What is BDSM and Sadomasochism?

Are you looking to progress your bedroom play or introduce a bit of kink? BDSM could be just what the doctor ordered!

Have you ever wondered what BDSM actually means?! At its most basic, BDSM is an all-inclusive term that covers any sexual behaviour that’s considered a little kinky. Practicing in inflicting pain, physical restraint and servitude aren’t openly accepted in everyday life, but in BDSM circles such practices are often engaged in for mutual pleasure and excitement.

Whether you’re into spanking, whipping, tying, binding, scratching, you name it, you can become a BDSM aficionado with our guide to BDSM and bondage.

What does BDSM stand for?

BDSM can be split into three major areas or six different 'acts':

  • Bondage and Discipline

  • Domination and Submission

  • Sadism and Masochism, which, while separate preferences, is also often called sadomasochism

Bondage

If you’re still wondering what is bondage, at its simplest it’s the act of being physically restrained, or physically restraining someone else, using specially-made equipment.

If you’ve ever used a pair of furry handcuffs or a business tie to restrain your wrists or ankles, then you may be shocked to learn that you’ve knowingly indulged in a little bondage.

Bondage is one of the most popular BDSM activities. It can provide your kinky companion with a feeling of helplessness and vulnerability when they’re all tied up and you can get a bit of a power kick or vice versa. The knowledge that you can have your way with your partner (within reason!) and being able to control each orgasmic shudder can be a real kick. So it’s no wonder that some people get a bit hot under the collar at the thought of bondage and restraint.

Other people crave the feeling of being restrained, the feeling of constriction and writhing against the ties in a sexual scenario. Bondage is the perfect activity to teach you to lie back and enjoy what your lover is doing without having to worry about anything else. After all, there’s not much you can do to help when you’re all tied up!

Discipline

Discipline is the act of enforcing obedience and gaining control through rules and/or other forms of punishment.

If you love a good spanking or are keen to act out your school principal, then it’s likely that discipline is your jam.

Put simply, the act of discipline occurs when the submissive requires punishment to correct behaviour that’s considered to be breaking preset rules. To make this scenario work, it’s important that the rules are established and agreed upon by both parties before play commences. Rules can range in severity from ‘washing up must be done before any naughtiness can ensue’ through to ‘thou shalt not orgasm’.

If you’re a BDSM newbie, then you may want to take discipline for a spin with a naughty nurse role play. Pick up a Lovehoney Fantasy Heartbeat Hottie Nurse Costume and make sure to give them a good spank with a Bondage Boutique Faux Leather Spanking Paddle every time they drop a piece of medical equipment. If you do decide to explore discipline, you can switch up your punishments with both physical (caning, whipping, etc) and psychological chastisement (humiliation and verbal flagellation).

Domination

Domination involves a series of behaviours, customs and rituals that allow the exercising of control and power over others.

Although you may not realise it, most relationships will generally involve one partner that’s more dominant and one that’s more submissive. Whether or not you choose to explore these roles more deeply is completely up to you!

While some like to limit their dominance to the bedroom using discipline and bondage techniques to control their partner, others exercise their dominance in everyday life and form their relationships around these roles.

If you can’t get enough of the feeling of sexual control, then you may want to try experimenting with your dominance in other contexts. Have your sub carry out household chores wearing a collar and name tag or take it to another level by controlling their orgasms and only allowing them to pop their cookies when you decide they can.

Submission

Submission is a state of compliance that comes from submitting to another.

Domination and submission go together like anal and lube - you can’t have one without the other! The role of the submissive partner is to perform as the dominant asks or risk being disciplined.

Submissives enjoy having the power and control taken away, especially while bumping beautifuls. Try a ball gag to stop them from speaking or wrist or ankle restraints to prevent them from touching themselves or their dominant partner.

As is the case with doms, many people extend their submissiveness into everyday life by allowing their dominant partner to be the keyholder to their chastity belt or by taking the role of serf or slave around the house.

Sadism

Sadism involves getting sexual gratification from inflicting pain on others.

Sadism often gets a bad wrap being linked to criminals and morally corrupt characters on film and TV. However, sadism and masochism are making a comeback thanks to the BDSM community and its reputation is going from bad to good.

If you enjoy giving pain through physical punishment and humiliation, you may be a sadist. If you’re keen to explore your sadism more in a sexual context, it’s important to make sure that all parties are consenting with the understanding it will provide some sort of sexual pleasure to one or all involved.

Whips, floggers and paddles are often a favourite for sadists, but taking it to the next level with clamps and hot wax makes for excellent play progression.

If you’re still wondering what sadists get off on exactly, gratification usually comes from performing the acts themselves and the power involved, as well as the look of the body in clamps or after a good thwacking!

Masochism

As opposed to sadism, masochism is getting sexual enjoyment from being in pain.

Masochists enjoy having pain inflicted on them by themselves or a dom/sadistic playmate, which often leads to sexual pleasure or even ecstatic bliss.

For many masochists, experiencing pain releases a bunch of endorphins, helping to create a natural high. Some masochists also report feelings of catharsis after a good whipping or humiliation session, leaving them relaxed and stress-free.

Some masochists gain sexual gratification through having their genitals tortured due to the unique and intense sensations.

A great way to explore your masochistic side is to invest in some clamps or weights that you can use either alone or with your other half. The pinching of the clamps and pulling of the weights is an incredible combination of sensations that you can’t achieve with anything else!

Safety first

Rule #1 when it comes to BDSM play is that safety is the first priority and all activities must be consensual. Here are our top tips for getting the most pleasure from your kinky activities:

  • Establish a safe word or gesture that you can easily say or do at any time to put a stop to play if it gets a little too intense.

  • If your lover isn’t interested or comfortable in participating, then don’t force anything on them. BDSM should only be practiced when both parties are willing and comfortable, otherwise it’s no fun for anyone.

  • If there’s more than one person involved in the naughty play, make sure everyone is aware of the plan of attack. There’s nothing worse than not knowing what’s going on, especially in a group setting!

  • Discuss your rules and boundaries before getting down and dirty. Everyone should be aware of the limits, and if you want to be super clear, put it in writing so there’s no chance of misunderstanding.

  • Avoid alcohol and painkillers during kinky activities as these can numb pain, which can lead to injury.

Last, but certainly not least, have fun and stay safe while exploring BDSM!

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