Words Matter! A Glossary of Pleasure & Kink

Jan 1 / Heather Edwards


There will be lots of terms I use throughout this website, in event descriptions and other blogs so here is your go-to page for all the "what exactly does that mean?" questions you might have about terminology that I use. 

This set is will help you understand more about kink, BDSM, and power dynamics. 

Kink and Pleasure terms: 

BDSM: An acronym standing for Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission, Sadism & Masochism (So, really, BDDSSM). This acronym describes sex acts or scenes that involve, but are not limited to, using restraints, unequal power dynamics, role playing, granting and relinquishing control, and the infliction of pain with enthusiastic consent by all parties involved. It can also refer to the community of people who participate in these scenes.

Bottom
: Can refer to an individual in a scene who is the submissive, or the recipient of an act in a scene. Bottom can refer to an individual who is the penetrated partner, but not always.

Dominant
: An individual that derives pleasure from having power and decision making responsibility moved TOWARD from them. The Dominant (Dom) does not follow instructions from the other partner(s) and is only limited by previously discussed boundaries set by both parties. 

GGG
: An abbreviation meaning Good, Giving, and Game (coined by Dan Savage). This is a guiding principle for some in the BDSM community and those looking for positive sexual experiences meaning that individuals should strive to be Good in bed, Giving in the sense that you strive to focus on your partner or partners’ pleasure not just your own, and Game for anything (within reason) 

Kink
: Refers to a taste for unconventional sex practices which can be widely defined. BDSM falls under the "kink umbrella". 

Masochism
: When an individual derives pleasure, sexual or otherwise, from intense sensations and/or humiliation

Personal Responsibility Informed Consent Kink
: “PRICK” is a philosophy where those that are interested and or participating in a kink are taking personal responsibility for their kink. 

Play
: Within the BDSM community play refers to participating in a kink or a kinky activity. 

Pleasure Positivity
: Refers to empowering individuals to not be ashamed in finding pleasure from sex (this is one i am not super familiar with and so this may be 100% wrong or need to be fleshed out a bit more)

Risk-Aware Consensual Kink
: Refers to the act of participating in higher-risk level kinks and all parties participating being aware of the specific risks as well as consenting to those risks.  

Sadism
: Refers to receiving pleasure, sexual or otherwise, from inflicting intense sensations on and/or humiliating another individual. 

Safe, Sane, Consensual
: refers to the act of performing kinky activities in a safe environment, that both parties are of sound mind and able to consent to the activities, and that all parties involved are enthusiastically consenting to those acts. There is some debate that the "sane" term of this phrase as being ableist because of the mental health reference that this word implies. 

Scene
: Refers to a play time with predetermined participants, type of play, rules and/or boundaries

Sex
: A subjective term that means different things for different people. Generally can be defined as an act that gives one erotic pleasure that can be done alone or with others. 

Sex Positivity
: Refers to the philosophical movement that frames sex as a healthy aspect of the human experience and aims to de-stigmatize the negative connotations around sex and human sexuality that are common in abstinence-only education and teachings that sexuality is sinful and shameful. 

Submissive
: An individual that derives pleasure from having power and decision making responsibility moved AWAY from them. The submissive (sub) does not direct their partner, but has set out boundaries of what they are willing/not willing to participate.

Top
: Can refer to an individual in a scene who is the dominant, but not always. An individual who is doing an kink/sex act on a submissive is also considered a top. Top can also refer to the penetrating partner, but this is not always the case. 

Thank you to Lane Wagner for helping to pull these glossaries together! 

Other Glossaries Available:
LGBTQIA+
Relationships
Social Justice
Pelvic Health
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