BDSM

The BDSM initialism
Erotic humiliation: A submissive woman publicly caged at the Folsom Street Fair in U.S., with cane markings on her body.
A male bondage rigger demonstrates to the audience how to do rope bondage at the 2015 BoundCon event in Germany. The bondage technique used here is box tie, a basic form of arm and breast bondage.
Strappado with rope and a spreader bar. This practice has a distinct effect of immobilization and pain.
Portrait of Marquis de Sade by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo (1761)
BDSM is commonly misconceived to be "all about pain". This 1921 art of a clothed male, naked female is an illustration of male dominance and female submission.
A woman being put in suspension bondage at BoundCon, Germany, 2013. Since the submissive is vulnerable to a potential fall, it is important that great care is taken.
Flogging of a bound man by a dominatrix at the Exxxotica adult event, United States, 2009
BDSM activists at Taiwan Pride 2005, Taipei
A sulky cart drawn by a pony-girl, an example of petplay at the Folsom Parade, 2012. She is wearing a bit gag and a neck collar, to which are attached a ring of O and a leash. Bells are hung from her pierced nipples. All these symbols indicate she is roleplaying a 'pet slave'.
A bondage pornography shoot in the U.S., 2011
A whipping scene where both dominant and submissives are female, Paris, 1930
A fresco in the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping, 5th century BC
Copper engraving, about 1780
Flagellation scene, illustration to Fanny Hill by Édouard-Henri Avril, 1907
Foot worship of one of the feet of a dominatrix by a submissive man. Her other foot rests over the man's head, using it as a footstool (human furniture). This sketch is from a 1950 work named Bizarre Honeymoon.
Start of the leather contingent at the 2004 San Francisco gay pride parade
Consensual giving or receiving of pain is legal in Austria. Photo shows wax play at the Eros Pyramide sex show, Austria, 2009.
Sexual activity may occur in BDSM, but it is not essential part of BDSM. Photo shows erotic humiliation of sexual nature being performed at Wave-Gotik-Treffen music festival, Germany, 2014. The submissive woman is stripped naked, hung upside down, whipped and a master doing sexual roleplay of a devil forces himself on her to cause vagina torture.
Spanking with a paddle in a BDSM dungeon in New York City
The BDSM rights flag with triskelion-type emblem
The leather pride flag, a symbol of the BDSM and fetish subculture
Fanny Pistor (with whip) and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Venus in Furs was inspired by the author's own life where he was dominated by a woman.

Variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and other related interpersonal dynamics.

- BDSM

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Bondage (BDSM)

A suspended model in a hogtie bondage. Her nipples are clamped and she is gagged with a ball gag harness
Tied woman lying down hogtied
Bound nude man
Frogtied woman gagged with duct tape
Man handcuffed to a bedrail, with a blindfold on
A ball-gagged model whose face is bound using bondage harness and bondage collar
Rope bondage: A gagged model bound in an uncomfortable position using breast bondage and crotch ropes
A woman wearing a steel collar and steel handcuffs.
Petplay: Woman bound outdoor using a dog's chain, at the Folsom Street Fair.
Bondage demonstration at the 2003 Folsom Street Fair
Multiple knots being tied by a male bondage rigger, so as to ensure a strong rope bondage.
A woman wearing an armbinder
A woman chained to a Saint Andrew's cross
Two women mummified with duct tape, restraining their entire bodies, at Exxxotica 2013
A Shibari expert weaves a rope on a woman's upper body at Venus Berlin, 2019.
Two women in frogtie bondage
A male bondage rigger demonstrates to the audience how to do rope bondage at the 2015 BoundCon event in Germany. The bondage technique used here is box tie, a basic form of arm and breast bondage.
A leather dog mask worn over a latex coat.
Erotic pose of three women in bondage gear
Bondage with fluorescent ropes

Bondage, in the BDSM subculture, is the practice of consensually tying, binding, or restraining a partner for erotic, aesthetic, or somatosensory stimulation.

Human sexual activity

Manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality.

This Indian Kama sutra illustration, which shows a woman on top of a man, depicts the male erection, which is one of the physiological responses to sexual arousal for men.
A rolled-up male condom
Sexual intercourse in the missionary position
An Ottoman miniature from the book Sawaqub al-Manaquib depicting homosexuality
A 1925 Gerda Wegener painting, "Les delassements d'Eros" ("The recreations of Eros"), of two women engaged in sexual activity in bed.
A man handcuffed to a bed and blindfolded

Sexual activity may also include conduct and activities which are intended to arouse the sexual interest of another or enhance the sex life of another, such as strategies to find or attract partners (courtship and display behaviour), or personal interactions between individuals (for instance, foreplay or BDSM).

Discipline (BDSM)

The BDSM initialism

Discipline in BDSM is the practice in which the dominant sets rules which the submissive is expected to obey.

Sexual roleplay

Roleplay that has a strong erotic element.

A bondage scenario using period costumes
Female police officer dominating a bandit man in a sexual roleplay.
Uniform fetish: A Japanese woman dressed as a school student
Sexual roleplayer in a kajira pose at Folsom Street Fair. The woman is posing in an approximation to nadu, the typical position of a "pleasure slave".

Many of the most common sexual roleplays involve a power differential and form part of the dominance and submission aspect of BDSM.

Dominance and submission

Set of behaviors, customs, and rituals involving the submission of one person to another in an erotic episode or lifestyle.

This 1921 illustration of a clothed male and naked female shows an example of female submission. The art is by Georges Topfer from his work Le rêve d’un flagellant ("The Dream of a Flagellant").
A D/s couple posing for a picture. Many submissives wear a collar to denote their status and commitment.
A dominant male publicly holds two submissive females using leashes tied to their neck, Folsom Street Fair, 2010
A man doing petplay at Folsom Street Fair and wearing dog leash in his neck.
A nude submissive female cleans the shoe of her male master by licking it (with her consent). Scene is of a public road in USA, 2012.
A woman submissive wearing a typical "slave collar" at Cologne Pride. Her male master is pulling her using the ring of O attached to the collar. The woman is also wearing a mouth gag and her hands are in bondage.
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Fanny Pistor (Baroness Bogdanoff)

It is a subset of BDSM.

Sexual fetishism

Sexual fixation on a nonliving object or nongenital body part.

Foot fetishism, the most common sexual fetish
The sensory regions for the feet and genitals lie next to each other, as shown in this cortical homunculus.

This broader usage of fetish covers parts or features of the body (including obesity and body modifications), objects, situations and activities (such as smoking or BDSM).

Whip

Tool or weapon designed to strike humans or other animals to exert control through pain compliance or fear of pain.

A type of whip known as a riding crop pictured with a U.S. dollar bill for size comparison.
A leather cat o' nine tails pictured with a U.S dollar bill for size comparison.
A set of romal reins, featuring a quirt at the end of the romal
Whip made in Silesia, Poland, made to enhance its cracking sound, used in folk Easter celebrations of Siuda Baba
An Australian stockwhip
An Australian bullwhip
A whip made of balatá, made prior to 1939.
Whip, possibly Native American, Plains, late 19th century, horsehair and rawhide, Brooklyn Museum
Drafting whip (or cattle drafter) made by George Woolnough, the famous "Tenterfield Saddler"
A 1.2 m (4') signal whip with a U.S. dollar bill for size comparison
Top: A dressage whip. Bottom: a hunting crop
Longeing whip
A plaited show cane
Hard whip of Ming dynasty (top and bottom)
Qilinbian

Certain religious practices and BDSM activities involve the self-use of whips or the use of whips between consenting partners.

Top, bottom, switch

The terms top, bottom, and switch are used to describe roles for the duration of a sexual act or they may more broadly denote a psychological, social, or sexual identity, or indicate one's usual preference.

BDSM couples, with the female tops sitting on the male bottoms kneeling, leashed and in handcuffs, at 2006 Cologne Pride, Germany.
A nude submissive female in "Inspection" pose - used when Master / prospective Master has to inspect the submissive's body.
A gagged woman with bound hands sits in a submissive position. Her top holds her with a chain leash tied around her neck at Folsom Street Fair.

The terms top, bottom, and switch are also used in BDSM, with slightly different meanings.

Animal roleplay

Form of roleplay where at least one participant plays the part of a non-human animal.

A pony-boy pulling his mistress seated on a sulky, at USA's Folsom Street Fair, the world's largest leather and kink festival.
A man crawling like a pet animal at Folsom Street Fair. He is held using a dog leash.
A man dressed as a dog at Pride Parade, London, 2011
A woman does pony-play at Cologne Pride, 2014
"PONYPLAY" exhibition in Sevastopol, Crimea
A group of pups at a social event
A woman in kitten outfit

Animal roleplay may also be found in BDSM contexts, where an individual may take part in a dominant/submissive relationship by being treated as an animal.

Sadomasochism

Giving and receiving of pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation.

Portrait of Marquis de Sade by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo (1761)
Autosadism is inflicting of pain or humiliation on oneself. The photo shows pornographic actress Felicia Fox pouring hot wax over herself in front of an audience (U.S. 2005). Her nipples and genitals are also clamped.
A submissive woman bound to a Saint Andrew's Cross being whipped at the Folsom Street Fair. The red marks on her body are from the whipping.
S&M may involve painful acts such as cock and ball torture. Image shows a dominant woman holding a bound man's penis, applying electricity to his testicles at the Folsom Street Fair.
Woman's buttocks turned red as a result of a paddling
Play piercing on a woman's back using multiple needles
Pussy torture: wax play done on a bound nude woman's genitals at Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival, Germany, 2014.
A submissive man is consoled by his dominant after she has made his back bloody by beating.

Similarly, sexual sadism within the context of mutual consent, generally known under the heading BDSM, is distinguished from non-consensual acts of sexual violence or aggression.