BDSM Terminology Guide – Glossary Of Common Terms

Getting into any new discipline comes with the whole exciting process of learning the lingo, and BDSM is no different. There are seemingly endless new words to learn, but unlike your school French lessons, this doesn’t need to be a boring process!

The guide below should provide you with a good introduction to some of the basic terminology necessary to explore the exciting world of BDSM while sounding like a seasoned pro!

Learning the terms below is not enough to engage in safe BDSM play. In addition to learning the terms, read guides and books on the subject, and learn from more experienced members of the BDSM community.

You can spend a lifetime learning about BDSM techniques, so dive in and enjoy the process!

 

BDSM Terms – Glossary Z-A

 

Wax play – wax play is a type of sensory play where hot wax is dropped by the dom onto the sub. If normal candles are considered to be too hot, there are also candles with a lower melting temperature which can be used in a less painful manner. As well as being sensorial, it is also a display of dominance.

 

Wannabe – wannabe is often used as a derogatory term to refer to those who pretend to be well versed in BDSM, but are actually not knowledgeable. They are potentially unsafe in their play, but they shouldn’t be confused with newbies, who may be unsafe, but do not claim to have in depth knowledge.

 

Vanilla – vanilla may be used by members of the BDSM community to refer to those who prefer to engage in more ‘normal’ sexual activities. It’s often considered an insult, and can be used to refer to someone’s personality as well if they’re considered to be boring.

 

Trick – someone who you hook up with, for sex or BDSM play. They are not likely to be a long term partner, the relationship is likely to be at least somewhat casual.

 

Top – the top will be the one in the dom/sub relationship who gives orders and exercises power and domination over the bottom. They carry the bulk of responsibility in ensuring that the play remains safe and consensual at all times!

 

Tease and denial – the act of keeping someone aroused, while denying them the fulfilment of their arousal and desire. It can create a strong sense of anticipation and tension, and when/if the denial ends, the resultant orgasm may be much stronger. It has the potential to be similar to edging. 

 

Switch – switch refers to a person or dom/sub dynamic that isn’t fixed. Someone who is switch will feel comfortable being both submissive and dominant, and can change the dynamic at will.

 

Suspension – a type of bondage where the sub’s body is suspended in the air, often through a highly intricate system of rope work and knots. It can take hours to set up.

 

Sub – a sub is the submissive one in the relationship. The role isn’t necessarily fixed, and the power relation can be switched up at any time! A sub will often be collared to indicate their position as a submissive, and often that they’re also ‘owned’ by a dominant partner. 

 

Slave – someone who gives up all control to someone else, who can command them to do whatever, within the hard limit guidelines and as long as it remains consensual.

 

Sensory deprivation – a type of play whereby the sub has their senses limited, such as having their ears plugs and eyes covered. This will both play into shows of dominance, and have the effect of heightening other senses such as touch. 

 

Safe, Sane, and Consensual – a collection of prerequisites necessary in order to participate in safe and enjoyable BDSM play. Safe: knowledge about techniques and potential dangers, including disease. Sane: all parties of stable mental health, aware of the risks and eager to participate. Consensual: all parties being happy with the risks, being happy and willing to participate at all times.

 

Safe word – one of the most important aspects of BDSM is the use of safe words. A safe word is a predetermined word that when spoken will signal that a break is needed. As BDSM play can become quite intense, the use of a safe word is important to keep both parties comfortable with what’s going on at all times.

 

Safe call – a safe call is a security precaution whereby a player tells a third party where they are and who they’re with, and arranges a check in. If that person then fails to check in, the third party will arrange for help to be sent.

 

Sadism – sadism is when someone experiences sexual pleasure through causing pain in another.

 

Rack – a rack is a piece of BDSM furniture on to which a sub will be bound, generally by the ankles and wrists, and then stretched out in order to cause pain and show dominance.

 

Pup play – a type of dom/sub play where the sub is made to act as if they were a puppy. Some of this play may take place in public, such as walking the sub with a leash on all fours. Many people confused this with using a dog knot dildo, which is purely the usage of an animal dildo and not an aspect of standard puppy play. 

 

Poly – not a distinctly BDSM term, but one that many of those in the BDSM scene associate with. Poly is short for polyamorous, where someone takes multiple partners, and generally does not feel the need for monogamy.

 

Player – in the BDSM scene, someone who is a player is currently engaged in the BDSM scene and regularly plays.

 

Pegging – pegging is the activity whereby a woman anally penetrates a man, with a strap on dildo. This is usually at least in part a display of dominance. 

 

Paraphilia – the sexual attraction to and enjoyment of objects that are not traditionally considered to be sexual. These could be cars, stuffed animals, books, or any number of other items.

 

Mummification – mummification is reasonably self explanatory, it involves bodily immobilisation through tightly wrapping it, generally in a clingfilm like kind of thin plastic sheeting. It is a potentially dangerous form of bondage, and it is important that proper care is taken to leave the mouth free, with special attention to safe words.

 

Micro branding – a process in which small burns are made, which leave marks, but not ones which are permanent. 

 

Kink – a kink refers to a sexual preference, a word with similar meaning to a fetish. The act of kink shaming is when someone shames someone for having an unconventional sexual preference, such as a foot fetish.

 

Hogtie – a hogtie is a kind of restraint position, where the sub has their legs and hands bound, and then tied together behind their back. It’s a popular form of bondage, and can see many types of variation.

 

Hard limit – a hard limit is a pre-discussed set of boundaries which will never be crossed. All play up to that line is agreed and consensual, but beyond that line it is not. 

 

Hair bondage – a technique of bondage in which the hair is tied in a way that limits the movement of the body, usually with additional ropes or other restraints.

 

Golden shower – an act in which the dom urinates on the sub, in order to display dominance.  

 

Financial domination – financial domination, otherwise known as findom, is a type of domination where the dom exercises either partial or total control over the sub’s finances. This can take many different forms, and the dom and sub don’t necessarily have to physically meet in person. 

 

Fetish – a fetish is any specific fascination or obsession with a slightly less standard body part or experience. Finding legs attractive for example wouldn’t be a fetish, but finding toes sexually stimulating would be.

 

Facesitting – facesitting (or queening) is where one person sits on their partner’s face, either for sexual stimulation, dominance, or both. There are pieces of furniture available such as queening benches which are designed to facilitate such play. 

 

Exhibitionism – a kink whereby someone experiences sexual gratification through showing their naked body to an audience. This is not an invitation for the audience to interact – unless specified, the audience are to remain spectators and must not touch the exhibit. 

 

Electric play – the use of low electric currents to stimulate a person. There are a variety of toys available to facilitate such play, some safer than others – in general, electric play is only done below the chest, so as not to mess with the heart or brain.

 

Edgeplay – edgeplay is BDSM play that involves the possibility of bodily or emotional harm. The type and extent of the harm will depend on the specific individual arrangement between players – there is no universal rule as to what is allowed or included.

 

Dungeon monitor – a dungeon monitor can be either an individual or group of individuals who ensure that the BDSM play remains safe and consensual. They may also assist in practical ways, such as providing hydration and helping with stuck bondage gear.

 

Dungeon – a dungeon tends to be the place where BDSM occurs, either in a place in someone’s house or in a more organised setting such as a club. 

 

Dom – a dom is the dominant one in the relationship, who will dominate the sub. The dom doesn’t always have to be the same person! 

 

Cruise – someone who is cruising is actively looking for someone to engage in BDSM play with. If you are the one who is being cruised, someone is interested in engaging in BDSM play with you. 

 

Costume play – BDSM play in which one of both parties dress up in costumes in order to enhance the reality of role play activities.

 

Contract – an agreement between the dom and the sub about what they consider to be acceptable parameters of play. It can either be written or oral, and unlike most contracts, will not be considered legally binding, but rather a general set of rules for effective consent.

 

Consent – this one is of course applicable to all sexual activity, but is perhaps especially relevant to BDSM. Consent is at the core what makes BDSM a fun activity to engage in – without consent it becomes assault.

Maintaining an open dialogue about what the dom and the sub are comfortable with is at the core of maintaining consent. One important thing to note is that consent can be withdrawn at any time, it is not a fixed declaration! 

 

Breath play – breath play refers to the exploration of dominance through the control of the sub’s ability to breath. It’s definitely one of the more dangerous aspects of BDSM, and requires a lot of experience and care in order to explore it safely!

Safe words may not be effective if the sub’s mouth is covered, so different means of pre discussed communication will be necessary. 

 

Bottom – a bottom isn’t necessarily someone who is underneath their partner, but they will be the one who is dominated. They will be the one who obeys orders given by the dom, and will be comfortable with being dominated.

 

Bondage – bondage is a type of domination where the dom restrains the sub using chains, ropes, or other physical restraint. It is one of the most common types of BDSM play, and can be integrated into many different types of sexual scenarios!

 

BDSM – BDSM is the term used to refer to the collection of sexual practices itself. It stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and covers a very broad variety of kinks. What they all tend to share in common is the theme of control, power, and pain.

 

Animal play – animal play is any play where the sub behaves and/or dresses like an animal. Common types of animal play are pony play and puppy play, although there are many other kinds of animal play in addition to these. There are lots of different toys available, such as ears, leashes, and animal dildos, to facilitate this kind of role play and domination.

 

Aftercare – after a BDSM session, the participants may have some aftercare time where they unpack what they felt and thought about the session, to help ease themselves back into the real world. It’s a good time to work out what you enjoyed and what you may like to change for the next session.

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

💰 Get your Black Friday BUZZ! Up to 60% off everything!