Martin van Maële's print Francion 15
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There is no scientific consensus for any precise border between unusual sexual interests and paraphilic ones.

- Paraphilia

The term "kink" has been claimed by some who practice sexual fetishism as a term or synonym for their practices, indicating a range of sexual and sexualistic practices from playful to sexual objectification and certain paraphilias.

- Kink (sexuality)
Martin van Maële's print Francion 15

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Alpha

The BDSM initialism

BDSM

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

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

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.

This negative assumption has not changed significantly which is evident in the continued inclusion of Sexual Sadism and Sexual Masochism as paraphilias in the DSM-IV-TR.

Increasingly, American universities are witnessing BDSM and kink education by providing student clubs, such as Columbia University's Conversio Virium and Iowa State University's Cuffs.