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BDSM Terms Defined and Explained: A Video Primer by Tawney Seren & Lucy Love

BDSM is full of terms and names that can be confusing when you're starting out. What is a dom? A sub? A scene? Let Tawney Seren and Lucy Love navigate you through this sometimes confusing world so you can get start exploring! 

About Tawney:

Tawney Seren is an author, adult industry assistant/guide, reviewer, and avid reader who loves educating others and herself about the big world of sex. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and doggo in the Pacific Northwest, writing to-do lists, tackling new projects, and watching re-runs of her favorite shows. You can find her blogging at openbobsbb.com

BDSM Terms Defined and Explained: A Video Primer by Tawney Seren Video Transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Tawney Seren and Lucy Love, and we're back here with Naughty Betty's, and today we're going to talk about some terms in BDSM.

So for those of you who are navigating it, there's a lot of terms that could be a little bit intimidating, or you might hear other people use them in incorrect ways, and it's important to know what these things mean.

Yeah so we'll kind of start at the beginning, with some that are a little bit more, you know, I guess mainstream or so. Things that you should know, yeah.

So submissive. So a submissive is someone who I guess you're … you are more submissive … do you want to do that? Yeah, a submissive is somebody who conceptually gives up control in an activity or is seen they are submitting to a person who is accepting a dominant role, yep, and then the dominant is where you are taking that consensual. You know, consensual of course is the key word. Their bit of control, and you are giving tests, or you are kind of invoking feeling. Someone, you are essentially being dominant over them in this session.

And what is the scene? So a scene in general is basically a time span, an area where you are engaging in BDSM. Yes, so, you know, we could be like okay you're gonna be submissive, I'm going to be dominant, and we choose an activity that we both want to engage in and then that is how the scene begins.

So also you have slave. Now a slave, like a submissive, gives us that control but it is more of a lifestyle control, so whereas a sub maybe is giving it up just for a scene, right, the slave is giving a part, like an aspect of their life, to the dominant on a day-to-day basis, yeah, or however they have organized that we are dominant. Let's label, huh, tasks, yes, to complete for the dom, right, or they might be restricted to only doing certain things by the dom’s requests.

Yeah, but either way these are things that you are, you know, you're doing with your job in a way to kind of create, that is, contracts. Which I can really, I mean they can be anything from an actual contract that, you know, where you're you're listing down the things that are yeses, that are noes, with the understanding that those can be changed at anytime. Yeah, but writing down those expectations, it can be very important, mm-hmm yep.

Also a switch. A switch is someone who likes to change the power dynamic. So maybe, you know, at the beginning of the scene they're a bit submissive but then maybe they go to dominant towards the end and you go to submissive. Like they're just able to switch roles, and like I'm a switch. My partner laughs that I taught from the bottom.

So let's talk about top. Yeah, I'm bottom. So a top is a bit more of a dominant role as well, which includes, you know, somebody being kind of dominant in a scene or a situation there. Yes, and then the bottom is who gives up control, and they receive the sensations and the stimulation. The top gives the sensation and the stimulation to the bottom essentially.

Next we want to talk about being a brat. What does that mean? You kind of hear that in conversation with maybe DDLG, isn't that what it's called? Yes, yeah, totally got it, yes and we'll explain what that means here soon. Well, yes, but a brat is someone who engages in like teasing, playful, sneaky behaviors with their dom. Mischievous, stubborn, sometimes disobedient. You better not do that or else, what like yeah, that's assuming the role of the brat exactly, and that can be something that is a fun role to play. It can be something that kind of takes you away from the stressors and worries of everyday life and into this different role, which is also where you can get into a little mindset.

So we're gonna go into that like daddy dom little girl sort of play. So for a lot of people there's negative connotations with this, like they believe that this means pedophilia. Yeah, that is not what this is. No, that is a very common and incorrect misconception. Those who really embark on this fetish do not believe in that. That is not what this is about. Need to clarify that for ya. This is not about, you know, acting. This is about being able to retreat to a part of your mind where you are free of worry, where you're free of those stresses, where you have someone in a daddy role who is taking care of you and teaching what to do, and you don't even have to use the words daddy and little to get into this role play with my partner.

Yes, very true, yeah, and then we can talk about the role of daddy. So the role of daddy is someone who is nurturing or paternal within that context of the relationship right now, and thinking they're taking care of you. Yeah, and you knew that.

So when you are involved in really extensive scenes with your partner there's a few different things that could happen. One of them is subspace. Yes, so what is subspace? Subspace, it kind of occurs, and I mentioned this in a previous video, where it's kind of like this could be a bad example for some of you, but this is what helped me understand subspace. It's like when you're getting a tattoo you don't know if you're gonna like it, and then all of a sudden that adrenaline kind of kicks in and you get that kind of euphoric worry free, you know, I don't feel anything sort of feeling that comes with it, which a lot of people can get kind of addicted to when it comes to pain play or to use or things of that nature. So subspace is a mental place that you go into after that extensive role play, where you are feeling that euphoric place.

It is very important to make sure that you can pick up on nonverbal and verbal cues from your submissive. I reach the space because times you can’t talk, yeah sometimes you can't relay that information. That can be kind of scary for you, so you make sure that you have that after the subspace. Essentially you kid reach a sub drop. A sub drop, yes, let's talk about the sub drop. This is essentially just the crash from the adrenaline, the euphoria. The scene is done, play’s over with, and you just feel a bit drained afterwards. You can even feel guilty or sick, I mean this could take like flu-like symptoms could give you after that because you're really putting yourself in that, and not, especially depending on the intensity of the scene or exactly what you're engaging in, because of course that is a spectrum itself. So in the subspace, you know, just as far as you go is really as far as you'll drop, yeah, and also that's why it's really important to do aftercare.

Aftercare is different for everyone. Why is it necessary? Well, because you're going through a lot of extensive things, and your scenes, whether you change things, yeah, whether you're playing with different sensations or pain or role-playing or taking on a role you wouldn't normally take on, like you need to do that, and like what do you like as your aftercare? I love … I have this little pink blanket it's like Cerebus, so it's like fuzzy, and I'll have that. What I like? A lot of cuddles and some nice soothing talk, maybe light a couple of candles and just be able to have a space where everything feels good and I can come down gently is what I prefer. I need to be fed and watered, snacks … like my love language is like if I get cuddled or if I get bundled, it's like too much too much, too much sensation, but if somebody brings me like a cold glass of water, like I start to come down. I feel myself regulate, you know, I have to be kind of almost like left alone now.

So it's fun, like everybody's different. That's why you have a conversation. We learn what they need to come down, because during this play, you know, you could really use it.

Yes, so also we want to touch on age play. So age play is when essentially like one person or maybe both of you just take on the role of a different age and it's just a type of role play. You could choose to be younger, and you could choose to be much older and that's where we have that daddy and little that we were mentioning earlier, where it is not about being, you know, ridiculously underage and having a fetish for them. Yes, yeah, you could also choose to be much older: it's just taking on a different age to add a little bit of spice to whatever you're doing, right?

And then oftentimes the reason why this is associated with like a daddy and little role is that idea where that is a position where someone else has a caring loving nature towards you, and you are doing kind of, as they say, it really is another play on that dominant submissive role, which is also where's things like pet play.

Okay, so now we're kind of dipping into some more fetishes, so but I felt like this is one that's a fairly common term that others have asked about. Pet play is not the interest in having sex. It's not. This is much like we're in the daddy little play. You have somebody who's taking on a role of something that doesn't have all these rules and stresses of the normal, yeah, you know. It also can be a form of in some cases regression where you're having someone eat out of a bowl or you're having some collar and the leash,  that you put them in a cage. Exactly, like there's a lot of different things that you can do where it is that submissive and dominant play.

And then another term that is a little self-explanatory but goes kind of deeper, and we'll touch base on this in another video as well, is collars. So collars aren't just a form of ownership, and essentially some treat them like wedding rings. So like for instance I wear this wedding ring around to show others that I am taken -- it would be the same reason someone would wear a collar around. You can get collars for different stages of your BDSM relationship. Like really, that's like really awesome, like your starter collar or a mint collar, or you're like yeah, and it's cool because that can even be a timeline of just like how you progressed within that relationship too.

And last but certainly not least, stay for the importance of a safe word, if it's not something that you've looked into before.Very important! very important! And, um, a safe word I think should encompass also nonverbal cues, because sometimes when it's hard to verbalize what we want, or if we're gagged. Like we talked about that subspace of mine, how it could be hard to talk maybe. Then I thought what you would need maybe, like a couple taps or like a physical safe word essentially, so that's what we mean, like it can like be interchangeable as physical or a word. Like if you're able to speak in whatever you're doing, and if you plan on engaging in any sort of bondage play or any sort of choking, very important to have nonverbal cues. I definitely have a little tap out command when I get into that. So having a safe word is the same as having that nonverbal cue, where you have something that can indicate to your partner and it's time to stop, no questions asked.

Mm-hmm, these are not to be ignored. These are not to be used lightly. Yes, it's part of who you are. You need to be able to consent out of whatever you're doing, just as you're consenting to do it. Absolutely, so make sure that you've got your safe word in effect, and whether you're engaging in all of these or some of these, we hope we've cleared some of them up for you. They all kind of say there are so many BDSM terms, so many, so if you're curious about anything just maybe do a little bit of your own research. If you have any questions, please post below, and we will try to answer them.

 We'd love to go into more; we certainly will be back talking about more aspects of BDSM for beginners and intermediates players alike, so be sure to click Like. And again, I'm Tawney Seren, I’m Lucy Love, and we'll be back soon.