What is “Safe, Sane, Consensual (SSC)”?
Safe, Sane, Consensual (SSC) pertains to a combination of universal principles used as a basis for a specific type of relationship or setup for BDSM play. Safe means that the prevention of certain health risks when performing a particular act is prioritized. Sane refers to the inclusion of activities performed with both parties exhibiting a sound and sane mind and thought processing. Consensual indicates that both parties consent to participate involved in a BDSM setup.
History & Cultural Significance
Safe, Sane and Consensual was derived from the American catchphrase that was usually uttered during a fireworks display for Independence Day. The catchphrase went “Have a safe and sane Fourth of July”. The framework behind Safe, Sane and Consensual originated from small gay S/M groups in the 1980s. The said groups were greatly involved in activism and education in New York and in Chicago.
At that time, the BDSM community was filled with predatory Dominants who were guilty of forcing newer and less experienced players to partake in a variety of S/M activities without securing their full consent on the matter. As a result, these newbies had little to no idea about what sort of setting they got themselves into.
In other situations, some players were more ethical albeit they lacked knowledge and understanding in certain BDSM practices. For instance, they were not fully aware of the boundaries and safety measures involved in bondage. This also posed a risk to the safety and wellbeing of both the sub and the Dom.
More importantly, there was still much explanation and clarification that had to be done regarding the public’s misconceptions about gay S/M. The SSC principles came into fruition after an extended educational and psychological discussion on the dynamics of BDSM and gay S&M. Meanwhile, the SSC slogan was embedded into the history of BDSM when it was used during by the S and M Leather-Fetish Contingent and the Lesbian and Gay Rights in March 1987 and March 1993 on Washington.
Practicality/Do’s and Don’ts
SSC is more applicable for first timers or for players trying out a new scene. The key to making SSC work is clearly defining the perimeters of what “safe” and “sane” means. How much is safe and considered as enough and acceptable for both parties? Avoid leaving out boundaries and items in the agreement/contract that are too vague. Otherwise, it will defeat the purpose of the SSC.
Related Practices & Fetishes
Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) was a term created in response to SSC. RACK recognizes the reality that some scenes in BDSM may not be as entirely risk-free was SSC wants it to be. As such, much emphasis is given to the players’ personal responsibility and acceptance that such risks can really be inevitable in BDSM.
External links /References /See also