
I do have experienced many times though that the guy just stopped being obedient. Real life came in the way, or he did not like what I wanted him to do, or his mood shifted away from kink, etc etc etc. I never got an elaborate explanation.
In a way I do think that I can be a very demanding domme. I get turned on by things that many guys dont consider to be hot. That´s why I tend to lean towards the domestic discipline area and not to the bdsm playroom of this thing we to. I get creative ideas and I am getting turned on by catching the man off guard. And many times the guy does not think at all that what I am demanding is hot. E.g: I once didn´t allow a guy to go to the gym for a few days. He hated it. Another guy lived in one of the upper floors of a high rise building and when I wanted to punish him, I told him that he must not use the elevator but walk the stairs up and down a few times each day.
When Gregory did the endless corner times for me last year, he wasnt in any bondage. He was able to leave the corner any time. The only thing that caused him to stand in the corner of his bedroom for "ages" was my word and his desire to please me. THAT was hot for me :-)
I think that one of the reasons why the "paddling incident" last year really threw me off balance is that it went against my most fundamental beliefs. I dont want anybody to suffer because of me. And especially not a man I admire and love. But once in a while, I want him to suffer because he chooses to suffer for me, because it turns me on, because it makes me happy, because it satisfies a certain need in me.
I dont expect Gregory to suffer trough agonizing pain just because he thinks he is expected to submit to me. Actually, I expect him to let me know that he is is suffering in a "not good" way. There is no need for him to go through a dark valley of unpleasant pain, just because he wants to please me. I can come up easily with thousands of other ways to get my dominant needs met, without him secretly praying for it to be over very soon.
I dont wanna feel guilty for inflicting pain or punishment on him. I dont want to have to apologize for my own domme-y cravings and needs. From my point of view, the safe word was as much for my protection as it was for his. By giving the man a safeword I give away some control. I hand some control and some responsibility over to him. But as I said, Gregory did not use it and neither has any other man I ever interacted with. As we have seen, the safe word did not protect neither me nor him.
In my opinion, a safe word is like a pre-nup. You try to foresee all possibilities, but once real life kicks in, there are millions of situations that are not covered by the contract. And a good lawyer (like James or Dan, who usually look at things from completely different stand points) will have no problems to make a case for their respective sides.