BDSM Blog Hop Post 3 – RACK and Me

Last minute post, before the blog hop is over!

 

I thought was done writing posts for the BDSM Blog Hop, until I noticed a comment on my first post that I thought warranted a more in depth response than the reply I gave.

 

Disclaimer: Unless attributed to someone else, all of this is my personal opinion, based on being an active member in my local scene for 16 months (which is not a very long time). You can take it or leave it, I just wanted to share my opinions and experience.

 

The commenter said, ” I guess I’m curious about electrical play, since the safety issues always give me pause…”

 

This commenter made a very good point. In BDSM and kink (when writing, I often interchange the terms), one of the most important things is consent to any activities between all parties involved. Another thing that is just as important, in my opinion, is informed consent

 

I first learned the term Informed consent when watching medical TV shows. Here’s how it works, in a nutshell. Before a doctor performs a medical procedure on a patient, the doctor is obligated to inform the patient about how the procedure works and the risks and benefits involved. The patient then gets to decide whether they want to go through with the procedure. 

 

With informed consent in BDSM, practitioners of BDSM are analogous to the doctor and patient, and whatever kink activities are being discussed are analogous to the discussion of the medical procedure.  

 

So, what about safety?

 

A lot of people practice SSC BDSM, which stands for Safe, Sane, and Consensual BDSM. The general idea is that all parties involved consent, are in a sane state of mind when they decide to play and when they play, and that they play safely. 

 

But what is “playing safely” anyway? The only types of BDSM play that I personally consider inherently safe (just thinking off the top of my head) are sensation play with non-sharp objects, some forms of roleplay (including power exchange – D/s and M/s), and sexual play with maximum safer sex practices.

 

Many of the other types of BDSM play do have the potential to cause injury, if not done properly. Accidents happen. Even if done properly, some activities can still cause injuries of varying degrees. Are these activities safe or not? I think that’s subjective. Spanking, caning, paddling, and flogging can lead to bruising and soreness, for up to days, depending on the intensity of the play. Does that mean these activities aren’t safe? Again, that’s somewhat subjective. Rope play, something that many people I know practice, can cause nerve damage if someone is tied too tightly, kept bound in one position for too long, or suspended, no matter how competent the top and how experienced the bottom.

 

And that’s not even getting into more extreme, risky forms of play, which many people consider edge play – fire play and needle/sharps/piercing play, for example. Certainly, those things can’t be considered safe, can they?

 

Words are powerful things. We use them to convey meanings. I like to say what I mean and mean what I say.

 

That’s why I say I don’t practice SSC, I practice RACK. 

 

RACK stands for Risk Aware Consensual Kink. Remember the analogy with the doctor and the patient discussing a procedure and deciding whether to perform it? That’s how RACK works for me. For any kink activity I am thinking about doing, I learn about it. I learn how it works, learn the risks, and how to do it right. I do this through online research, talking to others who are more experienced than myself, and watching others do the activity. I make a decision what risks I am willing to accept, and what risks I am not willing to accept, and I act accordingly. 

 

Some of the things I do are not generally considered safe. I play with electricity, getting shocked and shocking my partner. I have fire swept over my body by a trusted top (well, just the once so far, but I plan to do it again). I can’t in good conscience say that I am an SSC player.

 

But I can say that I practice RACK.

 

There are some risks I’m not willing to accept. For example, I don’t do anything that pierces the skin or draws blood. I also don’t do rope bondage that has a risk of leading to nerve damage (so, no suspensions for me). I don’t play with bodily waste (I wouldn’t be interested in that anyway, though). 

 

On a related note, one saying in the kink community is YKINMKATOK – Your Kink is Not My Kink and That’s OK. There are some kinks that I am not interested in, and some that make me uncomfortable. But as long as all parties are practicing informed consent, I do my best not to judge them or their kinks. If something is happening at a party that I don’t like, I can always move to another area and let the people playing enjoy themselves.

 

 So, that’s all I’ve got for you readers from me. If you’d like to read more about SSC and RACK, from a historical perspective, this is a great article by Cross, a kink educator: http://xcbdsm.com/2010/09/06/ssc-vs-rack/

 

Once again, please do check out the other people who have taken their time and experience to contribute to the blog hop, by clicking the button below and clicking on any participants. Thanks for stopping by! 

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About Sara Testarossa

Sara is a voracious reader who also loves to write. She has been writing stories for all of her adult life, and most of her childhood. She started out writing general fiction, moved on to M/F romance, and wrote M/M romance and erotica almost exclusively for years before writing her first F/F erotic romance. Her focus for many years was fanfiction, but she has gotten back to originals, thanks in no small part to partners’ and friends’ loving encouragement over the years. She also enjoys beta-reading, editing, and recording fiction in audio form. Her hobbies include listening to many types of music, watching sci-fi and action shows and movies, and spending inordinate amounts of time wandering around online. She has a wonderful partner and several furbeasts of the feline and canine variety. Sara’s creative endeavors are often limited by her being a spoonie with a full-time day job to pay the bills – not that writing/editing/recording can’t. That said, she’s extremely passionate about her work as a sex educator and retail worker, which is incredibly fun and rewarding.

Posted on July 13, 2014, in about Sara, Activism, BDSM Nonfiction, Nonfiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That’s an interesting take on SSC. I can’t say I agree 100% because if I were to accept your definition of safe, Nothing is ever completely safe, no matter what. And D/s and M/s aren’t necessarily safe, either, in a lot of cases, especially if it’s outside of a long-established relationship.

    Personally, I’d go something a little less stringent. For me “safe” means that you’re taking precautions, doing whatever it is you’re doing as safely as possible and have the backup and emergency care available should something go wrong.

    But this brings up an interesting issue: even among those in the community, the definitions aren’t hard and fast. In my opinion, though, this simply backs up a lot of what has been said over the hop: research, research, research. Learn everything you can, understand everything possible about what you’re going to get into and ONLY THEN, decide for yourself what constitutes safe to you.

    Like

    • “even among those in the community, the definitions aren’t hard and fast”

      Exactly! This is why I talk to people about what -insert concept here- means to them, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes because I want to play with them, I find it quite interesting to learn how people define different things.

      I do like your definition of “safe”, it makes a lot of sense. Though, with that definition, with experienced practitioners taking the appropriate precautions and having the needed emergency supplies, suspensions, fire, and sharps could all be potentially “safe” play. Which is fine. But some people don’t feel that way.

      As for D/s and M/s not being inherently safe by my definition, I agree, which is why I tried to specify “some forms of roleplay” referring to them but I think I phrased it poorly. I meant that some aspects of D/s and M/s dynamics were inherently safe when previously discussed and consented to (say, a D-type rewarding her s-type for him completing a task she had told him to do).

      I am totally with you on the research!

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      Like

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