RACK it up! I’ll take it!!!

“Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot. Sometimes I don’t know how much more I got. Maybe I’m headed over the hill, maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill.”

–Billy Joel, “I Go to Extremes”

As someone with Autism, I tend to get fixated on a subject and will go on and on unless someone tells me to stop. Since my last two posts have about polyam, we’re gonna switch gears here and talk about RACK, shall we?

For anyone familiar with George Mallory, (or, like me, just watched Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) the most inspiring reason to climb a mountain is “because it’s there”. Did you ever get that feeling? The desire to do something just because you could? More specifically, something, wild, dangerous, crazy, and insane for no other reason because nobody told you that you couldn’t? Well, that’s basically what RACK is.

Before we talk about what RACK is, we first need to define what it isn’t. BDSM play is based on three pillars: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. SSC for short. It states that all participants will engage in play that is not willingly harmful (there’s a difference between “hurt” and “harm”) comes from a place of sound mind, and arguably most important, is agreed upon willingly by those involved.

RACK, on the other hand, takes these concepts and… stretches them a little. RACK stands for Risk Aware Consensual Kink. Notice that the consent part is still part of the equation because, as I stated above, nothing can truly be called kink without informed consent. It’s the foundation of the community. The rest, however, well, let’s just say Dom’s get a little more leeway in their decision making.

The best way I can describe RACK is to use the old idiom that it’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Under SSC, scenes are carefully negotiated and include things such as what actions are to be taken, what toys are to be used, what soft and hard limits are, and most importantly, when the scene will end. RACK blurs the line a little bit around these parameters. The submissive may give the dominant a list of toys that are available, but not specific instructions on which one. They will give a general idea of activities they want to engage in, but not constrain the dominant to a rigid schedule. Most importantly, they may give the dominant the latitude to engage in new activities that have not been pre-cleared before the scene starts.

RACK is also a great arena to try out edge play. This is not to be confused with “edging”, which is bringing your partner to the “edge” of orgasm and then denying them release (which is also amazing, by the way). I like to think of edge play as any activity with “a substantial increase in the probability that you will wind up in the emergency room at the end of the night.” Things like knife play, choking, electric play, and fire play would all fall in this category.

Because RACK relies more heavily on implicit consent rather than explicit consent, it should come as no surprise that it should only be done with someone that you inherently trust. I’ve been sceneing with Penguin, Foxy, and Bunny for a combined total of over a decade, and I trust each of them completely. They know what I like, what I don’t like, what I can tolerate, what I can’t, and what I want to explore. RACK is absolutely something that should not be undertaken in pick-up play or even with a relatively new play partner. Ask yourself “If my Dominant were to put me in a dark room, tie me up, and blindfold me, would I still feel safe?” If the answer is “No”, you’re not ready yet.

My motto as a submissive is “If you don’t push the envelope, you’ll never know what your limits are”. Personally, I think it’s a relatively good approach to life in general. I mean, where would we be without new experiences? Look at this way: worst case scenario, you’ve got a Hell of a story to tell your grandkids some day…

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