Definition of Terms

Since one should never assume that everyone knows the same words and meanings when reading or writing, the following is a glossary of terms and definitions that are common in a number of the books listed in this primer. Thanks to Alexis for compiling this amazing list. Though some of the editorializing makes me think she needs to re-acquainted with the paddle.

Age play - A type of role play to gratify a fetish surrounding age; typically daddy/child or mommy/child fantasies [see also: Infantilism]

Algolagnia - The act of transforming pain into sexual pleasure. A synonym for sadomasochism SM. [see Sadism, sadist; Sadomasochism; Masochism, masochist]

Alternative sexuality - A sexual orientation that differs from a preference for vaginal intercourse (with minor variations) within a monogamous heterosexual relationship.

Alternative lifestyle - Having a sexuality that differs significantly from the "norm' (see Alternative sexuality) may make an alternative lifestyle necessary or desirable. A sexual orientation less common than the norm may stigmatize the individual pushing the person to seek a more accepting subculture. An example is homosexuality and the formation of the gay community.

Analplay - Any sexual or fetish practice concerning the anus and/or rectum, chiefly includes: anal sex, rimming, enema play, and anal fisting (handballing.)

Anal training - Preparation of the anus for anal play.

Anilingus - Anal-oral sex. Dental dam or plastic wrap is helpful for preventing exchange of harmful organisms.

Animal play - Role playing wherein one or both partners assumes the role of an animal, chiefly: puppy, dog, and pony.

Asphyxiation play - Restricting air (and/or blood) flow by choking to enhance the sensation of orgasm. Very dangerous play, not recommended.

BDSM - Once upon a time this was all called Sadomasochism (SM, S/M or S&M) and the players were all deemed very bad, sick, perverted people. We were just people though, as horny as everyone is, with a little kink to make us special. But some of us didn't want to be called sick, bad perverts and these people invented names like Dominance and Submission (D&S, DS or D/s), Love Bondage (Love Bondage) and Bondage and Discipline (B&D) to make themselves and the pleasure police think that what they did was different from what those sad, twisted, nasty old sadomasochists did, no no! Then we all got online with our personal computers (well, a lot of us did) and began doing what people do best when they're not having sex: argue. For months arguments about labels for our kinks clogged up the computer networks.
Finally, the term BDSM was born. This made many kinky people happy because it incorporated Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS) and Sadomasochism (SM). We told the Love Bondage set that we loved them very much. To prove it, we tied them all up and dumped them in a deserted warehouse in East L.A. where we kept them bound in a circle whining Barry Manilow tunes from behind their gags. Did the arguments stop? Fat chance. Most of us, though, have found other things to argue about between sexual encounters.

Black lightning - A common nickname for a black fiber glass or resin rod that is used as a cane. Denser than rattan, it can inflict deeper damage and the feel is described as 'cutting.' [see Cane]

Black snake - A type of single-lash whip that is flexible all the way to the knob.

Bloodsport - SM practices that result in drawing blood. Can include whipping or caning that breaks the skin, branding. cutting, and piercing.

Body fluid monogamy, body fluid bonding - A practice of sharing body fluids only between two partners in order to observe safer-sex recommendations. Commonly, the partners have been tested negative for HIV, sometimes also for Hepatitis B and C. The partners may or may not play with others outside their relationship, but only by observing strict safer-sex rules. [see Safer Sex]

Bondage - Any practice involving restraints placed on the body to restrict free Dom of movement.

Bondage and discipline, B&D - A classic term referring to several sexual practices including: bondage, slave training, corporal punishment, and dominant/submissive role play.

Bondage belt - A belt, usually leather with metal rings attached, to assist in performing bondage. Bondage frame - Any stationary device used to assist in performing bondage.

Bondage harness - A configuration of straps, usually leather or nylon designed to: 1) ornament the body, and 2) aid in bondage and suspension bondage.

Bottom - An SM practitioner who submits to bondage, training, role play, corporal punishment, etc., but who is not necessarily emotionally committed to his/her dominant partner (top).

Bottoming from the top - Originally a derogatory term for a top who allows his bottom to run the scene, 'bottoming from the top" has become a valid style of play. Most tops experience some scenes where they prefer to take at least some direction from their bottoms. Some even prefer this style of play and may call themselves submissive sadists. [see also, Topping from the bottom]

Bottom-space or sub-space - A type of erotically altered consciousness (EAC) identified with feelings of falling into a state of submission. Generally, bottom- or sub-space may be characterized by, diminished ego awareness, less active cognitive behavior, surrendering of will, and/or inability to verbalize. Frequently these functions are assumed by the dominant partner who becomes the submissive's center of focus.

Brat - A bottom who enjoys struggling against control or challenging the top. Brattiness has a wide spectrum from the playful 'uppity bottom' to the smart-ass masochist (which see). Some brats are 'testing' their dominant, others have a desire to be 'conquered and tamed,' while some simply do not wish to be controlled. [see Smart-ass masochist]

Brain fade - A state of confusion and/or inability to reason experienced by the submissive. This effect usually results from psychological domination, the mind-fuck, or a deepening submissive state. [see Bottom-space, Sub-space]

Breast bondage - Tying the female breasts with cord, string, rope. rubber bands, scarves, etc. as a part of SM or erotic play. May include nipple bondage or clamping.

Breath control - Control of breathing by the dominant through use of a gas mask or similar apparatus, by choking, or by covering the mouth and nose.

Body modification - The general term for practices that reshape or ornament the body for ritual, erotic, decorative, or fetish purposes. The practices commonly include tattooing, piercing, branding, cutting, and corsetry.

Boundaries - Usually refers to limits (which see) negotiated prior to SM play.

Branding - Burning the skirt usually with heated metal, to produce scarification. Branding can be a part of a scene, ritual, or body modification. The design often consists of several unconnected lines and curves, each requiring a separate strike with heated metal, bent to form its part of the design. The reason for the unconnected lines is to assure that elements of the design do not scar into a shapeless mass; human skin heals differently than the hides of livestock.

Buggywhip - A single thong whip with a rigid core and a flexible cracker at the end.

Cage, bondage cage - Yup, a cage is a cage. These are big enough to hold the whole submissive.

Cane - Traditional canes are flexible rattan or bamboo optionally having a leather wrapped handle. Modern canes may be plastic or fiber glass.

Caning - The art of using a cane on a bottom.

Cat or cat o' nine tails - The term originally referred to a whip used by British navy. Now, cat usually to refers to all multi-thonged whips.

Catharsis - Purgation of emotions and or stress through an SM scene may or may not be intentional.

CHDW or Chudwa - Acronym for a Clueless, Horny (or Het), Dominant Wannabe (pronounced chudwa). Term of derision used on Internet newsgroup.

Checking-in - Asking the submissive how they are doing, feeling, etc. during a scene. Specific questions get more useful answers. An affirmative response to 'Are you ok?' may merely indicate that death is not impending, but there still may be problems, particularly with a macho sub. 'Would you enjoy heavier (or lighter) sensations?" is a better question. In SM play 'is this good for you?' Is asked during a scene rather than the typical 'was ft good for you?' afterwards. Checking-in should not replace a dominant's own observation and focus, it is another part of the safety net.

Cinching - 1) Wearing of a cincher, a garment similar to. but less encompassing than a corset. 2) A bondage technique, for example, to tighten coils of rope holding the wrists together by wrapping the coils between the wrists by one or more 'cinch loops' of rope.

Clamp, clamping - Nipple clamps, clothespins, and binder clips are used to pinch or squeeze a small bit of flesh. The target areas for clamping are nipples, cocks, vulvas. and other erotically sensitive areas such as the sides of the torso and inner thighs. Weights can be added to Increase the rigor.

Clip - [see Clamp, Clamping]

Clean - A code word used to describe a condition of being disease free.

Cock and ball torture or CBT - Tortures are inflicted on these body parts using clothespins, clamps, cock cages, weight, and various kinds of bindings.

Code word(s) - Word(s) used in personal ads to disguise sexual proclivities that may be unacceptable to mainstream society, e.g.: English culture, French culture, Greek, clean, discipline, strict, leather, etc.

Collar, collared - 1) A symbol of surrender worn by a submissive. A collar Is given in a relationship as a profound symbol of a commitment and bond. A 'collared" submissive is considered to be owned (which see) or partnered with a dominant player. 2) A piece of bondage equipment worn around the throat.

Conditional compliance - the SM one-nighter, a limited exchange of power negotiated by a Dom and sub for a single scene or brief period of play, such as overnight, one day, or one weekend.

Conditioning - The term used in psychology for the deliberate process of creating a psychological link between a desired response and an unrelated stimulus. Much of what people in the SM community refer to as training or slave training uses classic conditioning techniques. Psych 101 would have a huge enrollment if university professors realized that training a sub to orgasm on command is a lot more interesting than training pigeons to play ping-pong.

Condom - A latex or nitrile sheath used on a penis or toy as a barrier to prevent the transmission of disease or pregnancy. Natural lambskin condoms are also available, but don't function effectively to prevent the spread of viral illness. [always practice safe sex.]

Consensual - Behavior or activities agreed to by all parties involved. True consent Is informed consent and requires a reasonably accurate knowledge of possible risks.

Contrapolar stimulation 'Hurts so good' - A type of physical stimulation that incorporates feeling of both pleasure and pain.

Corporal - Activities that involve the striking of one individual by another are called corporal from the term corporal punishment. Typically corporal activities include spanking, flogging, paddling, and caning.

Counting - The ritual counting of strokes received. The sub may be required to thank the dominant with each count. Example: 'One, thank you Sir. Two, thank you Sir. etc.' A typically diabolic practice is to start the count over again each time a mistake Is made. Some masochists never seem to get the count correct. even with their shoes off.

Covenant of dominance and submission - A deeply committed symbiotic relationship between a dominant and a submissive.

Crossdressing - Dressing in clothes of the opposite gender.

Crucifixion - Bondage incorporating a stationary cross. The submissive's arms and legs are tied, not nailed. Care must be taken to ensure that the torso is properly supported, otherwise, strangulation may occur.

Cuff, cuffing - 1) Placing handcuffs. manacles, or similar restraints on the wrists and/or ankles. 2) Also refers to the restraints in the noun form.

Cutting - 1) Slicing the skin as a part of body modification, ritual, or scene. Most frequently, designs are transferred to the skin as they would be for the creation of a tattoo. Then either scalpels, razor blades, art knives, or other cutting tool incise the skin at a depth of 1/ 16" to 3/ 16.' Cuttings can include color by means of tattoo inks or cigar (not cigarette) ash rubbed Into the fresh wounds. Care should always be taken to insure sterile conditions. 2) The breaking of skin by use of a corporal instrument. Single lash whips, canes, crops and others can cut if used improperly. 3) The deep stingy feel of some toys.

Dental dam - A latex barrier used for cunnilingus or anilingus to prevent disease transmission. Plastic food wrap Is an inexpensive, but satisfactory, substitute.

Derivative pleasure, immediate/delayed - Corporal strokes that are painful at impact, but pleasurable following Initial execution. An immediately derived pleasure stroke feels good right after the impact. Delayed derivative pleasure is an accumulation of painful strokes that explodes into sexual heat some time later.

Discipline - The "D' in B&D that can mean; 1) punishment 2) structured training of a submissive.

Do-me queen/king - A bottom that takes passive delight from the physical activities of scening without a desire to give submission or pleasure in return.

Dominance, dominance & submission, D/S D&S - The consensual empowerment of one partner by the other for erotic enhancement. Dominance and submission are the psychological and emotional underpinnings of SM. [see Power exchange]

Dominant, Dom, Domme, Domina, Dominatrix - The person who Is given control In a consensual exchange of power. Domme, Domina. and Dominatrix refers to women. Dominant , or Dom can refer to either gender.

Dressing for Pleasure, DFP - 1) An annual, international fetish community event featuring a weekend of socializing, workshops, boutiques, a fashion show and a ball. This convention of the strange and wonderful is sponsored by a SM boutique in Upper Montclair, NJ by the same name. The proprietress of the DFP is the world renowned dominant, Marie Constance.

Edge play - Erotic role play near or at the edge of a submissive's or dominant's limits. The term also refers to activities that carry a higher than usual element of risk.

Electro-torture - The use of electrical stimulation to create a desired physical sensation.

Emotional buttons, emotional triggers - Associations with words, behaviors, or activities that provoke a strong emotional reaction. Dominants will do well to become familiar with the unique triggers of Ws submissive. It is important to know, as much as possible, which buttons evoke positive and negative responses.

Endorphins, endorphin high - Endorphins are substances created by the body to help endure pain or stress. Entirely natural but theoretically similar in feel to opiates. The body's release of endorphins may create a feeling of well-being, even intoxication, which is called an endorphin high. People differ dramatically in their abfflt3r to release endorphins. The possibility of addiction to endorphins has been conjectured.

Enema - The instrument used for, or the act of injecting fluid into the anus to flush the lower intestines. Some people Include enemas in SM scenes for humiliation. for preparation for other activities (such as fisting {handball) or anal sex), and/or simply because they may enjoy the sensation.

English - A code word for spanking or corporal punishment sometimes used in ads. We will have achieved social acceptance when ads in mainstream papers can say, -Romantic sadist seeks masochist lover," instead of nonsense like, 'devotee of English culture seeks receptive partner.'

Erotic power - Erotic power is like potential energy, becoming significant only when it is exchanged or used to empower a dominant by the transfer of control.

Erotic pain - Stimuli that are painful under normal circumstances, but are pleasurable or arousing in a sexual context.

Erotic restraint - Restricting movement for erotic play. Also, refers to the devices used for said purpose.

Erotic surrender - The sexually motivated gift of control of one's self (within negotiated limits) to one's partner. A more accurately descriptive phrase for submission.

Erotically altered consciousness, EAC - Any one of several altered states of consciousness achieved by erotic stimulation. [see: Bottom-space, Sub-space; Endorphin high, Flying, Top-space]

Erotocomatose lucidity - Term coined by Aleister Crowley to describe the state of mind resulting from sexual practices used by his followers of Sexual Magik.

Fang-chung shu (arts of the inner chamber) - The collective term for Taoist (Chinese) sexual techniques practiced to achieve unity with the Tao and/or immortality. They are said to have induced altered states of consciousness. Ho-ch'i (unification of breaths) Is a technique of fang-chung shu. The goals and. techniques of the fang-chung shu are similar to some employed in SM.

Fetish - A sexual fixation on an activity or object.

Fetish community - The name given to that group of people having an alternate sexual or gender orientation, but excluding the (vanilla) gay and lesbian communities.

Fire & ice - The use of hot and cold for sexual stimulation. especially hot wax dripped from a candle and ice applied to the skin.

Fisting - Insertion of the entire hand into the vagina (vaginal fisting or the anus (anal fisting or handball).

Flagellation - The act of whipping a human being.

Flogger, flogging - An unbraided multi-thonged whip is a flogger. To whip using a flogger or other corporal instruments.

Flying - A transcendent state of consciousness sometimes achieved during an SM scene. This rapturous state has been so often described in a similar manner by independent sources that we have no doubt of the validity of the experience. Feelings described by the submissive seem similar to that of out of body experiences and often include a psychic link to the dom. Most commonly, this link is felt as either a tether to the dominant or as a feeling of being surrounded and protected by the Dom's presence or consciousness. Elation and spaciness experienced after flying may be felt for hours, even days after the session has ended.

French - A common code word for kissing involving the tongue, cunnilingus, and fellatio.

Foot fetish. foot worship - A sexual obsession directed toward the feet and/or shoes.

Forced oral, forced ass - Sexual role play where the Dom pretends to force an activity that the sub pretends they are under duress to perform. It involves a shared suspension of reality. (A Dom only 'forces' the sub to perform activities he or she has requested.)

Gag. gaggage - devices that are inserted in or cover the mouth to muffle sound.

Gear - Toys, props. clothes and what-have-you used for scene purposes.

Gender community - People with cross-gender fantasies or cross-gender Identification. Cross-dressers, transvestites, and transsexuals make up the gender community.

Gender orientation - Gender orientation Is an Issue apart from sexual orientation. It is self-identification and feelings of maleness or femaleness, rather than issues of sexual attraction. A person with an alternate gender orientation may or may not have an alternate sexual orientation. For example; a transvestite or a transsexual may be either heterosexual or gay.

Gender play - To dress up or take the role of the opposite sex during a scene. [see Sissiflcation

German - A code word for Sadomasochistic desires.

Golden shower - Urination on or in another person. Piss play.

Gorean - The term comes from a series of books written by John Norman about an imaginary planet called Gor. The slave culture described in these novels has acquired a cult following and Gorean elements are used in some SM fantasy role play.

Greek - The code word for anal sexual activities.

Handcuff - These metal shackles are used to bind wrists by law enforcement personal legally. and by sadomasochists, covertly. Handcuffs are considered weapons and illegal to own in most areas of the US, but are easy to buy and commonly used.

Head games - 1) Domination where the focus is primarily mental, such as humiliation, rather than physical, such as bondage or whipping. 2) Non-consensual psychological manipulation to make a person respond in a particular way for one's own purposes.

Heavy - 1) Intense SM play or whipping. 2) A term describing an SM toy such as a flogger or cane that is capable of delivering intense sensations.

Hedonic engineering - A phrase coined by Timothy ('turn on, tune in, drop out') Leary and Robert Anton Wilson to describe techniques of sexual reimprinting to overcome negative sexual imprinting by societal and/or parental influences. Some people use Leary's and Wilson's techniques in their scenes.

Hood - A covering for the head. Hoods used in SM are made of various materials, especially; leather, spandex, and rubber. Some hoods are constructed as ornamentation, others are used as a part of bondage to control or restrict sight, sound, speech (by incorporating a gag), and/or breathing.

Humiliation - Playful embarrassment or humbling a person by teasing them about their sexual desires can be part of erotic control. Humiliation in SM can paradoxically build a person's self-esteem rather than tearing it down by reinforcing their sexuality. Real attacks on a person's self-worth or sexuality, or manipulations designed to break their spirit are abuse not within the appropriate practice of SM.

Infantilism - Role play involving infant-like behavior such as diaper wearing, nursing, etc.

In-role - Assuming the persona of a sexual archetype or fantasy character.

Isolation - 1) A fear of interrelating with others. People are often; a) afraid to 'come out' about their attraction to SM out of fear of societal repercussions, or b) they may think that no one shares their attraction to a particular SM (or other sexual) practice. In both cases, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, depression, and/or loneliness. 2) A technique of sensory deprivation, bondage, and trickery to make a submissive feel as though he or she is being left alone.

Japanese bondage - [see Oriental bondage, rope dress]

Kajira - A term taken from John Norman's Gore series to refer to a Gorean female pleasure slave.

Katherine wheel - A piece of dungeon equipment that looks like a large, vertically mounted wheel to which a submissive is bound, allowing him/her to be turned or spun. Warning: not for use with the sub who is inclined toward motion sickness.

Knifeplay - Play that includes the use of a knife (does not necessarily imply cutting). Knives are more often used as props for psychological effect, to scrap wax from a body after a fire and ice scene, to remove clothing, and endless other devious purposes.

Latex - Latex and rubber are used to make clothing, sheets and other fetish Items.

Leather, Leather sex, Leather Lifestyle - We dress conspicuously in leather, bind each other with straps of it, and whack each other with leather toys. This might be why leather has become synonymous with SM.

Leather butt - 1) A term that describes a person who has been beaten so often that only intense whipping has any effect. 2) The condition of the buttocks after heavy paddling. The skin compresses and becomes stiff or -leathery' to the touch. The compression effect is most pronounced with paddles. so leather butt can be avoided by using a mixture of implements.

Lifestyler - A person who lives a lifestyle that supports rather than conflicts with his SM fantasy archetype. Some lifestylers object to the characterization of their SM identities as fantasy role play, feeling that it Is integral to their personalities rather than a sexual game. It is easy, and often attractive, to confuse reality and fantasy. [see Alternate sexuality; Alternate lifestyle; In-role]

Limit - The boundaries of SM activities set by both dominant and submissive during negotiation defining what each is willing and unwilling to do within a scene. Limits must be respected and never intentionally breached by either partner. Limits apply to roles, levels of dominance and submission, and duration of time, as well as physical activities such as whipping, paddling. etc.

Live-in slave - A lifestyle submissive in a committed relationship who lives within the context of a slave/master (or mistress) fantasy.

Living In Leather (LiL) - A leather-SM-fetish convention held annually in the fall. This huge pansexual SM gathering includes seminars, workshops, events and parties. It is held in a different location every year. For details contact your local NIA chapter or look for advertisements in the major scene magazines.

Macho sub - A submissive with a reluctance to show distress, use a safe word, or who feels a need to stoically endure what is not pleasurable. The macho sub may be motivated by a desire to prove his/her mettle, show devotion, or reflect his/her internal fantasy. The macho sub must make sure the Dom is aware of his/her inclinations during negotiation. The Dom of a macho submissive should rely more on a checking-in technique and less on spontaneous feedback. The macho sub's saving grace is a strong desire to obey. Ordering him/her to communicate clearly about stress. as it occurs can override some of his/her reluctance to 'be a wimp.'

Masochism, masochist - The erotic enjoyment of pain, humiliation, and/or of being dominated. One who enjoys pain, etc. Sometimes the terms are used to describe one who enjoys heavier pain.

Master - A male that takes the dominant role in SM role play. The title may be bestowed upon the male dominant in appreciation of his skill. It may be a term of endearment or a loving tribute to a Dom by a submissive in a relationship. Equally often, the term is self-aggrandizement by a male with dominant fantasies, not infrequently with 'true' or 'real ' tacked in front.

Mental bondage - Ropeless bondage by command. A submissive instructed by his/her dominant to remain in position will feel bound to obey.

Mind - The predominant human sex organ.

Mistress - A female dominant. [see Dominant, Dom, Domme, Domina. Dominatrix

My kink is okay, yours is not - A self-limiting and community-destructive attitude amongst intolerant SM practitioners. It is always best, and polite, to reserve judgment about someone's sexuality and interests. Every kink, no matter how mild or far-out, will offend some and delight others.

Mummification - A bondage technique of completely or almost completely wrapping a submissive in restrictive material such as; plastic wrap, spandex, elastic or gauze bandages, etc.

Negotiation - The process of determining the practices and boundaries of sexual and SM activities between a top and a bottom. It may apply to the whole relationship or just a specific scene. Negotiating Is an ongoing process that Is repeated as the players' needs change.

'9 1/2 Weeks' - A book about an erotic but abusive SM relationship and a movie made from the book. There is some debate whether the story is based on reality or is pure fiction, but the kind of events depicted can and do happen to real people.

Nipple clamps, nipple cups - [see Clamp, Clamping]

Nipple play/torture - Stimulation of the nipples for corporal or erotic purposes. Often includes: sucking, pinching, clamping, fire and ice, or piercing.

Nonconsensual - SM play that is not sanctioned by either player.

Nostril strap - A device, usually of bent wire, with a string attached for hooking into the nostrils for humiliation and torment. Commonly used in Japanese SM.

Novice - A person with an interest in SM. but lacking in experience.

'O' fantasy - The Story of 'O' by Pauline Reage telling of a young women's descent into submission and her slave training remains one of the classics of SM. Elements from this fictional piece find their way into many a fantasy. 'O' is also used as a code word for SM.

Oriental bondage, rope dress - Any of a number of styles of rope bondage stemming from styles used in the Far East. basically, the bondages are highly decorative, uniform, and symmetrical.

Over the knee, OTK - A classic spanking position. Also a code word for same.

Ownership, absolute ownership - 1) Within master/slave role play ownership means having control of the submissive. 2) Loosely used in the SM community to mean an ongoing dominant/submissive relationship. 3) Absolute ownership is a lost-in-fantasy relationship based on sadomasomythology and fictional lore.

Paddle, paddling - A rigid flat-surfaced implement usually of leather or wood used for spanking a fanny. Paddling Is the act of using a paddle. A paddle Is also the implement that a wise-ass masochist often finds herself up the creek without.

Pain slut - A masochist who derives pleasure from physical pain.

Pansexual - Nongender specific sexual orientation. A group that encompasses all sexual and gender orientations is said to be pansexual.

Paradise Electro Stimulation, PES - A device that electrically stimulates-muscle contraction. made by a company of the same name. The base control unit regulates attachments for vaginal, rectal, penal, and clitoral stimulation.

Pervert - One who deviates from the sexual norm. Yeah, we're perverts, and proud of it, tool

Piercing - Piercing the skin with a needle in an SM scene. as ritual. or as body modification. Most frequently, piercings are accompanied by the installation of jewelry. An exception to this is play piercing. In play piercing, the needle is inserted into or through, the skin as a part of a scene. but the wound(s) are often allowed to heal without jewelry being introduced. In play piercings, many parts of the skin may be pierced at the same time. Sometimes. the needles are left in the skin throughout the scene. tied together by string, thread. or rope, then removed at the close of the scene.
Piercings that are intended to be permanent usually are placed in sites common among people of the Near East for ornamental and erotic value. These sites are, typically; nostril and septum of the nose, ears (in the lobes, tragus, and helix), lips, nipples, along the shaft and head of the penis, the scrotum. inner and outer labia, and the hood of the clitoris. Some newer fashions of piercings include the webs between the fingers, the eyebrows, and the bridge of the nose.
Erotic piercings are said to enhance sensation to the body parts that are pierced. Raelyn Gallina. body modification expert (she performs piercings, cuttings, and brandings) and jeweler from Oakland, CA, invented a piercing called the "Triangle", which penetrates the clitoral hood on both sides, and underneath the clitoris. Thus, the ring installed contacts the clitoris in a place totally beneath the skin.
People seeking piercings are warned not to use piercing 'guns' sewing needles, or safety pins. It is best to seek professional assistance which is available in most parts of the United States. Canada, and Europe. Very often tattoo shops will be associated with professional piercers. These people have the equipment to provide sterile piercings and the knowledge to recommend proper after care.

Pillory - Handed down from the reign of the Puritans, a pillory is usually wooden-framed, free-standing stocks that imprisons the head and wrists for immobilizing a person. For use with the humiliation of your choice.

Pizzle - The dried and stretched penis of a bull, or other large animal formed into a whip. These are actually deadly toys.

Plastic wrap - Regular, old plastic food wrap can be used for encasing the body for bondage. Unlike food, it will not keep your submissive fresh. [see Mummification]

Play - Participating in an SM scene or SM scene activity.

Playroom, Play space - Any area you designate in which to perform an SM scene. Hotel rooms, secluded woods, and delivery vans qualify as well as a permanently furnished basement or dungeon. Also referred to as dungeon space.

Play punishment - The use of punishment as an excuse for an erotic encounter. She burnt the toast that morning, forgot to say, 'Sir,' or some other trivial misdeed and, alas, must be corrected. Somehow, both end up getting what they crave. As a game, this beats the heck out of strip monopoly. Punishment is an erotic game that should never be used to address serious problems.

Ponygirl, Ponyboy - A classic SM fantasy immortalized in the drawings of John Willie and used in the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Ann Rice. Typical pony garb includes a horsehair tail attached to a buttplug, a bit gag and/or bridle headharness, and reins. Often very high heels, a corset, and feather plumes in the hair are added. The arms are typically bound behind the back. Pony activities range from being displayed and directed by rein to being ridden or pulling a cart.

Pony training - The fanciful transformation of a girl (or boy) into 'pony' to be ridden, to pull a carriage, or to perform as a well-trained horse in obedience and deportment.

Position training - The training of a submissive to assume a given position upon command or under certain circumstances.

Post-scene plunge - Feelings of let-down, depression, fear, disgust. remorse, etc. after participating in SM play. Can be experienced by either dominant or submissive. Jay Wiseman author of SM101, uses the term -Top Drop to describe these feelings on the part of the dominant.

Power exchange - The empowerment of the dominant by the submissive's surrender to his/her control. Power exchange is consensual and should be well negotiated. The depth of the power yielded by the submissive is equal to level of responsibility assumed by the dominant.

Power exchange levels - A system for linking emotional involvement and depth of feeling with degree of power exchange. The Five Levels are: one - Conditional compliance, two - Restricted ongoing acquiescence, three - Provisional submission, four - the Covenant of dominance and submission, and five - Absolute ownership. The first four levels are based in reality. -

Provisional submission - An ongoing relationship negotiated between a Dom and a sub characterized by power exchange and emotional involvement, but lacking serious commitment. [see Power exchange levels]

Psychosexual - Emotionality, attitudes, orientations. or mind sets associated with erotic behavior or sexual fantasy life.

Punitive pain - Pain that by intention is designed to hurt for nonerotic purposes, usually for punishment. This is abusive and often motivated by a misunderstanding of appropriate control mechanisms.

Pushing limits - 1) A careful process of gradual expansion of limits. 2) Intense play that comes close to the unbearable. [see Edge play]

PVC - poly-vinyl-chloride - 1) A type of plastic used for fetish clothing. 2) The PVC pipes made for plumbing that can be constructed into bondage devices.

Quirt - A corporal toy that looks something like a crop with a flexible, whip-like cracker at the end. [Hurts like hell.]

Restricted Ongoing Acquiescence - An agreement, negotiated by a Dom and sub, to play casually for an extended period of time without serious emotional involvement. [see Power exchange levels]

Rimming - Common term for anilingus (anal-oral sex).

Roisay - An imaginary place from The Story of 0, by Pauline Reage. where young women were brought to be trained as slaves. Also used as a code word for SM.

Role play - 1) Elaboration of one's sexual inclinations by creating a fantasy framework for them. 2) People with compatible sexual fantasies taking on complimentary persona to interact with each other.

Rope dress - [see Oriental bondage, rope dress]

Rubber - [see Latex]

SAM - (see Smart Ass Masochist]

Sadism, Sadist - Deriving sexual pleasure from the giving of pain, humiliation, and/or domination. The honorable sadist only gives pain or humiliation to those desiring it, respects limits, is caring and careful.

Sadomasochism, SM - Advanced sexual practices incorporating the consensual use of pain, humiliation, and power exchange for erotic enjoyment. SM includes dominance and submission, bondage and discipline, love bondage, and erotic spanking. The term is frequently misused to indicate heavier or more extreme practices.

Sadomasomythology -the misconceptions of society in regard to what sadomasochism actually entails. Also, an ill-informed idea about a particular practice within SM.

Safe, sane, and consensual - Characterizes the acceptable play within the SM community; players adhere to safety precautions within their activities. do not participate in practices that will injure their partners (mentally or physically), and obtain consent by negotiating scenes and scene related activities before carrying them out.

Safe sex, Safer sex - Practicing sex wherein no body fluids are exchanged: includes the use of condoms on insertion toys as well as penises, dental dams, or plastic wrap for cunnilingus, cleanliness with regard to corporal toys, abstention from penetration, etc.

Safe word, Safe signal - A word, a phrase, or an action (like dropping a ball by a gagged submissive) used by the submissive as a signal to stop the scene or reduce the intensity.

St. Andrew's cross - An upright cross in the shape of the letter 'X' to which people are bound for flogging or torture.

Scat - Feces, also, play with feces.

Scene - 1) The SM or fetish community: or things associated with it. 2) An occurrence or Session of SM play.

Scene friendly - Familiarity with, and acceptance of the SM scene and SM players, usually refers to a professional's attitude (-therapist, -lawyer. etc.)

Scene gear - The SM (and often vanilla) toys we play with. [see Gear]

Sensory deprivation - Restricting or diluting a submissive's ability to use one or more of his/her senses of touch, hearing, sight, taste, or smell as a part of an SM scene.

Sensory relocation - Transferring the feeling of a stimuli to a different body location than it is received. Sensual play - SM play that focuses on stimulating the senses without the use of pain.

Service - Acts, chores, or labor. sexual or otherwise, performed by a sub for the benefit of a dom.

Session - A scene. [see Scene]

Serpent's Tongue - A type of slapper made of a thick strap of leather, two or three inches wide, with a deep "V' cut into most of the length of the piece. Commonly, the handle win have a double thickness with a ring stitched at the end. This is a very nasty toy.

Sexual Imprinting, reimprinting - There is a school of thought stating that sexual responses result from imprinting based on past associations, experiences, background, and environment, often dating back to early childhood. Altering sexual behavior by changing responses and creating new associations is a technique called reimprinting.

Sexual magic, sensual magic - Positive descriptive terms for sadomasochism.

Sexual magick - Neo-pagan practices and rites related to the writings of Aleister Crowley involving sexuality in altering states of consciousness.

Silent alarm - A safety precaution used by players who are new to one another. For example; a submissive, playing with a dominant for the first time, might arrange for a friend to be near a telephone at a pre-arranged time. If the submissive does not call at that time, the friend will be alerted that something has gone wrong and will take steps to see that the submissive is safe.

Sissification. feminization - A practice desired by a male sub of 'forced' cross-dressing and/or gender reassignment.

Slapper - A flexile semi-rigid strap used like a paddle.

Slave - 1) In the scene community sometimes used loosely as another word for submissive. 2) A submissive involved in a committed relationship incorporating a shared slave/master fantasy.

Slave contract - A written agreement elaborating the terms, goals, and limits of an SM relationship.

Slave training - The processes of instructing a submissive in a dominant's preferences, and, conditioning the submissive's behavior.

Sling - A cross between a swing and a hammock in which a bottom may be comfortably suspended.

SM positive - An sympathetic or accepting attitude toward sadomasochism and/or SM play and players. [see Scene friendly]

SM virgin - An person with little or no experience in SM practices.

Smart Ass Masochist, SAM - A bottom, who rather than submitting, challenges or annoys to entice a Dom to punish him/her. [see Brat]

Spandex - A very stretchable synthetic cloth used for fetish clothing and bondage gear.

Spanking - Striking a submissive, usually with an open hand, on his/her fanny. Some use this term to include paddling, as well.

Spanking bench - A piece of stationary equipment with attachment points to designed to secure a submissive in preparation for a spanking. Properly bound or positioned on a spanking bench, the submissive's ass is in an accessible, convenient angle for a spanking or whipping.

Spanking skirt - A skirt or dress with cut-outs over each fanny cheek, designed to allow bare-skinned spanking. The spanking skirt is a classic piece of scene-wear that enhances humiliation/exhibitionism aside from its practical application.

Spreader bar - A strong bar, usually wooden, bamboo, or metal, with rings or holes on each end, used as a bondage tool to keep a submissive's arms or legs apart.

Sting - A sharp biting feel to the surface of the skin.

Stocks - A device (usually wooden) with holes designed to imprison a submissive's wrists and head, or wrists and ankles. [see Pillory]

Stoplight safe words - A commonly used system of safe words wherein red means stop the scene immediately and release the sub, yellow warns the dominant that the current practice is pushing the submissive's endurance, and green lets the dominant know that what is happening Is awfully nice and should be continued. (add to this beige for "I'm bored".)

Straight - 1) Code word for heterosexual. 2) Adjective for someone or something that is not SM oriented. In this sense, a synonym for vanilla.

Strap - 1) As a noun, this is either a bondage restraint (usually leather with a buckle) or an instrument of corporal punishment (also, usually leather sans the buckle). 2) As a verb, it is the act of binding or beating a submissive with a strap.

Submissive, Sub - One who surrenders control of his/her body and behavior (within pre-defined limitations) to another for erotic play.

Sub-space - [see: Bottom-space]

Submissive uniform - A common mode of dress worn by female submissives emphasizing their sexuality. usually very short shirts, revealing tops, high heels, and stockings supported by a garter belt or bustier. (Can also be used with crossdressing males.)

Suspension - A bondage technique wherein the submissive's weight, totally or partially, is borne by the restraints used in the bondage. Great care must be exercised In this practice; usually. bondage harnesses and suspension cuffs are used in suspension.

Suspension cuffs - Wrist and/or ankle restraints designed specifically for safe suspension. [see Cuff, Cuffing: Suspension)

Switch - 1) A person who enjoys taking either side in SM role or physical play: i.e. top or bottom, Dom or sub. 2) A slender flexible branch from a tree or bush used for corporal punishment.

Tampon training - Rectal insertion of tampons by male submissives to empathize with the female menstrual cycle.

Tantric Yoga, Vajrayana Buddhism - Indian means for achieving a transcendent spiritual state that incorporates sexual and meditative techniques. There are many paths to enlightenment and erotic exploration is one.

Tawes, taws - Thick rigid leather with a lengthwise slit (or silts) in ft used in a paddle-like fashion.

TENS unit - The Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation unit is used by chiropractors to cause involuntary muscle contraction. Sadomasochists use it for fun rather than therapy.

Thud - A blow that is felt at a deeper level than sting. Thud is usually easier to tolerate, but may actually be more damaging as it can cause deeper bruising.

Tit torture - Erotic play involving the breasts.

Tolleyboy - A locking chastity belt made in England of rubber-lined stainless steel. A similar device made in Chicago by Bob Jones is often referred to by the same name.

Top - One who takes the active role in physical scene, but not necessarily emotional/mental control.

Top's disease - A state of self-delusion wherein the top believes his own fantasy of dominant superiority. This dementia is characterized by the fallacy that his feces lacks the usual malodorous quality.

Topping from the bottom - Maintaining the fiction that the top is in charge, where the real control and direction of a scene rests with the bottom. [see also, Bottoming from the top]

Top-space - A state of erotically altered consciousness (EAC) achieved during a scene by the dominant or top. It is characterized by feelings of intense focus, clarity of thought, a sense of extreme power or high energy, and/or exhilaration. Feelings of distance and objectivity, as if one where commanding from a mountain top, may paradoxically accompany feelings of connection to the submissive, as if there were a psychic link. A dispassionate perspective may combine with erotic ardor. Top space may be followed by either a continued sense of well-being or by feelings of fatigue, depression, or lethargy. [see Post-scene plunge]

Torture - Actions that would be painful outside of their erotic context used to enhance sexual pleasure for a bottom.

Total conversion or the "ouchless ouch" - Whips strokes or corporal stimuli delivered during an erotic scene that begins light and rise gradually. The level of sexual arousal is always kept at a high enough level so that the blows are never experienced subjectively as pain.

Toy whore - One who adores collecting SM toys. Toy whores have been known to trade away their own children for a finely made cat o'nine. It has been suggested that a Toy Whores Anonymous support group be established for people who ruin their lives trying to support their toy habit. The idea has been shelved because the toy whores see no problem with this.

Training - Any of many disciplines wherein the Dom and sub act together to modify the sub's behavior, condition, and/or attitude. Includes, but Is not restricted to; pony training, anal training, position g. voice command response, and so on.

TS or Transexual - A person who is born in a physical gender that does not match his or her personal psychology. These people are commonly going through 'gender reassignment' by means of counseling, hormone treatments, and surgery to correct their situation. A TS is called a 'pre-op' before surgical modification and a 'post-op' afterwards.

TV or Transvestite - A man or woman dressing In the clothing of the opposite gender.

True Master/True submissive - A term of self-description usually used by incompetent newcomers or lost-in-fantasy others to entice a people to play with them. The 'True Submissive' (or more typically 'True slave') is one who buys into the nonsense that the 'True Master' is selling. 'True sadomasochism' is also used to allude to a non-existent, 'genuine' standard of SM excellence. Fooey. [see CHDW, or Chudwa; Wannabe].

Vampire glove - Vampire gloves are most often thin leather driving gloves that have sharp, metal tines or tacks lining the palms. The tines are typically snap, or rhinestone settings that are poked through the leather from the inside and glued in place, though some very mean gloves utilize thumb or carpet tacks. Fur mitts can be embellished with tines in the same manner, yielding textures from very nice to yowee!

Vanilla - Describes things. activities and people who are not part of the SM scene, for example; 'We had vanilla sex last night.' meaning, 'We had sex without including any SM scene elements.' The term is no longer derogatory except as used by immature, cliquish. snobby, poopieheads who don't think the way we do.

Verbal humiliation/abuse - The use of sexual epithets and similar verbalizations to excite or humble one's partner. Verbal humiliation is good when It Is used to support the value of the submissive. It becomes abuse when it is used to tear down the self-esteem of the sub. The line between the two is not always clear and may vary within one person's psyche depending upon mood. Use with caution and sensitivity.

Virgin rapture - Period of time (often years long) wherein newcomers are so overwhelmed by SM that they believe the world revolves around it and can never imagine returning to any other form of sexuality. When the infatuation ends feelings of disappointment and loss are common. It may be reassuring to know that this is a normal process as SM is integrated into a person's sexuality.

Vinyl - A material used for fetish fashions. [see PVC]

Violet wand - A static electricity generator, frequently with multiple glass attachments including: globes, thin tubes, fork-shaped tubes, etc., used to send virtually harmless, violet-colored static 'lightning' to a submissive's skin.

Visualization - The use of storytelling and verbal fantasy sharing to achieve a mood or desired mind set prior to, or during a scene.

Wannabe - A poseur pretending to be a skilled dominant without the requisite knowledge. The wannabe confuses masturbatory fantasy with real life experience, often with injurious results. [see CHDW, or Chudwa]

Wartenburg pinwheel - A neural response tester consisting of a metal handle with a free-spinning, metal pinwheel attached to one end. The 'pins' are very sharp. Wartenburg pinwheels are used to test neural responses of spinal chord injury patients and to make submissives jump over the moon.

Water sports - Sexual play involving urine or enemas. [see Golden Showers and Enema]

Weights - Lead fishing weights or other weights hung from clamps that are attached to the body to increase torment. [see Clamps, Clamping]

Whip - A whip is an object used to beat on a submissive. Many people in the scene use the term whip to include canes, crops, paddles, slappers, etc., as well as single- and multiple-lash whips.

Whipping - 1) The act of beating a submissive or bottom. 2) Finishing a rope-end to prevent fraying by wrapping it with thread or string.

White Lightning - A common nickname for a white fiber glass or resin rod often with a leather or rubber handle that is used as a cane. Being much more dense than rattan, it can inflict deeper damage and the feel is described as 'cutting." [see Cane]

Worship - 1) To lavish attentions upon a part of the body, usually feet, pussy or cock. 2) A role playing attitude toward a dominant, typically of a male sub toward his goddess/mistress.

Wrapping - Allowing the tips of a whip or cane to strike parts of the body other than the intended target. For example, aiming for the fanny and hitting it, but the tips of the whip wrap around the fanny and strike the hip. Bruising on the hips is often a sign of a careless or incompetent top who is frequently unaware of the damage that is occurring.

Wrist cuffs - Restraints designed to fit the wrists.

X-frame - A stationary bondage frame in the shape of an 'X, usually mounted in a horizontal position. [see St. Andrew's cross]

Many of these definitions came from Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns - The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism (a must for all bdsm libraries) by Philip Miller and Molly Devon. ISBN 0-9645960-0-8, Mystic Rose Books, Fairfield CT, 1995, $24.95. Available from The Open Book Ltd.

Basic Basics
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