BDSM Basics: What is BDSM?

A pair of handcuffs and black flogger lay on a pink background. The text is BDSM Basics: What is BDSM?

This is the first post in a new series where I’ll be discussing the basics of different BDSM topics. BDSM is customizable and two people may have variations in their definitions for one word. I hope this series both teaches you a little something and shows you why I use the language I do.

BDSM: It’s an Acronym

So what is BDSM? To make it simple, BDSM stands for Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, Sadism and Masochism.

It’s essentially an acronym to describe a wide variety of activities. They can range from bondage to impact play to pup play and power exchange relationships. What one person means by saying “I’m into BDSM” can be different than another person who says the same thing. There are some activities that are more popular or common than others but there isn’t a single narrow definition.

Let’s talk about what each part of the acronym can cover.

Bondage and Discipline

Bondage is the act of restraint, physically or mentally. It may be the most common element of BDSM and often the first area many people explore. This can range from simply tying up a lover with a tie to elaborate forms of rope tying. Mental bondage refers to when a verbal order is given for one person to stay still. No physical items are used to maintain that bondage. Both forms range from simple to complicated. Many people have preferences about what they use to restrain or are restrained with.

Discipline is essentially the use of rules and structures to guide behavior. This often intertwines with Domination and Submission but can be used on its own. A couple will agree on rules and punishments. One party is responsible for following the rules and the other for correcting or punishing. Punishments are not a way to break or ignore a person’s limits. They are meant to improve behavior. Other disciplinary acts range from spanking to writing lines to caning to privilege denials.

Domination and Submission

Domination and Submission is a relationship in which one party has more power and authority over the second party. There are a wide variety of ways that these relationships can be structured. They can range from a short period of time to a lifetime. There is also a wide variety of language used by people to describe their relationships.

Dominant/Submissive. Master/slave. Owner/property. Mistress/slave. Handler/pony. Owner/puppy. Caretaker/little. This is just a sampling of language that could be used.

Each of these relationships have different levels of control and authority, observe different rules and guidelines, and have different expectations. No two relationships look alike, even if the same language is used to describe them.

I’ll explore D/s and power exchange in future BDSM Basics posts.

Sadism and Masochism

Sometimes also written as sadomasochism. These terms are used to encompass a wide variety of activities including impact play, medical play, humiliation, degradation, etc. Not all of these activities are done to the point of inflicting or experiencing play. For example, spanking can range in sensation and intensity based on the tools involved. However, some people do identify as sadists and masochists and play to more extreme levels of pain and sensations. In my opinion, this is an area that you should be on the same page with a partner. Not understanding what kind or level of play a partner wants can be damaging and dangerous.

Mix and Match

When it comes to exploring BDSM, it’s normal to explore one area after another and deciding something isn’t for you. If you like it, cool, if not, don’t worry about it. There are some people who may say you aren’t “really” into BDSM unless you do XYZ but this isn’t true. Whatever activities that you find interesting, enjoyable, and entertaining are the ones you should be doing. BDSM is about exploration, expanding your mind and trying new things. And if you know you won’t like something (I don’t like anything to do with feet! Many people don’t like needles or belts or bondage), then don’t try it. No pressure.

I’ve found in-person communities to be valuable and have learned a great deal from people. It’s how I’ve been able to try a variety of things that I don’t want to buy or can’t afford. I’m also able to play with tops who have skills that Daddy may not. Check out this post of mine if you’re interested in finding a community, in-person or online. It often helps to get to know other people to realize that you’re not weird for liking BDSM. There are lots of people out there who like BDSM in some shape or form.

What do you think of BDSM? Do you think my definitions are spot on or do you have different opinions? Let me know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: