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ABRASION: or surface play with abrasive materials. Rabbit fur, rough silk, chamois leather, fine sandpaper, assorted brushes and wire wool are just a few samples of some very effectives items to enhance the body sensations of a blindfolded bottom.

AFTERCARE: Communication after scenes is part of what is called aftercare. Aftercare is a time when the partners typically cuddle, decompress, and eventually talk about the good and bad parts of the scene. The importance of quality aftercare cannot be stressed enough. Most people do aftercare naturally, with both partners enjoying it as part of the entire BDSM experience.


AGE PLAY: a common variant of role-play in which the top becomes the Daddy or Mommy and the bottom child-like. Most commonly, adults take on the role of children, perhaps in a submissive capacity. Younger people may also take on the role of older people.

ATOCALCIPHILIA: fetish for high heels.


ANIMAL TRAINING: Play scenes where the bottom usually takes on the role of an animal. A very common example of this scenario is the sub playing the role of a dog. Horses are also popular, as in pony girls. In order to emphasize this behavior the sub will wear items such as collars, leads and bridles.

ASPHYXIAPHILIA: auto-erotic asphyxiation (if solo play). Games involving control or restriction of air and/or the supply of oxygen to the brain. Strangling is usually the compression of the carotid arteries to prevent oxygenated blood reaching the brain; suffocation involves reducing the level of oxygen in the air available to breathe. Hanging, where the body is suspended by the neck, though a relatively common fantasy is very difficult to stage in a non-harmful way. This form of play is extremely dangerous and not recommended by the in experienced.

ASSPLAY: next to the clitoris, the anus contains the largest number of nerve endings on a female body. For males the prostate is an extremely sexually arousing gland on the male body. Inserting dildos fisting, fucking and douching can be very stimulating forms of ass play. Hygiene should always be a main consideration with this type of play.


BD: B/D, B&D. bondage and discipline or bondage and dominance. Sometimes used interchangeably with SM but more strictly referring to bondage and role-playing or humiliation but rarely with any great deal of pain.

BDSM: bondage, domination, sadism, masochism: An overall compilation of overlapping initials intended to identify three components play BD, DS, and SM.

BALL TORTURE: Ball Torture (BT) refers to a range of techniques to cause sensation, discomfort and pain in the male testicles and scrotum. Common examples are squeezing with hands, slapping and beating with hands and other objects, crushing using various vice-like devices and applying pressure with bindings, straps and weights are favourite techniques. Often found in conjunction with cock torture (CT), thus CBT. As most men know, the balls are highly sensitive, particularly to pressure. Most men find handling, stroking and squeezing gently is a pleasurable sensation in itself, and the boundary between strong sensation and outright pain seems particularly malleable here. For many people there is also the thrill that the balls are regarded as probably the most delicate and vulnerable part of the male anatomy and using them in SM games requires great trust and carries a particularly intense charge.

BASTINADO: Form of torture or punishment involving beating the soles of the feet.

BELT CLIP: These fasteners are normally made in a g-shape, opened and closed with a sprung lever, designed for fastening key rings onto belts and so on. Heavy-duty versions are useful and convenient fastenings in bondage.

BIRCHING: Light wooden rod or bundle of twigs, traditionally from the birch tree; striking with such an implement.

BLINDFOLD: Temporarily blocking the sense of sight is a common technique in SM scenes. It can make the bottom feel more vulnerable, help them concentrate or 'get into the headspace', and is essential to the sorts of abrasion and surface play games where everyday objects are used to give unexpected sensations. Use purpose-made blindfolds such as the cheap ones made for travelers and often distributed free by airlines, or the more expensive ones in leather or rubber from sex shops. Improvised blindfolds that are quite effective range from scarves, hankies, long socks to bandages.

BODY MODIFICATION: Making permanent but usually superficial alterations to the appearance of the body, sometimes by painful processes like branding and piercing.

BODY TRAINING: uses specialized apparatus to train a body part or area to look a certain way for an extended period of time. Corsets are used to train the waist and lower abdomen to make it smaller. Nipple training devices pull the nipple out from the breast to lengthen it.

BONDAGE: Restriction of a person's bodily movement for erotic reasons using fastenings of various kinds. Restriction of movement during a play scene, utilizing ropes and various restraints.

BOTTOM: umbrella term for the person in the scene who takes the submissive, receptive or masochistic role. BDSM activities go on between two (and sometimes more) partners. The person following the top's lead is called the bottom. These terms originated from missionary-position sex, where the male is literally on top of his partner. However, in the context of BDSM they are quite general and do not have any connotations about who is positioned where. (See also the definitions of Dom and sub below.) doms and subs are particular kinds of tops and bottoms. Some people use the terms dom and sub to be synonymous with top and bottom. Others use the terms top and bottom to refer to people who emphasize SM as opposed to DS in their play. Which exact definition is being used is usually clear from the context, but it can be helpful to ask.

BRANDING: Making a permanent or semi-permanent scar on the skin by burning it with a heated metal object, as practiced on livestock and in earlier times on slaves and criminals. Can be carried out safely with the correct technique and aftercare but still likely to be intensely painful, and seen by some as the ultimate either in body art or as the culmination of a heavily submissive relationship or scene.

BROWN SHOWERS (BS): using feces (scat) in an erotic context. The scientific name for being aroused by excrement is coprophilia, though games involving shit are known more commonly (and euphemistically) by the term scat (this word is derived from 'scatology', originally the medical practice of diagnosis through the inspection of feces.


D&S: dominance and submission. Other kinds of deferent activities, ranging from service such as polishing the dominant's boots, to cooking dinner, to kneeling at the dominant's feet, to body worship, to orgasm deprivation or having an orgasm on command, are also common parts of DS. The rules of DS are not standardized. They are typically worked out between the partners during negotiations prior to playing. A submissive is not required to kneel at the foot of the dominant unless the partners have agreed that kneeling is an acceptable play activity. Nor is a submissive automatically required to defer to dominants other than the submissive's own partner.

DISCIPLINE: Like many SM terms, used rather loosely, but usually refers to the imposition of rules of behavior on the bottom in domination scenes and the 'punishments' used to enforce them. A distinction is often made between intense and painful activities that are carried out so the bottom gets direct enjoyment from them and those carried out as a 'punishment' for infraction where in certain kinds of ongoing relationships the bottom does not determine the limits of the activity.

DOM: and sometimes for females, domme" or femdom; the term "dominatrix is not generally used for female doms. Doms and subs are particular kinds of tops and bottoms, ones who emphasize power exchange in their play. Some people use the terms dom and sub to be synonymous with top and bottom. Others use the terms top and bottom to refer to people who emphasize SM as opposed to DS in their play. Which exact definition is being used is usually clear from the context, but it can be helpful to ask. Tops and doms do not all wear leather and boots or carry whips and chains; nor do owned submissives all wear collars.

DOMINANCE: controlling and directing the scene.

DOMINANT: the person who directs the scene and issues the commands. 1. Exercising the most influence or control; governing. 2. Most prominent in position or prevalence; ascendant. Comes from Old French and Latin dominans, to dominate.

DOMME: and sometimes for females, domme or femdom; the term "dominatrix" is not generally used for female doms.

DOMINATE: 1. To control, govern or rule by superior authority or power. Comes from Latin dominari, to rule > dominus, lord.

DOMINATRIX: The Latin feminine of the term 'dominator', one who dominates, could just mean a woman who enjoys taking the dominant role but almost always refers specifically to the professional dominatrix who charges for staging scenes where she dominates mainly male clients. The work of these women is rarely classed legally as prostitution because very often genital sex is not involved. Some dominatrixes are renowned for their knowledge and skill at both the psychological and physical aspects of SM techniques and a number have made valuable contributions to the BDSM community. generally used for female doms.

DOUCHE: A simple item of equipment for douching, usually consisting of a rubber bulb and nozzle, though the term is sometimes extended to cover other items of douching equipment. Also the activity of douching, as in 'I had a douche' or 'I douched'.

DOUCHING: From the French douche, 'shower', in a sexual context this means injecting liquid, usually water, under pressure into the ass or cunt, either for hygiene purposes prior to sex, for contraceptive purposes afterwards (not terribly reliable), or as a sexual thrill in itself. In the vagina the liquid is entering a closed cavity and only a limited amount can be used. In the rectum, the cavity immediately behind the asshole can be flushed, or liquid can be made to penetrate higher and further into the bowel and colon: such a thorough anal douche is known as an enema and the sexual enjoyment of them is termed klismaphilia. The body will quickly attempt to expel water introduced in this way with a shitting action and controlling this can be part of the fun.

DRESSER: A person who likes dressing in fetish wear or leather, and might be mistaken for a player, but their actual fetish is the dressing!

DROPS: tops or bottoms sometimes experience drop the blues or moodiness following an exciting scene or weekend of play.

DUNGEON: a room designed and decorated specifically for BDSM play. Also known as "play room."


C&B or CBT: cock and ball torture; intense stimulation of the male genitals more often associated with pain, bondage, and endurance. See ball torture and cock torture.

CANING: use of a cane, a flexible rod. Caning a bottom is very intense and leaves very pronounced marks. Canes are semi-flexible rods that have a long history as an implement of corporal punishment. They are made from a variety of materials and in range of sizes, each one of which has its own particular qualities. Softer materials, like hazel, are often very flexible and resilient. They will strike with more speed and more "cutting" capability, but because of their compressibility they strike with less overall force than a more dense material such as rattan. Some modern materials, such as fiberglass, combine flexibility with high density to produce sensations not possible with natural materials. However, most caners prefer the psychological effect of natural bamboo and rattan canes.

CHAINS: to be used for suspensions mainly. In some cases a smooth chain with a proper finish can be used on the skin. Quick release clasps are recommended.

CHASTITY: In SM circles most likely to mean banning or physically preventing someone from achieving orgasm or even any form of genital stimulation in the long term, usually as a means of asserting domination. Also known as enforced chastity (EC). A device intended for this purpose is known as a chastity belt or a chastity device, and wearing such a device is a form of bondage.

CLAMPS: Clamps are devices that apply pressure to a body part. They can be used on nipples, the chest and outer genitalia. There are many styles of clamps, from plain clothespins to specialized genital clamps. Nipple clamps are items that pinch the nipples. Some have adjustable settings so the pressure can be customized or varied. Others work only by a single spring mechanism and do not allow the top to adjust the pressure. Nipple clamps can also be used on other areas of the body, but here we will stick to nipples. Most tops test clamps first on themselves to get a feeling for the level of intensity imparted, often on the skin of the inner wrist or the webbing between the thumb and forefinger.

CLOVER CLAMPS: are intricately curved spring mechanisms whose actual purpose is to hold fabrics tightly for sewing. They can be bought very inexpensively at sewing stores. For scene use they are often sold in pairs with a chain attaching them. The flat ends have rubber coverings. The pressure they yield is intense and cannot be adjusted; in fact, they tend to ratchet to a tighter level when the chain is pulled. But many bottoms find them hot for exactly those reasons. They are very attractive and many tops never travel without them.

ROACH CLAMPS: (named not for the insect but for marijuana butt holders) are matchstick-thin tweezers with small rubber coverings on the tips and a sliding ring that lets you adjust the tightness (like barbecue tongs). They are good for many nipple sizes. For scene use they are often sold in pairs with a chain attaching them.

ROLLS-ROYCE CLAMPS: are heavy, strong-looking clamps with rubber tip coverings, a chain between them, and an adjustment mechanism that works by screwing them tighter (like screw back earrings). The adjustment mechanism works very well, and if the bottom's nipples are not too small, these clamps can be adjusted from very light pressure to fairly tight. Novices often find them the most comfortable of the nipple clamp styles.

COCK TORTURE: in the SM context means causing intense stimulation, discomfort or pain to the penis, usually including the foreskin, if present, using hands and any number of improvised or purpose-made devices. This is not so horrific as it might sound to some men: the penis is often regarded as a particularly delicate and sensitive part of the anatomy but although there are specific health and safety issues to consider the organ sturdier than you might think, and can take a good deal of punishment without serious risk.

COLLAR: a band of leather, metal, cloth, or nylon encircling the neck to signify a bottom role. Chains or straps can be attached to it to secure the hands or legs. These collars can be different from a standard collar, which denotes ownership.

CONSENT: The consent of both parties is of vital importance in any sexual encounter, but the issue seems more pronounced in SM because many of the activities are those that are widely seen as unpleasant and undesirable in everyday life. Many SMers have therefore devised particularly techniques for managing consent.

CONSENSUAL: based on mutual agreement; not coerced; one of the three cornerstones of social BDSM play: Safe, Sane & Consensual.

CONTRACTS: are actual written documents specifying the terms and conditions of a BDSM relationship or even defining the parameters within a specified play period.

CONTROL: In an SM context, most likely to mean scenes where the top takes control of the bottom through various techniques. Could also include scenes where actions which are normally volitional are closely controlled by the top, either through physical restraint or role-play.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT/CP: Originally, retributive punishment involving the infliction of pain, often though not exclusively through blows administered with some form of flexible object like a whip or cane, and the palm of the hand. In an SM context, normally refers to the activities of caning, whipping and spanking. This term often implies some form of role-playing in which the bottom is 'punished'.

CROSS: Wooden crosses provide convenient points for stretching arms out of the way and exposing someone, and are particular popular for back-whipping or flogging scenes. The straight (St George's) cross may look good and have powerful associations for some people but a far more flexible and practically comfortable design is x-shaped or St Andrew's cross. These are normally built to lean slightly inwards so that the bottom can rest against them: the arms can be stretched above the shoulders or, for longer scenes where comfort is required, fixed downwards on the other side of the cross. It's important that the cross is stable and the dimensions and the angle of the lean have a big impact on its usefulness.

CROSS DRESSING: Dressing in clothing usually worn by the opposite sex. In a sexual context, can be carried out as a sexual thrill in itself, in which case these men would be called transvestites. However, is also sometimes employed in power and humiliation games, and seems most common on the heterosexual BDSM scene where male bottoms are instructed to wear female clothing and even wigs and makeup by female tops. Unsurprisingly, given the unequal social roles of men and women, men are more likely to find women's clothes humiliating, whereas women might dress in men's clothes to feel powerful and dominant.

CUFFS: Cuffs are mainly used for wrist and arm restraint. When referring to leg and ankle restraint, they are normally called shackles. They can be made from many different materials, from nylon with Velcro closings, to leather, to metal. Care must be taken in using cuffs since a tight fit can cut off circulation. Cuffs can be used to bind the hands to the sub's waist, ankles, thighs, or to other objects.

CUNT TORTURE: Any form of intense stimulation or pain inflicted on the female genitals: perhaps by abrasion, clips and clamps, electricity, temperature play, play piercing, gentle whipping and flogging and with nails and hands. The clitoris is the most sensitive part, and the clitoris hood (prepuce) and both labia will also repay attention. Some women are also particularly sensitive in the G-spot, a round raised area of fatty tissue about 1cm (1/3") diameter just inside the front wall of the vagina. Apart from the G-spot, the inside of the vagina itself is fairly insensitive.