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Please note: The term "Bottom" usually refers to the physical aspect only of the role one takes as a receiver of any BDSM activity, and does not necessarily imply emotional commitment to a Dominant partner. The term "Submissive" usually refers to one who surrenders control of his/her body and behavior to another person for erotic BDSM play. However, often the term "Submissive" is used as a general term. In the descriptions in this glossary, for the purposes of simplicity, the terms ("Bottom" or) "Submissive" are used as general terms, to mean anyone on the receiving end of any BDSM play or activity. The same applies to the terms "Top" and "Dominant" in that "Dominant" is used in this glossary as a general term meaning anyone on the striking end of any BDSM activity.

Also, it should be noted: the terms "BDSM", "Fetish", "Kink', 'Bondage", "S/M", "S&M", "T3WD", and "WIITWD", have specific meanings, but also each term is often used by both the vanilla world and the BDSM world as a broad general term to describe all that is kinky or to describe the subculture of kink. Sometimes these terms have the same broad-range meaning when used in a descriptive context.

BDSM tools, equipment, furniture, and toys are ever changing in their descriptions, partly due to the way in which adult retailers market such items. It should be noted that though the descriptions given here are as general as possible, the descriptions given for certain BDSM devices may vary from person to person.

All terms beginning with a number are found spelled out on the alphabetical page. All acronyms and initials are in alphabetical order on the alphabetical page.


Our BDSM world is made up of all those who have an interest in BDSM. The game is only as good as its players. What may mean one thing to one person does not necessarily mean the same to another. As of yet, there is no school, no degree, and no certification for BDSM. All titles in this realm are self-proclaimed, and are meant as intent only. In other words, Master Dom is announcing with his title that he wishes to engage in BDSM as a Master. His title does not certify that he has any experience or any knowledge of his craft, and it damn sure does not guarantee the safety of anyone who chooses to play with him.

Also, in our world, you will often hear people proclaim their experience in kink, listing off their accomplishments in fetish event performances, name-dropping who grandfathered them into BDSM, reading off acquaintances from their book of who's who in the scene, and listing their involvement in the many different BDSM groups. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this. Heck, I do this as well. Yet, it should be noted that no matter how impressive a person's BDSM resume is, it is still no guarantee that this person has "earned" his/her title and that they practice safely.

So, if you are new to BDSM, explore with caution. And to those who are not new to BDSM: yes, experience is very important. However, we who consider ourselves experienced will do well to remember that our experience does not buy us superiority over those just now discovering BDSM. We can always learn something new, and even a newbie has something to contribute to our knowledge of kink. Being that there are no real defined rules, regulations, certifications or mandated scholarships for BDSM, we are all just subject to each other's opinions and philosophies. Which leads me to this disclaimer: I set out to make this glossary as objective and informative as possible. Yet as I dug in, I found it almost impossible to completely leave out my own views and philosophies. At some point, I stopped trying altogether. Subsequently, many of these terms include my opinions on the subject and I ask that you bear this in mind while using this glossary, or any BDSM glossary for that matter.

This glossary of BDSM and kink-related terms was built with the use of many different sources, including books, newsgroups, dictionaries, social networking sites, encyclopedias, and many other sites containing BDSM content. Yet, a lot of what you read here is also based on my own experience and knowledge of kink. If you feel that I got something wrong, left something out, or I just wasn't clear with my description, please contact me.
Your input will be greatly appreciated.

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