An Introduction to Safe Words

by Lovehoney

on 17 Nov 2020

Stuck for a safe word to use during play? Here are some top suggestions.

popular bondage safe words

Kinky sex: in case you didn't know, it's pretty popular nowadays.

Things that used to be taboo, like bondage and spanking, are now being discussed and explored by couples all over the world. BDSM topics are also being brought up in everyday life, with people talking about handcuffs or dominant and submissive relationships in casual conversation (we’re looking at you Fifty Shades).

If you’re keen to dive into the world of BDSM, it’s important to look after yourself and use a safe word when playing with your partner.

But what is a safe word?

A safe word is a word or short phrase you can say during sex or BDSM play to stop whatever’s going on and take a break. It’s best to choose something completely random so there’s no confusion.

Need help choosing a safe word? We surveyed some loyal Lovehoney customers to find out what words and phrases they’re using to stay safe in the bedroom and give you some inspiration.

And so we present to you our list of some of the best safe words, along with a few we simply couldn’t miss out...

Top 10 Most Common Safe Words

1. Red

This classic safe word is widely used by members of the BDSM community to signal a pause in play. Just like a traffic light, red means stop. (Fifty Shades fans might even recognise this one from the books).

2. Pineapple

Use this word if you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. And having safe sex of course.

3. Banana

Like all good safe words, Banana is random enough to avoid any confusion (and easy to recognise even with a ball gag in the way).

4. Orange

Since nothing rhymes with orange, it’s a great one to avoid miscommunication in steamy situations.

5. Peach

Sticking with the fruity theme, Peach is another good option. The fact that it’s only one syllable makes it quick and easy to say in more intense moments.

6. Apple

Our final fruit-themed addition to the list is short and simple. And you know what they say, an apple a day keeps the spanks away.

7. Vanilla

When things are hotting up in the bedroom, this word is perfect, and ironically, anything but vanilla.

8. Yellow

Another 50 shades of grey safe word, yellow works well with Red or Green as part of a traffic light system to indicate to your partner that you want/need to slow things down.

9. Blue

If traditional traffic light colours are too dull for you, why not switch it up with blue (or any other colour really).

10. Unicorn

And finally, when all else fails, you can’t go wrong with unicorn.

Honourable Mentions

So there you have it, the 10 most popular safe words according to our wonderful customers.

While these may be the best safe words, it would be a shame not to mention some of the more uncommon safe word examples we got…

Celebrity Names

Everyone’s got a celebrity crush but some people have a celebrity safe word too. Our customers said their safe word celebrities were:

  • Donald Trump (yes, really)
  • Justin Bieber
  • Michael Jackson

Who would yours be?

Fictional Characters

Fictional characters also proved quite popular among the Lovehoney community. Notable figures include:

  • Elmo
  • Tinkerbell
  • Betty Boop


Food and sex can be a great combination. If fruit isn’t your thing, why not try these other Lovehoney customer favourites:

  • Banoffee
  • Fairy Bread
  • Marmite

WTF Words We Had to Look Up

If fruits and colours are too basic for you, why not try some of these less common safe words:

  • Trabeculectomy
  • Filibuster
  • Glottis

You really do learn something new every day.

Harry Potter

We saved our favourites for last. Our Lovehoney customers took inspiration from JK Rowling’s famous series with words like:

  • Dobby
  • Hufflepuff
  • Incendio

Who doesn’t love Harry Potter?

Main image by Clarissa Watson via Unsplash


Written by Lovehoney. For collaborative posts between Lovehoney team members and guest authors
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Originally published on 17 Nov 2020. Updated on 19 Nov 2021