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The ABC of BDSM

In my description, I say I blog about kink, fetish, and BDSM. So, I thought, let’s break these down a little, and provide some definitions. After all, a refresher never hurts! Let’s start with the basics…

WHAT IS VANILLA SEX?

Vanilla sex is regular sex. Basically, all sexual behaviour without any kink, fetish, or BDSM elements.

What is Kink and what is Fetish?

KINK

Kink is in non-conventional sexual practices, concepts or fantasies. Basically, anything that is not “vanilla”, would fall under the umbrella of kink.

For example: role play (think maid and butler scenarios, policeman/policewoman, etc), impact play (spanking, whipping, etc), temperature play (using a lit candle to drip hot wax on your partner, playing with ice on your partner’s skin, etc), and more.

FETISH

Fetishism is a sexual fixation on an object or body part. The object of interest is called the fetish; the person who has a fetish for that object is a fetishist.

For example: boobs fetish (lots of guys are into this, they are obsessed with boobs *shrugs*), particular clothing (think latex, leather, corsets, underwear, high heels, tight high boots, etc), tattoos (don’t this this needs explaining), and more.

Although there is something like an overlap between kink and fetish, I just want to be clear about something: fetish is more of a fixation, sometimes needed for arousal, while kink is more of an add-on, kinda optional.

WHAT IS BDSM?

BDSM is a lifestyle build around the consensual exchange of power. Consent on activities is negotiated and agreed upon ahead of a ‘scene’.

The term “BDSM” itself is a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism). 

WHAT ARE THE ROLES IN BDSM?

In BDSM you can have many roles while playing with your partner(s). The most common are:

  • Top/Dom(me)/Master/Mistress/Dominatrix: they are the dominant person in the play, they take the lead and give the ‘stimulation’, either physical or mental, to the bottom. This stimulation is viewed as an act of service for the bottom.
  • Bottom/sub/slave: they are the submissive person in the play, they are on the receiving end of the ‘stimulation’ from the Top. They have offered them control, and put them in charge of their mental and physical wellbeing (this is ‘offered’ to the top, and not ‘taken‘ by top without consent, or it would be abuse).
  • Switch: they can switch from topping to bottoming someone, depending on the situation, the negotiations that have taken place ahead of the play, and the person on the other side. They sometime have a preference, but can still play both.

PLEASE NOTE: Even thou the roles are clearly labelled as sub and dom, never forget that this is only a game and it’s built on mutual consent. Should one of the parties not feel completely and absolutely comfortable with anything, it’s time for a break.

WHAT IS A SCENE? AND HOW TO PREPARE FOR ONE?

I mentioned the word ‘scene’ a few times, but what is it exactly? A ‘scene’, also called a Playdate or Playtime, is a single session where the partners join in some BDSM fun, that is ‘pre-negotiated’ and agreed upon.

What do I mean by ‘pre-negotiated’ and agreed upon? Before any scene, both partners should agree on a few things: 

  • Your preferred roles and activities! How fun!: you need to establish what role you will be playing, examples above, the type of activities that will (or can) happen, and the toys that will (or can) be used; these are agreed in advance so there aren’t any surprises.
  • Soft and hard limits for both: basically anything you are not too keen on, and anything you are definitely against should be brought up and discussed, ahead of the scene. 
  • Safe-word or safe-symbols or safe-gesture: where no means yes, yes means harder, and pink unicorn means stop. This can be any word that you won’t be using normally during a scene and in case you are gagged, a gesture, like dropping a ball, get a bell, tap on your partner three times, etc. The traffic light system is often used, where yellow/orange means slow down, and red means stop immediately.
  • Aftercare needed or required after the scene: this is key to avoid a drop (like when you take drug, and you come down after it), but it also build a stronger relationship and trust between the play-partners; this can be emotional or physical, such as cuddles, snuggles, word of affirmation, nourishment, or anything that works for you. This is often required by both sides, tops and bottoms. 

Once that’s sorted, you are pretty much ready to play, but I have added some common safety-first notes below 🙂

WHAT IS RACK, SSC, and PRICK?

Safe, Sane, and Consensual (SSC): this is the original in terms of keeping your kinky life on the right path. Ask yourself: Is our kinky thing safe to do? Is it a sane thing to do? Do we consent to it? Make sure you and your partner have similar views on things, or this might become tricky.

Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK): if SSC feels too vague, this might work for you; with RACK you need make sure of the following: you’re “aware of the risk”, you can name said risks and know how to prevent them, and you and your partner are on board with whatever you want to do.

Personal Responsibility, Informed, Consensual Kink (PRICK): this is kinda the next step, making it clear that all kinksters should take personal responsibility for their kink. you are informed of the risks, you consent, and you take personal responsibility for yourself.

These are helpful tips for when you are at the negotiation stage with your partner. Check in with them, check in with yourself, make sure you are 100% good with what you are about to do. After all, this is play, and if it’s not fun, then what’s the point?

Red Flags

One last thing I wanted to cover, is RED FLAGS.

If you and your play-partner do not exactly have the same views on things it’s ok, so long as you hush out all the details and keep it consensual.

However, if you are, in any way, unsure, or your partner is acting strange, or he/she/they are glossing over the consent part, that is a red flag. Get out of that asap. I have added a post from Glow West on red flags here, please have a quick read through!

I think I covered all the essential jargon! I hope you liked this post, and found it somewhat helpful. Please reach out if you have any questions, and I can point you to more resources… alternatively, wait until my next post on BDSM! I hope to write about it more in-depth in the near future 🙂

Take care and keep it kinky!