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  • Danielle Grainger, Author

BDSM is ...


What is BDSM?


BDSM is a six-lettered acronym.


BD = Bondage and Discipline

DS = Dominance and Submission

SM = Sadism and Masochism


Breaking Down the Acronym:

B: Bondage – Consensual physical restraint.

D: Discipline – Physical or psychological consequences for a behavior. Consent is given for whatever discipline is meted out.

"BDSM is consensual.”

D: Dominance – The Dominant has either full or partial control over aspects of another person’s life often making decisions for the other. This control is received and given consensually. Typically denoted with an uppercase D.

s: submissive – The submissive consensually hands over certain aspects to the Dominant. Typically denoted with a lowercase s.

There is no one right way to 'do' BDSM.

S: Sadism – Those that like to inflict hurt, whether physical or psychological, on another. This infliction is agreed upon consensually.

M: Masochism – Those that like to receive physical or psychological pain. This infliction is agreed upon consensually. In certain types of pain, pleasure can be found.


Obviously, one need not participate or adhere to all six letters in order to say they are “into” BDSM. Although there are clearly difference among the three letter groupings and between the letters within a group, there are basic tenets that most BDSMers hold dearly or, in the least, understand philosophically.



BDSM is:


1. Consensual –The biggest overarching agreement is that any and all BDSM practices are consensual between both (or all) parties involved. And that any participant can halt or slow the activity or relationship at any time.


2. Intimate – BDSM activities and lifestyles create an exceptional bond between parties that can be extremely personal, private, special, unique, extraordinary, passionate, soul-growing, and freeing.


3. Different for Everyone – There is no one right way to 'do' BDSM. Each union or experience is unique. It can be 24/7 or can be “in the bedroom” only or any number of infinite arrangements.


4. Intense – BDSM relationships are based on deep trust with clear and honest communication.

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