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NIPPLE TORTURE-NT: nipple torture, or intense stimulation of the nipples. Rubber bands and dental floss are not recommended for nipple binding, though they are sometimes used. The nipples tend to swell, sometimes dramatically, when bound, and these items cannot be loosened or removed easily. They can become so hidden in the flesh that it can even be impossible to cut them off without cutting the skin. Many household items can be used perfectly well as nipple clamps. Examples are clothespins or much fiercer items like chip clips or binder clips. Though they do not have adjustable settings, sometimes the spring mechanism can be bent to reduce the pressure. The circular openings in clothespins can also be used, sometimes to better effect, than the tips if the person's nipples are sensitive. Chopsticks positioned on either side of the nipples can be used to bind the nipples and tightened or loosened with twist ties. The chains that attach many styles of nipple clamps have a variety of uses. They can be pulled, weights can be hung from them, or they can be used to lead or tie off the bottom. They can also be used to yank the clamps off at the end.

Nipple clamps, like other tight binding, reduce circulation. The rule of thumb many tops suggest is no more than ten or fifteen minutes of use at a time. Coldness, numbness, and discoloration are signals that it is time to release the clamp.

Releasing the clamp often brings more pain than placing the clamp on in the first place because of the sudden inflow of circulation to the blood vessels. If you want to reduce the sudden pain, you can press your warm palm or squeeze the tips of your fingers on the clamped area as you release the clamps. The pressure slows the blood return, which for most people eases the fierceness of the pain. Of course, sudden pain may be the goal, but it is always nice to have options.

NEGOTIATION: conferring and discussing to reach an agreement about what will happen in an BDSM scene regarding likes, dislikes, limits, health issues, roles, etc.

NOVICE: The usual term for someone new either to BDSM as a whole or to a particular activity. Very few people come out onto the scene with no experience at all. Most have experimented on themselves or perhaps persuaded vanilla partners to indulge some of their desires. Nonetheless a good top will take a different approach to a novice bottom than to an experienced one.


PADDLES: are characterized by a broad, flat striking surface attached to a short handle and are designed to be used at short range on the buttocks. They are normally made of leather or wood, sometimes of rubber, in a variety of shapes and sizes.

PAN SEXUALITY: All encompassing sexuality, disregarding gender differences and, sometimes, preferences for particular activities. Could be used of a person, in which case it suggests a wide interest in all forms of sex with partners of any gender. Much more commonly used of a community: some people have argued for the pan sexuality of the BDSM community. Alternatively pansexual can mean simply pertaining to all sexes and sexual orientations.

PARACHUTE: A toy shaped like a shallow cone, usually of leather or neoprene, with a hole in the center and chains or cords hanging from around the rim and joined together belief, slightly resembling a parachute, and use for weighting the balls by resting the parachute on them with the scrotum passing up through the hole and hanging weights from the chains.

PERCUSSION PLAY: Term used by some SMers to group together all activities involving repeated striking, with the hands or with any heavy or light, blunt, cutting or stinging implements.

PETTICOAT DISCIPLINE: Making a boy dress up as a girl to punish him by humiliation, as was apparently carried out in Scotland by making boys wear a kilt without a sporran.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: covers anything that involves interpersonal physical touch. Examples are bondage, a backrub, sex, tickling, and the causing of pain by, say, spanking or whipping.

PHYSICAL DOMINATION: This style of domination includes a wide range of activities, including spanking, whips, flails, floggers, and electrical stimulating devices. This style is often included along with restriction.

PIERCING: Piercing is a way of ornamenting the body in other places than the ear with jewelry. Pierced areas can include the nose, eyebrow, lip, and nipples. In females, piercing can include the clitoris, clitoral hood, inner and outer labia. In males, piercing can include the penis shaft, the glands, and the scrotum. Any activity that involves piercing the body with a thin, sharp object such as a needle. There are two basic types: permanent piercing, sometimes called ringing, and play or temporary piercing.

Play piercing is carried out for the experience of the piercing itself, the sensation of which can vary between barely noticeable and excruciating depending on where and how it is done. Thinner needles are used and are removed before the end of the session.

PLAY: BDSM activities between consenting partners.

PLAYER: A person who participates in a scene, scenes, or fetish activities.

POWER EXCHANGE or TPE: Total Power Exchange: has, in the last 20 years, become an increasingly popular term and an activity of interest in the popular press. Formally, the term emphasizes a pervasive subgroup of the psychological components of BDSM, most notably what is called power exchange. DS is widely experienced by tops as feeling high or aroused from exerting control, and by bottoms as a high or arousal from being controlled. That is, the partners agree to an exchange of power, ownership, command, or property rights.

Total power exchange (or TPE) is a term that is sometimes used to describe a certain class of 24/7 (full-time) DS relationships wherein the submissive gives up to the dominant a very comprehensive range of rights to control the submissive's daily existence.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ACTIVITY: covers the psychological effects of punishment, praise, love, obedience, control, orders, humiliation, etc., as well as the moods engendered by ritual, symbolic, or religious activity, catharsis, rage, and a variety of what are sometimes called "altered" states.

PUNISHMENT: Another common, though by no means universal, component of DS is punishment or discipline. This also falls under the less-used category of B&D, but these days it seems to mostly be discussed under the heading of d/s. Punishments: for example, spankings, canings, standing in the corner, or whatever the partners agree on, can be quite desirable by the bottom.


QUIRT: A long coaching whip. See lunge whip also


RACK: Item of bondage furniture consisting of a horizontal platform or table with fixing points allowing someone to be stretched out on their back or front with easy access all round: rarely do modern racks provide the facility for progressive stretching familiar from the popular image of the mediaeval torture chamber.

RESTRAINTS: cuffs, usually made of leather, that close around wrists and ankles and sometimes, around the thighs and waist.

RESTRICTION: Restriction is a style of domination where the sub is restricted in movement. Restriction can be enforced with restraining devices, such as ropes, or merely words. Restricting the movement of a sub is a widely used training technique.

RETIFISM: The fetish for boots and shoes.

RIDING CROPS: are another disciplinary tool. Short whip with a loop of leather on the end intended for use on horses but very useful and adaptable on humans too.Tack stores are a good outlet for a riding crop, but choose the material carefully. The harder the material the more damage you can do.

RIMMING: Giving a rimjob. Mouth contact with the asshole, including insertion of the tongue inside it. More common than you might think in vanilla sex; in BDSM it may be as a form of service performed on a top by a bottom, but in view of the intensity of the sensation it could go either way. Hygiene precautions should be observed with this activity: unless the area.

ROLE PLAY: using some standardized elements, such as a teacher with a student, a doctor with a patient, an interrogator with a spy, a pet with an owner, etc.


S&M or SM: sadism and masochism.

SMer: Sadomasochist, person who does SM.

SADISM: Deriving pleasure or sexual satisfaction from the infliction of pain on others.

SADIST: person who enjoys giving intense sensation in a consensual SM context.

SADOMASOCHISM: Taking pleasure, or sexual gratification from simultaneous sadism and masochism.

SAFE WORD: word or gesture previously agreed upon for use by both Tops and bottoms to halt the action in a scene or a relationship.

SCARIFICATION: many people desire intentional scars because they can be enticingly beautiful decorations, memories of particular relationships or scenes, or private symbols of ownership and d/s. Because of the skin's natural resilience, intentional scarification (that is, intentionally leaving a scar) via cuttings can in fact be hard for some people to accomplish even if it is desired! Raelyn Gallina is one of the finest scene-friendly piercing/cutting/scarification experts in the world. Asking in your local tattoo/piercing parlors and asking experienced players you meet through groups in your local Scene Community may also get you much useful information.

SCENES: BDSM activities between consenting partners.

SCOURGE: A scourge is typically a whip of several leather thongs, as once practiced by religious flagellants. Used loosely, the term 'scourging' is likely to imply a whipping severe enough to draw blood.

SELF BONDAGE: Bondage carried out on oneself during solo play. Special safety precautions must be taken with this style of bondage.

SENSORY DEPRAVATION: using blindfolds, gags, earplugs, hoods, bondage, etc. to reduce information available to one or more senses.

SERVICE: doing for another; the bottom for the Top, as an expression of obedience, respect, submission, devotion, love, etc.

SESSIONS: BDSM activities between consenting partners.

SIGNAL WHIP: Medium-length plaited leather whip similar to a small bullwhip, as used with dog teams.

SLAVE: person who is consensually owned as property of another. A slave's primary purpose in life is to serve the needs and desires of the Master. The slave relinquishes all control to the Master, because the slave knows the Master has their well being totally at heart.

SLEEPSACK: A bag in which to wrap the body for a particularly intense form of bondage, custom-made from leather or rubber or improvised from a sleeping bag and rope or straps.

SPANKING: Usually the punishing device is the open palm. The five popular postures for spanking are: across the knees, between the thighs, across a single elevated thigh, tucked under the arm, between the legs, or held down by the collar across an appropriate item of furniture.

SPECULUM: Device intended for medical examination of the rectum or vagina, normally made of steel in a duckbill design. The 'bill' is lubricated and inserted and then the two jaws are moved apart with a screw mechanism, stretching the opening to give a clear view down the throat of the instrument.

SPENCER PADDLE: Form of wooden paddle with holes drilled in striking surface.

SPREADER BARS: are used to separate extremities from each other. They are normally around 2-3 feet long, though the size varies. The ends of the bar can be attached to cuffs around the wrists, ankles, or neck. The bar enables the Dom to control the movement of the sub, and enables the Dom to access certain body areas easily.

STRETCHER: Term covering a variety of toys used for stretching muscles or parts of the body. A ball stretcher in fact stretches the scrotum above the balls -- see under ball toy. In bondage, stretchers are cuffs attached to long solid bars designed to hold limbs apart.

SQUICKED: There will be things you will encounter in BDSM that will not be interesting for you. In fact, there will be things that may stun you or gross you out! This effect is so common that there is a word for it. People say they are squicked when they encounter something that someone else does that makes them feel squeamish or "icky." (The word "squick" conflates those two words. The word is attributed to STella, a well-known and articulate woman in the BDSM community in San Francisco.)

STOCKS: are basically constructed from two pieces of wood with semi-circular indentations that fix together to trap arms, legs or neck: there are a variety of designs, from ankle stocks that fix the bottom in a sitting position to wrist-and-neck stocks that bend him or her over. They can be quite uncomfortable and lining the holes is suggested. They can be made at home or bought from specialist suppliers.

STRAPS: Normally, these are special items made of nylon webbing or leather. These are items that go a step beyond mere binding of hands or feet. They are much more difficult to get out of, and are more restrictive. Some strap items bind the wrists to the thighs, or to the ankles.

SUBMISSION: volitional giving up of control and power.

SUBMISSIVE or SUB: person who gives up power and control in a scene.
The submissive (or "sub") agrees to defer to the other partner the dominant.

SUBMIT: To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of a Master or Mistress.

SUSPENSION: a form of bondage in which a person is partly or fully raised off the ground.

SWITCH: Although some people are 100% top and some are 100% bottom, the majority of folks switch, at least occasionally. That is, many folks sometimes bottom and sometimes top. This can be arranged in many different ways. Sometimes partners take turns with each other. Other times, someone will only top one partner and only bottom to some other partner.


TAWSE: Leather strap split most of the way down its length, formerly used for the corporal punishment of juveniles in Scotland.

TENS UNIT: Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation unit, one of a number of machines designed for applying electrical pulses to the body at safe levels. Similar machines include EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulator) units and Relaxicisors.

TOP: The person leading or initiating the BDSM activities. 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.

TOTAL COVERAGE: Expression used by rubber fetishists for when the whole body is encased in rubber.

TOTAL POWER EXCHANGE: TPE. Term occasionally used to describe a full-time (24/7) Dom/sub or Master/Mistress-slave relationship.

TORTURE: In SM, usually used to indicate the use of techniques that produce sustained sensations of continuously variable intensity, some of which may be painful, usually focused on some identifiable body part. May also refer to pleasurable sexual stimulation alternating with deliberate frustration.

TOY: used in a BDSM scene. aka, tool, gear, equipment. Implements, which might be common household items like kitchen spoons, rope, clothespins, neckties, or especially made items like handcuffs, spreader bars, floggers (a kind of multi-tailed whip), or furniture with eyebolts, are called toys.

24/7: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Master/Mistress-slave relationship


URETHRAL PLAY: Any play involving the urethra, the tube that runs between the bladder and the outside of the body, emerging in men at the end of the penis and in women just inside the vagina. Except for the very end nearest the surface, this tube is sterile, and anything inserted into it deeper than a few millimetres should be sterile too otherwise an infection is easily caused. Serious damage can be done by inserting inappropriate objects or using excessive force or bad technique. The best known forms of urethral play involve catheters and sounds, items of medical equipment specifically designed for use in the urethra.


VANILLA SEX: The opposite of BDSM is loosely called vanilla sex, a term that roughly refers to sex without any elements of BD, DS, or SM. The distinctions between vanilla sex, foreplay, and BDSM are not clear-cut. How you describe yourself is largely a matter of personal choice. Many common vanilla activities are in fact components of BDSM.VERBAL DOMINATION: This style of domination is not as direct as other methods of domination, but is a style in its own right. Verbal domination is control using words and speech to effect a change in the sub.VIOLET WAND: A device used in electrical play to discharge radio energy as spectacular sparks onto a bottom: the sensation is similar to the static charges sometimes encountered when walking in certain shoes on certain artificial fibers, but can be varied in intensity.


WATERSPORTS: this is a slang term for the practice of passing bladder fluid in order to enhance sexual intimacy, or in other words, erotic peeing. The medical term for this is urolagnia or urophilia.

WAX: play is utilized by many couples for enhancing their play. Candle wax, dripped onto sensitive body areas, such as the nipples, chest, or groin can be intensely stimulating for couples who have a greater pain tolerance and can be very erotic.

WEB: Alternative name for a rope harness, useful for bondage and suspension.

WHIPS: Single tails are whips with one long tail (as oppo sed to floggers, which have multiple tresses). Bullwhips, signal whips, stock whips, and blacksnakes are particular types of single tails.

WHIPPING POSTS: are simple fixed wooden posts, with two metal wrist shackles fixed at about waist height, and were formerly found on many village greens in conjunction with stocks. The bottom can be either standing with hands below or kneeling with hands above.

WORSHIP: adoring and / or loving a person, a person's body or body part, or a thing in a reverential manner such as boots.