Safe, Sane, Consensual
Fact or Myth?
For years the people in the lifestyle have proclaimed they live by the words safe, sane , consensual. But is this merely a slogan or a necessity or the lifestyle?
The words originated from a small group of 3 volunteers in NYC. They were members of a gay leather group which were charged with the task of coming up with a slogan to sell the vanilla public. The slogan was to create a smoke screen of sorts, to placate them and pacify them. To allow the vanilla world to understand people in the lifestyle without having to explain in more detail, details they would unlikely understand or be comfortable with. A slogan they would remember. One of the three volunteers was Gregory X, an advertising executive. The other two members have since died of aids. At this writing the whereabouts of Gregory is unknown.
The words were never meant to be flags to wave, banners to hide behind, or words to live by. They were meant to create some communication and understanding between the two worlds. In my opinion they were never meant to be an integral part of the lifestyle. What we do can hardly be classified as safe, sane, consensual.
The vanilla public has social guidelines they demand people live within. We obviously live outside those parameters. How could we be known to them without them raising a cry of outrage? We could try to explain the dynamics of a power exchange, we could use a diagram of nerve endings with the endorphin rush affect, or we could explain the way people are wired differently. All of these topics take years to understand, see in practice, and for us to come to terms with and use to our advantage. What was needed was something that could be said in seconds, be accepted to their logical perspective, and be easily remembered. What didn’t i mention as a requirement? The truth. It didn’t have to be absolutely correct. It had to be the gist of what we do for the most part, but not what we actually do. That is what they came up with. A slogan that would allow us to continue on the fringe of society with the least amount of interference.
How much of what we do can be absolutely sheltered under that slogan?
We are not completely safe. If we were there would not be floggings, whippings, canings, cuttings,…..i would go on but getting a bit warm in here for me….(LOL) What we do is minimize the risk of harm. There may be hurt of course, but permanent harm is greatly reduced by us. We practice, we gain knowledge and experience, we choose what acts we desire. The prime concern is the reduction of infection, not to be completely safe. If we wanted to be safe, we would never play.
What is sane for one person is insane to another. It is an ambiguous term at best. It is swayed by perspective and social teachings. How can we honestly say that the beating of one person by another is sane? It is sane for us, true. But it is not considered sane by the majority. Here is the rub, the majority has deemed it insane and immoral (i won’t go into the other things they say about us, most everyone knows what those words and phrases are). But to our perspective and slant on life, we are definitely sane. For us not to be the way we are, who we are, accepting of how we are wired…all of that would be insane for us.
This is a harder one to explain. What we do is consensual at some point. But is it always consensual all the time? At some point the power exchange is tipped and the sub/slave gives up a lot of the control, the ability to be allowed to say no. At this point acts could and do become non-consensual, she has no say. She may not even want to do it but does whatever is commanded or ordered because she has given the control. That is how she is wired.
|What they hear||What we mean|
|Safe||They don’t do anything to hurt or injure another person||We are aware of the risks and take some precautions. We know first aid.|
|Sane||They wouldn’t do anything wrong.||I like doing it, nothing wrong with that.|
|Consensual||The people envolved always have the ability to stop at any time, they allow this willingly.||My sub gave her control to me willingly, now she obeys me.|
It boils down to the simple knowledge that what we say and mean is not what society hears and interprets. The group of three knew this would happen and this was in fact their goal. It was never meant to become the byline for so many in the lifestyle. It was never meant to become a way of life or a rigid rule for us. We, as a group, have sold the slogan of SSC so well we have started believing it, we try to live up to it. Actually living SSC is counter to what the lifestyle truthfully is.
i am not condoning we go out to do whatever we want to whomever without regard to the effect and repercussions. The basic core meaning of the words do have a place. It is not a literal meaning but a level. In casual play it is what can realistically expect during that type of interaction. In committed relationships the meanings change. We have to understand this difference and be aware how the rules change.
Of course, everyone is allowed their own views and perceptions. These are just my thoughts on the subject.