Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Maine chapter.


Down one of the many rabbit holes that reside on the internet exists a community filled with leather, strap-ons, and a whole lot of kinky sex. Since the social media platform TikTok has risen to popularity, so has a sub-community within the app deemed KinkTok. Here, members of the BDSM community share videos on a variety of topics about kinky sex. Many accounts have dedicated themselves to providing educational material for safe and fun kinking. However, despite the good intentions, KinkTok is home to harmful misinformation regarding BDSM practices for those who are unfamiliar with it. 

    BDSM (bondage, domination, and sadomasochism) is an umbrella term for kinky sex, sex that is not traditional. Popular non-traditional acts of sex can be spanking, being tied up with ropes, or choking. Members of the community enter into relationships where one person controls another. These people fall into the category of dominance/submission (dom/sub). Engaging in such acts requires research to ensure all participants will stay safe, sane, and consensual throughout the experience. The spread of misinformation regarding BDSM practices leads to mental and physical harm for both parties. Learning to recognize harmful practices will ensure everyone has a safe, sexy experience.

    Recognizing mental harm in a BDSM can be a little tricky since acts within the community tend to blur the lines of traditional sexual relationships. However, there are a few accepted facts within the community that can help newbies recognize harmful practices. The first fact to remember involves a safeword. A safeword is a word when spoken during a BDSM act that means both parties stop doing whatever they are doing. Safewords help to create communication between the dom and sub while keeping everyone safe. Fake doms or subs on KinkTok will disregard the use of safewords. Not honoring a safeword, pressuring someone into not using their safeword, or insisting that they won’t need one is refusing to acknowledge the boundaries of the other parties or show that they respect them. 

Another red flag, and probably the most important one for a dom/sub is the lack of consent. In BDSM, consent that comes from a sober person willingly is priority number one. Videos on KinkTok promote the unhealthy practice of ignoring consent. Doms will proclaim they will continue to engage with a partner even when their partner is begging to stop because they believe they know what their sub wants. This ties back into respecting the use of a safeword. Disregarding any of these BDSM rules are major red flags.

BDSM is a fantastic, inclusive, and fun community to engage with. Fake doms and subs should not prevent you from exploring sexual interest. Instead, use it as an opportunity to educate yourself. Fortunately, with the help of the internet, there are many helpful resources to educate kinky people. A personal favorite is a website called O.school. On this website, professional sex educators, doctors, gynecologists, and other experts give tips and resources on how to have some safe sexy fun!


Hello! I am a fourth-year anthropology major with an interest in pursuing a career in sexual health & education. When I'm not busy working on homework you can find me outside with my camera taking pretty pictures as a hobby and for the Maine Campus. My interests in anthropology, sex ed., and photography all stem from creating an environment for people of any identity or background to feel safe, loved, and accepted by others and themselves. If there are any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to contact me at antyna.gould@maine.edu