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BDSM for Beginners: Small S&M dictionary

Lovers of leather clothes, handcuffs, and whips are partying today. Since 2003, on July 24th, International BDSM Day is celebrated, an acronym that brings together the various practices related to sadomasochism.

The date was created by the Swiss Kurt Walter Fisher, founder of the first European nightclub aimed at people who adopt BDSM as a lifestyle: the Rosas 5 club, located in Barcelona (Spain). Fisher chose this day specifically to refer to the term 24/7, which identifies living BDSM 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Since then, the date has become more and more celebrated, and today, commemorative events take place in several countries. This universe, however, even after being popularized by the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy, continues to intrigue and confuse many people.

To help reduce some of the confusion, Blog Daquilo has prepared a basic glossary of terms related to BDSM. As this is a very broad universe, the terms below are just a small set of the many words used by BDSM practitioners, but they can serve as a good introduction to the subject. Check out:

BDSM Glossary

BDSM – Let’s start with this acronym. She makes reference to a series of practices and ways of relating. The b refers to bondage, which comes from the bond, a noun in English that means, bond, bond, prison, mooring. Bondage is the practice of tying or otherwise restricting your partner’s movements. Many of the erotic BDSM games involve dominating the partner through immobilization.

The d has more than one meaning. The first is discipline, in reference to the control that one partner takes over the other, establishing rules and behaviors that must be obeyed, whether in a scene, activity, or all the time, for those who live BDSM 24/7.

The d also joins the s to form the double domination and submission (DS, or, as many like to spell it, D/s). A BDSM relationship always involves someone who dominates and someone who voluntarily submits to that dominator. It may or may not involve bondage and restriction, and it may or may not involve practices related to the next letter combination: if m.

SM is the best-known BDSM duo, meaning sadomasochism. Sadists are those who enjoy causing suffering, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. Masochists are the ones who find satisfaction in being the target of sadists.

BDSM, therefore, means bondage, discipline, domination and submission, sadism, and masochism.

Vanilla – From English, vanilla. The person who does not practice BDSM. It comes from a reference to the more neutral (unfunny) flavor of ice cream. Many practitioners who do not publicly acknowledge their involvement in BDSM refer to their public life as “vanilla life”.

Scene – A way of referring to a BDSM interaction. It can occur in front of other people, such as at parties and nightclubs. The word indicates that there is a performative element in BDSM encounters, in which those involved voluntarily assume roles, in a kind of interaction or erotic game.

Collar – Sometimes it’s just an accessory used in scenes to mark submission to the gift or domme, but it can be a symbol equivalent to a vanilla wedding band. When a dominator and a submissive make the relationship official, the submissive is said to have received the collar (and there is even a ritual in which the collar is put on the submissive). In many cases, after receiving the collar, the sub is referred to as a slave. When a dominator has more than one sub or sub, the subs call each other “collar brothers or sisters.”

Dom and domme – Ways of referring to a dominator and a dominatrix, respectively. The dom and domme take control of the submissive in a scene, activity, or relationship, of course, always in a consenting way.

Slave – Someone who agrees to give full control to someone they are in a relationship with.

Master and mistress – In Portuguese, it is used very often ‘Mrs and Mistresses’. These words often mean the same thing as dom and domme, but they often indicate that there is a deeper relationship with the submissive and not just sporadic encounters.

SSC – Safe, safe, and consensual. This acronym is a kind of mantra repeated by all conscious BDSM practitioners. It means that no practice or relationship should take place without taking into account the health, safety, and consent of those involved. Non-consensual BDSM is not BDSM, but abuse, they point out.

Safeword – Practitioners use the term in English a lot, but they can also use expressions in Portuguese, such as passwords or security words. It is a term agreed between the partners for the submissive to use when they want to stop any practice. Once said, whoever is dominating must stop what they are doing immediately. It is a way to ensure that the SSC rule is upheld and to allow requests such as “stop” and “please don’t” to be used as part of the erotic game without being an actual request. In English, a very common safeword is red. In Portuguese, many partners use the word water.

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