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Dictionary of BDSM Terms

BDSM is misunderstood by a lot of folks and it comes with an entire dictionary full of terms, definitions, acronyms, and products that can be more than a little confusing. Let Naughty Betty clear up the difference between sadism and masochism, subs and doms, and so much more with our handy Dictionary of BDSM terms! 

 

Ageplay: A form of roleplaying in which an individual acts or treats another as if they were a different age. Ageplay is roleplaying between adults, and involves consent from all parties.

Aftercare: The time after a BDSM scene or play session in which the participants calm down, discuss the previous events and their personal reactions to them, and slowly come back in touch with reality. BDSM often involves an endorphin high and very intense experience, and failure to engage in proper aftercare can lead to subdrop as these return to more everyday levels. 

BastinadoThe act of whipping the sub's feet, usually the sub would be tied up to restrict movement as the torture is being inflicted; part of impact play.

Bondage: Acts involving the physical restraint of a partner. Bondage typically refers to total restraint, however it can be limited to a particular body part

Bottom: One who receives physical sensation from a top in a scene; the receiving partner

Butt Plug: Much like a dildo, but pear-shaped with a flared base. The flared base prevents the plug from being lost in the anal cavity; the pear shape helps hold the plug in place. They come in a variety of sizes; some can vibrate. Sometimes used in Petplay, with a tail attached.

Chastity: A form of erotic sexual denial or orgasm denial whereby a person is prevented from access to, or stimulation of, their genitals, save at the whim or choice of their partner, usually by means of a device (called a chastity belt or sometimes for the penis, a cock cage) that prevents contact and is controlled by means of a lock by the partner.

Collared: Submissive or slave who is owned, usually (but certainly not exclusively) in a loving intimate relationship. A dominant may have multiple persons collared. 

Collaring: The formal acceptance by a dominant, of a sub's service. Also the ceremony when a dominant commits to a sub (much like a wedding or other contract).

Consent: Mutual agreement to the terms of a scene or ongoing BDSM relationship

Dominant (Dom, Domme): A person who exercises control – contrast with submissive.

Drop: A feeling of deflation or slight depression that comes after a kinky scene, party, convention, or conference. Usually caused by the removal of positive stimuli and the endorphins they produce either from play or being surrounded by others within the kinky community. Can happen to kinksters of any role.

D/S:  Dominance/submission: play or relationships that involve an erotic power exchange.

BDSM: Bondage and Discipline (B&D), Dominance and Submission (D&S) and Sadism and Masochism (S&M). The terms are lumped together that way because BDSM can be a lot of different things to different people with different preferences. 

Discipline: The practice where the dominant sets rules for the submissive that they are expected to obey. When rules of expected behaviour are broken, punishment is often used as a means of disciplining

Dominance: Play or relationships that involve an erotic power exchange.

Dungeon: Usually referring to a room or area with BDSM equipment and play space.

Edgeplay: SM play that involves a chance of harm, either physically or emotionally. Because the definition of edgeplay is subjective to the specific players (i.e., what is risky for me may not be as risky for you), there is not a universal list of what is included in edgeplay. However, there are a few forms of play which almost always make the cut, including fireplay, gunplay, rough body play, breath play, and bloodplay.

Electro-Play: The practice of using electrical stimulation to the nerves of the body using a power source (such as a TENS, EMS, Violet wand, or made-for-play units) for purposes of sexual stimulation, body modification, tickling, or torture.

Endorphin Rush: Endorphins are the chemicals responsible for the "high" people often get from activities such as sex, or high-risk sports, and is the body's response to heightened or intense experiences of certain kinds. BDSM activities, especially those incorporating a degree of sensation play often cultivate the endorphin rush as part of their "payoff" to the sub.

Fetish: A specific obsession or delight in one object or experience.

Handkerchief codes: Visible signs to indicate to others your area of BDSM interest; a color worn on the left indicates a top, on the right indicates a bottom.

Hard Limits: What someone absolutely will not do; non-negotiable (as opposed to "soft limits").

Hogtie: To tie up a submissive's wrists and ankles, fastening them together behind their back using physical restraints such as rope or cuffs.

Impact Play: Part of sensation play, dealing with impact such as whips, riding crops, paddles, floggers, etc.

Infantilism: Parent/child or parent/baby role playing.

K-P Roleplay: Animal roleplay where the animal being roleplayed is a dog

Kinbaku: Also known as Shibari which literally means "the beauty of tight binding". Kinbaku is a Japanese style of bondage or BDSM which involves tying up the bottom using simple yet visually intricate patterns, usually with several pieces of thin rope.

Kink: Non-conventional sexual practices, concepts or fantasies. The term derives from the idea of a "bend" (cf. a "kink") in one's sexual behaviour, to contrast such behaviour with "straight" or "vanilla" sexual mores and proclivities.

Limits: What someone will not participate in (hard limits), or is hesitant to do so (soft limits).

Masochism: Act of receiving pain for sensual/sexual pleasure.

Masochist: Person who enjoys pain, usually sexually.

Master/Slave: A consensual relationship in which one person receives control (the Master) when given it by another (the slave) for mutual benefit. An extreme form of D/S which usually involves a 24/7 relationship rather than a short period of time (scene or perhaps a week end.) The slave will usually accept a collar from their Master to show that they are owned.

Munch: A group of people that are into BDSM meeting at a "vanilla" place in street-appropriate attire. Sometimes this is a club. You might see an announcement like, "This weekend's munch is at Denny's".

Orgasm Denial (Orgasm Control): A sexual practice or sex play in which a person is kept in a heightened state of sexual arousal for an extended length of time without orgasm 

Painslut: A person who enjoys receiving a heavy degree of pain but may or may not necessarily enjoy submitting.

Play Party: A BDSM event involving many people engaging in scenes 

ProDom: Male professional dominant (charges money).

ProDomme: Female professional dominant (charges money).

Ponygirl or Ponyboy: Sub is dressed in a pony outfit, with mouth bit and anal plug with a tail. They are told to prance or behave like a pony.

Pup-Play: Sub is made to act like a puppy. Sub barks, whines, eats from a bowl, etc. Such play is sexual, but also focuses on the altered mind-space of bottom/pup and the complete dominance of his/her Trainer/Master.

RACK: Risk Aware Consensual Kink is an acronym used by some of the BDSM community to describe a philosophical view that is generally permissive of certain risky sexual behaviors, as long as the participants are fully aware of the risks. This is often viewed in contrast to safe, sane, and consensual which generally holds that only activities that are considered safe, sane, and consensual are permitted.

Rope Bondage: Way to tie someone with ropes. Comes from Japanese Kinbaku-bi.

Sadism: The act of inflicting pain.

Sadist: Person who enjoys inflicting pain, usually sexually.

Safe, Sane, and Consensual: (SSC) a credo used by some BDSM practitioners to determine the appropriateness of BDSM play. Sometimes contrasted to RACK (risk aware consensual kink).

Safeword: A codeword a bottom can use to force BDSM activity to stop – used especially in scenes which may involve consensual force. 

Scene:  A time period of BDSM activities. Also used to refer to the BDSM community ("the Scene").

Sensation Play: BDSM play where the intent is to push people's sensory limits, thus exploring texture, sensory deprival, through to whips, flagellation and edgeplay

SlaveA person (usually submissive) who consensually gives up total control of one or more aspects of their life to another person (their Master).

Soft Limits: Something that someone is hesitant to do or is nervous to try. They can sometimes be talked into the activity, or preferably it may be negotiated at a trial or beginner level into a scene.

Spanking: The act of spanking another person for the sexual arousal or gratification of either or both parties.

Subdrop: A physical condition, often with cold- or flu-like symptoms, experienced by a submissive after an intense session of BDSM play. This can last for as long as a week, and is best prevented by aftercare immediately after the session.

Submissive (Sub): Person that gives up control either all the time or for a specified period (not to be confused with "bottom" or "slave").

Subspace: A "natural high" that a sub (or bottom) gets during a scene or when being controlled. The sub may feel disconnected from time, space, and/or their body, and may have limited ability to communicate. It is critical that a Dom(me)/top take responsibility for the sub/bottom and be aware of their sub's well being if they are in subspace. Long-term dominance and submission relationships without impact play may alternatively define subspace as 'a mental state where the submissive feels a deep emotional resonance or connection with the dom

Switch: Someone who likes being both top and bottom, either in one scene or on different occasions.

Top: Person "doing the action" (contrast with bottom – person receiving the action). Not to be confused with Dom which is the person who "puts the scene together". 

Topping from the Bottom: A bottom who purports to be a submissive but who nonetheless wants to direct the top 

TPE (Total Power Exchange): A relationship where the dominant or owner has complete authority and influence over the submissive's life, making the majority of decisions.

Training: Either referring to a short period of time (a scene) or an ongoing effort of the dominant teaching the submissive how to act.

Vanilla: Someone who is not into BDSM. Alternatively, sexual behaviour which does not encompass BDSM activity. The term is sometimes used in a derogatory sense.

Warm Up: The period at a beginning of a BDSM scene which involves gentle play, allowing the bottom to begin endorphin production, enter subspace, and undergo physiological changes (such as bringing fluids to the surface before impact play) that will accommodate more intense play.