K.I.N.K: The One Where We Discuss BDSM

Welcome to the third installment of K.I.N.K. (Katharsis In New Krevices?), where we’ll be introducing BDSM.

There are so many different terms for navigating power dynamics! Submissive, dominant, top, bottom, slave, master…it can get confusing to differentiate between what these terms mean, especially when a lot of the time, there is overlap of the types of sexual acts that the labels imply. But let’s start with the basics.

What is BDSM?

BDSM is an acronym:

B/D refers to bondage/discipline,

D/S refers to dominance/submission, and

S/M refers to sadism and masochism.

Nowadays, BDSM is used as a blanket term for many different sexual practices like restraint, role-playing, latex/rubber play, etc… “Kink” is also a blanket term for interpersonal acts that sometime  (but not always) involve distinct power dynamics. While kink and BDSM intersect a lot, they are not necessarily the same.

There is no “right” way to practice BDSM! That’s really important. A popular acronym that the BDSM community uses is RACK: risk-aware consensual kink. You might have heard another phrase, “Safe, Sane & Consensual.” The difference between the two is that RACK acknowledges that what might be safe or sane for one person might not be safe or sane for another, and that nothing is inherently 100% safe. So RACK is more encompassing of sex acts that might be classified as edgeplay (which involves consequences of potential short/long term harm or death — things like fireplay, breathplay, and knifeplay).

Let us reiterate: there is no right or wrong way to have sex, as long as it is between consensual adults. Saying things like “men are inherently dominant” or “submissives only like getting fucked” can make people feel like that they are “bad” at kink, and can also become really meaningless when considering switches – people who feel comfortable in both dominant and submissive roles (like both of us!).

There’s a common misconception that all dominant people like inflicting pain, and that all submissive people like receiving it. That’s not true! Sometimes people who are into dominance are into sadism, and vice versa, and maybe not, and in the end it doesn’t matter. The same goes for submission and masochism. For example, Elliott would run out of the room if anyone ever suggested spanking him, but Anna likes receiving hickies.

As always, communication is key. Whether you’re navigating BSDM for the first time, with a new partner, or with a long-term significant other, it’s always important to talk to your partner and find out what they are comfortable with. When navigating this space, it’s important to establish safe words — something that you can say that will stop or pause sex immediately so that you and your partner(s) can establish what’s going on and what you’d like to continue or stop. Our personal favorites are red/yellow (red meaning stop and yellow meaning slow down) and cacao.

All of this is just the beginning! The world of kink is varied, complicated, and often extremely funny. We are super excited to keep sharing with you all. Make sure to keep an eye out for our next article on fostering pressure-free environments for sexual communication!


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