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BDSM Basics
Am I Normal? 

Short answer, yes. While parts of society tell us there are only a couple of right ways to go about sexual expression, the fact you found this page shows you know it isn't true. Sexual expression between consenting adults becomes unhealthy when it's repressed. You can point to many causes of divorce or couples falling apart, but many of them boil down to lack of communication. A need existed and wasn't conveyed to the other partner. That need doesn't have to be a BDSM need, of course, but if the scene world teaches us anything, it's communicate, communicate, communicate. Also, go easy on yourself. Like a lot of things, you will make mistakes, everybody does. The reason to learn is so little mistakes don't become big ones.

While it may seem strange to be excited by the elements of BSDM, there are factors that explain those feelings. Distance runners frequently talk about "runners high". This feeling comes when they push themselves. The cause of the feeling is due to a release of chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These chemicals cause a feeling of euphoria and well being that can be very powerful. Exercise, orgasm, even certain foods can cause this release, in some people, so can BDSM play . After intense (intense being relative to the individual) play many people talk about a sense of well being and contentment and some people are absolutely loopy from the intense endorphin rush.

 There are many myths about the Scene community. Take a look at the ever growing list

The fact that you have taken the time to find this web page should be an indication that your are exploring a need and desire more information. You may find after exploration that your needs lie else where and that's fine, but if the scene community is where your heart lies....welcome.

What is BDSM?

BDSM stands for Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism. While the terms are somewhat interchangeable, there are some basic definitions. Bondage usually involves some form of restraint combined with some form of sensation play. The restraints can be anything from holding your partners hands to very elaborate forms of immobilization. Stockings, neckties, rope, plastic wrap or just about anything strong enough to wrap around a body part can be used. You don't have to spend lots unless you want to and then the skies the limit. The sensation play can be as simple as a feather or as complicated as a whip or other devices. Once again, you don't have to spend a ton to have some fun. A hair brush doesn't cost a lot but works well in addition to having some classic BDSM connections. Discipline can be the chastisement, in whatever form, that can accompany bondage.

While Discipline and Bondage can go hand in hand, discipline can stand by its self. Discipline can be about Control and obedience without involving any other component of BDSM or it can involve all of them. 

Sadism and Masochism take things up another level. Sadists enjoy inflicting torment, Masochists enjoy receiving that torment. Admitting to yourself that you are a Sadist doesn't mean you are ready to work for a South American Dictatorship just as admitting you're are a Masochist doesn't mean you want to end up as a guest of that dictatorship. When we talk about Sadists and Masochists we are talking about people who honor and use safe words, respect and know limits and understand boundaries. There is good pain and bad pain. Bad pain might be the dentist hitting a nerve. An example of good pain is the magical glow that spreads through your body when you play with some one who really knows how to use a whip.

You will also hear terms like Master/Mistress and slave. DOMinant and SUBimissive, Top and Bottom.. These are terms that are more about roles and relationships then about play and are beyond the scope of this abbreviated SM 101. Suffice it to say many of the terms are used interchangeably but can and do describe real roles and relationships. For the rest of this article we will use Dom and Sub. If you don't feel those terms fit you, feel free to substitute one of the others.

What BDSM isn't

BDSM is NOT abuse. An abuser doesn't take the time to learn safe play and an abuser certainly doesn't respect limits. To see the differences between abuse and responsible BDSM go to our BRAVO page. There's more to abuse then domestic violence. Not taking NO for an answer, not honoring a safe word, or taking advantage of the unequal power relationship that exists between Dom and Sub are also forms of abuse. Calling yourself a Dominant, Master/Mistress, or Top is NOT an excuse to be an asshole. Calling yourself a Slave, submissive or bottom is not an excuse to lead people on about what you are, or to be the "bell of the ball". It is not an excuse to be a brat.

Safe, Sane and Consensual

This is the anthem of the scene community. You will see debate on what SSC really means, but you will see very little debate on the necessity of these concepts.

SAFE: To start it must be said that nothing is 100% safe, including BDSM.

Safety involves many things. It means knowing your limitations, Dom and Sub alike. It means taking precautions like having safety scissors (EMT shears are good for this, they will cut through almost anything) and having more then one key to anything that locks (as well as having locks that use a common key). It means keeping things clean and using condoms or other barrier protection when needed. It means having some simple first aid items handy, which isn't a bad idea anyway. (I've never needed my first aid kit while playing, but I've needed it twice while cooking dinner) Remember Dom's, you may have paid a zillion for that BDSM toy but a willing partner who gives you the gift of their submission is PRICELESS. As one NLA:CO member puts it "Always leave your play partners recyclable". To see a MUCH more detailed document on safety visit Safer SM Education Project and read their on-line pamplet

SANE: You will probably see more debate on this word than any other. It means understanding what's possible and what should remain fantasy. That picture or artwork of the beautiful women or that to die for guy may look wonderful as they hang by piano wire tied to their thumbs while being whipped with the whip made of chain saw blades, but that's a fantasy. If you try that you'll soon be featured on the nightly news with a name like the Manhatten Mangler. Seriously, knowing the difference between what must remain a fantasy and what you can actually do is an important step to being a responsible member of our scene community, even if you only play privately. It also means taking the time to learn about that newest thing you want to try, by reading, observing, talking to others, and practicing if needed. Finally, it also means that drugs/alcohol and/or anger and scening don't mix.

CONSENSUAL: This may be the most important concept of all. It's what separates us from the abusers. Everything we do is based on consent. Consenting to play and then negotiating what will happen. Consenting to enter into a Dom/sub relationship. You may be Grand Master Dominant of the Fifth Dragon and she may be first Kajira but the relationship is by consent, and consent once given can also be withdrawn. The ability to do that can be modified by negotiated agreements, but, if, and when consent is withdrawn, that withdrawal must be honored. If it isn't, see Abuse above.


Negotiation is an important part of a first scene. Basically it means finding out a potential partner's limitations, interests and physical limits. This can be in the form of discussion or written questionnaire. This may sound pretty boring and sterile but done right it can be a lot of fun and very sensual. Use your imagination, something like "so boy, what's in that filthy little mind of yours?" and go from there. Remember this just isn't the Dom's responsibility, the Sub has to actively participate also. Telling a Dom you have no limits ("anything you wish to do to me master") is sort of like letting a mouse loose in a cheese factory. Negotiation is not the time to be coy, especially on things like the location of your asthma medication or anything else you might need, medically speaking. Your fears ("get away from me with that!!!!") and desires should also be explored. A Dom is not a mind reader, and shouldn't feel the need to play the role of "Big Bad Omnipotent One" either. If you the Dom aren't comfortable doing something say that. A potential submissive partner worthy of the name should appreciate the fact you will say you aren't comfortable with something rather than compromise their safety.

Safe Words

One safety technique is the safe word. This is a word the sub can use in scene to either modify the scene or stop it completely. The word should be something that normally won't come up in a scene, something like falwell for instance. No, stop and ouch are obviously poor safe words. Some people use the stop light system; Green meaning more more MORE. Yellow meaning this is getting intense you had better slow down or change what you are doing. Red meaning stop immediately. My particular word is a modifier. If I use it my Dom knows that anything I say after it is to be honored. This works well when you have a problem that doesn't require the scene stop like a cramp or something, but it might not be best in an emergency. Parties will often have a house safe word. Anyone within earshot or safety people (Dungeon Masters) can respond if they hear the word. If a partner is gagged an alternative safe sign can be used, such as a hand signal, series of noises, or dropping an object held in the hand. Safe words are another item to include in negotiation. If a Dom doesn't honour safe words see Abuse above.


 A scene doesn't necessarily end when the toys are put away. Cuddling and comforting is a great way to wrap things up. Many subs like to be held after a scene. Some people can be very emotional after playing and need to be taken care of. Also it is a good idea to have some snacks and juices and/or caffeinated drinks handy, as well as plenty of water. Aftercare can also be one of the best parts of a scene, many couples/partners talk of a level of intimacy and closeness that they don't get otherwise. After an intense scene people can have various reactions anywhere from several hours to a few days. Subs AND Doms can experience an emotional drop (usually called top or bottom drop) . If you are not a couple/group living together you should keep in touch. Email works but a phone call is better and actually getting together is best. You may not experience a drop, but a follow up call is still a good idea. You will be taking care of an emotional need that can be as strong as the physical need you have already taken care of.

Types of Play

It is important to note that scene play does not have to involve B and D or S and M. Some Dominant/submissive relationships are purely cerebral. There really is no right or wrong way to play as long as safety isn't ignored. It is well beyond the scope of this document to talk about every type of play or scene but below are some of the basics. Remember, ALL of these topics and the myriad of others that exist should be part of negotiation.

Bondage: As stated above, bondage can be very simple or very elaborate, taking hours to apply. It's relatively easy for an adult to find examples of bondage on the Internet, some practical and some that are strictly fantasy. With practice and experience, the line between fantasy and reality narrows but it is important to realize that for some photos the model was put into the situation as quickly as possible, the picture taken ASAP and the model was then taken out of the situation as quickly as possible.

Discipline: Discipline can be anything, from feather to whip. Discipline can also be mental "stand in that corner and don't move until I tell you worm". As with most things in the scene discipline is relative, ones persons bliss is another persons agony.

Fetishes: It is possible to have a fetish for anything. Common fetishes include foot and shoe fetishes, breast fetishes, articles of clothing, smoking, etc. It is thought that fetishes stem from associating or objectifying something in youth in connection with a sexual thought or act. The association becomes stronger until sexual arousal becomes difficult or impossible without that something present either physically or at least in thought. Brought into a scene, producing that something can make the fetishist absolutely melt.

Role Play: Role play can be teacher and student, police and criminal, priest and nun, virtually anything you can imagine. It can be very serious or light and playful. For some, role play can be a way to act out very deep fantasies and emotions. People can literally become the role for a time. If you know someone is in a role, you should respect it, as you would respect any scene.

Clothing: Clothing can make a scene. We've all viewed pictures on the Internet of leather or rubber outfits, corsets and clothing that defy imagination. Clothing can help set the mood or help participants assume a role. Ultimately, though, clothing is but an extension of self. You don't need to spend all kinds of money unless you want to. If you feel sexy in a burlap bag, then you ARE sexy. There is no right or wrong answer.

In Conclusion

The bottom line is to act responsibly. There are many who oppose the scene community and they are not above playing dirty. They will use any misconception about us to reach their ends. Sadly, we sometimes do things to further those misconceptions. It might be fun to lead your submissive through the mall on a leash or have your feet worshiped at the bus stop, but be aware you are non-consensually involving the vanilla public and serving those who would see us put into a hole.

Category: Basic Info | Added by: Dex (08 January 12)
Views: 4942 | Tags: negotiation, SSC, safe sane consentual, BDSM basics | Rating: 5.0/1
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