Glossary - Basic BDSM Terms*

Frequently people who are just entering the BDSM world need common terms to be explained. This is something that tends to be taken for granted, as many leather and non-leather people have shifted their vocabulary to be both easily understood and non-offensive. While very basic - this page may shed some light on commonly used BDSM Terms.

For a further primer, you may want to check out the Wikipedia Term BDSM - (with caveat - While it does have some very clear information about many aspects of BDSM, it is still Wikipedia...) Click here - BDSM.

BDSM Umbrella term used to encompass it's primary aspects of Consensual Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism

Consent The Basis for BDSM Mutual agreement to the terms of a scene or ongoing BDSM relationship.

Cover A ceremony to acknowledge a person who has been in the Leather Scene for numerous years and has been nominated and approved by his/her peers, who laud his/her qualities then place a Leather Cap on their head.

DM Dungeon Monitor/Master, a person who volunteers to supervise the interactions between participants at a play party to ensure their safety.

D/s Domination/submission

Dungeon/Playspace Usually referring to a room or area with BDSM equipment. Can be a synonym for "play space."

Endorphin Rush Endorphins are the chemicals responsible for the "high" people often get from activities such as sex, or high-risk sports, and is the body's response to heightened or intense experiences of certain kinds. BDSM activities, especially those incorporating a degree of sensation play often cultivate the endorphin rush as part of their "payoff" to the sub.

Fetish A specific obsession or delight in one object or experience.

Handkerchief or Hanky Codes visible signs to indicate to others your area of BDSM interest - see our page on it....Common Hanky Codes

Leather Frequently refers to people within the BDSM scene. Can be used to differential those who practice certain hierarchical common and individual protocols.

Munch A group of people that are into BDSM meeting at a vanilla place. Sometimes this is a club. You might see an announcement like, "This weekend's munch is at Denny's".

Newbie Someone new to BDSM.

Negotiation The mutually consensual discussion/agreements, often spoken, that occur with those who intend to play, prior to actual engagement in BDSM play.

Play Party A BDSM event involving many people engaging in Scenes.

Protocol(s) Written or unwritten "rules" and guidelines that are followed by Gorean, D/s and M/s leather players. Sometimes used as the differentiation between "Leather" and "Non-Leather" BDSM people.

SSC Safe, sane and consensual ~ safe: attempts should be made to identify and prevent risks to health
sane: activities should be undertaken in a sane and sensible cast of mind consensual: all activities should involve the full informed consent of all parties involved.

Safeword When a participant utters a safeword, BDSM activity stops; either completely or to reframe and renegotiate the scene. "Red" is the most common.

Scene Can be used in 2 ways. 1. "a scene" refers to the time period of BDSM activities. 2. "The Scene" refers to the entire lifestyle of being involved in BDSM.

Vanilla Someone or something not in the lifestyle. Alternatively, sexual behaviour which does not encompass BDSM activity. The term is sometimes used in a derogatory sense.

Wannabe Someone who thinks or claims to be knowledgeable about BDSM, but is not. Especially prevalent with new Doms.

WIITWD "What it is that we do". A broad term referring to all forms of alternative sexuality.

*Adapted and modified from Wikipedia

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