Common BDSM Terminology

Common Terminology:

  • BDSM – Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism.
  • SSC – Safe, Sane, Consensual
  • RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink
  • PRICK – Personal Responsibility Informed Consensual Kink
  • Scene – Both the BDSM Community as a whole and a play interaction.
  • “Thud” – Sensation produced when struck with broad/heavy/soft toys – e.g .floggers, big paddles.
  • “Sting” – Sensation produced when struck with thin/light/hard toys – e.g. cane or single tail.
  • Dungeon – a (public or private) play space.
  • DM (Dungeon Monitor) – Public playspace lifeguard.
  • Squick – Something that viscerally turns you off. The sound of your parents fucking on the kitchen table.
  • BBW – Big Beautiful Woman
  • Sub Frenzy – The desire to try everything when one is new to the scene.
  • Subspace – An altered state often resulting from endorphins released through sensation/impact play.
  • Sub Drop/Top Drop – Temporary depression sometimes experienced (hours or days) after intense play.

Safeword – a word or phrase used to pause or stop play.

  • Stop!/No!  - If you’re a beginner, keep it simple, no means no, stop means stop.
  • Safeword!/Red! – Stop now! Something is seriously wrong. DMs/bystanders requested to help.
  • Yellow/Mercy – I can’t take much more, need a break, please check in.
  • Green – I’m having a good time, please continue!
  • Beige – I’m so bored I’m thinking about what color to paint the ceiling.

Roles:

  • Top/Bottom – Enjoy physical play (bondage, flogging, whipping, etc.)
  • Sadist/Masochist – Enjoy inflicting/receiving pain (intense physical sensation).
  • Dom/Sub – Enjoy mental power exchange (following orders, serving, etc.)
  • Master/Slave – Enjoy long term owner/property relationship.
  • Daddy/babygirl – Enjoy power exchange that is based on play and growth.
  • Switch – Enjoy roles on both sides of the slash with same or different partners.
  • Brat/Uppity Bottom/SAM (Smart-Assed Masochist) – A bottom that enjoys struggling against control.
  • Vanilla – Anything (or anyone) that isn’t kinky. The rest of your life (family, job, school, …).

Bondage Toys:

  • Rope – Typically 1/4 to 5/8 inch diameter. Nylon, cotton or hemp. Recommended lengths: 15’, 25’, 50’
  • Belt – Can be used to tie wrists/ankles (may require extra holes).
  • Cuffs – handcuffs (note that they are designed to be painful if you struggle).
    Leather/fur cuffs are much more comfortable, still quick to put on/take off.
  • Spreader bar – Used with rope or cuffs to keep ankles or wrists apart.
  • St Andrews cross – an X shaped cross with bondage points at the four ends.

Sensation Toys:

  • Fingers/finger nails/hands – stroke, rub, scratch or pinch, massage, kneed, spank!
  • Teeth – I’m not biting you, I’m hugging you with my teeth. Nape of the neck is a sweet spot.
  • Blindfold – Heightens other senses.
  • Gag – (cloth, ball, ring or bit with a strap around the back of the head) – Restricts speech.
  • Clothes pins, nipple clamps – Pinch and constrict. May hurt more when removed.
  • Feather/fur – light/tickling sensation.
  • Wartenberg wheel – pinwheel with a handle – touches one small spot at a time.
  • Violet wand – Produces high-voltage/low current electric shock safe for most areas of the body.

Impact Toys:

  • Cane – Any thin rod (metal, wood, bamboo, plastic, …)
  • Paddle – A wide flat surface with a handle (wood, metal, plastic, …)
  • Flogger – a whip typically consisting of 1-4 dozen thin loose leather strips tied to a handle
  • Single-tail – a whip braided to a single tip, often with a nylon string “cracker” at the tip.