BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondagedisciplinedominance and submissionsadomasochismand other related interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is Domination sado maso dependent upon self-identification and shared experience.
BDSM is now used as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationshipsand distinct subcultures. BDSM Domination sado maso generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressersbody modification enthusiasts, animal roleplayersrubber fetishistsand others.
Activities and relationships within a BDSM Domination sado maso are often characterized by the participants taking on complementary, but unequal roles; thus, the idea of informed consent of both the partners is essential.
The terms "submissive" and "dominant" are often used to distinguish these roles: The terms "top" and "bottom" are also used: The two sets of terms are subtly different: Despite the bottom performing the action and the top receiving they have not Domination sado maso switched roles. The abbreviations "sub" and "dom" are frequently used instead of "submissive" and "dominant". Sometimes the female-specific terms "mistress", "domme" or " dominatrix " are used to describe a dominant woman, instead of the gender-neutral term "dom".
The precise definition Domination sado maso roles and self-identification is a common subject of debate within the community. There are distinct subcultures under this umbrella term. Terminology for roles varies widely among the subcultures. Top and dominant are widely used for those partner s in the relationship or activity who are, respectively, the physically active or controlling participants. Bottom and submissive are widely used for those partner s in the relationship or activity who are, respectively, the physically receptive or controlled participants.
The interaction between tops and bottoms—where physical or mental control of the bottom is surrendered to the top—is sometimes known as "power Domination sado maso, whether in the context of an encounter or a relationship.
BDSM actions can often Domination sado maso place during a specific period of time agreed to by both parties, referred to as "play", a "scene", or a "session".
Participants usually derive pleasure from this, even though many of the practices—such as inflicting pain or humiliation or being restrained — would be unpleasant under other circumstances.
Explicit sexual activitysuch as sexual penetrationmay occur within a session, but is not essential. Whether Domination sado maso is Domination sado maso public "playspace"—ranging from a party at an established community dungeon to a hosted play "zone" at a nightclub or social event—the parameters of allowance can vary.
The fundamental principles for the exercise of BDSM require that it should be performed with the informed consent of all involved parties. Some BDSM practitioners prefer a code of behavior that differs from "SSC" and is described as " risk-aware consensual kink " RACKindicating a preference for a Domination sado maso in which the individual responsibility Domination sado maso the involved parties is emphasized more strongly, Domination sado maso each participant being responsible for his or her own well-being.
Advocates of RACK argue that SSC Domination sado maso hamper discussion of risk because no activity is truly "safe", and that discussion of even low-risk possibilities is necessary for truly informed consent.
They further argue that setting a discrete line between "safe" and "not-safe" activities ideologically denies consenting adults the right to evaluate risks vs Domination sado maso for themselves; that some adults will be drawn to certain activities regardless of the risk; and that BDSM play—particularly higher-risk play or edgeplay —should be treated with the same regard as extreme sports, with both respect and the demand that practitioners educate themselves and practice the higher-risk activities to decrease risk.
RACK may be seen as focusing primarily upon awareness and informed consent, rather than accepted safe practices.
The consent and compliance for a sadomasochistic situation can be granted only by people who can judge the potential results. For their consent, they must have relevant information extent to which the scene will go, potential risks, if a Domination sado maso will be used, what that is, and so on at hand and the necessary mental capacity to Domination sado maso.
The resulting consent and understanding is occasionally summarized in a written " contract ", which is an agreement of what can and cannot take place. In general, BDSM play is usually structured such that it is possible for the consenting partner to withdraw his or her consent at any point during Domination sado maso scene;  for example, by using a safeword that was agreed on in advance.
Failure to honor a safeword is considered serious misconduct and Domination sado maso even change the sexual consent situation into a crime, depending on the relevant law,  since the bottom or top has explicitly revoked his or her consent to any actions that follow the use of the safeword see Legal status.
For other scenes, particularly in established relationships, a safeword may be agreed to signify a warning "this is getting too intense" rather than explicit withdrawal of consent; and a few choose not to use a safeword at all.
This model for differentiating among these aspects of BDSM is increasingly used in literature today. Individual tastes and preferences in the area of human Domination sado maso may overlap among these areas, which are discussed separately here. Bondage and discipline are two aspects of BDSM that do not seem to relate to each other because of the type of activities involved, but they have conceptual similarities, and that is why they appear jointly.
The term bondage describes the practice of physical restraint. Bondage is usually, but not always, a sexual Domination sado maso.
Bondage can also be achieved by spreading the appendages and fastening them with chains or ropes to a St. Andrew's cross or spreader bars. The term discipline describes psychological restraining, with the use of rules and punishment to control overt Domination sado maso.
Another aspect is the structured training of the bottom. It explores the more mental aspect of BDSM. This is also the case in many relationships not considering themselves as sadomasochistic; Domination sado maso is considered to be a part of BDSM if it is practiced purposefully.
The range of its individual characteristics is thereby wide.
Often, " contracts " are Domination sado maso out in writing to record the formal consent of the parties to the power exchange, stating their common vision of the relationship dynamic. Such documents have not been recognized as being legally Domination sado maso, nor are they intended to be. These agreements are binding in the sense that the parties have the expectation that the negotiated rules will be followed.
Often other friends and community members may witness the signing of such a document in a ceremony, and so parties violating their Domination sado maso can result in loss of face, respect or status with their friends in the community. In general, as compared to conventional relationships, BDSM participants go to great lengths to negotiate the important aspects of their relationships in advance, and to take great care in learning Domination sado maso and following safe practices.