I am sure
that most everyone reading this knows what S.S.C. stands for......Safe,
Sane and Consensual. Its catchy, easy to remember and it has
been a worthwhile marketing slogan for the BDSM lifestyle no
matter what your level of involvement. Over time though it has
become less useful to the people actually engaging in BDSM activities,
but perhaps even more useful in making us appear more "normal"
to the outside world. What is "normal" by the way?
down the acronyms and see which bests serves the people who
actually engage in BDSM activities, then you decide which works
best the for you.
Safe: Free from harm. All necessary precautions that can be
taken for a particular activity have been. Sounds good. Now
define safe for yourself. So far so good. Define safe for everyone
else that engages in BDSM. There in lies the catch with Safe,
its impossible to come up with an even close, satisfactory universal
definition that covers anyone other than you. What one person
considers safe another may think is not only unsafe as it applies
to them but damn close to insane as well. Single tails, cuttings,
needle play and brandings are just a few of the activities that
some of us engage in, that many others find beyond their limits
and thus unsafe for themselves. Safe on the other hand, is one
of the reasons that SSC is such a wonderful marketing tool for
some of the best political activist groups that we have, and
thank goodness for them, such as the NCSF (National Coalition
of Sexual Freedom) who is working very hard to get and keep
the government out of your bedroom. "Safe" is a comforting
word to those that they are working with to get laws changed
is another tough one to define. Sane to most of us means that
we have clear mental facilities at the time that we are engaging
in any BDSM activity, that we are neither high, drunk or unbalanced
mentally in any way. Sounds good. Sane is rarely applied to
any activity, so like Safe; Sane is left to the individual.
What you consider to be a sane activity I may think is completely
crazy. Sane is another comfort word that's wonderful in selling
what it is that we do. The media often portrays anyone into
S&M as being a deranged serial killer at worst and usually
criminal to some lesser degree at best, so its nice to be able
to convey the fact that the majority of the people who engage
in BDSM, including S&M, are level headed sane people who
just like to spice up their sex lives with the additions of
whips and chains.
This is the one that we all seem to agree on. If the person
you are playing with has not fully consented to whatever it
is that is taking place, its wrong, its assault and its abusive.
Consent in what we do is the very fine line that divides us
from criminals and abusers. Informed consent that is given while
NOT under duress can be applied to those that engage in BDSM
play and able to be understood by those that do not. It seems
to be the most honest of the three of SSC.
examine R.A.C.K. which has not been around all that long and
is widely unknown by those who engage in BDSM activities. Risk
Aware Censual Kink.
are some of the things that can go wrong, even with the best
of planning and at the hands of the most experienced player.
Risk does not imply Safe; it implies that there can be dangers
that have to be weighed before engaging in any activity. Risk
would be a much harder sell than Safe to the vanilla world.
It somewhat implies that what we do is in fact dangerous. Isn't
most if not all of what we do dangerous to some degree? I think
that you know what the risks are for a given BDSM play activity
do you accept those risks and are you aware of what the possibilities
are if something should go wrong and they should befall you?
Acceptance means that yes, you are aware of the risk involved
and that you knowingly and willingly accept those risks. There
is no debate about whether or not it's Sane. Aware means that
you, after weighing the risks to the enjoyment and benefit of
the activity, to YOU that it is sane and that you can make an
informed decision. It re-enforces the fact that what we do is
in fact up to the individuals participating. It's honest.
Same as above. The two (or more) people involved in any BDSM
play activity are informed consenting ADULTS and that consent
has not been obtained under duress (with a gun to someone's
head for example).
implies that what we do is somewhat outside the mainstream.
Kink is an umbrella term and one that is good, in that it covers
everyone. What I consider to be kinky you might consider to
be boring and mundane, but it covers us both. There are some
kinks that do squick me, namely sex in the dark in the missionary
position. That's kinky as hell to me, but those that enjoy their
sex that way very well may consider the fact that my slave and
I enjoy things such as spanking, paddling, single tails, caning,
electrical play (and not vibrators), enema's, straps, knife
play etc etc to be kinky, but we are both covered.
one is more suited to what it is that we do, SSC or RACK? I
personally think that RACK is a lot more honest and a lot less
ambiguous than SSC for the purpose in educating the people who
actually engage in BDSM play activities. I think that RACK makes
you much more aware of what needs to be covered before engaging
in ANY activity with anyone. I also think that we as a community
still have a great need for SSC, the theory behind it was very
noble when it came about in the mid 1980's and that theory is
still noble today. We as a community need something that is
short and catchy and portrays us in a good light. A popular
beer commercial advertises its product as "great taste,
less filling" and for the people it's trying to reach is
a great slogan. It does not advertise with "drink 6 of
these in 15 minutes, get behind the wheel of a car and you may
kill yourself or someone else". That's the reality of it
though isn't it? Beyond just selling ourselves in a positive
fashion to the rest of the world, I think we also owe it ourselves
AND the rest of the world to educate one another and ourselves
in the best most honest fashion that we can. As far as I am
concerned, SSC makes the sale possible and nice, RACK is the
warranty that keeps it from ever being portrayed as lemon. Think
I have your attention feel free to email me. I may or may not
respond to the emails, but I promise to read all of them.
Copyright Justin Medlin © July 2001
Reproduced by permission of Justin.
All rights reserved, do not reproduce in whole or in part without
the express written consent of the author. Originally hosted