Safe emojis & are “locker room talks” our desires?

I feel that in the first place, a safe word for sadomasochistic sexting is not necessary since how “unsafe” or “dangerous” can it be. If you are feeling uncomfortable, you can simply just stop replying for a few hours and the other party might probably get it.

In Henkin & Holiday, 1996’s advice on choosing a safe word, words other than No, Stop or Slow down are generally suitable to be used as a safe word as these words give an illusion of need, control and power. A recent article by Ramos, 2018 gives a few examples of safe words to use and their word categories include fruits, food, names of famous people and countries. These word categories generally have no relation to the actual sadomasochistic process.

Among the emojis, ?⛓ are the worst emoji you can choose to represent safe words as they are simply tools you use when exercising sadomasochistic sex. Facial expressions such as : ???????? are definitely out of the picture as they just give a sense of what the sender is feeling. Hand signals: ✋ and ? give the impression of “stop” and “ok” respectively which do not fit the criteria of being a safe word.

The following emojis: ? ❕??? are towards the safe side whereby if these emojis were established way before the process, they would be suitable to be used as “safe emoji”. However, ? seems like a venue to do something funny in your imagination. ❕might refer to shocked or excitement. The pill ?, cucumber ? and the microphone ? belong to word categories that do not actually relate to sadomasochistic sex. However, the shape of the cucumber and microphone has similarities of a dick. Using this emoji runs the risk of Julie’s representation of the need of a dick thus it would be best to use the pill ? as the safe emoji.

In my opinion, a pill ? can represent the traffic colour which is commonly used as safe words as reported in an article by thehomoculture. With red representing “stop” and yellow representing “slow down or reaching the limit”, the occurrence of the pill? is a signal to the reader to stop and check whether is it everything okay.

Personally, I have engaged in many locker-room-banters myself during my teenage days when I was young and would dare to speak as freely as I want to without thinking of the consequences. In my experience, locker-room-banters are shared more commonly within people of the same sex and especially more so during National Service, when I am surrounded with a group of male strangers and we have nothing to talk about. During National Service, when life was dull and empty, objectify woman really could ease up the tension and bring up the mood. In most of these conversations, I must say that It expresses some of our desires or opinions which we may or may not have true intentions for. As such, I do not agree with the first Urban Dictionary definition which explains that locker room talk “exists solely for the purpose of male comedy and is not meant to be taken seriously”. Letting our desires or opinions turned into word forms gave us at least a sense of satisfaction and relieve especially when someone else shares the same thought.

Even when sexual desires are personal and private to each individual, the actualization process is formed by social and verbal interaction (Eckert 2002). It is only by speaking out, we would be able to understand what is desirable, what is appropriate and inappropriate desires for each unique individual (Cameron & Kulick, 2010). Desires are therefore linked to linguistics concepts just like how thoughts are formed by languages. When desires are expressed or represented in language, it could be in the form of crude locker-room banter and individuals may choose to keep their desires private or shared it openly (Eckert, 2002). In my opinion, private conversations are not private once it is shared with someone else other than the individual himself. Thus, I do not agree with the second definition from Urban Dictionary as well whereby locker room talks are meant to be kept private as there would be times where an individual would want their desire to be known.

Personally, I feel that locker room talks serve more than just being a form of socializing tool and a conversation that should be kept private. It also expresses the desires and actual opinions of an individual and he/she would likely feel a sense of satisfaction once the thought is also put across to someone else even though it might not be actualized.

However, as Cameron & Kulick mentioned, each individual may have different acceptance level for what is appropriate or inappropriate desires. Therefore, as locker room banters would usually objectify or defame another individual, it might not be acceptable for all, even among friends of the same social circle. I would like to end off with the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”. As smart adults, it would be better if we can avoid locker room talks unless we really want to express our desires.


Cameron, D., & Kulick, D. (2010). Language and sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eckert, Penelope. (2002) Demystifying sexuality and desire. Language and sexuality: Contesting meaning in theory and practice. ed. by Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, Robert J. Podesva, Sarah J. Roberts and Andrew Wong, 99-110. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Henkin, William A. and Holiday, Sybil 1996, Consensual Sadomasochism: How to Talk About it and Do it Safely, Los Angeles: Daedalus.

Ramos, B. (2018, January 08). These sexual safe words are a little out there. Retrieved April 10, 2018, from

The importance of a safe word: Why you need one and how to use it. (2017, January 25). Retrieved April 10, 2018, from