Sex, Relationships & Love

Sub, Munch and Consent: Kink Terms To Get You Started

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On Jul 19, 2022

Over the years more and more folx have become interested in kink so we at HOLAA! decided to gather together some terms that will help you start your kink journey (‘cause this is a marathon and not a sprint). 

Kink: A term that covers a variety of activities and forms of sexual expression. It’s basically any sexual practice that falls outside of what are commonly considered conventional sex acts, such as loving touch, romantic talk, kissing, vaginal penetration, masturbation, and oral sex.

BDSM: A catch-all word for sexual practices and interests that are outside the mainstream — from role-playing to dominance and submission, a vast array of fetishes, and sadism and masochism. 

There are a few things that fall under kink, outside of BDSM, these include:

Fantasy and role-playing: One of the most common forms of kinky sex involves creating imagined scenarios. This could be as simple as talking about a fantasy in bed, to as complex as wearing costumes or acting out scenes in front of strangers.

Fetishes: A fetish is defined as treating a nonsexual object or body part sexually. Common fetishes include the feet and shoes, leather or rubber. There are a whole bunch of folx interested in fetish play so do not think you are alone in this.  Ever made something sexual that wasn’t? Fetish play.  

Voyeurism or exhibitionism: Like to watch? Voyeurism. Watching someone undress or watching people have sex are common voyeur fantasies, while having sex in a public place is an example  of exhibitionism. 

What does BDSM stand for? 

Well, BDSM stands for bondage/discipline, submission/dominance, and sadism/masochism. These categories refer to a wide array of kinks and erotic practices.

When folx think of it they think whips and chains and spanking but it is so much more than that. There are a whole bunch of core ideas that are the heart of BDSM, the most important of which is consent.  

One Bustle article states that: “There’s still quite a few problematic misconceptions ‒ especially regarding consent ‒ to wade through to get to the heart of what BDSM is all about. Once you wade through all the nonsense ideas around kink what you find is the beautiful  potential for improved self-confidence, deeper self-knowledge, and intimacy on another level.”

And it is not all about sex, practicing BDSM is about a lot more than the act of having sex. In fact, “a scene” may not involve sex or, even touching, at all. 

The article offers the advice: “When exploring BDSM, remember that there’s no need to rush to create your own “Red Room of Pain”, à la 50 Shades of Grey. To begin, you might simply try being blindfolded and let your partner tickle you with a feather, or lightly stroke your skin with a whipper. If that turns you on, move towards slightly racier bondage play, like binding wrists with a silk tie or handcuffs, a massage candle being dripped on your skin, or exploring the sensation of playful spanking.”

It’s very important to keep remembering that in BDSM, enthusiastic ongoing consent is at the heart of all the sexual practice. You decide how you want things to go. 

Terms Within Kink

Now that you have a general idea here are some terms you should know within the world of kink and BDSM, that will help guide you in your practice and play:

Aftercare: A post-scene ritual intended to help the dominant and submissive wind down and check in.

Breath control play: Restriction of oxygen to increase pleasure (i.e. choking, asphyxiation, holding breath).

Chastity: Denying a partner sex and/or masturbation — sometimes devices are used to ensure chastity (e.g. cock cages or chastity belts).

Collared/collaring: An accessory worn to indicate someone’s status as a submissive. Collaring can indicate belonging to a dominant, and to some is seen as the ultimate level of commitment. This is usually an actual collar. If you have a full time dominance/submission (D/s) dynamic you could also opt to have a collar that looks like an everyday necklace (because work is a real thing). 

Consent: Agreeing to certain acts in a BDSM scene or relationship. Practitioners believe that consent is what separates BDSM from assault and abuse.

Contract: An arrangement that outlines the rules and structures of a BDSM relationship. It may be written or oral.

Cuckold: A man/masc person who enjoys watching their femme partner have sex with someone in front of them.

Dom/domme/dominant: The partner who leads the power dynamic in a dominant/submissive scene.

Dominance and Submission (D/s): A term for the behaviours or rituals that a submissive person follows in a BDSM relationship. In D/s, one person usually has power over another.

Drop: The physical or emotional exhaustion that takes place after a scene. Both tops and bottoms may experience a drop. Crying, feeling sad, and physical shaking are all signs of a drop.

Edgeplay: Bringing a partner to the brink of orgasm, but not letting them cum.

Gender Play: A type of play where an individual in a scene takes on the role of the opposite/ different gender.

Hard limits: Limits that never will be negotiable i.e. things that will not be allowed during play. Note: People have hard limits for a variety of reasons and these must be respected). 

Impact Play: A type of BDSM play that involves striking the body. This can be done with a hand, paddle, cane, whip, flogger, or other instrument.

Masochist: An individual who likes or becomes sexually gratified by their own pain or humiliation.

Munch: An informal meeting or party, often at a public place, where people interested in BDSM can mingle.

Sadism and Masochism: A  subset of BDSM that involves inflicting pain or humiliation for the purpose of pleasure or sexual gratification.

Sadist: A person who enjoys or becomes sexually aroused by inflicting pain or humiliation on someone else.

Pegging: Refers to a woman/femme identifying person having anal sex with a man/masc identifying person, typically with a strap-on. 

Playspace: An area designated for a scene or BDSM play.

Risk aware consensual kink: An alternative to “safe, sane, consensual kink” (SSC) , as the term is disliked in the community for it’s ableist language. RACK also argues that kink isn’t ever safe, but that those that participate acknowledge the risks.

Safeword: A word or action that signals the end of play.

Soft Limits: A limit that’s more flexible than a hard limit. It might be an act that a person is hesitant to perform but may be willing to try. Have proper conversations about soft limits and trying them out. 

Scene: Where the actual BDSM activities or encounters go down are known as “a scene”.

Subspace: A mental space submissives (subs) can go through in the middle of a scene; it’s often considered “dreamy” or “floaty” like a high.

Switch: A partner who can be dominant or submissive.

Submissive: Someone who submits to a dominant person in a BDSM relationship or scene. Submissive can be shortened to (sub).

Topping from the bottom: A bottom/submissive telling their top/dominant what to do to them.

Vanilla: A non-kink/BDSM activity.

24-7s: When folx  in a relationship engage in some form of BDSM at all times (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

There is much to know about #BDSM and kink so make sure you do your research before you start playing. Here are some articles to get you started:


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