Safe, Sane, Consensual [Edit]

In the BDSM community, safe, sane and consensual (SSC) are common principles guiding relationships and activities.

The principles are that BDSM activities should be:

  • Safe: attempts should be made to identify and prevent risks to health
  • Sane: activities should be undertaken in a sane and sensible frame of mind
  • Consensual: all activities should involve the full consent of all parties involved. Note, though, that legal consent may not create a defence to criminal liability for any injuries caused; furthermore, this is not necessarily limited to physical injury.

Most attribute the term SSC to David Stein, who coined it in August 1983 for GMSMA. In his essay entitled Safe Sane Consensual: The Evolution of a Shibboleth, Stein states that the term was created “to distinguish the kind of S/M I wanted to do from the criminally abusive or neurotically self-destructive behaviour popularly associated with the term ‘sadomasochism’.”