If you were to ask an experienced BDSM practitioner for advice on starting out in the scene, within the first ten minutes you'll most likely hear the words "Safe, Sane, and Consensual (SSC)" thrown in as the biggest "rules" to remember. This catchphrase has become the cornerstone tenet of BDSM play, and is often used to ease the mind of anyone new to the scene who may have all sorts of misconceptions about WIIWD.

  • Safe: BDSM should be practiced safely.
    • Basic safety considerations include paying attention to any health concerns. Ensure safe sex and disease transmission prevention guidelines are followed. Pay attention to circulation when working with bondage. Don't play intoxicated. Don't play if either participant is excessively tired. Be aware of emotions that come up. Never leave someone in bondage alone! Trust your instincts.
    • Safewords: The submissive has rights and should have some way of controlling what's happening to them via the use of a safeword, which will give them the ability to stop a scene if they need to. You'll find that there are couples who choose not to use a safeword. 99% of the time this is pre-negotiated between the Dominant and submissive, and it's generally not the first time they're playing with each other. Playing with someone who doesn't know you intricately without a safeword is just simply insane and dangerous.
  • Sane: BDSM should be practiced while sober. Limits should be established and respected. Know the tools and toys you're using, and don't use them recklessly on your submissive (after all, you do want them around to play with next time, right?). Be aware.
  • Consensual: BDSM is NEVER forced upon an individual, just like sex, or drugs, or religion. Sure, many women (and men, even) have rape fantasies. That doesn't mean you should assume the role of fulfilling those without prior negotiation. Doing something against a person's will, even if it gets them off, is illegal and unethical. Conversely, just because someone gives you permission to kill or maim them doesn't mean you may. This is also illegal.

The alternate mantra for SSC is "Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK)." This has gained popularity in the scene among edge players in the past year since there tend to be disagreements about what activities are safe and sane. To some regular players, needles, blood, cuttings, golden showers, and heavy beatings are more than they'd even consider. But for some players, like myself, the edgier the better. I learn about an activity, make sure I fully understand the consequences, and then decide whether I want to take those risks and play.

Whether you make SSC or RACK your buzzword, play responsibly and play hot! *woof*