In months gone by, I've talked about the safety abbreviations, SSC and RACK. While both are widely known and used in the BDSM community, the kink abbreviation family has a little known younger brother, PRICK.
If you've been in the BDSM community for any number of years, you could be forgiven for not knowing what PRICK is. PRICK is the abbreviated form of Personal Responsibilty, Informed Consensual Kink. It was first coined in 2009, three years after I joined the BDSM community.
Whew, it's a bit of a mouthful, isn't it? Whoever remembers that when it comes to gettin' freaky?
Not so long ago,and certainly in my kinky lifetime, PRICK's oldest brother, SSC, was up for some scrutiny. SSC, or Safe Sane, Consensual, was argued as being a bit vague. After all, how do we decide whether something is safe, or unsafe? How do we decide whether something is sane, or insane? What about the individuals among us who practice consensual non-consent? Do those who are concerned for welfare have a right to intervene? (NB. No!)
After SSC, a middle child was born, RACK. To help clear up the confusion and ambiguity surrounding SSC, RACK stood for Risk Aware Consensual Kink. It made sense and it was judgement-free. It was no longer down to the outsider to decide what was or was not within the thresholds of SSC, instead, it was for the individuals involved to decide. For those of us who like our kink a little bit rougher than some others, this was a moment to rejoice.
But all of a sudden, along comes PRICK to steal the show.
The first time I heard of PRICK, Matt showed me a kinky rope tutorial on TikTok. I have to be honest, I was in disbelief that the channel hadn't been taken down. There are so many minors on TikTok that it would be far too easy for them to see something that they shouldn't see. Concerns aside, I was rather flummoxed by this new kid on the block - what the hell is PRICK?
To me, and being a bit of an oldie in my early thirties, a prick is an obnoxious man. A prick is a slang term for a penis, or, perhaps to use the more correct definition, it means to make a small hole in something using a sharp tool. Not until now has a "prick" had anything to do with BDSM.
But that's not to mean that it shouldn't, but nor does it mean that it should. Hear me out.
Doesn't PRICK Already Exist, Anyway?
As kinksters ourselves, PRICK feels a little bit like a "well, duh" moment. Of course it's your responsibility to guarantee your safety! If you're using candles, keep them away from the curtains. If something hurts too much, don't forget to use your safeword. This is not a new concept, this is just how you make sure that the emergency services aren't busting your door down while you're balls deep in your missus. Why do we need another abbreviation for something that already exists?
Let's talk about the "Informed" part of PRICK. There are many ways to be "informed" in BDSM, and that typically varies depending on the situation. For casual play sessions, it could be consenting to a particular activity. For kinksters in ongoing dynamics and relationships, it could be having a completed checklist or responding to "are you ready to begin?" with a "yes Sir/Madam", right up to having a signed and dated (but not legally binding) BDSM contract. Being informed is somewhat ambiguous, given that one could argue that they have too little information to make an "informed" decision. What is more important, at least we feel, is clear, concise communication.
Do they consent to this scene, or this activity, yes or no? Do they understand what this activity involves, yes or no? Why does it need to be so complicated? Here's another abbreviation for y'all - KISS!
Personally, and this really is us personally, PRICK kind of feels too wordy and, perhaps, a little bit selfish too. "Personal Responsibilty", this is Personal. F*ck your kinky partner for a moment, this is all about you!
But let's say, for a moment, that you and your partner aren't merely kinky sex partners. Let's say you're lovers, or even married. Doesn't that "personal responsibility" sound rather cold-hearted to the one you love?
In healthy romantic relationships, "you" and "I" sort of cease to exist, and "you" and "I" become "we". Even if we do have some personal responsibility to ourselves, most of our investment goes into "us", as a team. Of course you maintain that little bit of indepence to rectify a problem if it's glaringly obvious, but for the most part you look out for one another.
For us, "Personal Responsibility" also kind of breaks what being in a Dominant/submissive relationship is all about. We did not enter it lightly, and it is not something we do here and there, just for fun. I trust Matt as much as he trusts me, I trust him not to do something that I won't enjoy,and I trust him to keep me safe. As his wife and as his submissive, he trusts me to do the same and to not behave in a way that hurts him. Personal Responsibility sounds as though it requires you both to be guarded just in case, and when you're guarded, you aren't fully trusting your partner. Thanks all the same, but for us, having trust in one another is a lot calmer and happier than being constantly on edge.
Does PRICK Enable Abuse In BDSM?
Not so long ago I read this very interesting Reddit feed in which some commentors suggest that PRICK might enable some people to commit unsafe acts, all while blaming their partners for not exercising their "personal responsibility". Of course we'd all like to think that that would never happen, and yet sadly, there are bad eggs in all walks of life. Both partners have a responsibility to be knowledgeable and to communicate clearly, and to press pause where there is a problem. If that doesn't happen then the session is potentially unsafe - for both of you!
Eight Ways To Stay Safe In The BDSM Communtity
Regardless of which abbreviation you choose to use or why, it is always important to stay safe and to consider your scenes and partners carefully. Below are eight tips to help you stay safe and have fun:
1. Don’t Rush Into A BDSM Scene
In my very formative years I made this mistake, and fortunately for me it did not go nearly as badly as what it could have, but it could have! It’s easy to get your head in a spin when somebody approaches you and wants to play with you, but hold up! Remember, your safety and wellbeing depends on you taking your time. If you don’t know this person or what they want to do with you, it’s okay to say no.
2. Ask For References
Any good BDSM partner will have names of people who have played with them and can vouch for them, and if they don’t? Be aware! Sure, you might not be able to call them up like your employer might call your last boss up, but you could still speak to them in person or online. If they don’t have references or seem unwilling to name them, be careful about how quickly you trust them.
3. Watch How They Play With Others
Are they attentive? Controlled? Fun? Immature? Showy? How they play with others is how they will play with you, so if you don’t like what you see, stay away.
4. Watch How They Interact With Others
Do they treat bar staff and wait staff with respect? How do they interact with other guests? How do they interact when somebody else speaks to you? Do they appear to be hoarding up potential play partners? I’ve known submissives do this to Dominants, and I’ve known Dominants who don’t seem to ever meet their quota for owned submissives. If you’re looking for a monogamous connection and you’ve got a non-monogamist on your hands, there’s a high chance that it could all end in tears.
5. Talk About Your Boundaries
Want a really easy way to weed out a goodie from a baddie? Talk about your boundaries. Somebody who is respectful of others will respect your boundaries, and somebody who is not, will not, or they will try and push you to break them. Remember, if they don’t respect your boundaries then they don’t respect you!
6. Do Your Research
Informative BDSM websites like mine exist to help you better understand what you’re getting yourself into, so take full advantage of our knowledge. Every kinky person starts somewhere, asking questions and doing their homework just like you are. If you don’t know, hold off on an activity or a partnership until you do know. Never be coerced into a scene.
7. Speak To Others/ Attend Workshops
This applies to both getting references and learning about activities. If you see something you’re curious about, it’s usually okay to politely ask a question or two. Most people are more than happy to share their passions and maybe even gain a new friend. I’ve learned a lot about bullwhips by speaking to people at events, and even successfully cracked one with some help! A lot of BDSM clubs also hold (usually free) workshops, so find one (or twenty!) that you’d like to attend, and attend them. I really honed my wax play knowledge and abilities this way, so they’re definitely worth attending!
8. Join A Forum
In between events, sometimes you just want to bounce something off of someone. Maybe something isn’t sitting right, you aren’t sure what pegging really is or perhaps you want some thoughts on an idea, in that case, an online forum is a great place to be. Fetlife is a very common site with a lot of kinky people, but Reddit also has a vibrant BDSM community too. Join one, or both, and get asking!
At the end of the day I cannot tell you which abbreviation is right for you, or which one you should use or why. As Loving BDSM somewhat unhelpfully put it, you're not a prick if you use PRICK. Personally (ahem), we beg to differ. You're a prick if you don't practice consensual kink, but which abbreviation you use is entirely up to you!
What do you think? Would you use PRICK, or wouldn't you? Do you think PRICK is helpful, or does it make things more complicated than they really needed to be? Let us know in the comments! Why not give this post a like, share your thoughts in the comments or click here for more kinky posts!
Until next time!
Stay safe & have fun,
Disclaimer: Products mentioned in this post have been honestly and independently reviewed on behalf of Lovehoney. All of my reviews take into consideration the ease of use for a person with disabilties, who are the target audience of Kinky With A Twist. Please be aware that I may receive a small commission on any products you buy through my links. You will not be charged any extra for any purchases you make as a result of my reviews.
Last revised 13th November 2022