BDSM and sadomasochism

BDSM stands for bondage & discipline, domination & submission and sadism & masochism (SM). The most important elements of the sexual play in BDSM are the power play, the pain and – for some – the aspect of humiliation.

BDSM is an abbreviation that stands for a variety of sexual practices and types of sexual play. BDSM revolves around power play, punishment and/or pain. Not everyone who practices BDSM likes the same things. Some men enjoy mainly the physical sensation of mixing pain with pleasure, for example when they get whipped or paddled. Other men mainly enjoy the psychological role-play involving an imbalance of power, including punishment or humiliation. Whichever of these things you prefer is called your 'kink' or your fetish. 

Read more about bondage in this article.

Enjoying pain

Sadomasochism (SM) is a contraction of two terms: sadism and masochism. Sadism refers to the enjoyment that some people get from causing pain to someone else. Masochism refers to the enjoyment that some people get from feeling pain. The main thing about SM is that it's all about pain, which the person who receives it wants, because he experiences it as pleasurable. SM is often about more than just the physical sensation; it is also about the psychological power play, humiliation and punishment. 

Punishment and humiliation

What many men find so exciting is the idea of playing with power. The person playing the dominant role is known as the top, dom or master. As the dom, you decide what the submissive one (sub, slave or bottom) has to do or undergo. The interplay of domination and surrender lead to exciting role-play situations. Giving someone punishment (discipline) can be part of this. In that case, the dominant man punishes or gives orders to the submissive one. The punishment isn't necessarily always physical: yelling at the person in the submissive role, or humiliating him, are other ways to punish him.  

Emotional aftercare following BDSM

Although BDSM sex is also known as 'playing', BDSM sessions can include some pretty heavy action. Pain, humiliation and fear are very hard on your body. That's why it's a good idea to take plenty of time to relax together with your sex partner after a long or particularly heavy BDSM session. The heavier the session was, the more time you should take for the 'aftercare'.

Discuss your rules of BDSM play with each other 

It is against the law to tie people up or otherwise constrain them, cause them pain or physically punish them against their will. Discuss together in advance what the rules of your BDSM play will be. That will help you avoid unpleasant surprises during the BDSM session itself: 

  • Discuss clearly in advance what your rules of play will be and where your boundaries lie. What do you both want to and not want to do or undergo? 
  • Before you get started, agree with your partner on a safeword or safesign that will signal an immediate end to the BDSM play.  
  • Take regular breaks during your play session. Discuss with each other whether you both want to keep going or to stop. 

Be careful with 'corporal' (physical) punishment:

  • Hit only those body parts that have a considerable layer of muscle or fat, such as butt cheeks, upper arms and upper legs. 
  • Never hit vulnerable places hard, such as the head, the neck, the back, the belly, the genitals or the joints. 
  • Build up the intensity of the punishment slowly and take breaks every now and then while you are doing that. This will increase the level of excitement and allow time for recovery.
  • Avoid drawing blood or damaging the skin. Remember that HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B are easily transmitted through contact with blood or broken skin.

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