What is BDSM?

Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-Film-t_720x1080BDSM is becoming an increasingly popular sexual practice, especially since the publication of the Fifty Shades of Grey book series, but what exactly does the term mean? BDSM stands for bondage, discipline/dominant, submissive, sadism, and masochism. It’s a general abbreviation used to describe many different varieties of sexual fetishes. One might practice domination or submission without necessarily participating in sadomasochism and vice versa.

Many different activities are categorized as BDSM behaviour and many people who engage in these activities do not consider themselves to be a part of the BDSM lifestyle. The common defining aspect of these behavours involves an imbalance of power between partners. Activities considered to be BDSM include role playing, spanking, cross dressing and latex fetishes. BDSM encounters are often referred to as ‘play’, ‘scenes’, or sessions.

While the balance of power is usually uneven in BDSM play the first and most important rule is that each partner willingly agrees to the activities. Roles are clearly defined before any BDSM play is engaged in and a ‘safe word’ is assigned to signify a partner’s desire to stop the activity. This is commonly referred to as SSC, or safe, sane, and consensual. Unless partners are consenting to sadomasochistic play the goal of BDSM is not to inflict pain upon the partner but to derive pleasure though power or submission. More advanced practitioners of BDSM do associate themselves with the BDSM lifestyle and participate in parties and events specifically designed for those who enjoy the dominant and submissive roles of BDSM.

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