RACK, or risk-aware consensual kink, is a system of steps which were collectively created by the kink community so everyone involved can more safely explore and experiment with fetishism, dark erotic fantasies or BDSM acts outside of whatever may be considered their normal routine.
The acronym RACK breaks down into these defining elements:
- Risk-Aware: any and all participants are well-informed and are made fully aware of any possible risks involved in taking part.
- Consensual: despite these inherent risks, everyone has (in clear conscience) given preliminary consent to partake in said act.
- Kink: a sex act consisting of a non-mainstream, fetish-based or out-of-the-ordinary activity.
Similar to another abbreviated term commonly used by kinksters, SSC (safe, sane, consensual) but less ambiguous in nature, RACK is a more precise way of agreeing on what is insanely pleasurable or just plain insane in the bedroom.
Using RACK to approach new and potentially dangerous lines of play can be a simple way for all parties to reside on the same page and having similar goals in mind. Once the lines of communication are open and the physical, mental and emotional limits are pre-set, this ensures that everyone is comfortable and pleased with the plan before any action takes place.
Does this impede on the spontaneity of the kink-to-come? Quite the contrary. Psychologically, the added suspense and anticipation makes it even sweeter when you finally get to RACK in all the seriously satisfying sexual rewards!
While RACK is really a philosophy more than a set of rules or guidelines, I’ve used my own personal experience with RACK to simplify the process into seven well-defined steps. Hopefully these how-to steps will help you obtain the most amount of kink with the least amount of risk:
Step One: Building Trust with Your Partner
Above all else, trust is the most essential part of using RACK to kink safely. Honesty is the cornerstone of respect in any relationship, but is especially vital in the BDSM community because some kinks, like breath play for instance, can be life threatening.
If you only met just recently, try to listen to your gut instinct about this person more so than your hormones. If you have any doubts, discuss them and ask yourself, “Do we both honestly want what’s best for one another and value each other’s safety?”
If you are in a more long-term relationship, trying RACK for the first time can cause underlying trust issues to emerge, which can occasionally be very eye-opening and reveal a hidden side to someone you thought you knew.
Step Two: Disclosing Your Kink(s)
The only way to move forward is through full disclosure. Step two takes a lot of confidence and can be very frightening, particularly if you have a secret kink you’ve been closeting away for years or if you veer towards the shy side of self-expression.
But, the chances are pretty good that if you’ve made it this far into RACK, you won’t be faced with harsh judgment or ridicule over your specific kink by your partner. Not sure how to suck it up and say it out loud? Make a sketch, write it in a note or find a gif to illustrate your desire and to start off the dialogue.
Step Three: Verifying Consent
No matter what, consent is granted, not forced. And it needs to be confirmed beforehand.
Personally, I always feel better getting verbally expressed consent from sober-minded individuals before entering into any BDSM play. As much as I like to be pushy and in charge, I’m also only interested in folks who use their free will to give or not give their commitment to the act through spoken consent.
If you’re unsure of what consent means to you, check out “Consent vs. Coercion” which highlights more about what coercion is and what can be done to identify and combat against it.
Step Four: Research & Education Regarding Specific Risks
Following consent, find out what you’re working with by conducting an investigation into your agenda. Take special note of any medical maladies which could become an issue in an instant from those who have a severe latex allergy, diabetes, emphysema, hemophilia, panic disorders, heart trouble or other serious pre-existing health conditions to consider. Will any emergency numbers or prescription medications need to be nearby?
Will any bodily fluids be passed back and forth during these acts either directly or through sharing sex toys? Stock up on plenty of condoms, oral dams and hypoallergenic lube to keep the transmission of STIs to a minimum as well as, if applicable, avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
Step Five: Establishing Clear-Cut Boundaries
For a happy and healthy bout of kinky sex, lines must be drawn beforehand– lest things spiral out of control and become permanently damaging to the mind, body or spirit. These limits and boundaries are either referred to as hard limits or soft limits, meaning they are either set and stone and not to be crossed or they are in place but remain flexible as the act goes on. Do not agree to anything which goes beyond your personal capacity and firmly set hard limits when needed.
An easy backup system to use in addition to pre-established boundaries involves the designation and subsequent use of a safe word. The general rule of thumb is to chose a word everyone will remember and one which won’t be mistakenly thrown into the dirt talking on accident, as inpesticide and not pussy. One utterance the safe word should stop all ongoing activities and be a signal for some kind aftercare.
Step Six: Picking Out Body Safe Equipment
Oh, for some people, this is where the excitement really begins. Creative juices are flowing ascustom DIY items are crafted out of supplies from the local hardware store and the time for sex toy shopping is at hand.
After all, acquiring various props can be an arousing experience in and of itself! Handcuffs, straps,strap on dildos for pegging, rope for bondage, temperature play accessories, blindfolds for sensory deprivation, nipple clamps, butt plugs, restraints, leather erection rings, the list of possible accoutrements goes on and on.
But fellow kinksters, be sure to bear in mind that porous materials can’t be sterilized so watch those leathers and jelly dongs and treat them accordingly. Check out “Buyer’s Guide: Best Sex Toy Cleaners,” “How to Keep Your Sex Toy Like New,” and “What is My Adult Toy Made Of?” for more information on cleaning absorbent materials.
Step Seven: Kink It up ‘Til You Just Can’t Kink It No More
As long as steps one through six have been completed, go on and kink it up ‘til you collapse from so many successive orgasms or simply until the cows come home. Truly though, after all this prep work you’ve earned it! Rest easy knowing you kinked using RACK, meaning there is no need for regret whilst looking back.