Safe Sane and Consensual (SSC)

Safe Sane and Consensual (SSC) is one of many terms to learn within BDSM practices. The principles behind it, and its implementation in practice, should be discussed in any Dom/sub relationship.

Safe: This is the attempt to identify any health or medical risks to you and your partner and the safety of any play equipment.   As all humans have limits as to what situations and acts are acceptable to them and such limits varies from individual to individual, it is important for a submissive to have a "safe word".  It can be any word of the submissive's choosing but memorable (see below for an example of the possibly consequences for forgetting it!), and it should not be a word that the submissive might ordinarily use during play, for example "no", "no", "no" could be misconstrued as expression of pleasure during a play session much as you might say "no" or "oh god" during sexual intercourse.   The submissive should make it clear to the Dominant what the word is and the Dominant should always respect it when used, stop play and discuss before proceeding.   Playing safely does not mean you have to give up anything that has a risk or element of danger, it means acting responsibly, taking responsible care and considering risks associated with any activity you may try.  Activities with a risk should be well balanced between the risk and reward for everyone that may be involved.  

Read our further discussion on Safety within BDSM practices and Play sessions

Sane: Play activities should only take place in a logical mind and should only be acted upon if possible. Do not put yourself or your partner in a dangerous situation, stay within reasonable limits and boundaries.   Avoid excessive drug or acohol intake that might otherwise affect your judgement.

Consensual: To give informed consent; to agree with any activities that may take place, without the need to be forced, again staying within your own limits and boundaries.   Informed means understanding what is to happen and what the possible consequences might be, if any.

Another term used in the BDSM community is the term Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK); this is a alternate phrase for Safe Sane Consensual and all of the above information applies.  You may also see the RACK defined as Risk-Accepted Consensual Kink.  It has been known to be used where a "safe word" is not in place, but play still remaining Safe, Sane and Consensual. 

Advice from a now-more-experienced submissive:

"Never forget your safe word!

I decided to go and stay with a Dom, I had known for over a year, for the weekend.  I had never before had a safe word so decided to have one just to be on the safe side as every Dom is different and do things differently as well.  I had already discussed with the Dom what my limits were and so told him what this safe word was.

We played quite a few times over the weekend and when it came to the sunday morning, he put handcuffs on me which was great!    My hands were handcuffed in front of me rather than behind.   He picked up a belt, which I was eager to try out as never had the belt before, so glady bent over then he started to "whack" me with the belt.   I tried getting away from the belt by crawling on the bed;  I didn't like it one bit, it was awful!   He kept hitting me with this belt and I was screaming, crying and telling him to "get away from me", and "get off me" as he was trying to hold me down.   When he stopped, I told him I didn't like it, and even though I was screaming, crying, telling him to get away and get off me, he had thought that that was how I behaved whilst playing.  I said it wasn't and he said,  "Why didn't you use your safe word?"  I said "I totally forgot all about having a safe word" and I realised that I could have stopped what was going on, if I'd only remembered and said out loud that one word!

You must always have a safe word, even if you never use it!   I certainly never forgot to use it after that experience ......"

(Submissive's name withheld at their request)