If you’re relatively new to the kink scene, you may not exactly understand the difference between the terms Safe, Sane, & Consensual versus Risk Aware Consensual Kink. You may have seen the use of each term or their acronyms but have some questions about why two options even exist. Well, let me clarify a few things for you since these philosophies are often how we grow to understand our own hard limits.
First, they are both designed with the intention of prioritizing consent above all else. Without consent, BDSM practices become abusive instantly, so that is with good reason. Along with consent, goes the ability to withdraw one’s consent at any time for any reason through the use of safe words, etc. These issues of consent are agreed on by both Safe, Sane & Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink.
The second intention of both philosophies is to keep people safe, but this is where their approaches divert. Safe, Sane & Consensual believes that only activities that can be engaged in with relative safety should be practiced in a kink scene. While Risk Aware Consensual Kink believes that risk is present with many or even any BDSM practices and therefore we must be aware of the potential danger to engage ethically.
I personally fall somewhere between the two philosophies in my work as a professional Dominatrix. Whenever I am aware of a risk, I will work to minimize it whether this is through safer sex practices or through professional training and research. However, if I believe a risk of injury is too significant or if risk is increased due to a disability, I will not engage in that practice either at all or during that particular scene.
While our believes around Safe, Sane, & Consensual versus Risk Aware Consensual Kink inform our hard limits, they are not necessarily the same thing. For example, I have hard limits around both scat and gun play. Only the latter is informed by my belief in Safe, Sane, & Consensual practices. While some would argue an unloaded weapon can be used in Risk Aware Consensual Kink, I do not believe it is safe enough to engage in.