Glossary of BDSM

This glossary of BDSM (bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism, masochism) terms defines terms commonly used in the BDSM community.

Erotic spanking image taken at Studio Biederer, Paris, 1930.

BDSM activities are described as play in BDSM terminology.[1]

The BDSM term is a portmanteau of initialisms intended to encompass all of the following activities:

All of the above abbreviations have their origins in classified personal advertisements, where euphemisms for deviant and socially-disapproved practices were required by periodical editors to circumvent censorship and obscenity law.

BDSM glossaryEdit

Rope bondage in an uncomfortable bondage position at BoundCon, 2013.
  • 24/7: A relationship in which protocols are in place continuously.[2]
  • Abrasion: Using something rough (such as sandpaper).[citation needed]
  • Adult Baby/Diaper Lover (ABDL): Adult babies receive gratification from role-playing an infant (known as paraphilic infantilism, a form of ageplay). This can involve submission on the adult baby's part, often to a designated "caregiver", e.g. a daddy dom. Diaper lovers receive gratification from the wearing and often using of diapers. Whilst these two paraphilias are distinct, it is common that a person who enjoys one will also enjoy the other to some degree.
  • 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. [3]
  • Auctioned off: Dominant auctions off the slave to the highest bidder (usually supervised and for temporary use).[citation needed]
  • BDSM: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism: a combined acronym often used as a catchall for anything in the kink scene.
  • Bondage: Acts involving the physical restraint of a partner. Bondage typically refers to total restraint, but it can be limited to a particular body part, such as breast bondage.
  • Bottom: One who receives physical sensation from a top in a scene; the receiving partner.
  • Breast bondage: The act of tying breasts so that they are either flattened against the chest or so that they bulge.
  • Breast torture: Torture of the breasts.[4][5]
  • Breath control play: restriction of oxygen to heighten sexual arousal and orgasm. Methods to achieve this include strangulation, suffocation, and smothering.[6][7][8]
  • Butt plug: a sex toy that is designed to be inserted into the rectum for sexual pleasure.[9] They come in a variety of sizes; some can vibrate.[10][11] Sometimes used in Petplay, with a tail attached.[12]
  • 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. Often by means of a device that prevents contact and is controlled by means of a lock operated by the partner.[13]
  • Cock and ball torture (CBT): Torture of the penis and testicles for sexual gratification.[14]
  • Collared: Submissive or slave who is owned, usually (but certainly not exclusively) in a loving intimate relationship. A dominant may have multiple persons collared. Also: a pup's status, as differentiated from a "stray".[citation needed]
  • 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).[15][16]
  • Contrapolar stimulation: "Hurts so good!” A type of physical stimulation that incorporates feeling of both pleasure and pain.[17]
  • Consensual non-consent: Play where the parties agree to roleplay nonconsensual activities, such as kidnapping or rape, are roleplayed.[18]
  • Consent: Mutual agreement to terms of action as in a scene or ongoing BDSM relationship.
  • D/s: Dominance/submission: play or relationships that involve a psychologically based power exchange.
  • DDLG: Daddy Dom/Little Girl, a subset of Dominance and submission. The name of this lifestyle refers to the nurturing relationship between parent/child or teacher/student, but does not imply that ageplay is involved.
  • DM: Dungeon Monitor, a person who supervises the interactions between participants at a play party or dungeon to enforce house rules – essentially, the bouncer of a BDSM event. They sometimes also play cruise director to keep/get the party going.
  • Dom: A person who exercises control (from dominant – contrasted with sub).
  • Dominant: A person who exercises control – contrasted with submissive.
  • Domme: Woman who exercises control (see also Dominatrix). Often associated with a particular brand of traditional femininity; many younger female dominants prefer to use the nongendered terms dom/dominant.
  • Domspace: The altered state of mind a dom may enter during a scene.
  • 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.
  • Dungeon: Usually refers to a room or area with BDSM equipment and play space.
A submissive female, strips off her clothes (at the command of her master), while maintaining "Attention" pose (left). The same female in "Inspection" pose - used when the Master/prospective Master has to inspect a nude slave's body[citation needed] (right).
  • Edgeplay:
    1. 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 one person may not be as risky for another), there is not a universal list of what is included in edgeplay. However, there are a few forms of play which are almost always included, such as fireplay, gunplay, rough body play, breath play, and bloodplay.
    2. Sometimes used in reference to erotic sexual denial. (see also chastity).
  • 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 are 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. But also see aftercare for the care needed to ensure that subdrop does not occur afterwards as the body returns to normal.
  • Erotic humiliation: Humiliating someone during a sexual act. This act could be either verbal or physical for example, insulting a partner, making a partner display their private parts to a group of people, or even urinating or defecating on a partner. It can be a great source of pleasure for some people. There must be boundaries, safe words, and limits because without caution this play can destroy a relationship or a partner's self-esteem.[6][19][20]
  • Erotic sexual denial: Keeping another person aroused while delaying or preventing resolution of the feelings, to keep them in a continual state of anticipatory tension and inner conflict, and heightened sensitivity. (See also tease and denial and chastity.)
  • Erotic spanking: The act of spanking another person for the sexual arousal or gratification of either or both parties.
  • Fetish: A specific obsession or delight in one object or experience.
  • Figging: Insertion of a piece of peeled ginger root into the anus or vagina.
  • Financial domination: (also known as money slavery or findom) is a sexual fetish associated with a practice of dominance and submission, where a submissive (money slave, finsub, paypig, human ATM, or cash piggy) will give gifts and money to a financial dominant (money mistress/master, findomme/findom, money dom/domme or cash master/mistress).
  • Fire play: Using fire as an implement of BDSM. This can mean blowing the heat of a light torch onto a bottom, lighting pools of fuel on the bottom's skin, lighting flash cotton on the bottom, and other creative uses of heat. Cupping is usually considered an offshoot of fireplay, although in sensation it is closer to the use of clips and clamps. Usually considered edgeplay.
  • Fisting: Inserting a hand into the vagina or rectum.
  • Genitorture: Torture of the genitals.
  • Golden showers: Urinating on, or being urinated on by, another person.
  • Good pain (1): Good pain and bad pain are terms used lightheartedly by BDSM practitioners, signifying that whilst BDSM may include an element (often quite pronounced) of consensual pain, there is a purpose to it, and some pain is consented to and accepted whilst other pain is not. "Good pain" is therefore pain that is mutually agreed, desired or permitted by the submissive partner to be experienced, and seen by them as of enjoyment or value.
  • Good pain (2): Good pain and bad pain refer to perception of pain as pleasant vs. unpleasant. Sensations that non-practitioners imagine to be painful are instead perceived and described by BDSM practitioners as pleasurable or a good form of pain, in much the way that muscles after a workout at the gym may be sore, but in a good way. The transition of perception from "bad pain" to "good pain" may require a warm up beforehand.
  • Gorean: A subgenre based upon the rituals and practices created within the world of Gor in the erotic novels by John Norman. Gorean culture is based on stereotypical gender-based roles which is considered by many to be in conflict with BDSM, where there is freedom for either gender to act in any role (Male/Female as either Dom/sub or Top/bottom).
  • Gunplay: The practice of including actual (or simulated) firearms into a scene.
  • Handkerchief codes: Visible signs to indicate to others one's 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").
  • Harem: A group of subs serving one or more dominants.
  • Hogtie: Tying 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 impacts such as those from whips, riding crops, paddles, floggers, etc.
  • Infantilism: Parent/child or parent/baby role playing.
  • K-9 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.
  • Kinky sex is any sexual act that is generally considered to be unconventional.[6][21]
  • Knife play: Slow, methodical sensation of the bottom with the edges and points of knives, usually without cutting the skin. Fear of the weapon plays a large part in the stimulus of the bottom.
  • 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. It is 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.
  • MDLB: Mommy Domme/Little Boy, the female led version of DDLG, a subset of Dominance and submission. While this lifestyle may or may not involve ageplay, the name refers to the nurturing relationship of parent/child or teacher/student.
  • Mummification: Immobilizing the body by wrapping it up, usually with multiple layers of tight thin plastic sheeting. Breathing and other safety measures must be appropriately taken care of, often by leaving the face (or at least the mouth and nose) open. Body temperature (maintained to an extent by movement) may also be affected so a warm environment and warm aftercare may be important. Mummification is often used to enhance a feeling of total bodily helplessness, and incorporated with sensation play.
  • Munch: A group of people that practice BDSM meeting at a "vanilla" place in street-appropriate attire. Sometimes this is a club. One might see an announcement like, "This weekend's munch is at Denny's".[6][22][23]
  • Needle play: Temporary piercings done with sterile needles of varying gauges, usually only for the duration of a scene.
  • Nose torture: A traditionally Japanese form of BDSM often involving nose hooks.
  • OTK: Over the knee (spanking).
  • Painslut: A person who enjoys receiving a heavy degree of pain but may or may not necessarily enjoy submitting.
  • Pegging: A sexual practice in which a woman penetrates a man's anus with a strap-on dildo.
  • Play party: A BDSM event involving many people engaging in scenes.
  • Ponyboy or Ponygirl: A sub dressed in a pony outfit, with mouth bit and anal plug with a tail. They are told to prance or behave like a pony.
  • ProDom: Male professional dominant (charges money).
  • ProDomme: Female professional dominant (charges money).
  • Pup-play: A sub is made to act like a puppy. The 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 their Trainer/Master.
  • Pussy torture: Torture of the vulva or vagina for sexual gratification.
  • RACK: Risk Aware Consensual Kink.
  • Rape fantasy, ravishment: The pleasurable fantasy of inflicting or being a victim to an act of consensual play-rape.
  • Rhaphanidosis: Insertion of a piece of radish into the anus.
  • Rope bondage: Tying someone with ropes. An example is Japanese kinbaku-bi.
  • Sadism: The act of inflicting pain.
  • Sadist: A 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.
  • Scat play: Feces play.
  • 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 and sensory deprival. Sensation play can make use of whips, flagellation and edgeplay.
  • Service-oriented submission: A person who enjoys performing a service in a sexual or BDSM environment.
  • Slave: A 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, but it is preferable if it is negotiated into a scene at a trial stage or at beginner level.
  • Squick is the uncomfortable feeling someone may get when they hear or see certain kinky activities. It can also refer to someone who has no interest in the activity – it "squicks them out" – but who has no prejudice against the play or people who participate. It is believed that the word is a combination of "squirm" and "icky" and is used to imply an uncomfortable feeling mixed with disgust. The term is used instead of disgust because that word implies moral repugnance to the act.[6][24][25]
  • 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 (or "sub" for short): A 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) experiences 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'.[26]
  • Switch: Someone who likes being both top and bottom, either in one scene or on different occasions.
  • Taken in hand: 24/7 Male dominance in monogamous marriage, with or without BDSM aspects.
  • Tease and denial: Keeping another person aroused while delaying or preventing resolution of the feelings, to keep them in a continual state of anticipatory tension and inner conflict, and heightened sensitivity.
  • Tit torture: The act of causing deliberate physical pain to the breasts or nipples.
  • TNG: The Next Generation. A tag commonly used by groups and organizations which cater to younger people involved in BDSM, typically ages 18–35.
  • Top: The person "doing the action" (contrasted with bottom – the person receiving the action). Not to be confused with Dom which is the person who "puts the scene together". A male Dom could enjoy CBT and tell a sub what they are to do. In this case the Top is the submissive (following the direction of the Dom) and the bottom is the Dom (receiving the attention of the top).
  • Topping from the bottom: A bottom who purports to be a submissive but who nonetheless wants to direct the top.
  • TPE or 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.[6][27][28]
Wax play can create colorful patterns on the subject
  • Training: Either referring to a short period of time, or an ongoing effort of the dominant teaching the submissive how to behave for their own preferences.
  • Vanilla: Someone who is not into BDSM. Alternatively, sexual behavior 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.
  • Wax play: The top drips hot wax on the bottom.
  • WIITWD: What It Is That We Do. A broad term referring to all forms of alternative sexuality.

Some people in the BDSM community begin dominant terms with an upper case, for example: Top, Master, Dom, Domme, etc., as well as to begin submissive terms with a lower case, even where normally incorrect, chiefly in acronyms and abbreviations, such as D/s for Dom/sub. Some extend this to honorifics and capitalization: for example Master Rob's slave, linda, may refer to him as Sir and herself as i (or as "this slave", restricted from referring to themselves in the first person). Others are highly dismissive of this "slashy speak".

In addition, high protocol refers to groups or individuals that adhere to strict roles and role-based rules of conduct, whereas low protocol refers to groups or individuals that are more relaxed. Old Guard now usually refers to high protocol groups, particularly gay leather BDSM groups; people who use this phrase may be romanticizing a perception of leather history: see Old Guard leather.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wiseman, Jay (2001) Ten Tips for the Novice, Single, Heterosexual Submissive Woman
  2. ^ Cascalheira, Cory (March 2021). "ArticlePDF Available "A Certain Evolution": A Phenomenological study of 24/7 BDSM and Negotiating Consen". Research Gate. Psychology and Sexuality. doi:10.1080/19419899.2021.1901771. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  3. ^ Zane, Zachary (4 October 2019). "What Is Sexual Aftercare, and Why Is It So Important?". Men's Health. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  4. ^ Murray, Thomas; Murrell, Thomas. The Language of Sadomasochism: A Glossary and Linguistic Analysis. ISBN 9780313264818.
  5. ^ Arndt, William B. Gender Disorders and the Paraphilias. ISBN 9780823621507.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "BDSM Dictionary Terms - Kinkly". Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Erotic Asphyxiation". Lust Magazine. 1997. Archived from the original on 31 August 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2006.
  8. ^ Bogliolo, L. R.; Taff, M. L.; Stephens, P. J.; Money, J. (1991). "A case of autoerotic asphyxia associated with multiplex paraphilia". American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. 12 (1): 64–73. doi:10.1097/00000433-199103000-00012. PMID 2063821.
  9. ^ Taormino, Tristan (1997). The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. Cleis Press. ISBN 978-1-57344-028-8.
  10. ^ Yagoda, Maria (21 June 2017). "What Happened When I Tried to Get into Butt Stuff". Vice. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  11. ^ Oberhaus, Daniel (17 October 2017). "Security Researchers Hacked a Bluetooth-Enabled Butt Plug". Vice.
  12. ^ Bieschke, Marke (15 February 2015). "Young Gays Are Sniffing Out the Pup Life". Vice. Bare-assed except for tail-shaped butt plugs and Nasty Pig jock straps, sporting custom leather puppy masks and MMA mitts, several go-go boys hop and fidget to Berlin techno above the packed crowd.
  13. ^ Webster, Craig (18 June 2018). "Fifty shades of organising kinkster events: munch events in the BDSM community". International Journal of Hospitality and Event Management. 2 (1): 31. doi:10.1504/IJHEM.2018.092395. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  14. ^ Gorden, Seth. "Cock and ball torture: types and risks". ro health guide. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Collars and Collaring". Submissive Guide.
  16. ^ Lupine, Evie (18 December 2019). "All About Collaring Ceremonies". YouTube. Evie Lupine. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  17. ^ Escareño, Erik. "When Deaf, Queer, and Leather Spaces Intersect". Scholar Works. Cal State. Retrieved 5 September 2021. Contrapolar stimulation 'Hurts so good' - A type of physical stimulation that incorporates feeling of both pleasure and pain
  18. ^ Ley, David (2 February 2021). "Consensual Non-Consent: Exploring Challenging Boundaries". Psychology Today. Psychology Today. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  19. ^ Halperin, David M.; Traub, Valerie (2009). Gay Shame. University of Chicago Press. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-226-31438-9. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  20. ^ Robert J. (1 June 1987). "10. Pornography: Daydreams to Cure Humiliation". In Donald L. Nathanson (ed.). The Many Faces of Shame. New York: Guilford Press. pp. 292–306. ISBN 978-0-89862-705-3.
  21. ^ Tomassilli, Julia C.; Golub, Sarit A.; Bimbi, David S.; Parsons, Jeffrey T. "Behind Closed Doors: An Exploration of Kinky Sexual Behaviors in Urban Lesbian and Bisexual Women". Journal of Sex Research. 46 (5): 438–445. doi:10.1080/00224490902754202.
  22. ^ Warren, John; Warren, Libby (12 December 2012). The (New and Improved) Loving Dominant. SCB Distributors. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-937609-40-8. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  23. ^ Harrington, Lee; Williams, Mollena (29 February 2012). Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Navigating and Exploring the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities. Greenery Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-937609-59-0. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  24. ^ Serano, Julia (1 October 2013). Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive. Basic Books. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-58005-505-5. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  25. ^ Nelson, Thorana; Winawer, Hinda (19 March 2014). Critical Topics in Family Therapy: AFTA Monograph Series Highlights. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 143. ISBN 978-3-319-03248-1. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  26. ^ Daniels, Angraecus. "Developing Subspace with Hypnosis".
  27. ^ Reilly, Shannon. Finding Leather in a Vanilla World. Fayetteville, North Carolina: DV8 Publishing. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-60585-676-6. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  28. ^ Frayser, Suzanne G.; Whitby, Thomas J. (1995). Studies in Human Sexuality: A Selected Guide (2nd ed.). Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited. p. 357. ISBN 978-1-56308-131-6. Retrieved 27 August 2020.