BDSM For Dummies

With Fifty Shades of Grey coming out soon, let’s get a low-down on what exactly is going on in the film. That’s rights, let’s define BDSM, what it is and what it isn’t.
 
 
 
BDSM is variety of sexual activities that range from role-playing, dominance and submission, restraints and a variety of other sexual behaviors.
 
BDSM relationships vary from other sexual relationships as there is a dominant and submissive partner in BDSM. In other sexual relationships, there is no clear dominant or submissive partner.
 
In recent years, BDSM has become an all-encompassing term for sexual activities between consenting parties. The time set aside for such activities is commonly referred to as “play.”  Activities do not necessarily include sexual penetration, but those can occur within a session.
 
Within BDSM there is an emphasis on consent, which is what separates BDSM activities form domestic abuse. However, a partner can withdraw their consent at any point in a session by using a “safeword,” or communication used to tell the other partner that things are getting too intense.
 
A safeword is a word or phrase picked out by parties involved. “No, stop and don’t” are not commonly used since it may be used playfully during a session. Using “red” or “yellow” as a safeword is far more common used. Red means that any activity must stop immediately, whereas yellow means to slow down.
 
Within BDSM there are several subcategories including bondage & discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. 
 
Bondage means tying the partner’s limbs together while using restraints. This can include use of handcuffs, ropes or chains. Discipline, on the other hand, refers to psychological restraint or use of physical punishment such as whipping.
 
Dominance and submission refers to rituals that deal with a more mental aspect of BDSM. It involves giving or receiving control of one partner over another. There are often contracts laid out in these types of relationships, such as with Christian and Ana. Contracts outline formal consent and the aspects of how their relationship is to be laid out. These contracts, however, are not legally binding.
 
Sadism and masochism, sometimes shortened to sadomasochism, refers to the exchange of physical or emotional pain. Sadism is the pleasure someone derives from inflicting pain upon a partner. On the other hand, in masochism the partner gains pleasure from being hurt.
 
A common myth about BDSM is that it is “all about pain.” In actuality, it is about the exchange of power and pleasure. 
 
Practitioners stress the importance of safety and consent in BDSM. There are several phrases that are used such as “safe, sane and consensual,” or “risk aware consensual kink.”  These ideals stress that all aspects of play are discussed for truly informed consent. 
 
BDSM is practiced by all kinds of partners of varying sexualities and arrangements. The important thing to remember is to be open to your partner about any kind of kink you want to try out, and to be safe about it.
 
Openness in a relationship is what makes it flourish. BDSM, when practiced in a safe, consensual manner, can bring a relationship between partners to new levels of intimacy.