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Dirty Dictionary - C is for Consent

Posted By Jasmine Martin on

Understanding Consent Acronyms

C is for Consent

Consent is a huge part of sex and kink, especially informed consent. Informed consent assumes that everyone involved in a scene is aware of the potential risks and has knowledge of what the scene entails. This is why education before exploration is so important for keeping ourselves safe. Here are some really helpful acronyms to help us remember what consent should be:

Exploring RACK: Understanding Risk-Aware Consensual Kink

RACK: Risk Aware, Consensual, Kink

The RACK approach is the simplest. Being ‘risk aware’ means you are acknowledging that kink and BDSM play is not always safe, but that you have educated yourself on proper techniques and what to do in the event of something going wrong.

Understanding FRIES: The Components of Consent

FRIES: Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, Specific

FRIES is a really good acronym to thoroughly explain what we mean by consent in the scene. Has consent been freely given? Do you feel pressured to engage in a scene? Are you under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

Implementing Safe-words and Boundaries

Reversible: Maybe you’ve spent a month or so planning a scene, but when it comes to actually carrying out the scene, do you find yourself having second thoughts? It is ok to change your mind and/or re-negotiate for your comfort and safety. Maybe in the midst of things you feel something needs to change or that it needs to stop altogether? This is where safe-words are crucial. Every BDSM club has a universal house safe-word, which is usually ‘red’, but always check before attending. You should not make your own safe-word complicated or ambiguous, for example ‘make me’ or ‘dodecahedron’. Instead, it’s best to use simple words that are jarring and out-of-place, and not forgettable. Exclaiming something like ‘cabbage!’ or ‘peanut butter!’ is a sure way to let the other person know that you’re not into what’s happening.


A popular safe-word system to use is ‘traffic lights’ - ‘green’ for ‘yes, keep going’; ‘amber/yellow’ for ‘these heels are killing me during this impact scene, can I take them off?’ or ‘I don’t like being caned on my thighs as much as I thought, could we stick to just my ass?’, or ‘I know you are asking me to hit you harder or in x place, but I do not feel comfortable doing so’. Another addition to the stoplight system could be ‘orange’, used for the submissive or bottom to ask if they can be bratty or ‘resist’ in that moment, and thus ask for consent from the dominant/top to do so. ‘Red’, of course, means an instant end to the scene. If someone says red, this is the moment where everything stops and aftercare begins.

Prioritising Informed Consent

Informed: This can’t be emphasised enough. EDUCATION BEFORE EXPLORATION! Do you know what you are agreeing to in a scene? Do you know the possible risks, the process, how to negotiate, what your hard/soft limits are? When was the last time everyone involved had an STI test? Are you using contraception? Do you have a plan for what to do if something goes wrong? If your mouth is stuffed with a ball gag, how are you going to communicate that you’ve had enough? These are all things that should be considered and communicated in advance so that all participants are on the same page.

The Importance of Enthusiastic Consent

Enthusiastic: Enthusiastic consent suggests that someone is happy and excited for what is happening or is about to happen. If someone feels pressured, then they’re not going to be giving enthusiastic consent. For example:

A: ‘Would you like me to put a ball gag on you?’ ‘Yes’

B: ‘Would you like me to put a ball gag on you?’ ‘Um…maybe…’

Answer A is an example of enthusiastic consent, it is clear and specific. Answer B, however, shows hesitation, and is therefore not enthusiastic consent. It’s important to remember that negotiating mid-scene can produce enthusiastic consent at the time, but the enthusiasm can quickly wear off as the adrenaline rush impedes their judgement. This can result in an uninformed, rash decision, so take care when adding new elements to your play and make sure everyone knows what it entails.

Communicating Specific Boundaries

Specific: Be clear about what you want and don’t want to

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