RACK = Risk Aware Consensual Kink
SSC = Safe Sane Consensual

SSC has been the BDSM slogan for many years. It is the catch phrase that a lot of people use in the community. RACK has surfaced in the last several years. I would like you to consider the intent or spirit in the differences in the terms SSC and RACK

Here is how Webster’s defines….Safe, Sane, and Consensual.

1 : free from harm or risk : UNHURT

1 : proceeding from a sound mind : RATIONAL
2 : mentally sound; especially : able to anticipate and appraise the effect of one’s actions
3 : healthy in body

1 a : existing or made by mutual consent without an act of writing (a consensual contract)
b : involving or based on mutual consent (consensual acts)


1 : possibility of loss or injury : PERIL
2 : someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard

1 : archaic : WATCHFUL, WARY
2 : having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge – aware·ness noun

1 a : existing or made by mutual consent without an act of writing (a consensual contract)
b : involving or based on mutual consent (consensual acts)

1 : a short tight twist or curl caused by a doubling or winding of something upon itself
2 a : a mental or physical peculiarity : ECCENTRICITY, QUIRK b : WHIM
3 : a clever unusual way of doing something
4 : a cramp in some part of the body
5 : an imperfection likely to cause difficulties in the operation of something

SSC… safe sane consensual…when you say it out loud it seems pretty clear. So you are either safe or not, sane or not, consensual or not, right? But how does each of us define and set the standard for SSC is unclear.

RACK…the intent of RACK is education and awareness. You should try to know as much as you can about what you are doing…be aware of the risk. Do you consent or have cosent – and also know the different forms it takes. If you are aware of your risk and you consent to it – go forward. That is the “spirit” of RACK. There is no, “this is safe and this is not.” There is only safer and less safe.

The difference between the two terms is even more clear when the spirit of them is applied in the public scene.

When watching a scene that may involve some heavy risk you might hear the person next to you whisper to their partner “they shouldn’t do that…its unsafe…that is a dangerous Dominant” – that is the spirit of SSC.

If you hear whispered “I wonder if he knows the risk involved in doing that….I wonder if he does “this” it could be made safer….I think I will tell him about it later after his scene” – that is the “spirit” of RACK.

Just as we might look at a shade of blue and someone calls it midnight blue and I might call it navy blue. We all see things differently. We all react to things differently – so how can I say that something is unsafe for someone when we are different and handle/deal with life differently.

Another example: blood play may be a hard limit for someone and they may feel that it is NOT safe or sane plus they would never consent to it. Someone else may enjoy blood play and feel that it is safe and sane, and they frequently consent to it. With SSC, one of those people has to be right and the other person has to be wrong. It can’t be both ways.

The spirit of SSC has become one of you either are or you are not safe, sane and consensual. And that is completely relative. The intent of RACK is not what others think you should or shouldn’t risk, but that of increasing awareness and making informed decisions on what you choose to risk.

© within Reality: danae 2003 – all rights reserved