BDSM Education- SSC and RACK

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SSC- Safe, Sane and Consensual- one of the catch phrases you will hear in the BDSM world.  The term SSC was brought to the BDSM world in 1987 in Washington at the Gay and Lesbian march (it had existed in the gay men's leather community prior to that time).  Some folks think it's the only way one can do BDSM and some folks think the opposite and even others think just use common sense.  

Looking at Webster's: 

Safe- Free from danger.  

Sane- Mentally healthy; rational.  

Consensual- (Consent) To agree, permit, permission, approval.  

 

RACK- Risk Aware Consensual Kink- a catch phrase you will hear in the BDSM world that seems to cover some folk's thinking about it being the only way one can do BDSM.  The Eulenspiegel Society magazine Prometheus issue 31 is where the term RACK first appeared.  You will still find some folks that think the opposite and even others who think you should just use common sense.  

Looking at Webster's: 

Risk- The chance of injury, damage, or loss.  

Aware- Knowing; realizing; conscious.  

Consensual- (Consent) To agree, permit, permission, approval.  

Kink- A mental twist; eccentricity.  

 

In BDSM nothing is safe.  Mountain climbing is not safe, skydiving is not safe, I think you get the idea.  What we do has risks.  But it helps to minimize the risks by learning each skill required for each toy and type of play.  This makes things safer, not safe, but safer.  Risk is not saying it's safe to do, but you have an understanding that things can go wrong and can be dangerous.  By negotiating with people about what types of "play" and what kinds of risks you both are taking, you are being risk aware.  

Safe is tricky since what one thinks is safe another might not.  Single tails, fire, piercing, knives for example are safe for some of us, and beyond others limits so they deem them unsafe.  Guess what?  You can only decide what is safe for yourself, not someone else.   We take what precautions we can to avoid damage from the activity we are doing.

Sane is the tough one.  Someone might think fire play is insane and someone else enjoys it and feels it is very sane.  Someone might think kneeling and serving someone is insane and someone else enjoys it and feels it is very sane.  Someone might think getting spanked is insane and someone else enjoys it and feels it is very sane, etc.  So the sane part of SSC is different to each person involved in BDSM.

Consent/Consensual is tough too, since it implies you know each and every risk, which you can't.  The best you can have is agreement on what you are trying and that neither is being forced, kinda informed consent.  It is essential this be done before starting out in BDSM with someone.  It's kind of a layman's attempt to get rid of the misconception of nonconsensual things happening between those involved. 

Aware means you know about most of the risks and that you accept those risks and the possibility that something is risky.  Aware means you have looked at the possibilities of known dangers, are aware of unknown dangers that might happen and have decided to participate. 

Kink means we do things that are outside society norms and not "mainstream."  Anything not pro-creation sex between a man and woman.  

Now a lot of folks think that SSC and/or RACK is worthless and is just pseudo-security for the terminally gullible; encouraging vanilla people to think BDSM is just good ole' fun.  Why?  Well your emotions and urges can hinder your judgment.  Submissives can become helpless as subbie mind space clicks in.  Their wants and desires flood into them, they are owned, they are submissive.  Submissives will even bring the Dom/me the implements to be used on them, to be secured, to render themselves helpless, to allow the Dom/me to strike them.  For them that is perfectly normal and safe, loving and caring.  

Bottom line--SSC and/or RACK are fine for some and not for others, in the end common sense is used the most.  Generally both the Dom/me and submissive are aware that physical injury, emotional trauma, broken trust and maybe even accidental outing can happen.  Most Dom/mes and subs take this information and participate in BDSM with little real consequences/problems.

 

Back to Dictionary page-RACK definition


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