I tend to assume that, if *I* know about something, then surely everyone knows about it. After all, I’m appallingly naive for a 30-mumble-something woman. So when a friend had a bad experience playing with a new partner, I assumed that, at the very least, her safecall provided a built-in endpoint to the scene.

But she didn’t use a safecall. And I wonder: how many people do?

Her experience is not mine to share in any kind of detail; it was an unfortunately common story, though. She met a top at a local munch, they exchanged e-mail addresses, talked via e-mail for a week or two, went out to dinner once or twice, and then they decided to play. Alone, at her house.

You know, all of that is, more or less, what you’re “supposed” to do when you meet a new potential partner (in the kink world AND the vanilla world, really). I, personally, would be uncomfortable playing with a new partner for the first time in a setting where we were alone, but not everyone feels the way that I do. I’m excessively cautious about some stuff.

Anyway, my friend. The scene went wrong, I found out the next day (which was the first that I had even heard that she had decided to play with this new top). The top didn’t respect my friend’s limits, my friend got freaked out, and eventually they stopped, but the end result was that my friend was really, REALLY upset afterwards, which is quite understandable. She was upset for days, and, in truth, is still kind of spun by it, but is doing fine, basically, now that some time has passed.

When I was pretty new to the local BDSM community, I encountered people who expressed disdain for safecalls, because they found them “insulting.” OF COURSE nothing would go wrong, they insisted. Did I think they were some kind of psycho? How rude of me! These people were generally (but not always) tops/dominants, and I realized right away that they were not people I wanted to play with. If you can’t respect my need for safety, especially when we barely know each other (and, hey, what if *I’m* the psycho, huh? you ever think about that?), then I have no desire to play with you.

And I encountered people who cheerfully admitted that they didn’t use safecalls because they tended to lose track of time when playing, and if you lose track of time and don’t check in with your safecall person, they call the police, and, well THAT’S embarassing. (To which I say: stop viewing your flakiness as a charming quality and get a watch with a goddamn ALARM on it. Set the alarm, call your friend to check in, and then keep playing.)

But when I hear stories like my friend’s experience—and the ones that are even worse, that end with someone being gravely harmed or killed—then I tend to think that maybe the perceived “inconvenience” of setting up a safecall isn’t really an inconvenience at all. It might just save your ass.