BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism.

Bondage – refers to the act of restraining someone either with bondage rope, tape, restraints anything that tickles your pickle.
Discipline – Discipline refers to controlling behaviour using set rules often delivered by the dominant partner. Discipline can be enforced with rewards and punishment (all consensual of course!).
Sadism – Sadism refers to receiving pleasure from administrating pain. This can be both physical and emotional.
Masochism – Masochism refers to experiencing pleasure from receiving pain, again this could be physical or emotional. Spanking, biting and public humiliation or all types of pain offered in S&M.

A more inclusive explanation of BDSM = Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism.

What are the roles of a submissive and dominant in BDSM and which one am I?

What is a Dominant in BDSM?

A dominant (also called ‘Dom’) in BDSM is a person with control over another, submissive person (also referred to as ‘Sub’). The dominants role in BDSM can encompass a variety of different elements. Some dom’s act as a teacher, guiding their innocent sub’s into the dark world of dungeons and debauchery. They may enjoy inflicting pain on their sub, especially if they step out of line and disobey orders. The dominant partner may create a specific set of rules that the submissive has to obey, and if they misbehave they are sure to be punished. Often the sub must ask permission to perform certain acts, whether that’s touching the dom or masturbating. Not only does the dom demand compliance and obedience from their sub, they also have duties of care and protection for their submissive.

What is a Submissive in BDSM?

Please spank me, Mr. Gray! When you're the submissive in a relationship, your greatest desire is to please your dominant. Submissives put their Dom's needs above their own, conforming not only to their bodies but also to their minds.

Submissive behavior falls into three categories; pain, sex, or service.

Pain: Baby are you a masochist? The pain can be both physical or emotional. A sub may be whipped if they disobey their Dom or their Dom may deny them emotional luxuries like affection.
Sexual: Sexual Sub’s offer the entirety of their sensual bodies to their Dom’s, as theirs to do whatever sexual acts they please with.
Service: Pandering to the Dom’s every need, running them a bath, making sure they are comfortable is all part of service submission.

Just because someone is submissive in the bedroom does not mean they are that character in real life. In fact, many people with stressful roles like to play as submissives in BDSM as a form of stress relief.

Am I submissive or dominant?

You may find you and your partner naturally slip into roles of who is the dom and who is the sub in your relationship. Spot the signs in your sex life, do you like having your hair pulled? Do you like to spank your partner’s bottom with a paddle? You may have both already experimented in some light BDSM without realising. Why choose? Have the best of both worlds and try both roles, cheeky! Many people enjoy being a dom one night and submitting to their partner the next.

Safety in Bondage and BDSM

What is safe, sane and consensual BDSM?

These are the three essential laws of bondage safe, sane and consensual. Be safe, make sure your play is never dangerous for example any restraints are not pulled too tight and that you can breathe through a mouth gag. Keep sane and realistic with your play plans, never engage in any behaviours that could put an individual at risk of danger. BDSM play must always be consensual! All partners must want to take part in the bondage activities. Never pressure someone into doing something they are not comfortable with and never feel pressured into any play you are not comfortable with yourself.

Safewords are sexy

When two or more people engage in BDSM play together using a safeword is essential. This is a word you can shout when things get a little too far out of your comfort zone. You need to know you can shout BANANAS in the middle of sex and everything will stop!

Some people prefer to use a coded system such as the traffic light system.

Green = This is okay!
Amber = A little out of my comfort zone but I’m happy to try it.
Red = I want to stop!

So, now you know the basics, it’s time to get kinky, but remember the most important thing about BDSM, be safe!