What is BDSM? A look at the world of this sexuality

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There’s much more to BDSM than the stereotypes of bondage, PVC and leather. So what exactly does the term BDSM mean? We believe that everyone should be free to practice their own unique sexuality in all its different facets. Which is why we’re taking a look at the world of BDSM eroticism. In this post, we focus on what BDSM means, what the individual letters stand for and what newcomers to the practice should look out for.

What exactly does BDSM mean?

BDSM is an abbreviation of bondage & discipline, dominance & submission, sadism & masochism. Some of these practices have multiple and sometimes overlapping meanings within the BDSM scene. And it’s because of this overlap that the acronym BDSM is made up of four letters but actually stands for six different terms.

Generally speaking, BDSM is an umbrella term for different types of sexual play or practices which focus strongly on active and passive roles. Consent is a crucial part of the BDSM scene – consent from everyone involved about everything that happens. This is because BDSM eroticism is built on strong connections and transparent relationships between participants, which just goes to show that there’s much more to it than just physical violence and pain. What’s more, all types of BDSM play can increase sexual arousal, but that not always the case.

What’s the difference between a fetish and a kink?

It’s perhaps easier to think of BDSM and fetishism (sexual fetishism: a practice that does not require a partner) as two different paths in the “same” world. Both of which are held together by “kinks”. A kink is a general predilection for certain practices (of a physical or psychological nature). “Urine play”, for example, can be a fetish in itself or used as a kink in BDSM.

But before we delve any further into the details here, let’s take a look at what the letters BDSM actually stand for.

Bondage & discipline

The B in BDSM: Bondage
Bondage refers to everything that involves tying, binding or restraining a partner. This can include chains, handcuffs or leather cuffs. The aim here is to make your partner or yourself immobile in order to experience a specific kind of sexual arousal. In addition to bondage, techniques such as shibari and special bondage furniture such as pillories or vacuum beds can also be used.

D for discipline

In BDSM, discipline refers to the desire for mutual arousal through punishing or disciplining a partner. Toys, whips, canes or your bare hands can be used here. Other types of “punishment” such as setting certain rules are also part of discipline.

 

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Dominance and submission

This refers to a set of conscious, mutually agreed behaviours and rituals that create submissive and dominant roles between two or more partners. This imbalance of power can form the basis of an entire relationship or just exist for the duration of a session.

Dominance and submission focuses primarily on the psychological aspects of power in a relationship and, unlike sadism or masochism, is played out entirely in participants heads. This is why symbolic items such as collars are more commonly used to indicate the balance of power. Nevertheless, physical aspects such as corporal punishment can also be part of dominance and submission practices.

As we mentioned at the beginning, BDSM practices focus very strongly on active and passive roles, otherwise known as dom or top and sub or bottom roles.

The dominant role controls the game play and their submissive partner. Typical dominance and submission practices include submission and teacher/student games, petplay, sexual rejection and enslavement.

Alongside dom/top and sub/bottom roles there are also special variants that both roles can assume at different times or with different people.

Sadism and masochism: Abbreviated to S&M

Sadomasochism is the most well-known part of BDSM. It is made up of the terms sadism and masochism and is often abbreviated to S&M. In public perception, sadomasochism is often equated with BDSM.

Sadomasochism is a sexual deviancy in which a person gains pleasure by inflicting or receiving pain. Like dominance and submission, practitioners of sadomasochism use whips and other tools for hitting. The difference here, however, is that S&M focuses on physical pain and not the psychological aspects of power. Sadomasochistic pain is experienced and eroticised voluntarily and with the consent of everyone involved.

But what are the most popular BDSM games?

We thought we’d take a closer look.

Number one on most platforms and forums is spanking. This is a type of sadomasochism that involves spanking another person’s bottom, legs or external genitals, for example, for sexual arousal and to achieve an orgasm. Shibari, or the art of carefully binding another person, is a type of bondage and is our number 2. This bondage art is not used exclusively to immobilize a person. It is also an aesthetic form of body art and can be used in preparation for further sadomasochistic practices.
Orgasm control or edging is at number 3. This is a practice whereby a dominant part has control over the sub part’s orgasm during sex. Orgasm control is achieved by using a “stop-start method”. In other words, stopping suddenly before you reach a climax and letting your arousal subside before starting all over again. Edging can be used to control any kind of orgasm whether vaginal, penile, clitoral or anal. The pleasure comes from delaying the orgasm for as long as possible until the sub is “permitted” to come and practically explodes.

Ageplay, petplay, chastity play and wax play are all some of the most popular types of play.

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What should I look out for as a newcomer to BDSM?

Sex toys and other products are a great way for newcomers to discover whether BDSM is for them and to find out what practices in particular turn them on. You can start with a twinkler for teasing, for example, or choose bondage ropes and nipple clamps. There are no limits to your imagination.

Light bondage games and orgasm control are particularly good for beginners.
If you use toys, make sure that you have enough personal lubricant to hand. You’ll need lots of personal lubricant to ensure anal plugs or larger objects can be smoothly inserted. If you choose to use latex equipment, then dressing aids and sprays can also be really useful here.

So, we’ve seen what BDSM means, what the individual letters stand for and what newcomers to the practice should look out for. Now it’s up to you to discover what turns you on. Whether it’s tender, gentle sex, BDSM, latex fetish or all of the above! We celebrate with you and offer a diverse range of personal lubricants and stimulating products to help you turn your dreams and desires into reality.

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