Out With the Old…In With the New!

BDSM flag4 Cs

Safe, Sane and Consensual, a motto used by members within the Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sado-Masochism (BDSM) community. It makes sense that sexual play be safe, exhibiting sane behaviors and all activities are consensual. However, not everyone has the same definition of safe, sane and consensual. What may be considered safe to one person, might scare someone else to the point of having a traumatic experience. The same concept applies for sanity because everyone has different thresholds and limitations.

Mental Health Care providers are now encouraging an updated motto for the BDSM community stating the 4 C’s: Caring, Communication, Consent, and Caution. Consent remains in the motto because it is not an ambiguous term and should always be present when engaging in any sexual activity. Safe updated to Caution, because BDSM activity should be proceeded with caution, even for the most knowledgeable and experienced Kinksters. The two new terms added are Caring and Communication to replace the previous term Sane. Communication acknowledges the negotiations of a scene (interaction between participants) prior to it beginning, during the scene (verbal and nonverbal) and after the scene. After the scene is when Caring becomes a factor. After care is extremely important because it is the conclusion to the exchange and becomes vital if there is a drop for the Top or bottom.

Caring, Communication, Consent, and Caution offer an all inclusive understanding of BDSM protocol when involving play. Ambiguity is minimized and communication is encouraged to promote a safe environment for all parties included.

Even with an updated motto, there is still potential risk for harm or errors. If you have experienced a scene that did not adhere to the 4 C’s, contact the Counseling Center for Sexual Health (CCFSH.) At CCFSH, we have therapists specialized to work with members of the BDSM community and are here to help.

-Darilyn Shano, M.S., MFTI

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