The kink community often identifies itself with the term BDSM. Not everyone who considers themselves “kinky” considers themselves also to practice/explore/visit the realm of BDSM. Some people refer to themselves as “lifestylers” or “in the lifestyle,” meaning they are part of the kinky lifestyle. Some people prefer the acronym WIITWD (What It Is That We Do) to encompass all the possibilities of different dynamics and interests people may have.

 

What is BDSM, you may be asking yourself? It’s a compound acronym for several things: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission (D/s), Sadism & Masochism. These terms can encompass many types of things, and the dynamics of the people involved can vary wildly.

 

Bondage for instance can be done with sashes, leather cuffs, saran wrap (the kind at packaging store not the grocery store), rope, belts, or anything else handy. The style of bondage can varyfrom playful, to utilitarian, to artistic.

 

Dominance and submission, usually referred to as D/s, is a pairing based on power exchange. The submissive gives over a degree of control, whether merely in the bedroom or all the time, to the Dominant. The Dominant is then the holder of that power/control and is responsible for the well being and care of the submissive.

 

Sadism and Masochism is usually about exchanging pain, but can also be about playing with the senses of another. S&M is often exhibited through different kinds of play or scenes. When someone says “play” they are usually referring to a style of BDSM activity, example: “I’m interested in doing some wax play with Tim.” In this sentence the speaker is expressing interest in doing an activity, wax play, with another person. When someone says “scene” they are usually referring to a specific time of play between 2 or more people, example: “I really enjoyed that scene I did with Tim last night.” In this sentence the speaker is expressing enjoyment of a particular time when with another person, in which multiple activities may have taken place.

 

You may find yourself thinking something like: “But Bubble, what if I don’t like pain?” BDSM is not just about pain. In fact it doesn’t have to be about pain at all, if you don’t want to experience that. Impact play is usually painful, but isn’t always. Impact play is an activitiy where one person uses an object to impact the other person’s body, usually the the butt, back, thighs, or breasts. It can be done with lightly or hard. You can use something as soft as faux fur or as firm as a wooden paddle. The beauty is that you create your experiences, so you can try what you want.

 

Some other types of play that focus on tempting and teasing the senses are lumped into a category called “Sensation Play.” This can include playing with hot and cold with candle wax and ice, blindfolding a person and caressing them with your hands and other sensual textured objects, using music to adjust a mood, or put headphones in their ears so they cannot hear what you’re doing. The possibilities are endless.

So how do you get involved? There are several online sites you can join in on. My personal favorite is Fetlife. I enjoy the groups and discussion boards. They’re great in giving advice, and researching a new kind of play you might be interested in. I always like to know as much as I can about an activity before participating in it. You can find local events there, but I recommend attending a munch first.

 

Munches are gatherings that usually happenat local restaurants, coffee shops, or other meet-up places. They usually ask that you not wear any obvious fetishwear, since it’s in public, don’t want to offend other customers or the management of the establishment. You can eat and drink and be merry with other open and like-minded people. Sometimes there are specific topics, sometimes it just goes with the flow, but it’s a great low-pressure way to meet people.

 

After attending a munch or two you might want to attend a play party, whether it be a public one at a local dungeon or BDSM club, or a private one you were invited to attend in someone’s home. These are gatherings where you can see different kinds of play in action in various scenes, and also get a chance to try something out if you feel comfortable doing so with someone there.

 

These are some of the BDSM basics that can help you converse with fellow kinksters out there. So get on out there, whether you merely want to observe or participate!