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BDSM 101: What is BDSM




BDSM is an overlapping abbreviation of Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM). There are different things that go under the umbrella of BDSM but they all fit into these categories. This type of roleplaying that can include dominance and submission is about more than just intercourse, however, and its origins come out of cultural, personal, and erotic preferences converging. With the written word and artistic rendering, sexual desires and practices found representation and expression, offering a voice to participants, comfort to adherents, and even a sense of refuge to people seeking to understand. Over time, this all came together to form the modern sexual subculture we know. BDSM an umbrella term that covers a range of activities and roles, some of which include sex and others do not


Wait a second, what do we mean when we say that activities might not include sex? For some people, BDSM is all about energy and even spirituality. Peter Tupper described in his book, A Lover’s Pinch: A Cultural History of Sadomasochism, how he once attended a suspension event that involved no sex and was open to minors. But participants were experimenting with their pain thresholds in a spiritual way.


HISTORY OF BDSM




Although elements of BDSM have been practiced for hundreds of years, the modern culture evolved from the ‘leather’ movement. The leather scene originated with soldiers returning home to the United States after World War II, many of whom engaged with biker culture. Consisting mostly of gay men and a few women, the leather movement grew in large American cities. Since then, interest in BDSM has spread around the country to people of every gender and sexual orientation, due in large part to the internet.


BDSM shows up in mainstream media more frequently now. The hugely popular Fifty Shades of Grey is just one example. However, archaeologists have uncovered erotic representations of BDSM activities from as far back as the 5th century BC.

The general idea behind BDSM is that two partners engage in roles where one player is generally a submissive who receives pain or is in bondage of some sort or performs services for the other, a person in a dominant role who extends pains and punishment or puts the submissive in bondage or makes the submissive perform services for him/her or it can be a combination of these things.

BDSM may seem like a relatively new phenomenon. Yet traces of such kinky behavior stretch much further back in time. Many ancient cultures depicted sexual acts with submissive or sadomasochistic elements. Even the very first civilization inscribed tales that alluded to BDSM. Such as in Mesopotamia tales, the fertility goddess Inanna would whip her subjects so they would become aroused. She adorned herself in jewels, riled the people into a dance of sexual frenzy, and cracked her whip until they started having intercourse. In Greek art, flagellation was common. The Greek biographer-turned-Roman Plutarch wrote about Spartan whipping competitions.


For many years, interest in BDSM was considered unhealthy or even categorized as a mental illness. However that is no longer the case, and even mental health professionals recognize that BDSM can correlate with higher subjective well-being, interest in it is not unhealthy, and it can be done safely. Some have even come around to the idea that BDSM might be therapeutic.


Similarly, people have viewed an interest in bondage and power exchange as a characteristic of prior abuse or unhealthy relationships, but this is not necessarily the case.

Plus, BDSM focuses on consensual and healthy play.

BDSM is now often described as an acceptable leisure activity.


Often, the person who plays the role of submissive relishes giving up control and not being responsible for the scene. The person who plays the dominant or top might prefer being in control or having an opportunity to take control when it’s not otherwise provided in life.


Common BDSM activities include but aren’t limited to the following:


-Bondage and restraints (Cuffs, ties, bondage tape, blindfolds, gags, rope knots. breast bondage, and plastic wrap)

-Impact play (Spanking, paddling, crops, and hitting)

-Service (Where the submissive performs actions for the dominant)

-Discipline (Reward or punishment for following or disobeying instructions)

-Roleplaying (Daddy/daughter, teacher/student et cetera)


Your mind might automatically move to extreme ideas such as total power exchange, but BDSM only has to be as hardcore as you want it to be. For example, you already engage in bondage if you’ve ever placed your partner into fuzzy handcuffs or have been blindfolded. One of the joys of BDSM is figuring out what you’re interested in and potentially even pushing those boundaries, and many couples may practice less intense BDSM activities more frequently than the extreme ones.


So there are terms you will see when starting off.


-SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) or RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) – These are the cornerstone philosophies in BDSM play. All activities must be consensual and safe (or risk-aware if both parties are engaging in the edgier stuff).

-Safe words – A word is given to the submissive to signal “stop everything right now”. The words “no” or “stop” aren’t typically used as safe words because sometimes in BDSM play, someone may say “no” as part of the scene. So a word that easily sticks out like “Waffles” or something is chosen. When the sub says that word, everything stops immediately, no questions asked.

-Subspace – This is the trance-like or euphoric state for submissives.


By Princess

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