BDSM Terms, very brief glossary. Roles You Can Play in BDSM


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Before we get started with the par-tay—the chips, dips, chains, and whips—it’s important to know the most basic terms.
bdsm terms

Again this is a very brief glossary. If you go online and Google BDSM, you’ll find something akin to what would happen if Merriam-Webster and Urban Dictionary got drunk and made a Bride of Frankenstein. Later we’ll get to the tricks and tools of the trade, but here we’ll just focus on the participants.

At the dungeon, I noticed two distinct categories. Plenty of my coworkers were lifestyle Doms. They practiced their trade at home with their lovers and went to fetish events and fully embraced the fetish lifestyle. Some of the Doms were actually lifestyle subs who switched roles once they got home. And then there were girls who were just trying to make a buck, put themselves through college, or simply keep roofs over their heads. Though I’d already experimented with some wild sex acts, I’d originally thought myself the latter. Only later did I realize I’m actually something of a perv, mainly a sub. No one is leading me around by a collar night and day, but I do enjoy light play and have experienced heavy play.

Keep in mind that if you are into BDSM, you are not alone and you are not a freak. I won’t throw percentages out there (since estimates vary widely), but a lot of people dig it. I’m guessing there are more people into BDSM than the entire population of South Dakota ... or maybe even North Dakota and probably even some small countries. Point is—I am not Masters or Johnson, but I do know BDSM has been around for a long time and is extremely popular. It is mentioned in the ancient texts the Kama Sutra (from roughly 400 bc) and my personal fave, The Joy of Sex (from a forgotten time when people still had pubes —1972).

BDSM players come in all shapes and sizes. You can be 5 feet tall, 100 pounds soaking wet and be the most awesome Dom on the planet. Conversely, you can be a big, strapping male corporate executive who likes wearing frilly women’s lingerie and giving pedicures. In BDSM, you are free to be you ... and me!

However, if you’ve been looking at magazines or on the ’net, you’ve likely seen perfect looking models carrying out BDSM scenarios. In real life, there are plenty of regular, even terribly ugly (kidding) people doing this stuff.

When I first started working at a dungeon, one of the employers suggested I dye my hair blonde to attract more clientele. I then suggested that while plenty of clients might want to spank Sandra Dee, maybe a brunette with a round ass and perky tits might do. Shockingly, I was right. The BDSM community is diverse and everyone’s tastes are different. Haters gon’ hate, but there is plenty of love for everyone, so embrace who you are. It’s really all about attitude and confidence. However, there are some basic “types” of which you should be familiar.

Roles You Can Play in BDSM

bdsm roles

Tops — The partners who carry out the activities. They do a lot of work. (A general term that encompasses both sadists and Doms.)

bottoms — The recipients of the activities. They get to lie around a lot. (Again, a general term encompassing both subs and masochists.)

Dominants — Those who like to dominate. (Think James Spader in Secretary ... boing!)

submissives — Those who like to submit. (They don’t even get capitalization! That’s how submissive they are!) Someone once said to me, “A submissive gets off on getting their partner off.” This is true, though I’d like to think subs get off, too. (And they should, especially if they’ve been good.)

Sadists — Those who enjoy inflicting pain. (Think Marquis de Sade who was such a sadistic bastard that the words sadism and sadist are derived from his name.) Side note: The majority of sadists are not bastards at all. For the most part, they inflict pain for erotic gratification on masochists (see below) who gain erotic gratification from said pain.

masochists — Those who enjoy pain. (The term is named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch whose novel Venus in Furs explores a sadomasochistic relationship.) Important point: Masochists enjoy pain in a safe, consensual, erotic environment, so don’t think you can just walk up to one on the street and roundhouse kick him in the nuts. He will likely kick you back—or have you arrested.

Mistress — A term for a female Dom.

Master — A term for a male Dom.

Mommy — A Mistress who acts “maternally.”

Daddy — A Dom who acts “paternally.” (Can be male or female.)

Perv — While some might view this as a derogatory term, as “one who is perverted” or whose sexual tastes deviate from the norm, throughout the book I will use it as a term of endearment, mostly for my friends who are pervs.

Risk - Aware Consensual Kink (RACK, also Risk-Accepted Consensual Kink) —This acronym is used to describe a view that is generally permissive of certain risky sexual behaviors, as long as the participants are fully aware of the risks. This differs from the safe, sane, and consensual mode in that it recognizes that both partners are informed of the risks involved in the proposed activity.

Prick — (PRICK, also Personal Responsibility, Informed Consensual Kink) is yet another term for BDSM activities, one that emphasizes taking responsibility for one’s own actions, much like RACK above.

Switch — A switch is someone who participates in BDSM activities sometimes as a top and other times as a bottom.

For example ...

During my first week as a pro sub, I was shocked when mid-session a client named “Pete” said to me, “I’m a switch. Do you know what that means?” Without waiting for an answer, he continued, “I see Mistresses and submissives. The Mistresses here like to fuck my ass with dildos. Would you do that for me?”

“Sure,” I agreed, and then quickly thought, WHAT am I doing? But a deal’s a deal and before I had to time to think of a way out, he’d laid out three dildos, draped in condoms and ready to go. The largest of the three dildos was ... like no human penis on Earth. It was monstrous. But I did eventually fuck him with all three dildos while he yelled, “Fuck me! Fuck me!” The giant dildo slid in just as easily as the small one. It was like watching a sword swallower at work. (Not sure if this was legal and am guessing it wasn’t, but I was young and naive and the rules were never spelled out for me so ... Don’t show up at your local dungeon looking for someone to fuck you in the ass with dildos.) Legality aside, it made Pete come buckets!

Since then, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for those who switch. A couple years ago, I even found myself switching from my generally submissive nature to that of a domineering tyrant. When I met a powerful, gorgeous man who happened to have a go-go boot fetish (the result of watching Nancy Sinatra dance on TV during his formative years), I was more than happy to let him bend down and kiss my pink, pleather boots. Not only did I love the experience, but this gentleman also explained fetishes better than any sexologist I’ve ever met:

“Some people think I’m a pervert because I like boots,” he said (in an incredibly sexy British accent). “Those people didn’t see Nancy Sinatra on TV that day.”





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