This is an article that those new within the lifestyle might not be aware of the meaning of the two abbreviations SSC and RACK. So let me start by explaining of the meaning. SSC is Safe, Sane and Consensual when RACK stands for Risk Aware Consensual Kink. On a first glance they both seem to be a way to secure both sides enjoy what is going on during a scene and in fact it is this way. Consensual is a word included in both the abbreviations. In my own opinion they stand for two different philosophies and is not the same. Historically speaking SSC was the first and dominating mantra for years until RACK came in the scene to express something completely different. Before I explain more I would love to state that I believe in SSC and I find RACK dangerous.
Those of us within the lifestyle might be easy to understand how BDSM demands to be safe, to play safe. For those outside of it, the vanilla world, it might be hard to understand how the context of Safe, Sane and Consensual fits into the “picture”. It might also be same hard to understand the concept to those new within BDSM. By definition the common dictionary states that safe is to be “secure from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk”. So when we play with our partner we have to care of their safety as many times some of our “games” might be risky. Plan carefully what you want to happen and make sure risk is there only as an idea not as an actual threat. It is a fact some people anticipate risk and danger so exciting and sexually stimulating. So let it be there as a feeling, as an idea not as a situation if that makes sense.
Sane is also very important. When we speak about BDSM and kink it is easily our mind to follow some dark paths. Darkness after all seems to have a huge strength, dangerous enough moreover when you have none to guide you.Guide? Exactly at this point I need to clarify one thing. It is not only the Dom who guides his sub through the darkness, this is a misconception. It is also the sub who helps a Dom to explore his darkness and by her limits guide him and show where He should stop. Getting back to a definition of what sane stands for within the BDSM lifestyle I would use the words of someone else. It is ” The ability to engage in appropriate self control is a big part of the “sane” portion of this philosophy. If you cannot control yourself, you should not enter into a situation where power exchange is a key aspect” (Kay, 2011).
Regarding consensual I would like to add something that some people might not spot on first reading. It is not just that both partners agree to what will happen but it also means that your consent is give before and not during or after. This is really important. During a scene the excitement might be so strong, that might drive people to seek things that in fact would never agree to experience otherwise. In another case, giving your consent after might be driven by many different factors such as fear, love etc.
If you feel that SSC was enough and there was no other reason to seek something different to secure the lifestyle I would agree with you. Why RACK came in the scene? According to some views the Risk Aware is better than safe because what we consider as safe varies by the individual. In some sense it is like this. What I see as safe another one might understand it as dangerous. But truth be told on its own it is not enough to secure your safety. Why? Because if you are not playing sane then what the person anticipates as safe might be dangerous to the common sense. That one is risk aware does not mean it is also sane.
I would use an exaggeration as an example to show you what I mean so please don’t take it as something real. Let us say that a Dom is a surgeon and cut the finger of his partner is something arousing to him. He is risk aware. He knows exactly what he is about to do. I would dare say that since he is a surgeon it is also safe as he knows how to treat his partner. But is this sane? In the common sense this is insane and one should never give her consent or for the Dom to even dare ask for it. I agree this is an extreme example but believe me there might be a lot of people who are risk aware and consider safe something that in common sense is not sane at all.
We can not be in BDSM without the meaning of sane. This is why SSC is the perfect philosophy as it secures that safety goes hand in hand with sanity and common sense. In the same time allows to people determine on their own what they find to be safe but within some limits. One can follow both philosophies but in my own opinion SSC should always be the dominant way of thinking and living the lifestyle.
I would like to end this article by saying something that I strongly believe. BDSM sexual side is not something to be experienced with casual partners. BDSM requires long term relationships as this is the best way learn who is the person you are “playing” with.