There are lots of acronyms tossed around the BDSM world, but SSC, RACK, and PRICK tend to get
people confused. Back in the day, players would state that play was always Safe, Sane, and Consensual. It wasn't long, however, before we started asking ourselves "can we really say that what we do is sane?". This led to the "Risk Aware, Consensual Kink" mantra. Unfortunately, people also misread this to mean "you walked into My dungeon, you should have known the risks". These days, My Dungeon, playstyle and events follow "PRICK" - Personally Responsible, Informed, Consensual Kink. This means that each player accepts personal responsibility for play. It also stresses the need to be Informed. No longer can you say "they should have known I would hit them with the baseball bat in the corner. It was there and they walked in".
The way I've found to work best in personally responsible, informed play is to emphasize negotiation. This is really the only way to ensure the "informed" aspect is present in play. Negotiation is more than “a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement”. It is a form of intense communication. In business, negotiation is taking two opposing sides and coming to a consensus, with an aim for “win/win”. In kink, negotiation is rather a misnomer. It isn’t a negotiation of consent where consent was not freely offered, rather it is fully understanding what was intended and what is expected. It really is just effective communication, on both sides. “I would like to do this. Would you like me to do this? “Yes, I would like you to do this” or “I would like this to happen to me. Will you do this to me?” “No, I’m not prepared or skilled to do that to you. But I can do this to you. Do you want me to do this to you?"
Always remember to be thorough in your negotiations. Negotiation should always include who, what, when, and where. As a Domme, I also ask the why for a first-time play with a new partner.
Who. Who will be involved in the scene? Discuss with your partner if other people will be allowed to observe, interact, or participate. One would think that this is a given, but one can never assume when it comes to play. Also, remember to discuss whether a Ds dynamic will be evoked in the scene.
What. (rather, which) Which implements are being used? For Me, I lay everything out before the scene starts. If I forget to add the rope into the mix, that's on Me. I absolutely cannot add anything once the scene has started (because you cannot consent if you are altered, and once play starts your headspace has been altered).
When. Not just when you are starting the scene, but how long it will be (20 minutes or 20 hours). Reiterate when safewords will be used and what they mean (is yellow pause or ease off?).
Where. More than clarifying where the scene will take place, also discuss where on the body the implements will be used. Like, are nipple clamps just for nipples or can they go on genitals too? Am I doing bastinado or just caning your thighs?
Why. Why does this kink intrigue you? What do you get out of it? How can I make sure everyone's Needs are met here. Do you get the joy out of the Service itself, or because you Serve Me?
No matter which way you play, remember that the negotiation is intended to be on both sides. Subs, remember to self-advocate and stand up for yourselves. And Dom/mes, listen and respect when they trust you with their lives. And above all else, We do not break Our toys!
Once covid winds down, I am looking at once again organizing "Open Dungeon" parties, this time in Calgary! For those unfamiliar, Open Dungeon is a great place for a new partner pairing can have a safe, supervised play scene. Smaller parties, no hoops to jump, and drama-free. Just a furnished, supervised Dungeon for you to get your kink on! Stay tuned for more info!