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In the BDSM community, safe, sane and consensual (SSC) represents a set of common principles guiding some relationships and activities.

Principles of SSC

  • 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, but note that legal consent may not create a defense to criminal liability for any injuries caused and that, for these purposes, non-physical injuries are included in the definition of grievous bodily harm in English law.


SSC is often criticized as the core principles are considered highly subjective and open to interpretation; "How safe is safe enough" is a legitimate question. Further, the argument can be made that nothing at all is inherently safe, as even a morning shower poses some inherent risk of immediate death, which points to the need to gauge risk in order to have informed levels of consent. Further, arguments about the subjectivity of sanity due to relativistic things like cultural background, and consent being subjective because of lack of omniscience and always including some level of risk and unknown.

Best Practices

Remaining in a space of participating in kink within the bounds of an SSC framework is a great idea when you are first starting out so that you don't take risks you aren't ready to accept and gain important experiences you will need to draw from if you decide to attempt other, more risky forms of play. Always make it a point to be as informed about any risk you take as possible.