The Fundamental Principles series

Participating Responsibly in BDSM


There are many philosophies for determining what is responsible behaviour and what is acceptable practice to ensure safety and accountability for all participants. Some philosophies focus more on the mindset and the intent of the individuals, while others rely on knowledge and competence in determining what constitutes informed willing participants.

There are many stigmas about BDSM that it is full of danger and abuse, that it is practiced by unstable people with no thought to safety or respect. Practices have emerged to provide a guide for creating boundaries and clarity to help ensure a safe way to experience kinks and fetishes, because many carry the potential for risk, and because with the level of trust and vulnerability required with many aspects of BDSM, abuse and neglect are possible.

The three most commonly practiced philosophies are Safe Sane and Consensual (S.S.C), Risk Aware Consensual Kink (R.A.C.K.), and Personal Responsible Informed Consensual Kink (P.R.I.C.K.), each have something of value to consider in ensuring your understanding how to protect yourself and others participating in BDSM. SSC emphasizes willing participation safely and with sound state of mind, RACK focuses more on assessment risk through research and clarity, while PRICK directs onus to each participant for assessing their ability to act responsibly.

Many kinksters feel strongly about their own personal choice of safety protocols, whether it’s SSC, RACK, or PRICK. This is normally a cause of intense debate and even ridicule. The aim of having a dedicated educational topic for each, SSC, RACK, and PRICK is about learning a little background, some of the pros and cons and/or the advantages or disadvantages of each philosophy. In doing so we will all hopefully gain a deeper understanding of each philosophy individually.

We are not going to tell you which one is the “right one” for you to follow, or the one you currently follow is wrong. It is definitely something that is all about personal choice and personal preference and we should all feel free to choose what works best for us.