What Does BDSM Mean?

What Does BDSM Mean?

In terms of kinks, BDSM is probably the most popular of them. It is certainly one that many people will have heard of. However, somewhat surprisingly, many people still aren't quite sure what BDSM actually is. 

So, what is BDSM? What does it stand for? What are you actually doing when you engage in BDSM? Well, we are going to try and answer all of your most burning questions on this page.

What Does BDSM Stand For?

BDSM is technically an acronym. It isn't quite an acronym as there are actually five different things that fall under the BDSM definition. One of these things has been jigged about a little bit to meet the 'M' part of BDSM. Although, to be honest, this probably isn't something that you need to worry about. We doubt that you are going to be engaging in epic arguments with your partner about what BDSM actually stands for. Well, you can. Maybe that could be part of your BDSM roleplay?

Anyway, these are the five components that make up the definition of BDSM. We are going to break these down so you know what each of them means. 

  • Bondage
  • Discipline
  • Dominance
  • Submission
  • Masochism (sometimes called sadomasochism) 

The Definition of BDSM

BDSM can mean something different to everybody. However, it pretty much always boils down to having a dominant partner and a submissive partner. With BDSM, the dominant partner sets the rules and the sub need to obey them. Pretty simple.

BDSM play will normally throw in some restraints and pain play too. 

BDSM isn't just related to sex

Before we dive into all the various components that make up BDSM, we have one final thing to point out.

This is the fact that while BDSM is often used in relation to sex, BDSM doesn't always have to lead to sex. BDSM is all about powerplay and submission. People can use BDSM in their day-to-day life with a consenting partner without the expectation that there is going to be sex. 

Bondage

When most people think of BDSM, they think of the bondage part.

They think about people tied up. They imagine people wearing handcuffs, etc.

Bondage is actually a key part of BDSM. The whole idea behind BDSM is that you have a dominant and a submissive partner. You can't get much more submissive than being tied up and being completely unable to move, right?

Discipline

When you engage in BDSM, there will be a set of rules that you and your partner need to follow. Although, of course, you are free to come up with your own rules.

This is where BDSM can creep into your everyday life.

The 'discipline' part requires the dominant partner to give the submissive partner a list of rules that they need to follow. These could be related to sex or, with consent, something outside of the bedroom. The dominant partner will also tell the sub what their punishment should be should they break any of these rules. These punishments will probably be bondage or pain, both core parts of BDSM.

A lot of the time with BDSM, there will be a bit of roleplay involved. You don't have to be yourself during BDSM. You just need one role that would be in control of another e.g. a teacher and a student.

Dominance

We have a second D here!

When you have a BDSM relationship, one partner is going to be the dominant one. They are going to be the ones that are setting the rules. They are going to be the ones that are carrying out the punishment.

Generally speaking, the roles never switch. We know that there are some people that engage in BDSM that like to play the sub and dom, and just flick between the two. However, a lot of people don't really see that as real BDSM. They believe that real BDSM has those clearly defined roles that you never deviate from.

Submission

The submission side means that you have one partner that is willing to listen to the dominant one and bow to their every wish.

We should probably point out right now that BDSM relationships, at least proper ones, are still going to give the sub a level of control. They will often have agreed on safe words and limits with the dominant partner. This way the sub is never pushed to do things that they don't want to do.

Masochism 

Technically, the final component is sadomasochism. However, since that wouldn't fit in with the whole BDSM acronym, most people just say masochism.

When you are a masochist, you get a sense of pleasure from having pain inflicted upon you. When you are a sadist, you get pleasure from inflicting pain upon another person.

It is this part of BDSM where people really differ. Obviously, everybody has their own pain threshold. However, each couple will likely have their own idea about how to inflict and receive that pain. Some may love a bit of whipping action. Others like to drive their partner to the brink of orgasm and just...stopping. Just to torture them a little bit. It is up to the couple to set the rules.

Conclusion 

BDSM can mean different things to different people. However, at its heart, it is always about power play. Restraint and pain is added into the mix. However, the level of those can differ between couples. Some couples may not even use pain at all.

BDSM is one of the most popular types of fetish there is. If you are interested in BDSM, why not bring it up with your partner? Surveys suggest that they probably may be thinking about it just as much as you are.