BDSM: SSC vs RACK

We’re going (ever so slightly back in time), with some posts we wrote about Room 1024 when it came out and that we haven’t yet put up on the blog here. To start: our guest post on Mychael Black’s blog, about the difference between the SSC and RACK schools of thought, and where Room 1024 falls:

room2014In the post-50 Shades of Grey era, writing BDSM stories has become in some ways remarkably complicated. For those of us in the kink community, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right, to show what “BDSM” really is, and to highlight how BDSM functions around consent and communication. In pursuit of this goal, most people reference the idea of “safe, safe, and consensual” as basic tenets of good BDSM practice.

But the reality is that SSC, and all that it has come to stand, for is not, in fact, the only way to describe responsible BDSM practices. Another popular acronym that is less known outside of the community is RACK: Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

In some ways, the difference between SSC and RACK is the difference between saying “safe sex” and “safer sex.” All sex, and all kinky sex, has risks. RACK, like the terminology of “safer sex,” acknowledges that all risk cannot be eliminated, but that all parties need to know about the risks involved before consenting. RACK is often used as a response to SSC especially by those who engage in forms of play some people consider to be never appropriate — such as blood or breath play — or play in conditions some people find unacceptable (i.e., when any amount of alcohol has been consumed). RACK also seeks to acknowledge that there isn’t a single standard of safe — what might be safe for one person, may be unsafe for someone else. Communication is key.

RACK isn’t inherently better, edgier, truer or anything else than SSC. And SSC isn’t inherently more ethical or responsible. But the terminologies and philosophies behind them may be better or worse fits for particular individuals and both have the goals of emphasizing consent and responsible play.

Read more at Mychael Black Books

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