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What is BDSM?

Wikipedia defines BDSM as, "A continuum of erotic practice and expression involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role-play."  That continuum might be considered to cover activities ranging from playful restraint and light sensation play like tickling, to spanking and role-playing, and on to more extreme activities like suspension, mummification, and bullwhips.

BDSM is an acronym that is actually an amalgamation of three other acronyms, Wikipedia calls it a compound acronym.
  • B/D or B&D stands for bondage and discipline.  Individuals who take part in B/D derive erotic pleasure from activities like being restrained (bondage) and/or being spanked (discipline.)
  • D/s or D&S stands for dominance and submission.  Individuals who practice D/s derive erotic pleasure from activities where one individual relinquishes authority or control to another.
  • S/M or S&M stands for sadism and masochism or sadomasochism.  Individuals who practice S/M derive erotic pleasure from the giving and receiving of strong stimuli, sensations most of us might otherwise consider to be painful or intense.
When it is all said and done, the term BDSM encompasses a very wide range of activities and subcultures under a single banner.  Because this artificial grouping is a relatively recent phenomenon, only time will tell whether such an encompassing term remains useful or meaningful.

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