Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) [Edit]

Risk-aware consensual kink (RACK, also risk-accepted consensual kink) is an acronym used by some of the BDSM community to describe a philosophical view that is generally permissive of certain risky sexual behaviors, as long as the participants are fully aware of the risks.

RACK’s tenets are best described by a deconstruction of the acronym:

  • Risk-aware: Both or all partners are well-informed of the risks involved in the proposed activity.
  • Consensual: In light of those risks, both or all partners have, of sound mind, offered preliminary consent to engage in said activity.
  • Kink: Said activity can be classified as alternative sex.

While “Safe, Sane and Consensual” (SSC) attempts to describe and differentiate BDSM from abuse in ways that are easy for the non-BDSM public to comprehend, RACK differs from it in that it acknowledges that nothing is ever 100% inherently safe. By acknowledging that what may be safe or sane to one person may not be considered the same to another, the RACK philosophy tends to be more inclusive of activities that others may consider as edgeplay. There is no “safe” or “not safe” within RACK, only “safer” and “less safe.”

RACK can also be described as a mindset which pays more attention to perhaps unexpected consequences of BDSM play. Its theory revolves around reasoned, ex-ante commitment, including the possible consequences of riskier play. In contrast, SSC revolves around the end results of play, or the ex-post. It tries to minimize any potential harm despite the risks BDSM players might be willing to partake in. Both philosophies aim to minimize foreseeable harm, but RACK puts more emphasis on individual commitment to possible risk, beforehand, while SSC tries to minimize total harm foreseeable over the longer term. Thus, RACK adherents stress the value of individual prior consent to even risky fun, while the SSC contingent counters that people often do not choose as freely as they seem, they might behave irrationally at times, and so the consequences of rash individual choice perhaps ought to be mitigated from the start.

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