5330432dde71471ea68e77923dc1d18c.png

BDSM for Beginners -Terms You Need To Know


BDSM  for Beginners -Terms You Need To Know

When you are in a relationship or think about exploring a relationship involving BDSM, you have to learn the correct definitions for all of the BDSM terms you come across!

In addition, knowing the correct definition for any BDSM term will help you understand whether or not you are being abused, when you may be abused, and what may constitute abuse.

I provided a growing list of terms below that you want to know and should know before dabbling in the world of BDSM. (Check back often for updates.)

24/7 - In terms of a D/s relationship, this acronym stands for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It identifies a relationship with round-the-clock Dominant and submissive dynamics.

BDSM - In terms of sexual interactions and physical demonstrations, this acronym stands for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism. It refers to the acts of or participating in activities that include:


  • Bondage: the practice of being restrained physically utilizing devices such as cuffs or rope.


  • Discipline: refers to the process of punishing or being punished.


  • Sadism: coined as a term about the Marquis de Sade, this term refers to deriving pleasure or personal gratification from causing or being a part of causing pain, suffering, or cruelty in various degrees.


  • Masochism: coined as a term about Leopold von Sacher-Masoch,(author of Venus in Furs); this term is associated with receiving pleasure from mental, emotional, or physical pain or humiliation, also in varying degrees.





Bottom - In terms of BDSM scenes or interactions, this word refers to the person who takes on the submissive role for the duration of a scene. This term is associated with being on the receiving end of bondage, discipline, and sadism. (Note: this term has significant connotative differences from submissive or slave.) See Top.


Collar - is a symbol of possession used to denote a committed relationship between a sexual Dominant and a sexual submissive.

Consent - In terms of BDSM, this word means the permit planned occurrences (such as to consent to being blindfolded). In terms of D/s, the word refers to giving agreement to situations and decisions at the discretion of the Dominant (although the agreement may define specific restrictions).

Consensual Non-Consent (CNC)- In D/s or M/s relationships, this refers to the type of agreement made between a Dominant and submissive party, stipulating that the submissive has consented to the Dominant's decisions and puts themselves in the care of the Dominant. This type of agreement is not to be taken lightly. The submissive party in these relationships typically becomes a slave, relinquishing personal freedoms and rights to the Dominant's discretion.


Control Freak - slang for a person with a dysfunctional personality type usually referred to as a “controlling personality.” See section 2, paragraph four.

Cuckold - A man who willingly urges his wife have sexual encounters with other people because it brings him pleasure.


Cyber - slang for being online. Often refers to Cyber-sex.


D/s - In the context of relationships and social interactions, this acronym stands for Dominance and submission.

DDLG - Stands for Daddy Dom Little Girl. A form of BDSM relationship where the dom acts as the adult/caregiver, taking care of and loving the childlike little. Some couples find extreme comfort in this relationship dynamic.


Docking - A sexual act in which two men are co-joined by their penises. One male overlaps his foreskin over the head of another man's penis.


Dom - abbr. or slang for a (usually male) sexual Dominant. A person that derives sexual and mental satisfaction from taking control of intimate sexual encounters. They are often simulated by using techniques such as sexual sadism, bondage, domineering role-play, and generally taking a commanding role in intimate situations.


Dominance (also called Domination) - In terms of BDSM and D/s, this term refers to taking control of a person or situation by using some means (such as physical, mental, financial, etc.) or to exercise this power. A person who exercises this power regularly, outside of BDSM scenes, is called a dominant; the gender-specific titles are Dom for a man, Domme, or Dominatrix for a woman.


Domme - abbr. or slang for a female sexual Dominant. See also Dom.

Etiquette - In terms of D/s, forms and practices will rule the interactions between community members, Dominants and submissives, and those involved in a relationship. Because of the authority structure in D/s, the etiquette a submissive or slave adheres to is much stricter than interactions between vanilla individuals. Example of such Etiquette: using Sir or Ma'am when speaking to Dominants.


Femdom - In both BDSM and D/s, this term refers to Female Domination, or when a woman is a Dominant partner. A female Dominant is referred to as a Domme or Dominatrix. (Other monikers include Domme, Dominatrix, Miss, Mistress, Ma'am, etc.)


Golden Shower - the act of peeing on another person for sexual pleasure.


Heterosexual - In terms of BDSM and D/s, this term refers to having a sexual or relationship preference for members of the opposite sex.

Homosexual - In terms of BDSM and D/s, this word describes a person as having a sexual or relationship preference of members of the same sex.


Hotwife - A married woman who is allowed and/or encouraged by her husband to pursue sexual relationships with other individuals.


HNG - acronym for “Horny Net Geek.”


Lifestyle D/s - A lifestyle (an individual's typical way of life), where D/s is a principal element in day-to-day living. The final authority for the majority of significant life decisions rests with the Dominant in the relationship. (See Total Power Exchange.)

Limit - In BDSM, this refers to an activity or fetish that a person will refuse to participate in; in D/s, it relates to the same as BDSM, but a much larger scope, extending to everyday life (for instance, refusing to allow a Dominant to choose to clothe). Limits are often a topic of discussion between Doms and subs who may potentially engage in a relationship, defining the types and degrees of limits. Hard limits are firm and not mutable with circumstance; soft limits are negotiable under certain circumstances.


M/s - Refers to D/s relationships; this acronym stands for Master and slave. It refers to a type of relationship that is a serious commitment, often long-term, and in some cases may be 'consensual non-consent. While this is not true of all M/s relationships, a large majority of them are involved 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (also called 24/7), and have detailed contracts or agreements.


Maledom - In both BDSM and D/s, this refers to Male Domination, or when a man is a Dominant partner. A male Dominant is referred to as a Dom. (Other monikers are Dom, Sir, Master, Daddy, etc.)


Master - A title of honor for a (male) sexual Dominant that usually denotes either a high level of experience or competence. Alternatively used as a term of endearment for the Dom in a Scene featuring “Master/slave” role-playing.


Mistress - A title of honor for a (female) sexual Dominant that usually denotes a high level of experience or competence. She is alternatively used as an endearment for the Domme in a Scene featuring “Mistress/slave” role-playing.


Munches - A munch is a casual social gathering for people involved in or interested in BDSM. (Munches often take place at a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop, the organizer usually reserving a large table, a back area, or a private room.)

Old Guard (or OG) - Historical reference to the original Gay Leather BDSM scene of the '60s; characterized by strict discipline and rules and a close-knit exclusive community that tried to protect its members from the media.

pansexual - In both BDSM and D/s, this is a term used to describe a person with sexual or activity preferences with all genders and orientations or an organization or community that caters to all directions, genders, activities. ["DC's Black Rose organization is pansexual, welcoming anyone and everyone."]


Power Exchange (PE) - In both BDSM and D/s, this is an imprecise term. 'Power' is the ability to affect the world around you. This term is associated with a submissive exchanging their authority to make decisions (whether just for a scene or for their entire life), for the Dominant's agreement to take responsibility for their happiness and health. (See Total Power Exchange)


sadomasochism - Term coined by Sigmund Freud. In dealing with BDSM, this term is applied to individuals who derive pleasure from the pain and humiliation inflicted on others or themselves.

Safe Word - A term in BDSM that relates to a word or phrase used for communication in a scene. Most commonly, a safe word is used by the submissive to end a scene because of pain or other problems. When not previously discussed, three conventional terms are used in scenes; "green" for "Go ahead, I'm fine," "yellow" for "Slow down," and "red" for "Stop immediately."


Safety Net - a person or persons who take the responsibility to ensure that your real-life meeting with a prospective play partner is safe. This can range from actually “chaperoning” the meeting to set up “safe calls” and so forth. This is a requirement for submissives, not an option, as it is the only defense against predators, rapists, and con artists. Learn how to set one up and set them up religiously. Even vanilla women should learn to do this!


Scat - sexual acts involving feces. Individuals with a scat fetish, or coprophilia, derive sexual pleasure from the sight, scent, or feel of feces.


Scene - This term applies to mostly BDSM, a division of time that encapsulates a BDSM activity, ranging from a few minutes to several hours—also used as a verb, as to "scene" with someone implies that you have been or will be involved with someone for the scene. Alternatively, this term has been applied to the BDSM community's more public gatherings or the community's state. ["The scene around Houston is very active."]


Sexual Masochist - a person that can experience profound arousal and/or euphoria from controlled doses of pain and other extreme stimuli.


Sexual Sadist- a person that can experience profound arousal and/or euphoria from inflicting carefully controlled doses of pain and other extreme stimuli on sexual Masochists. They DO NOT generally enjoy inflicting pain for its own sake. Nor do they enjoy using such stimuli on people that do not find it pleasurable.

Slave - A term is often used synonymously with bottom or sub. Connotatively it refers to very complicated D/s relationships; a person who has surrendered their personal property and freedoms to another, who has become the property or chattel of their owner(s). This term is widely used as it has a certain self-affirming weight. The difference between submissive and slave is the degree of submission. For more on this, see the article of Degrees of Submission.


Sounding - also known as cock stuffing – is the practice of inserting something into the hole of the penis.


SSC - In terms of BDSM, this acronym stands for Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Originally offered to the media in the early '80s as a description for BDSM activities to make the general public feel at ease about such "dangerous and unhealthy" practices.


Submissive (sub) — In D/s relationships, a submissive person retains freedoms and rights but submits or potentially submits to another in areas wider than BDSM scenes. Within a BDSM-only context, submissive is synonymous with 'bottom.' Submissives can vary in how seriously they take their position, training, and situation.


Submission - In BDSM and D/s, this refers to the act of yielding to something or someone; it also refers to the state of submitting. This may be through the manipulation of a Dominant or Top. Typically, someone who regularly offers, outside of a BDSM scene, is a submissive. Submissives who submit to an extreme degree are called slaves.


Switch — Concerning BDSM, a switch is associated with a person who prefers being both submissive and Dominant in their BDSM activities (not necessarily at the same time).

Top — A common expression in BDSM for a person who takes on the Dominant role for the duration of a scene. This term is associated with being on the administering end of sadism, bondage, and discipline.

Topping from the bottom - It occurs when a submissive actively tries to exert control over their dominant. This could be through acts of disobedience, or a dismissive attitude towards requests.




Total Power Exchange (TPE) is a derivative of the concept of power exchange and again is imprecise wording. However, the term refers to a relationship where the Dominant has complete authority and influence over the submissive's life, making most decisions. (See Lifestyle D/s.)


Toy refers to the physical objects used in and around the scene, such as whips, paddles, cuffs, and floggers.


Tribbing - commonly known by its scissoring position, most commonly a lesbian sexual practice in which two women rub their pussies against each other for sexual stimulation, especially for stimulation of the clit.

Under Consideration (UC) - refers to a period at the beginning stages of a relationship witch there is no fault, get to know you period, where you can see if a potential is a good match for you. (BDSM Vetting Process - Everything You Genuinely Need to Know) It's like a trial and error type of agreement. There are no hard feelings if one partner decides to walk away and end the UC.

Vanilla — A term coined by the BDSM and D/s communities to describe the "normal" (non-BDSM or non-D/s). It is used to illustrate a division of communities and ideas, as many "vanilla" people are adverse to the concepts of BDSM and D/s in general.


Victim - a victim of abuse that uses D/s to “legitimize” her tragic situation.


Wannabe - derogatory; most often refers to a person that pretends to be a legitimate real life player in D/s. Most often used in reference to females that pretend to be sexual submissives.


Also See BDSM Abbreviations

3 comments