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Consent: Your guide to practicing BDSM safely

Updated: Mar 25

The foundation of any BDSM play, whether it be casual or a life-long commitment, begins with consent. Consent within BDSM is when a participant gives their permission for certain acts or types of relationships. Both partners (or all involved if there are more) need to be on the same page and agree to what is allowed and/or not allowed.


There are a few ways this is practiced in the BDSM/Kink community. The two models used most often are SSC or Safe, Sane, and Consensual, and RACK, or Risk-Aware Consensual Kink. The use of safe words and contacts are also common and we will get into those as well in other blog posts. Always keep in mind, that an act that has been previously consented to can be terminated at any point, and by any participant.


Safe, Sane, and Consensual

  • Safe: The first principle of SSC is that all players keep safety in mind. This can take the form of disclosing any medical issues, having safety equipment such as a pair of scissors available to cut rope if needed, and a first aid/aftercare kit available. The Dom should also have sufficient knowledge or training in the BDSM activities they will be in charge of practicing safely.

  • Sane: In general this refers to all participants being of sufficiently sound mind to consent. Not just mentally and emotionally, but also not under the influence of substances that inhibit consent or safety. Also included is responsibly practicing BDSM (i.e. not kidnapping your sub for a rape play scene in a public place or whipping out the flogger to punish them while out shopping). No one needs to get arrested and it reflects poorly on the BDSM community.

  • Consensual: Again, all participation in BDSM or kink activities must be consensual. This should take the form of an enthusiastic "yes". Is someone who begrudgingly goes along with something or feels pressured, really consenting? Pushing a sub's limits can be acceptable under some circumstances but making her feel less of a sub if she doesn't do certain things is never ok.

Risk-Aware Consensual Kink

  • Risk-Aware: Both or all partners are well-informed of the risks involved in the proposed activity. In contrast to SSC, RACK allows more risky activities as long as all parties are aware and accepting of the risks involved. It does necessitate educating yourself and other partners in the risks involved. It pays more attention to the unexpected consequences of BDSM play. Mainly, things don't always go as planned and there are risks no matter how well you plan.

  • Consensual: In the model of RACK, consent focuses more on educating yourself on the risks and accepting those risks as a part of BDSM. Consent to the kink activities involved is still needed by all parties, however.

  • Kink: Said activity can be classified as "alternative" sex. Self explanatory I would think.

Not all members of the kink community adhere to one or the other above models. Sometimes SSC is used in a more general sense while RACK is practiced by more experienced lifestyle members who are more risk-aware.


There are other variations and models. "PRICK" and "CCC" are two others that are used in BDSM in some communities. The fundamental principle in all is that consent to kink is given freely. Yes, means yes. Anything else means no.







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