Basic FAQ from Julia's blog

What is BDSM and what do each letter means?

B&D (Bondage and Discipline), D&S (Dominance and Submission), and S&M (Sadism and Masochism). Regardless of its origin, BDSM is used as a catch-all phrase to include a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures.


What do ‘submissive’ and ‘dominant’ behaviour mean?

A submissive person is one who submits of their own free will and seeks to submit to another. This can be in the context of play times within a set scene, totally immersed within a power exchange relationship or anywhere in between. A dominant person enjoys being with a submissive person, either just during a scene or as a way of life. Reasons for this include a desire for personal power; being the object of devotion; having the resources and abilities of another human at their disposal; sadism.


Is BDSM abuse?

If BDSM is conducted with informed consent, then it is not abuse. Abuse has everything to do with consent, and nothing to do with whether or not hitting is involved.

Abuse specifically does not take the feelings of the other person into account, nor their personal betterment or growth, which are often themes strongly rooted in many BDSM relationships. Abuse specifically is intended to do harm to an individual, BDSM is intended for personal enjoyment of all parties involved.


I am into BDSM - how do I get my partner to do what I want?

You don’t. You can’t just make someone like the same fetishes or even be comfortable with the slightest reference to bondage. You can, however, use open communication to help them understand why you think that BDSM is important and/or can help better your relationship. If you are shy or slightly embarrassed about your fetishes, try bringing it up slowly during foreplay or discussion with your partner. Discussing your desires is a great way to make sure you and your partner have a healthy and satisfying sex life.


What is ‘consent’?

Consent, in the realm of BDSM, is an informed and revocable permission for something to happen. Revocable means that consent can be withdrawn, by any party, at any time during the activity. Consent can only legally be given between adults of the age of consent or greater in your area.

When an activity takes place with the consent of all participants, the activity is said to be consensual.

According to the NCSF, "Consent is... [sic] an informed, voluntary agreement by two or more people to engage in a particular BDSM activity or to enter into a BDSM.


What is a ‘safeword’?

A safeword is a code word/action or series of code words/actions that are sometimes used in BDSM activities to mean that a bottom or submissive is reaching a limit or to signal that they are in distress and the Top/Dom must stop the scene. Safewords are agreed on by all participants before playing a scene as a part of negotiations


What is a ‘scene’?

A scene is a BDSM activity or encounter involving one or more people; it may or may not involve sexual activity.


What are other general BDSM terms?

Master -  someone into D&S who has a specific relationship with a Submissive.

Slave - someone into D&S who has a specific relationship with a Dominant.

These terms are used in a great variety of conflicting ways. They might be used by one couple when doing a one off role playing scene, based on historical slavery.  Another couple may define their whole relationship on that basis, using welded collars, powers of attorney and a 24/7 no safeword agreement to make it as permanent as possible.

 Top - someone who is a controller and/or dominant

Bottom - someone who is a controlee and/or submissive

These used to have slightly different meanings in the gay community.  In this context they are just generic terms that do not imply whether the player is heavily into D&S or not.


What are common misconceptions about BDSM?

BDSM is about physical pain – Kinky preferences are highly variable and not all forms induce pain. Although pain can be involved, it is in a sexual nature. Pain is experienced in the context of love, trust, and arousal.

BDSM activities inevitably escalate to extremes and/or become addictive – Often there is "making up for lost time" phenomenon with some individuals who are late in coming out. However, this high level of activity usually levels off, though this level may be "occasional" for some and "24 / 7" for others.

BDSM is self-destructive – this is simply inaccurate and not supported by any evidence. Self-destructive behaviours are experienced no more frequently by BDSM practitioners than the general public. On that note, anything pleasurable is subject to abuse and BDSM is no exception.

BDSM is an avoidance of intimacy – BDSM is no more or less prone to intimacy amplification or aversion than more standard sexual practices.

BDSM is inherently safe and anyone can do it - BDSM always involves some level of mitigated risk and can in some cases reasonably lead to accident, injury, hurt feelings, and otherwise uncomfortable scenarios making excellent communication, a willingness to take personal responsibility for one's choices, crisis management skills, and a strong and healthy understanding of consent paramount in all BDSM interactions.


Is BDSM exactly what I see in porn?

Pornographic materials show little more than women being used in various unoriginal ways for men's enjoyment, often by force. The reality is that there are at least as many, and perhaps more, male submissives than female submissives; and that BDSM is a mutual activity that is driven as much by the needs of the submissive than by the needs of the dominant.


What does it take to be a real dominant or submissive, master or slave etc?

There is no official qualification than one simply saying that they are and deciding that is how they orient themselves unless one decides to subscribe to a path of Role essentialism.


What should be a red flag in regards to a Dominant?

Moving too quickly for your comfort zone

Inappropriate attitudes, comments or questions that make you uncomfortable

Repeated reported safety violations or unwillingness to follow certain safety guidelines

A lack of communication or many frequent inconsistencies in communications

Consistently speaking ill of previous partners


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By Julia
Added Sep 1 '16



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