The BDSM initialism
A suspended model in a hogtie bondage. Her nipples are clamped and she is gagged with a ball gag harness
Erotic humiliation: A submissive woman publicly caged at the Folsom Street Fair in U.S., with cane markings on her body.
Tied woman lying down hogtied
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.
Bound nude man
Strappado with rope and a spreader bar. This practice has a distinct effect of immobilization and pain.
Frogtied woman gagged with duct tape
Portrait of Marquis de Sade by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo (1761)
Man handcuffed to a bedrail, with a blindfold on
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 ball-gagged model whose face is bound using bondage harness and bondage collar
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.
Rope bondage: A gagged model bound in an uncomfortable position using breast bondage and crotch ropes
Flogging of a bound man by a dominatrix at the Exxxotica adult event, United States, 2009
A woman wearing a steel collar and steel handcuffs.
BDSM activists at Taiwan Pride 2005, Taipei
Petplay: Woman bound outdoor using a dog's chain, at the Folsom Street Fair.
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'.
Bondage demonstration at the 2003 Folsom Street Fair
A bondage pornography shoot in the U.S., 2011
Multiple knots being tied by a male bondage rigger, so as to ensure a strong rope bondage.
A whipping scene where both dominant and submissives are female, Paris, 1930
A woman wearing an armbinder
A fresco in the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping, 5th century BC
A woman chained to a Saint Andrew's cross
Copper engraving, about 1780
Two women mummified with duct tape, restraining their entire bodies, at Exxxotica 2013
Flagellation scene, illustration to Fanny Hill by Édouard-Henri Avril, 1907
A Shibari expert weaves a rope on a woman's upper body at Venus Berlin, 2019.
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.
Two women in frogtie bondage
Start of the leather contingent at the 2004 San Francisco gay pride parade
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.
Consensual giving or receiving of pain is legal in Austria. Photo shows wax play at the Eros Pyramide sex show, Austria, 2009.
A leather dog mask worn over a latex coat.
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.
Erotic pose of three women in bondage gear
Spanking with a paddle in a BDSM dungeon in New York City
Bondage with fluorescent ropes
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.

BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and other related interpersonal dynamics.

- BDSM

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

- Bondage (BDSM)
The BDSM initialism

13 related topics

Alpha

A bondage scenario using period costumes

Sexual roleplay

Roleplay that has a strong erotic element.

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".

The role-play may involve elements of dominance and submission including sexual bondage and erotic humiliation.

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

Portrait of Marquis de Sade by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo (1761)

Sadomasochism

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

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.

However, the term BDSM also includes B&D (bondage and discipline), D/s (dominance and submission), and S&M (sadism and masochism).

Humiliation of a man being forced to kneel and hold a dominatrix's purse with his mouth while being caned at Folsom Street Fair in USA.

Erotic humiliation

About consensual erotic humiliation; for abusive sexual humiliation, see the main articles humiliation and sexual abuse

About consensual erotic humiliation; for abusive sexual humiliation, see the main articles humiliation and sexual abuse

Humiliation of a man being forced to kneel and hold a dominatrix's purse with his mouth while being caned at Folsom Street Fair in USA.
A nude female submissive cleans her male dominant's shoe by licking it, on a public road in USA, 2012.
Two women humiliating their male submissives in public. One of the submissives is on a dog leash while the dominatrix humiliates him verbally. The other woman is sitting on the submissive (whose testicles are tied) and is preparing to shock him. The submissives are being punished by various means of humiliation, including pet play and electrostimulation.
The erotic humiliation of a woman is performed at Wave-Gotik-Treffen music festival, Germany, 2014. She is stripped naked, hung upside down and whipped while a master who is roleplaying a devil forces himself on her.
A woman urinating into the mouth of a man is an example of the practice of golden showers. The man is degraded by being treated as a human toilet.
Depending upon the consent and limits, BDSM may involve sex. Here, the female slave is made to perform deep throat in an uncomfortable position with her master, which can be insulting for her.
A woman being embarrassed by cum shot on her face.
A woman wearing a strap-on dildo about to engage in doggy style anal sex with a man. Such sex can be a way of humiliating a person.

It may be part of BDSM and other sexual roleplay, or accompanied by the sexual stimulation of the genitals (or other erotic region) of one or both parties in the activity.

Humiliation therefore encompasses a range of paraphilia, including foot fetish, breast fetish, shoe fetish, body worship, spanking, cum shots, peotomy, bondage, and most BDSM styles.

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").

Dominance and submission

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

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.

A 1995 study indicates that 89% of heterosexual females who are active in BDSM expressed a preference for the submissive-recipient role in sexual bondage, expressing also a preference for a dominant male, and that 71% of heterosexual males preferred a dominant-initiator role.

BDSM couples, with the female tops sitting on the male bottoms kneeling, leashed and in handcuffs, at 2006 Cologne Pride, Germany.

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.

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.

In BDSM, top can mean either a dominant partner in BDSM play (such as flogging, binding, being master, humiliating, and sexual play), or a partner who applies stimulation to another, and who may or may not be dominant.

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.

Human sexual activity

Manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality.

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).

The potential for injury or even death that exists while engaging in the partnered versions of these fetishes (choking and bondage, respectively) becomes drastically increased in the autoerotic case due to the isolation and lack of assistance in the event of a problem.

Cover of a French edition of Histoire d'O featuring Corinne Cléry

Story of O

Erotic novel published in 1954 by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage, and published in French by Jean-Jacques Pauvert.

Erotic novel published in 1954 by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage, and published in French by Jean-Jacques Pauvert.

Cover of a French edition of Histoire d'O featuring Corinne Cléry
One version of the Roissy triskelion ring described in the book
Movie-style Ring of O, as sold in Europe.

She is regularly stripped, blindfolded, chained, and whipped; her anus is widened by increasingly large plugs; her labium is pierced and her buttocks are branded.

In 1978, the name Samois was adopted by a lesbian-feminist BDSM organization based in San Francisco that existed from 1978 to 1983.

Illustration by John Willie showing a sadomasochistic scene between two women

John Willie

Artist, fetish photographer, editor and the publisher of the first 20 issues of the fetish magazine Bizarre, featuring his characters Sweet Gwendoline and Sir Dystic d'Arcy.

Artist, fetish photographer, editor and the publisher of the first 20 issues of the fetish magazine Bizarre, featuring his characters Sweet Gwendoline and Sir Dystic d'Arcy.

Illustration by John Willie showing a sadomasochistic scene between two women

Willie was introduced to the American fetish underground by Charles Guyette and later worked with Irving Klaw, the infamous BDSM merchandiser later charged with obscenity, but he is best known for his fetish cartoon character Sweet Gwendoline, which he drew in a style that influenced later artists such as Gene Bilbrew and Eric Stanton.

These letters covered topics such as high heels, bondage, amputee fetishism, sadomasochism, transvestism, corsets and body modification.

Naka Akira's show at Toubaku

Japanese bondage

Kinbaku (緊縛) means "tight binding," while Kinbaku-bi (緊縛美) literally means "the beauty of tight binding."

Kinbaku (緊縛) means "tight binding," while Kinbaku-bi (緊縛美) literally means "the beauty of tight binding."

Naka Akira's show at Toubaku
Blacklight Shibari with fluorescent ropes.
Traditional Takate Kote 3 ropes

Kinbaku is a Japanese style of bondage or BDSM which involves tying a person up using simple yet visually intricate patterns, usually with several pieces of thin rope (often jute, hemp or linen and generally around 6 mm in diameter, but sometimes as small as 4 mm, and between 7 – long.

Hiatt type 2010 handcuffs. Circa 1990s.

Handcuffs

Individual's wrists in proximity to each other.

Individual's wrists in proximity to each other.

Hiatt type 2010 handcuffs. Circa 1990s.
A person handcuffed behind their back.
Hinged handcuffs used by Dutch police
Standard type legcuffs made in Taiwan
Prisoner in "full harness" combination
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An inmate in handcuffs and a belly chain with a handcuff cover, concealing the keyholes
Old handcuffs
Display of old handcuffs, Tatton Park Flower Show, 2010

Police handcuffs are sometimes used in sexual bondage and BDSM activities.