What is BDSM and it's components?

BDSM is an acronym that includes a variety of sexual practices that would fall under the categories of bondage and discipline, dominance and submission and sadism and masochism.Its origins can be traced back to ancient civilization, although today it is considered a kink that is rapidly gaining more exposure than ever before and is being enjoyed by a vast variety of people. It is considered an umbrella term for sexual activities that some may consider "not normal", because they are typically based around explicit and negotiated power exchanges between any number of individuals and any sexual gender or orientation. All identities are represented in the BDSM community. BDSM can range from casual or mild, such as light spanking to more intense activities such as electrostimulation or suspension bondage. Other practices can include leather, latex or rubber fetishes, golden showers, body modification, wax play, pet play and range from a one-time try to a lifestyle with most identifying their specific interest or desires. Also, it's important to note that BDSM does not always involve penetrative sex. Many practice this lifestyle for a variety of reasons that do not require sexual interactions.

The bondage, discipline, dominance and submission aspects of BDMS will often intersect so that it reflects the experiences and desires of those involved. The most commonly recognized are the dominants, submissives and switches. These three roles are central to the power exchange dynamics that span across all BDSM practices. The dominant role - the person who consensually takes control in the relationship is commonly referred to as the “dom" or "top”. This role is inclusive of all genders, but if the dominant is female she will be commonly referred to as the “domme” or “dominatrix”. The submissive role is referred to as the “sub" or "bottom”, and is played by the person who has consensually agreed to give up control. The switch role is played by the person that can be either dominant or submissive depending on the activity, partner and mood.

Here is a break down of each of the letters

Bondage and Discipline (B - D)

The practice of bondage basically involves restraining a person with either devices, or psychologically with commands. This is a key part of the whole sexual experience. The discipline comes from the dom putting in a set of rules for the sub (who is expected to follow them). If not, then various forms of punishment can be used. This doesn't necessarily mean causing pain, but giving the dom more control over the sub's actions and consequences. It's more focused on the pleasure and physical restraint rather than physical pain. Bondage and discipline both allow for the creativity and self-expression of those involved.

Dominance and Submission (D – S)

Based around the power exchange of the BDSM roles, are the practices of dominance and submission with one person taking control while the over gives up their control. They may perform or role-play, which can be both physically and psychologically stimulating. This allows for a lot of creativity and versatility when they are choosing the ideal scenario or fantasy with some of the more popular being: teacher/student, master/slave and pet owner. These scenarios don't always involve actual physical violence, but instead creates an illusion for those involved that causes arousal. These scenarios usually involve a basic script of expected behaviours so they can become familiar with them and allows them a sense of comfort and stability.

Sadism and Masochism (S-M, Sadomasochism)

A sadist derives pleasure from the pain of others where the masochists derives pleasure from their own pain. Many of these activities are deemed painful by many in society so that is why the BDSM community offers a non-judgemental place for S & M to safely engage in their desires. Some of these activities may include such things as bondage, spanking, biting, choking, or humiliation. But like the D-S practices, these can have a basic script involved to ensure the safely and pleasure of all those involved. It's also very important to know each others boundaries and limits.

BDSM Safety – Consent and Safe words and Signals

The BDSM community hold a very high standard of health and physical risk awareness as some activities can be either physically or psychologically harmful. So it is a must to be aware of all the safety precautions and to properly educate yourself on the correct way to play out each scenario before, during, and after each activity. Another huge aspect is obtaining positive consent. Even though most activities are rough by nature, it is imperative that all parties involved consent to everything that will happen. Safe, sane and consensual (SSC) is a system used that sets common rules to guide all activities. “Safe” indicates that every attempt is made to identify and prevent health risks. “Sane” means that all involved in activities are in a sane and sensible frame of mind. And “consensual” meaning that all parties involved have given consent. Consent must be given throughout the entire encounter as well for everyone involved to enjoy themselves. Besides the rules of the SSC, established safe words or signals are practised. When a safe word or signal is used, it means an immediate stop to all activities. Make sure your safe word is not a word commonly used during BDSM activity. A signal would be used during bondage as one maybe wearing a gag and unable to actually speak. This could be a hand signal, series of eye blinks, a certain sound or bell ringing.

The most common indication for safe play is : green, yellow, and red.

Green means the activity is A-OK! 

Yellow means to slow down - the person may enjoy it, but it could be becoming too much, or too painful. This does not indicate completely stop, but to discuss the perimeters surrounding the activity.

Red means STOP! Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. There is no discussion - this is a hard limit

No matter where you are in your BDSM scenario, never be afraid to use your safe word or signal if you feel the need to do so. There is nothing wrong with wanting to slow down or stop completely. The most important priority of all in the BDSM community is the safety and comfort of everyone involved.

I hope this gives a little more insight into a world that many are starting to dive into or are a bit curious about, but may be afraid to ask for the fear of being judged.