Dictionary

Like any community, the kink scene has its own cloud of jargon to wade through. Here's an insider's guide. (This is a constant work-in-progress to make it as inclusive as possible. Please contact me if you have any edit suggestions. Thanks!)

 

 

Aftercare
The activities done to return to normalcy after a scene. Examples include cuddling, eating, joking, having sex, rebuilding self-esteem, and watching Star Trek.
BDSM
An acronym standing for different areas of kink: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & submission, Sadism & Masochism.
bottom
An individual who is the passive party within a scene. The bottom is one who is beaten, who is tied up, who is cut, etc. However, a Top/bottom relationship does not denote a power exchange like a Dom/sub relationship. Alternate: The receiving party within male-male anal sex. Typically, kinky gay male bottoms are also subs/Masochists.
Daddy
A type of Dominant characterized by a more patriarchal and nurturing approach to Dominance. Can involve ageplay or incest play but neither are necessary for the dynamic. Daddies can be of any gender but are typically male. See also little girl.
DM
Dungeon Monitor. A person who monitors the activities of a dungeon to make sure all are playing safely. DMs have the authority to stop scenes if they feel the activities are unsafe or have violated house rules.
Dominant / Dom
An individual who enjoys receiving control within a power exchange. See also submissive.
Domme
An internet alternate spelling meant for female Dominants to differentiate between the sexes in online chat rooms. Typically, this is pronounced the same as "Dom," yet some people choose to pronounce it "Dom-may."
Drop
An occasional and unfortunate side-effect of scening. Called Top Drop, Dom Drop, Bottom Drop, Sub Drop, etc. depending on the person experiencing it. Some people attribute it to a crash in endorphins while others believe it's the result of energy transferal. Regardless, it manifests as feelings of irritation, exhaustion, apathy, and general shittiness the days following a scene.
Leather
A traditional and hierarchal approach to BDSM where community members progress up the ladder through mentoring and service. As a member progresses they "earn" different pieces of leather clothing. Traditionally, one starts as an owned slave and may progress to become a Master. Originally practiced by gay males only; now, open to all genders and orientations.
Little girl
Type of submissive characterized by a more childlike, carefree, and "innocent" approach to submission. Can involve ageplay or incest play but neither are required for the dynamic. Typically female (male counterparts being little boys). See also Daddy.
Limits
An individual's boundaries regarding kink. Soft limits are activities that are negotiable, yet only allowable under certain conditions. Hard limits are activities that are completely unallowed.
Masochist
An individual who enjoys receiving pain or intense sensation from another.
Master
Typically, a male Dominant who owns a slave. This denotes a more immersive, 24/7 relationship than Dom/sub. Master can also refer to someone who has "mastered" a specific kink craft or who has reached such a level within the Leather community.
Mistress
Typically, a female Dominant who owns a slave. This denotes a more immersive, 24/7 relationship than Dom/sub. However, it is also a title chosen by professional Dommes for their clients to use.
Munch
A social gathering of kinky people in a no-pressure, non-kinky space (such as a diner or bar) where they can network, make friends, and learn about the local scene. Usually the first step to attending a party for the first time.
Pain Slut
There are differing definitions for this term; however, most agree that a pain slut is something of a "super masochist." Some pain sluts can even orgasm from pain alone.
Sadist
An individual who enjoys inflicting pain or intense sensation upon another.
Safeword
A word (or phrase, or gesture) that directs the flow of a scene. Both Tops and bottoms can use safewords; however, it is most commonly used by the bottom to communicate with the Top. The most common safeword system uses traffic signals. "Green" means everything is fine, "Yellow" means the scene can continue but something needs to change (hit softer, untie that hand, this position is uncomfortable, etc.), "Red" means stop the scene immediately.
slave
A individual who is owned. This denotes a more immersive, 24/7 relationship. A slave contract typically gives full control of the slave's life to their Master/Mistress. The slave retains the right to leave the relationship. Some see slaves as "super submissives" while others consider the two different mindsets altogether.
submissive / sub
An individual who enjoys giving control within a power exchange. Commonly spelled with all lower case letters, to demonstrate power exchange. See also Dominant.
SSC
Safe, Sane, and Consensual. A maxim some kinky people try to live and play by. See also RACK.
RACK
Risk Aware Consensual Kink. A maxim some kinky people try to live and play by. These people believe SSC is misleading, because most kink activities are neither Safe nor Sane. See also SSC.
Top
An individual who is the active party within a scene. The Top is the one who beats, who ties up, who cuts, etc. However, a Top/bottom relationship does not denote a power exchange like a Dom/sub relationship. Alternate: The giving party within male-male anal sex. Typically, kinky gay male Tops are also Doms/Sadists.