He asked me "How much is 'rough'?"
"Well I don't know!"
Non-Dom and I occasionally (all the time) engage in a bit of the rough stuff. I only have that experience and I don't know what 'rough' might look like to others. I imagine there is a continuum as with most things, from a mild slap on the face (yum) through to man-handling (sign me up), to extreme and permanent injury (goes without saying...definitely off the table..OK I said it). In an instant I realised I trusted Local D to employ the Hippocratic oath and do no harm.
What a freeing revelation that was to hear the words leave my mouth, "I need you to do what you want to, what you need. I trust you to keep me safe."
I might be silly but I trust him. In fact I know I'm silly as I don't really know him, but I trust him. I have safe words and I'm not afraid to use them. The very first time I used one he reacted immediately. I was blown away with his commitment to his word. It wasn't even the stop word, it was just the 'slow down I'm getting near the end' word. His reaction cemented for me that he was serious about keeping me safe. It built in an instant and significant amount of trust that even months of talking with him did not.
It strikes me that there is a stream of thought among some submissive women that there is some shame in singing out the safe word. I just don't get that. Surely and especially in the newness of a D/s partnership a sub owes it to their Dominant partner to use these words and often. As talented as the Dominant S/He may be, they are not mind readers (though I am beginning to believe that just maybe....) and some sort of code words are useful for them to begin to really understand their sub partners capacity to engage in 'rough' play or any other activity.
Of course I could be talking through my reddened arse.