BDSM 101: Basics made simple

 D/S, S/M and B/D are the terms most often used in society today. They are distinctly different in that D/S stands for Dominance and Submission, S/M stands for Sadism and Masochism while B/D stands for Bondage and Discipline. These are three distinctly different life styles.

But remember at all time and in each of the separate lifestyles all actions must be SAFE, SANE AND CONSENSUAL.

The terms are not interchangeable, yet one lifestyle may lead into the other or may overlap another depending upon the limits agreed upon by both consenting parties.

As the relationship continues to grow and expand the limits may be changed by both parties and therefore lead from one lifestyle to the next.

S/M may be and usually is incorporated in both or either of the other two lifestyles in one form or another or may be considered a separate lifestyle on it’s own.

These lifestyles might better be referred to as a form of alternative relationships, each of them being a form of love in which one person controls and the other person surrenders willingly, never forcefully.

First some terminology is necessary:

Dominant one– The controlling person. They may be a Master, a Mistress, a Dom, a Domme, a Goddess, a Lord, a Switch or a Top

submissive one– The one who chooses to be controlled or dominated. They may be a submissive, a slave, a switch or a bottom.

submissive– One who chooses to be submissive but who does not give total control of all aspects of their lives to a Dominant one.

slave- One who have given all aspects of their lives, physically, sexually and mentally to be controlled by a Dominant one and who usually has a contracted relationship.

Dom or Domme– One who is a Dominant one.

Master or Mistress– A Dominant one who has accepted the gift of submission from a submissive one who then has become theirs.

Floating or subbie space– The state where the submissive one relinquishes all control to the Dominant one and simply put, floats on a cloud, thus reaching a state of euphoria.

Switch– One who chooses at different times to be either a Dominant one or a submissive one.

Bottom– One who chooses to be scened or sessioned by a Dominant one but who is not necessarily a submissive one.

Top– One who chooses to scene or session a submissive one but who is not necessarily a Dominant one.

Goddess– Usually a Domme who have been trained under the “Old Guard” and who has earned the right to be worshipped and obeyed and who trains other Dom/mes, Masters, Mistresses, submissives, Switches, Tops, Bottoms and slaves.

Lord– The masculine equivalent of Goddess

Sadist- One who likes to inflict pain upon another.

Masochist-  One who likes to have pain inflicted upon them by another

Limits- These are actions or areas or degrees of pain and/or experiences that are not to be inflicted upon a submissive one.

Safeword- A word or gesture that has been agreed upon between a Dominant one and a submissive one that should it be used by someone during a scene or a session will cause the other person to have an immediate agreed upon response.

boy- A term used for a submissive one which could be for either gender.

girl- A term used for a submissive one which could be either gender.

Dominatrix- A female Dominant one who gets paid for scening or sessioning a submissive one.

Implements-Toys-Accouterments- Anything that is used during a scene or session by a Dominant one on a submissive one.

Although a Dom or Domme can be a Master or Mistress not all are. If the Dom or Domme chooses to accept a submissive one for their own, they then become the Master or Mistress to that one.

The major differences in the two life styles, D/S and B/D, is that of pain and humiliation. In the D/S lifestyle control by use of pain or humiliation rarely occurs. The control is relinquished by the submissive one willingly to the Dominant one. The Dominant one controls by voice and minor punishment. In the B/D scene the punishment is more severe and pain and humiliation is more a part of the ongoing relationship and incorporated in scenes or sessions on a regular basis. Punishment is given for misdeeds or failure to obey, warmth is given for obeying. One must remember this is a game of love, and that love must be shown at all times, even during the act of punishment.

When one speaks of punishment, one must also speak of limits. Limits are agreed upon prior to the start of any part of this lifestyle. These limits must be adhered to by all parties involved. The submissive one submits and trusts the Dominant one that these limits will not be exceeded. They must never  be exceeded under any circumstances, without first discussing them between the two parties and mutually agreeing to remove or extend the limit in question.

Mutual respect and trust is of the utmost importance in these lifestyles. When mutual trust disappears, the parties should re-evaluate the relationship immediately. remember this trust is earned over a long period of time but may be lost in a split second. Seldom when a trust is truly violated can the same degree of trust ever be regained.

Many Master/Mistresses are good teachers and can teach their submissive one on their own. But in many cases a Master/Mistress chooses to have another Dominant one teach their submissive one for them. They may or may not choose to have their submissive one serve that Dominant one in any other capacity than as a scene. Submissive ones may be trained by a Dominant one without already having a Master or Mistress to serve, be chosen by the Dominant one to serve or stay as free a submissive one with no one to serve.

In all cases the Dominant one and the Master/Mistress are responsible for the protection and safety of the submissive one. They must honor and cherish them as much as they are cherished by them. Love and respect reins above all in these relationships.

The use of safe words comes into play at this point. There are usually two safe words that have been agreed upon and understood by both parties. One safe word usually means that the submissive one is being pushed to their limits and when used the Dominant one eases off slightly and takes more time to get the submissive one to the place where they want them to go. The second safe word, when used by submissive one tells the Dominant one that something is wrong and the scene, session or the actions tops immediately and the Dominant one ensures the safety and well being of the submissive one. Under no circumstances can the action continue unless mutually agreed upon. should the action continue without the permission of the submissive one then it is no longer a consensual actions but one of force.

If you are submissive/slave it means that you consent — or choose — to submit. In other words, your submission is a gift that should be respected by whomever you choose as your Dominant. If you are Dominant, you consent to accept that gift and respect the person who offers it. Failure to do so may ultimately cause you to be ostracized from the community. Whatever takes place in a session/scene is the result of a prior careful discussion by both partners of the submissive’s limits. And it DOES mean that the Dominant one MUST always respect those limits.

Everything in these lifestyles should be
SAFE, SANE AND CONSENSUAL

Reference books that should be read and reread:

La Laisse Soduire La Maison Du Raison
Different Loving Gloria Brame, G Brame Villard Books
Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns Phillip Miller and Molly Deveon Mystic Rose Books
The Bottoming Book Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt Greenery Press
The Topping Book Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt Greenery Press
The Loving Dominant John Warren Masquerade Books Inc.
Ties That Bind Guy Baldwin Daedalus Pub. Co.
Learning the Ropes Race Bannon Daedalus Pub. Co.
Sensuous Magic Pat Califia Masquerade Books Inc.
Safe Sane Consensual and Fun John Warren Diversified Press
The Ethical Slut Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt Greenery Press
Anal Pleasure and Health Jack Morin MD Down There Press
Leathersex Joseph W. Bean Daedalus Pub. Co.
Bound to be Free Charles Moser Ph.D M.D., JJ MaDeson Continuum Pub. Co.

© 1999 byAll rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only. This author advises if you wish to engage in any activity mentioned in this article that you do further research and upon engaging in any activity mentioned upon you do so in the presence of an experienced mentor.

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