Glossary of BDSM

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Two women are tied together in a bondage scene.

This glossary of BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism) terms defines terms commonly used in the BDSM community.

BDSM activities are described as play in BDSM terminology.[1]

The BDSM term is a portmanteau acronym intended to take in all of the following activities:

BDSM glossary[edit]

Some people in the BDSM community begin dominant terms with an upper case, for example: Top, Master, Dom, Domme, etc., as well as to begin submissive terms with a lower case, even where normally incorrect, chiefly in acronyms and abbreviations, such as D/s for Dom/sub. Some extend this to personal pronouns and names: for example Master Rob's slave linda may refer to him as Sir and herself as i. Others are highly dismissive of this "slashy speak."

In addition, high protocol refers to groups or individuals that adhere to strict roles and role-based rules of conduct, whereas low protocol refers to groups or individuals that are more relaxed. Old Guard now usually refers to high protocol groups, particularly gay leather BDSM groups; people who use this phrase may be romanticizing a perception of leather history: see Old Guard leather.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiseman, Jay (2001) Ten Tips For The Novice, Single, Heterosexual Submissive Woman
  2. ^ "BDSM: getting back to where we started, candy store, strong desire". Retrieved 6 October 2014.