I’d like to take a moment here to introduce two acronyms that are common within the BDSM community. These are RACK and SSC. I’ll go over what they mean in a moment, but broadly speaking they are a way of dividing up play activities into the safe and the not so safe. You should decide for yourself which category you are most comfortable with. Also make yourself aware of what the acronyms stand for, as you may run into them during your journey through the scene. Some parties, for example, may insist on only a certain kind of play, and will use these acronyms to identify which kind they mean.
SSC – Safe, Sane, Consensual
This acronym refers to the safer side of BDSM play. It denotes any activity where the risk is relatively low, and where there is unlikely to be any great harm if anything goes wrong. Safe, sane and consensual activities are the kind of thing you’ll see a lot of in the scene – things like light spanking, bondage and sensation play. By most people’s standards these are activities where it’s relatively easy to manage the risk that’s involved. When doing bondage for example, you can have safety shears on hand to ensure that nobody gets stuck or suffers nerve damage. Similarly when spanking someone you can familiarise yourself with what areas of the back and body to avoid, so as not to cause internal injuries.
Safe, sane, consensual activities are of course not completely safe. Nothing in this world is completely safe, and you can never predict some of the stranger things that might go wrong. The key to identifying safe, sane, consensual activities is that they involve relatively minimal risk, and that they have obvious and reliable ways in which this risk can be managed.
RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink
On the slightly more dangerous side of things we have RACK. This acronym denotes activities where it is much harder to manage the risk involved, and where the danger from something going wrong is much greater. Knife play, severe whipping and suspension bondage are all examples of RACK activities. This is because something very serious could happen if things were to go wrong. While the risk here can be managed, just as it can with SSC activities, it is almost impossible to bring it down to a negligible level. RACK activities always have some inherent risk, which the participants must accept if they wish to play and participate in these activities.