01. What is BDSM?

The definitions and basics; what does it really stand for?
Emily Anne 
Updated: January 7, 2020

What is BDSM?

BDSM really stands for BDDSSM because some of the acronym takes on double meaning. So we have:

  • Bondage & Discipline
  • Domination & Submission
  • Sadism & Masochism

Bondage:

Tying up or restraining your partner.

There are different ways to do this, and different materials you can use.

Restraints, usually of the wrist and ankles, can include:

  • Rope - (Shibari is a great type of rope to use)
  • Ties
  • Tape
  • Handcuffs

Discipline:

An element of a Dom-Sub relationship. Generally defined as: training a submissive.

You'll want to distinguish discipline from punishment:

  • Discipline - part of training when there was an honest mistake by submissive.
  • Punishment - often for willful conduct in violation of the Dominant's rules.

Dominance:

One partner exercising control over the other.

  • Emotional control
  • Physical control
  • Mental control

Usually the dominant partner is called:

  • Male: "Dominant" or "Dom"
  • Female: "Dominatrix" or "Domme"

Submission:

One partner submitting to the control of the other.

I like to distinguish between power and control. Because really, the sub has all the power, they're just ceding control to the dominant.

And of course, if done properly, it must be consensual.

Usually the submissive partner is called:

  • Submissive
  • Sub
  • Slave

There are other monikers too, but those are the main ones.

Sadism:

(Originating from the French writer Marquis de Sade)

Taking pleasure from someone else's pain.

You can take pleasure from:

  • Inflicting emotional, physical, or other types of pain
  • Watching others inflict pain

Sometimes it's sexual, but not always.

Masochism:

Taking pleasure in your own pain; the other side of the coin from sadism.

You can take pleasure from:

  • Receiving emotional, physical, or other types of pain
  • Humiliation or degradation

The pain can be sexually stimulating.

So there you have it, those are the basics of BDSM.

This is for the truly kinky

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