Hello my lovely fellow kinksters and curious souls! This week I am continuing on the theme of consent and personal needs, comforts, and limits. If you have read some of my previous posts, you might have seen mention of Safe, Sane, and Consensual (SSC). Just a quick recap, SSC is meant to provide guidelines and reminders to have a good time while being careful and within the boundaries of the limits, desires, and overall consent of everyone involved. I have an entire post on consent if you wish to see more on that here. As for today, I want to discuss SSC more but also the concept of (RACK). I took a little while writing this because I wanted to be as thorough and accurate as possible. I’ll be linking to some resources at the bottom for additional reading and research.
So, to begin let me break these two concepts down a bit. I’ll start with SSC. This concept is commonly heard and used in the kink community because of how it neatly ties together the main guidelines many people recommend to avoid any true injury, be it physical or mental. Kink can involve pain and other activities that can be intense, perhaps even lead to an injury by accident so SSC is not to say that you can never get hurt just that it is not the intention and planned in a way to avoid risking injury. Abiding by SSC just means that play is done in a way that typically shouldn’t be too crazy or high risk. Looking at SSC word for word, you would have play that (S) does not expose you to harm or danger, (S) sound of mind and body, and (C) based on mutual consent. That leads me to the first contrast with RACK: you are not anticipating any potentially severe injuries or damage when playing within the boundaries of SSC.
So, what are the boundaries of SSC? When does it become RACK territory? Those can both be difficult questions because they can be open to interpretation. Certain types of play are commonly seen as being in RACK territory especially with edge play like knife play, breath play, artistic cutting, and so on. These all share the inherent potential for harm, whether it be short term, long term, or permanent. In these circumstances, you could say you cross the boundary of SSC into RACK because the question of whether an injury can occur switches to when will it occur. Because of the danger of edge play, many people are vigilant and will not do something unless there is a lot of trust since you could very well be putting your life in someone else’s hands. People playing this way may have first aid kits, CPR training, and other possible tools at their disposal in case something goes wrong. For play where a mistake or an underlying, unseen problem can lead to death, it may also be considered consent to being prepared to take action and responsibility at a moment’s notice whether that is doing something like CPR or calling an ambulance without hesitation. It’s also acknowledging the possibility that your lives can be forever changed, sometimes even after the scene is over either because of the aforementioned invisible problem like a blood clot that forms during certain types of breath play. With RACK, you are aware of the risks that you and your play partner(s) are taking while taking steps to prevent any complications and being prepared in case something goes wrong whether it’s just having the right tools like butterfly bandages in case of knife play gone wrong or being ready to call for help. However, not all of RACK revolves around the physical risks.
Remember how SSC is both safe and sane? RACK can also be used for play that may not seem inherently dangerous. This goes back to the idea that the boundaries between SSC and RACK are open to interpretation but so is edge play. Some people may consider one form of play to be edge play while others may not, such as confinement. Sane comes into play when taking into account your mental health and how you react to certain things. So, in the example of humiliation some people may consider that edge play because it toes the line of sanity for them because of the potential for emotional and mental harm it can do, especially with the wrong person or just the wrong words. Along more physical lines, some may hold the same view towards bondage because of the inability to escape and the vulnerability it gives. In the end, any and all play will involve trust and consent in order to stay within a person’s limits. Those limits as well as the danger will determine what kind of consent it will be.
Now, as a final bit of this topic, I want to stress the importance of a few things. First, aftercare. Aftercare is important no matter the play because it makes sure that everyone involved is brought back down from the scene safely and can process what has happened. Everyone does aftercare differently but whether it’s just a quick check in at the end, wrapping them in a blanket as their body regulates itself, or keeping in touch for a couple of days, it will provide that space for sanity and trust. The other is preparation and knowledge, whether doing SSC or RACK. Knowing what you are doing is important and can even be vital to staying healthy no matter what you are doing. With SSC, having that knowledge and practice will help keep the risk of harm as low as possible so that play is safe such as knowing proper ties with bondage to avoid nerve damage and avoiding certain areas with flogging to prevent hitting the kidneys. With RACK, it may be taking on training and even more practice so that the risks that are already there are either addressed or you know how to react in case something goes wrong. Lastly, have fun! Get to know your not only your kinks, but your limits too so that you can go forth along your journey enjoying yourself and the many experiences you can have! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, play safe so that you can continue to enjoy your kinky side as much as you’d like! So, until the next time, take care of yourself and your play partners, too, and never stop learning or striving to do your kink better so you can reap all of the pleasure!
Here are a few links that you may also find useful for additional views as well as examples, tips, and the like:
Short but good review as well as links to other definitions – http://www.bdsmwiki.info/Category:Edge_Play
This one goes more into the definitions behind each of component of SSC vs RACK – http://withinreality.com/wp/rack-vs-ssc/
Here, they touch on it but have links to discuss SSC and RACK in more detail on there own – https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/06/learn-the-ssc-and-rack-mantras-for-safer-risk-conscious-kinky-sex/
This one is longer but also includes some interesting history and dives deeper into the topic – https://historyofthedominatrix.com/blogs/blog/the-history-bdsm-consent-ssc-vs-rack
If anyone would like to suggest more sites or anything for the post itself, along with any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!