Original: http://www.queernet.org/deviant/

the deviants' dictionary Main Entries Updated 21 July 1997



Sometimes a.s.b.. See alt.sex.bondage


Animal Training


Stimulating the surface of the body with abrasive materials, for example, rough silk, chamois leather, fine sandpaper, brushes, wire wool. An often overlooked but surprisingly effective set of techniques, especially on a blindfolded bottom. More details in the forthcoming Factsheet; see also surface play.

accident prone

In personal ads, usually means pissing and/or shitting while still clothed. See scat, piss.

acucullophallia, acucullophilia

State of being circumcised (of men), attraction to men who are circumcised. See circumcision.

adult babies

May refer to those who gain fetishistic satisfaction from dressing up in infants' clothing and using associated objects like dummies and cribs; may also indicate those who enjoy elaborate role-playing scenes in which they act out the part of a baby as fully as possible. See infantilism.

age play

Play that involves taking on the role of someone of a different age. Most commonly, adults take on the role of children, perhaps in a submissive capacity -- see also daddy/boy, infantilism. Younger people may also take on the role of older people.


Short for Prince Albert piercing -- see the Piercing Glossary


Most likely to be encountered in an SM context in one of three ways

1. As a cleaning agent in scenes involving breaking the skin. In this case you need 70% rubbing alcohol, or (in Britain) surgical spirit. This should be obtainable from most pharmacies, though in some areas they are reluctant to supply it since it is used in the preparation of certain illegal drugs. Convenient alcohol-soaked pre-injection swabs, 'Mediswabs', are also available. See Resources in the Play Piercing Factsheet.

2. Used for its property of burning at a relatively low temperature in heavy temperature play scenes.

3. Used in its familiar form of alcoholic drinks for its disinhibiting, intoxicating and, in piss scenes, diuretic properties. Beware of using it to excess, however, especially in potentially dangerous play. See the Drugs Factsheet.


Love of pain, from the Greek. Psychological term to describe SM preferred by sexologist Havelock Ellis, who saw it as 'pain given in love'. Perhaps useful to describe that element of SM that is about the enjoyment of pain itself rather than acting out domination and submission. Ellis's definition is quoted in the Boundaries section of the Dynamics and Definitions Sourcsheet; see also sadomasochism.


asb or a.s.b.. Old-established mixed gender and sexuality Usenet newsgroup concerned with a wide range of SM activities as well as just bondage. Unfortunately the newsgroup itself has largely been swamped by commercial sex advertising but there is still a useful home page, along with various FAQs and classic postings. Much of the discussion from the group has shifted onto alt.torture. There is also a gay and lesbian mailing list, gl-asb, hosted by Queernet.


Fetish for high heels -- see under high heels.


Horizontal piercing through the glans penis -- see the Piercing Glossary. An account of traditional ampallang piercings is in the Sourcesheet.

amyl nitrite

See poppers

anal intercourse

See fucking.

ankle cuffs

See handcuffs.

ankle restraint

Bondage device placed around ankle -- see restraint 2.

animal training

AT. Games in which one or more partners, usually the bottom(s), takes on the role of an animal. The commonest is probably a dog, though horses are also popular. The 'animal' may imitate animal behaviour, wear items such as collars, leads, bridles and so on, or carry out tasks associated with the animal, such as pulling a vehicle. Scenes vary enormously, both in elaborateness and in authenticity. There is no necessary connection with any sexual attraction to real animals. See the forthcoming Briefing.


Vertical piercing through the glans penis -- see the Piercing Glossary


Normally refers to poppers.


US: assplay. Any games involving stimulation of the arsehole, almost certainly by inserting objects inside it. See douching, fisting, fucking, insertive toy. Hygiene precautions should be observed with these activities -- see safer sex.


See breath control.


See arseplay.

auto-erotic asphyxiation

See breath control.
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Sometimes B/D, B&D. Bondage and Discipline. Sometimes used interchangeably with SM but more strictly referring to practises involving bondage and role-playing or humiliation but little or no pain. Sometimes thought to stand for Bondage and Domination, but see also DS. See also BDSM.


Sometimes BD/SM. Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. Catch-all term much used in North America to lump together those perves who play with physical pain and those who don't, reflecting a concern that the term SM, with its associations with pain, is not always appropriate. See also BD, SM.

BDSM emblem

This recently designed symbol is gaining some popularity in the perve community. See in the Codes and Symbols sourcesheet.


Blowjob -- see fellatio.


See ball torture.

ball torture

BT. Causing sensation, discomfort and pain to the male testicles, often including the scrotum as well. For more details see the Briefing.

ball toy

A wide variety of toys are available for playing with the balls, including straps, stretchers and weights -- see 'What to Use' in the Ball Torture Briefing


Pseudonym of late gay male erotic artist Frank Weber -- see Deviant Personalities. The name is sometimes cited in contact ads to indicate those who share Weber's interests in heavy rubber, control, piss and shit.


Form of torture or punishment involving beating the soles of the feet; these are very tender and should be handled with care. See The Flagellation Factsheet.


Usually a large, bearded, perhaps older and even overweight man, preferably with substantial body hair. The bear community overlaps with the gay leather community and those who describe themselves as, or say they are seeking, bears may have very 'masculine' images and interests that sometimes shade over into SM. A smaller or slighter and perhaps younger and submissive man who seeks the company of bears is sometimes called a cub. See also daddy.


Striking typically administered as punishment, particularly in connection with childhood punishments such as spanking, caning or belting but also used (perhaps more so in England, where some schools referred to corporal punishment with the cane as 'beating') of more 'adult' scenes like whipping. Can mean more 'violent', bruising striking such as punching, as in the expression 'beating up'. See The Flagellation Factsheet.


See belting.

belt clip

Fastening normally made in a g-shape, opened and closed with a sprung lever, designed for fastening keyrings onto belts and so on. Heavy duty versions are useful and convenient fastenings in bondage -- see under Other Fastenings in the Bondage Reference. Belt clips with key rings worn on left or right have also been used as codes to indicate top and bottom respectively.


Striking with a belt, normally on the buttocks or thighs but sometimes on the shoulders. In everyday language, sometimes used more generally: 'belting someone in the mouth' is more likely to involve the backs of the hands than a belt. See The Flagellation Factsheet.

Berkley, Theresa

Early 19th century (d. 1836) London-based professional dominatrix and flagellation specialist; the 'Berkley machine', a bondage device intended to expose the body for beating, is named after her. For an account see The Flagellation Sourcesheet: The Flogging Whores of Old London.


See endorphin.

birch, birching

Light wooden rod or bundle of twigs, traditionally from the birch tree; striking with such an implement. See The Flagellation Reference.


Hanky code for 'heavy SM', usually involving flagellation of some sort and/or other forms of painful play.


See playroom.

blend modality

Method of hair removal combining electrolysis and thermolysis. See depilation.


Temporarily blocking the sense of sight is a common technique in SM scenes. It can make the bottom feel more vulnerable, help them concentrate or 'get into the headspace', and is essential to the sorts of abrasion and surface play games where everyday objects are used to give unexpected sensations. Use purpose-made blindfolds such as the cheap ones made for travellers and often distributed free by airlines, or the more expensive ones in leather or rubber from perve shops; hoods with no eyeholes or blockable ones (tape over gas mask lenses with Gaffa tape); improvised blindfolds from scarves, hankies, long socks, bandages (Ace are a favourite). Check the blindfold first: they normally have to be placed carefully to be 100% effective.

Safety notes: don't make blindfolds too tight and avoid undue pressure on the eyeballs. Take special care when leading the bottom round blindfold. Warn the bottom when you are removing the blindfold so they can close their eyes and open them slowly to avoid too much dazzle. And remember though some people take blindfolding in their stride, it can have unpredictable psychological effects and be very powerful and even frightening for some people in some situations. More details on blindfolding in preparation.

block and tackle

A device that makes it possible to lift heavy weights with little effort using arrangements of wheels and ropes, ideal for suspension scenes. See in the Suspension Briefing.


The act of sucking or licking a cock -- see fellatio.


Sucking or licking a cock -- see fellatio.

body modification

Making permanent but usually superficial alterations to the appearance of the body, sometimes by painful processes. See branding, piercing, scarification, tattooing.

body shaving

See depilation


Restriction of a person's bodily movement for erotic reasons using fastenings of various kinds. For more information see the Factsheet. Also sometimes used loosely as a code for a wider range of SM practises, reflecting the fact that bondage interests are widespread and popular among SMers (though certainly not universal). This slightly confusing usage is found in the name of the newsgroup alt.sex.bondage which covered many more sexual practises besides.


A common practise for domination and humiliation purposes, or sometimes just as a means of indulging a fetish for boots. See under Hygiene in the Boots and Shoes briefing for hygiene notes.

boots and shoes

Retifism, the fetish for boots or shoes, is a common fetish, often linked to domination. See the Boots and Shoes briefing.


Submissive or recipient of stimulation in an SM scene -- see top.


Knot with loop as used by emergency personnel. See the Knots Sourcesheet.


Common term for male submissive, especially among gay men, with less expression of permanence about it than the term 'slave'. May or may not imply age play, where the adult referred to takes on the role of a younger male. Is also sometimes used of women taking a similar role. See also Daddy.


Making a permanent or semi-permanent scar on the skin by burning it with a heated metal object, as practised on livestock and in earlier times on slaves and criminals. Can be carried out safely with the correct technique and aftercare but still likely to be intensely painful, and seen by some as the ultimate either in body art or as the culmination of a heavily submissive relationship or scene.

breath control

Asphyxiaphilia, auto-erotic asphyxiation (if solo play), breath games, breathplay, hypoxyphilia. Games involving control or restriction of air and/or the supply of oxygen to the brain. Strangling is usually the compression of the carotid arteries to prevent oxygenated blood reaching the brain; suffocation involves reducing the level of oxygen in the air available to breathe. Hanging, where the body is suspended by the neck, though a relatively common fantasy, is very difficult to stage in a non-harmful way for SM scenes: remember that judicial hanging was intended to break the spine, not cause death by suffocation. All these games are very dangerous to play alone, and may also be dangerous if with a partner. See the Briefing.


Hanky code for playing with shit.


Very long and heavy plaited leather whip. See What to use: Whips in the Flagellation Reference.

buntline hitch

Knot with a resizable loop. See the Knots Sourcesheet.

butterfly board

Toy used in some play piercing games: a card or wood board with a hole cut to the shape of the cock and balls. The board is placed over the genitals and the skin of the edges of the cock and scrotum is pinned with needles or nails to it.


Object designed to be inserted in the rectum and shaped so that it stays in position by trapping the sphincter between the bulk of the plug and the wide flanged base, an idea often more effective in theory than in practise. Various designs are available: the conical shape is the most popular but there are also torpedoes (similar to conicals but with flattened points), doorknobs (spherical) and double doorknobs (one sphere on top of another). They are usually made of solid latex but sometimes in other materials like conductive acrylic for special purposes. Latex plugs should have chains inside as a safety feature, to allow removal if they break off inside the body: the end of the chain should be clearly visible where it emerges at the base.

The length of buttplugs can vary between 120-180mm (4.5"-6.5"), but the crucial dimension is the circumference of the widest point. This normally ranges from 120mm (4.5"), or 38mm (1.5") diameter, to a bowel-bursting 275mm (10"), or 88mm (3.5") diameter. Start very modestly at first and build up slowly.

See also dildo, vibrator. A full briefing on insertive toys is planned.


See Crop 1.
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Cock and Ball Torture, Cock Ball and Tit (Nipple) Torture - see cock torture, ball torture, nipple torture


Corporal Punishment


Cock Torture

cable tie

Narrow disposable plastic belt designed to lock back on itself that can be used for bondage purposes. See What to Use: Cable Ties in The Bondage Reference.


Perhaps the ultimate all-round bondage and beloved of those into prisoner and Animal Training scenes: see 'What to Use: Cages' in the Bondage Reference.

Califia, Pat

US-based lesbian writer, activist and self-proclaimed sadist and arguably the most influential modern commentator on the SM scene -- see Deviant Personalities.


Could be used as an improvised dildo, but much more likely to occur in SM as a source of hot wax, in which case white household candles are preferred for their lower temperature. See temperature play.

cane, caning

Thin flexible rod, traditionally of rattan; striking with such an implement as in the old-style school punishment, typically across the buttocks. See The Flagellation Reference.


Latin for channel; medically any semi-permanent arrangement giving access to the bloodstream. The wide hollow needles used, of which the best known brand are Medicuts, are also used for permanent piercing. See How It's Done in the Permanent Piercing factsheet.


There is some confusion over the meaning of this term. According to the OED it refers to removal of the testicles but some people use it for the removal of any or all the sexual organs of either sex. Nullification refers to the removal of any external organ, including nipples. The removal of the testicles is sometimes referred to as emasculation, the surgical operation is more properly referred to as orchidectomy and a man who has undergone it is a eunuch. The surgical equivalent with women is ovariectomy, the removal of the ovaries. Clitoridectomy and penectomy refer to the removal of the clitoris and penis respectively. The term is also used metaphorically in chemical castration, where hormones are taken to cause a cumulative and irreversible change in the body chemistry equivalent to that resulting from actual castration.

All these procedures cause permanent and significant changes to the body. The removal of penis or clitoris obviously denies the person certain forms of sensual pleasure but the removal of balls or ovaries brings about hormonal changes that have an even greater impact on overall behaviour. Eunuchs whose cocks are still intact retain the ability to achieve erection and ejaculation (semen but no sperm) but may have no sex drive and additionally will exhibit weight gain, loss of body hair and even lack of mental acuity. Most of these changes can be reversed by taking the appropriate hormones.

These extreme body modifications may seem to many people the ultimate fear -- but they can also be the ultimate fantasy. Castration fantasies are fairly common, and played symbolically out in scenes involving cock, ball and cunt torture, permanent and play piercing and even genital shaving. A very few people choose to make their fantasies reality.

It should be noted that even the simplest of the operations discussed here, orchidectomy, is a serious surgical procedure with irreversible consequences, not something that anyone can teach themselves to do safely. In former times unwilling eunuchs often died of blood loss and infection from the operation itself.


Multi-tailed whip with weighted and/or cutting ends, from the traditional naval punishment implement the Cat o' Nine Tails. A similar whip with plain ends is sometimes known as a flogger. See descriptions in The Flagellation Reference.

cat o' nine tails

See cat.


Cath. Flexible tube used in medical treatment and surgery for feeding into various body structures to allow access from the outside. In SM most likely to mean those catheters designed for the bladder, often utilised in SM 'control' scenes: the best type to use for this purpose is the foley catheter, which has a balloon that can be inflated with sterile water to hold it in place once inserted. Also a verb, catheterise (US '-ize'), meaning to apply a catheter. See also sound, urethral play, and the Briefing.


A sometimes stonger and more lockable, though less flexible and more potentially dangerous, alternative to rope in bondage scenes. Always make sure you observe metal bondage rules and choose chain that is strong enough to withstand whatever strain you want to place on it. See What to Use:Chains in The Bondage Reference.


These are useful both in bondage and as supports for bottoms during flagellation. Elaborate purpose-made bondage chairs are available but ordinary household ones can be adapted too. See What to Use:Chairs and Horses in The Bondage Reference.


In SM circles most likely to mean banning or physically preventing someone from achieving orgasm or even any form of genital stimulation in the long term, usually as a means of asserting domination. Also known as enforced chastity (EC). A device intended for this purpose is known as a chastity belt or a chastity device, and wearing such a device is a form of bondage; it can also be achieved by infibulation. See the Chastity Briefing.

chastity belt

Device for ensuring chastity.

chastity device

Device for ensuring chastity.

chemical castration

Slowly destroying a man's capacity to produce male hormones by the administration of other hormones, having an effect similar to real castration.

circlip pliers

Pliers that open outwards when squeezed, ideal for opening and closing the ball closure rings used as permanent piercing jewellery. See How It's Done in the Permanent Piercing factsheet.


Acucullophallia, being 'cut'. In males, the cutting away of some or all of the foreskin to expose the glans, sometimes carried out for religious reasons, and also for hygiene, though the last reason is rather unjustified if the penis is cleaned regularly, and sometimes because foreskins are too tight or cause problems in other ways. Some people have distinct preferences for circumcised or uncircumcised cocks: the attraction to circumcised ones is called acucullophilia. Uncircumcised ('uncut') men often have more sensitivity than those who have been cut, and of course have more foreskin to play with. There will also be differences in masturbation techniques.

The female equivalent is the removal of the prepuce or clitoris hood, and is sometimes carried out when a woman finds it inhibits her orgasm. The folk practises that are sometimes described as 'female circumcision' can involve clitoridectomy and other genital alterations too.

Some people find the idea of being circumcised exciting, perhaps as a form of symbolic castration. The actual operation, while fairly straightforward, should only be carried out by experienced people under hygienic conditions, and recovery can be uncomfortable.

More information in due course.


Gripping device that can be used to put pressure on suitable body sites, notably nipples (see nipple torture) but also noses, cunts, loose body skin and so on. Very often a pervertible of some sort. A detailed Clips, Clamps and Pegs Briefing is planned.


US: saran wrap. Thin, soft, transparent polythene film with the property of sticking to itself, intended for wrapping food but often used as a pervertible for bondage (see What to Use: Tapes and Wraps in The Bondage Reference) and especially for mummification. Also sometimes used as improvised protection against infection in oral sex scenes.


Small gripping device that can be used as a pervertible on suitable body sites. A detailed Clips, Clamps and Pegs Briefing is planned. May also be a fastening in bondage, such as a belt clip. See under Other Fastenings in the Bondage Reference.


Surgical removal of the clitoris. See castration.


Sex involving contact between mouth and clitoris -- see cunnilingus.


US: clothespin. These readily available and mostly harmless miniature clamps are the ultimate bargain-basement SM 'pervertible'. See in the Clips, Clamps and Pegs Briefing.

clove hitch

Knot used for attaching the middle of a rope to an anchor when the load is equal at both ends. See the Knots Sourcesheet.

cock ring

Rubber or metal ring that slips round base of cock and balls when flaccid. See notes on cock bondage techniques in the Cock Torture Briefing.

cock strap

Simplest form is a narrow leather or neoprene strap that wraps around the base of cock and balls; there are various more elaborate versions. See notes on cock bondage techniques in the Cock Torture Briefing.

cock sucking

See fellatio.

cock torture

CT. Causing sensation, discomfort and pain to the penis. For more details see the Briefing.


See fellatio.

codes and symbols

Numerous codes, signs and symbols are in use in the various subcultures that make up the BDSM community besides the linguistic items that this dictionary attempts to catalogue. The best known, although perhaps no longer widely used, is the hanky code for indicating sexual preferences. Some of the better known visual codes and symbols are illustrated in the Sourcesheet.

collar and lead

Some like purpose-made ones in rubber, leather or steel; some like ones made for large dogs but in all cases make sure they are an adequate size so they don't need to be pulled too tight. For symbolic purposes, humiliation, dog play and bondage. Note that wearing a collar may be an indication of a bottom -- and being led round on a lead almost certainly is -- but to some people a collar just symbolises kinky sex with no indication of role. See also Collars and Leads in the Bondage Reference.


Piercing through the shell of the ear, near the earhole -- see the Piercing Glossary


The male condom, also known amongst other things as a French letter (a fairly rare term now), rubber (especially in the US) or rubber johnny, sheath, or in Britain by the name of the best-known brand Durex (manufactured by the London Rubber Company), is a thin waterproof sheath, today usually made of latex, that tightly encases the erect penis and prevents the passage of semen during fucking. Condoms were originally designed, and are still used, as contraceptive devices, but they are also essential items in the practise of safer sex; they may additionally be of interest to the rubber fetishist.

A more recent invention, the female condom, is a larger cylinder, normally made from thin but tough polyurethane, that can be inserted up the cunt so that a male condom need not be used. In Britain the only brand available is the Femidom. More on both kinds under Condoms in the Safer Sex sourcesheet.


The consent of both parties is of vital importance in any sexual encounter, but the issue seems more pronounced in SM because many of the activities are those that are widely seen as unpleasant and undesirable in everyday life. Many SMers have therefore devised particularly techniques for managing consent. See 'On Consent' in the Ethics Sourcesheet.

control, control scene

In an SM context, most likely to mean scenes where the top takes control of one or more of the bottom's bodily functions, through the use of techniques like catheterisation, enemas, force-feeding and breath control. Could also include scenes where actions which are normally volitional are closely controlled by the top, either through physical restraint or roleplay.


Eating shit.


Gaining sexual pleasure from playing with shit.

corporal punishment

CP. Originally, retributive punishment involving the infliction of pain, often though not exclusively through blows administered with some form of flexible object like a whip or cane, and, with children, the palm of the hand. In an SM context, normally refers to the activities of caning, whipping and spanking. In North America, often implies some form of role-playing in which the bottom is 'punished', especially recreations of 'real-life' CP; in Britain it is sometimes used simply to describe the physical activities of caning and whipping without necessarily implying 'punishment'. See The Flagellation Reference and spanking for further discussion.


See Crop 1.


1. US: Crewcut, Buzzcut. Very short haircut usually obtained with a pair of electric clippers to achieve the same length all over, as favoured by skinheads and widely popular in the perve scene, particularly among gay men. The lengths are known by the numbers on the plastic attachments supplied with clippers by manufacturer Wahl and Co, which range from a No.4 (1/2" or 14mm) to a No.1 (1/16" or 1.5mm). A No. 0 is shorter still, achieved simply with the naked clippers.

2. Form of Riding Whip.


A major item of bondage furniture, usually constructed of wood often equipped with extra fixtures, for binding a person, particularly in preparation for flogging and whipping scenes. The familiar straight cross is known as a St George's cross; the X-shaped St Andrew's cross is much more convenient. See What to Use:Crosses, Stocks and Posts in The Bondage Reference. See also crucifixion.

cross dressing

Dressing in clothing usually worn by the opposite sex. In a sexual context, can be carried out as a sexual thrill in itself, in which case it is known as transvestism. However, is also sometimes employed in power and humiliation games, and seems most common on the heterosexual BDSM scene where male bottoms are instructed to wear female clothing and even wigs and makeup by female tops. Unsurprisingly, given the unequal social roles of men and women, men are more likely to find women's clothes humiliating, whereas women might dress in men's clothes to feel powerful and dominant. In the past Scottish boys were sometimes punished by the humiliation of having to wear a kilt without a sporran, a practise known as petticoat discipline.

There are accounts of some societies where people cross dressed in order to have homosexual sex: the Spaniard Balboa encountered a local king in Panama whose harem of men dressed as women included his own brother, all of them being 'abused with preposterous venus' -- Balboa was so horrified he had forty of the offenders thrown to the dogs (cited in Love 1992:286). Most modern-day transvestites, however, are more likely to be heterosexual. Cross-dressing and transvestism should not be confused with transexuality, where a person wants to change their body to that of the opposite sex.

More information on cross dressing is forthcoming.


This ancient Roman method of execution is universally known from the story of Jesus and its symbolic role in Christianity, though the details have been distorted by history; death is caused not by blood loss -- the most prolonged suffering takes place when the victim is just tied to the cross -- but by slow suffocation and exhaustion. With care, non-fatal crucifixions of the nail-free variety can be incorporated into scenes. See the briefing.


Term sometimes used for a young, and perhaps smaller and submissive man who seeks the company of bears.


1. To hit someone, usually not too hard, with the back of the hand or arm, perhaps the sort of thing a bear might do.

2. A metal bondage item that locks round a limb, or, as a verb, to place someone in such an item. See handcuffs.


From Latin cunnus, vulva, and lingus, tongue: the act of licking and sucking the cunt, a form of oral sex, archaically known as gamahuching, and also known as 'going down on' someone or 'licking (or eating) someone out'. Can include mouth contact with the labia and the insertion of the tongue into the cunt, but the most intense physical responses are caused by licking the clitoris, a technique termed more specifically as clitorilingus. Common in vanilla sex; in BDSM it may be as a form of service performed on a top by a bottom, or a more intense form, perhaps involving the use of teeth, can be used on a bottom by a top. Hygiene precautions should be observed with this activity -- see safer sex. See also cunt torture.

cunt torture

Any form of intense stimulation or pain inflicted on the female genitals: perhaps by abrasion, clips and clamps, electricity, temperature play, play piercing, gentle whipping and flogging and with nails and hands. The clitoris is the most sensitive part, and the clitoris hood (prepuce) and both labia will also repay attention. Some women are also particularly sensitive in the G-spot, a round raised area of fatty tissue about 1cm (1/3") diameter just inside the front wall of the vagina. Apart from the G-spot, the inside of the vagina itself is fairly insensitive.

Some people might consider particular kinds of use of insertive toys, fucking and fisting a form of cunt torture but these are more properly dealt with elsewhere.

A full factsheet on cunt torture is forthcoming.


The placing of suction devices on the skin, once used to draw blood to the surface for medical leeching but now sometimes used in scenes to sensitise the skin and particularly nipples. Rubber suction cups found in snakebite kits are often used; other devices include a sealable tube through which the air can be sucked out of the cup. Avoid extreme pressure such as that available with powered pumps, and be aware that the activity can cause welting.


A term often used, especially in North America and in contact ads, to mean circumcised; therefore, uncut meaning uncircumcised.


Cutting the surface of the skin with a sharp blade, for the thrill, the sensation or pain, or to create decorative scars (see sarification). The same basic safety precautions apply as with play piercing: clean the skin, use sterile implements such as the sealed sterile scalpels and razor blades available from medical suppliers, and avoid areas with major blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Two further hazards apply, however: firstly, blades are capable of doing far more damage if mishandled than needles; second, since the area of the wound is likely to be much larger, it is more open to infection, and treatment with antiseptics afterwards is essential.

Safest sites are as for flagellation, such as the upper back and shoulders, buttocks and other fleshy areas away from the vital organs. Genital cutting requires the greatest skill and care, and major 'body modification' cutting such as circumcision (male or female) and penis bifurcation are best left to trained experts.

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Doctor Marten's (boots).


Sometimes D/S, D/s or D&S. Domination and Submission.


Sexual arousal from seeing tears in the eyes of one's partner.


A role taken on by some dominants or tops that mimics that of a parent: the style is likely to be 'kind but firm', perhaps with little deliberate pain-giving or cruelty except in punishment scenes. A gay male daddy's bottom is likely to be called a boy, and though such scenes can be played on a part-time basis the role is as likely to be part of a long-term relationship as with master/mistress-slave. Other sexualities may play this way too, and although the terms mummy (mommy) and girl are used, there are a number of instances of women taking on the male terms in these sorts of relationships.

A description of a daddy-boy relationship is in the Dynamics and Definitions sourcesheet.

de Sade, Marquis

See Deviant Personalities: Sade, Marquis de

DeBlase, Tony

Aka Fledermaus (the pseudonym is taken from the German for 'bat'). US writer, publisher and video maker, founder of a number of influential magazines and a respected authority on SM techniques; also designer of the Leather Pride flag. A fuller biography of DeBlase will appear in Deviant Personalities. See also in the bibliography.


Used as the codeword for a widespread fetish not so much for the material itself, a tough twill fabric woven from cotton, as the clothes typically made from it, especially Western-style jeans and shirt jackets in traditional blue, such as Levi's 501 jeans. With its masculine associations, it isn't surprising that this style of clothing is popular among gay men, and it is often permitted on the dress codes of leather bars, either in conjunction with leather or on its own. There is a considerable overlap between the denim crowd and the SM end of the 'leather' scene. The name, incidentally, derives from the French serge de Nîmes, twill from Nimes.


Removal of hair. The removal of most body hair except the pubic hair for cosmetic purposes is socially acceptable in women, and even expected in many Western countries, but for men it is much more likely to be for erotic purposes. The removal of the pubic hair in both sexes is definitely kinky, though it has the added benefits of preventing the spread of pubic lice and making genital stimulation and bondage techniques more practical. It may be linked to infanitilism, or to castration fantasies, and is sometimes carried out on a bottom as an act of domination or sign of a dom-sub relationship. Hairless heads are becoming more acceptable and some balding men shave their heads to mitigate their baldness, but it can also be carried out as a sexual activity.

The commonest means of removing hair is shaving, but the hair grows back fairly rapidly since only the hair above the surface is removed. There are various longer-lasting but more uncomfortable techniques that involve yanking the hair out from the root: waxing is where wax is melted onto the skin then solidified and pulled off, taking the hair with it, something that can also be accomplished even more violently with the use of strong adhesive tape. Simply pulling hair out with the hands is also possible, and in certain places has been offered as a service by prostitutes and courtesans. Modern creams and gels render this process less painful but should be handled with care: preparations intended for use on armpits and limbs may be unsuitable for use on the more sensitive tissues of nipples and genitals.

The only permanent methods of depilation involve using electricity to destroy follicles; they involve some pain, have to be carried out in specialist clinics and can take one to two years. Electrolysis uses direct current, and thermolysis, alternating current, whereas blend modality is a combination of the two.

Further information on depilation is planned.


Piercing through the ridge below the earhole -- see the Piercing Glossary.


Archaically termed a godemiche, from a French phrase meaning 'I enjoy myself'. Penis-shaped toy designed for insertion into the body. Early versions were made of stuffed gut, leather or ceramics but today they are most commonly made from moulded latex, often to a 'realistic' pattern but in hyper-realist sizes. They may be hand-held, strapped on with a harness to allow women to simulate male fucking, or held in place inside the body by harnesses or clothing. Hygiene demands that you either reserve particular toys for on particular people or cover them in condoms which are changed between different people. The word is of uncertain origin but dates back to the 16th century; it may come from the Italian diletto, 'little darling' (McDonald 1988:39).

See also buttplug, vibrator. A full briefing on insertive toys is planned.

dirty sex

This term can refer to games involving mud, but it almost always means playing with shit. Although an English phrase, it is more widely used in continental Europe for this form of sex game.


Like many SM terms, used rather loosely, but usually refers to the imposition of rules of behaviour on the bottom in domination scenes and the 'punishments' used to enforce them. A distinction is often made between intense and painful activities that are carried out so the bottom gets direct enjoyment from them (see endorphin, pain) and those carried out as a 'punishment' for infraction where in certain kinds of ongoing relationships the bottom does not determine the limits of the activity (see also consent). A bottom seeking 'discipline' would normally expect their behaviour to be carefully controlled and that there will be regular opportunities for some form of physical punishment, even if mild, for infractions. When used with 'bondage' in bondage and discipline, (BD, B&D), as distinct from SM, there is a definite implication that little or no real pain is involved.

Dittle sound

A straight-shaped urethral sound.


Doctor Marten's (boots).

Doctor Marten's

DMs, Docs. A British work boot with a synthetic air cushion sole most notoriously associated with the skinhead cult of the late 1960s, now widely fetishised on the gay scene and the footwear of choice for many European perves. In recent years the original flatter sole has been joined by a thicker one with more tread known as the Ranger. See under Doctor Marten's in the Boots and Shoes briefing.

dog training

Games involving treating the bottom as a dog. See animal training.


Short for dominant -- see domination.


Short for dominant and submissive or domination and submission.


See domination.


Either a person who practises or seeks to practise domination or an adjective for a dominant person.


Alternatively, dominance (a form sometimes preferred in the US). The practise of taking the dominant role in a scene, running the scene, controlling the bottom's behaviour, perhaps simply as role play or humiliation or perhaps reinforced by the threat or the actual use of intense or painful physical activities directed at the bottom, and/or by restriction, bondage and physical control. A person who takes on this sexually dominant role, either habitually or for a specific scene, is known as a dominant or dom. The term dominatrix has a more specific meaning -- see below.

The complimentary term for the bottom is submission, and someone bottoming to a dominant is called a submissive or sub. 'Submissive' is also an adjective, but the term subby is sometimes heard. The terms 'dom' and 'sub' to describe individuals have slightly more currency in the heterosexual scene that among gay men and lesbians, where the terms 'top' and 'bottom' are more common. Femdom, meaning a female dominant or a scene with a woman top, and its equivalent maledom, are invariably used to refer to heterosexual interaction. The overarching term for games involving domination is domination and submission (dom-sub, DS, D/S, D/s or D&S).

Some descriptions of DS are in the Dynamics and Definitions sourcesheet.


The Latin feminine of the term 'dominator', one who dominates, could just mean a woman who enjoys taking the dominant role but almost always refers specifically to the professional dominatrix who charges for staging scenes where she dominates mainly male clients. The work of these women is rarely classed legally as prostitution because very often genital sex is not involved. Some dominatrixes are renowned for their knowledge and skill at both the psychological and physical aspects of SM techniques and a number have made valuable contributions to the BDSM community.


A simple item of equipment for douching, usually consisting of a rubber bulb and nozzle, though the term is sometimes extended to cover other items of douching equipment. Also the activity of douching, as in 'I had a douche' or 'I douched'.


From the French douche, 'shower', in a sexual context this means injecting liquid, usually water, under pressure into the arse or cunt, either for hygiene purposes prior to sex, for contraceptive purposes afterwards (not terribly reliable), or as a sexual thrill in itself. In the vagina the liquid is entering a closed cavity and only a limited amount can be used. In the rectum, the cavity immediatly behind the arsehole can be flushed, or liquid can be made to penetrate higher and further into the bowel and colon: such a thorough anal douche is known as an enema and the sexual enjoyment of them is termed klismaphilia. The body will quickly attempt to expel water introduced in this way with a shitting action and controlling this can be part of the fun.

The main types of equipment for douching are simple douches with a rubber bulb attached to a nozzle into which liquid can be sucked and then injected; shower attachments designed for inserting into the relevant orifices (take great care with these to regulate the pressure and temperature of your shower); and enema kits of the sort designed for medical use to relieve constipation. These consist of a vessel or bag, typically of around 2 litres (4 pts) capacity, attached to a long tube of around 2m (6') that ends in a nozzle (there are sometimes interchangeable heads for both anal and vaginal use), with a valve or clamp for turning the flow on and off. The length of the tube is necessary for the bag to be suspended above the recipient so that air pressure will force the liquid down. Sometimes the term 'douche' is extended to cover any or all of these items of equipment.

Douching is generally a harmless game but can cause problems if done incorrectly. To prevent infections, the equipment should be kept clean and should be reserved for one-person use, and should not be swapped between arse and cunt without a thorough cleaning. Douching with someone else's piss carries some risk of transmitting infections. Clean water is safest: various soaps can irritate internal tissues, and alcohol and other drugs are absorbed much more readily through the wall of the intestine than when taken orally, with a risk of rapid intoxication and even poisoning if any but the smallest quantities are used. Start by using only modest amounts of liquid -- 500ml (a pint) is quite enough for an enema. Avoid high pressure: let the water flow gently. Frequent douching can disturb the natural balance of chemicals and micro-organisms inside the body and vaginal douching is not recommended for women with IUDs (coils). Some enema fans recommend eating live yoghurt after a session to replace bacteria lost from the gut.

A full factsheet on douching is forthcoming; see also safer sex.

dress code

A set of rules imposed at a BDSM venue or party that requires customers or guests to dress in a certain way. Dress codes date back to a time that the scene was much smaller and more furtive than it is today, where they truly were 'codes' that allowed those with certain sexual proclivities to recognise each other, but they still endure in many places, much to the disgruntlement of critics who argue that one's ability to put on certain clothes says little about one's sexual experience and capabilities. Typical dress codes in gay male (and some lesbian) circles revolve around leather, denim, rubber, 'uniform' and, in Europe, skinhead gear. On the straight scene acceptable appearances cluster round the more obviously fetishistic materials like leather, rubber and PVC but in a more extravagant repertory of styles, with space for the costumes of other fantasy figures like nurses and nuns.

A more detailed discussion of dress codes is planned for the Codes and Symbols sourcesheet.


By drugs here we mean recreational drugs, those intoxicating substances taken for reasons other than medical ones. The marginal nature of the BDSM community means that some drugs may be more familiar to its members than to society at large, but in general wise BDSMers do not mix drugs and play, and many play parties and events have no-drugs rules. Many SM activities are potentially dangerous and it is important that both top and bottom are alert and aware of any problems.

Nevertheless some people do experiment with drugs in combination with scenes. Poppers are the most familiar drugs to be indelibly associated with sex (see the section in the Drugs sourcesheet). Alcohol and cannabis in small amounts are sometimes convenient disinhibitors and relaxants. Some people use speed to keep them going through long scenes; others experiment with hallucinogenics like acid (psychologically risky). The effects of some drugs can be inappropriate: ecstasy may make you too docile for complicated sex, and opiates like smack are powerful analgesics that inhibit the perception of pain!

A comprehensive sourcesheet discussing drugs in relation to SM sex is in preparation.

duct tape

US term for the tough, woven adhesive tape also known as gaffa tape. See also What to Use: Tapes and Wraps in the Bondage Reference.


Melodramatic term for a playroom, a room specially equipped for SM sex, perhaps of the heavier or more leathery variety.


Best known British brand of condom.


Piercing passing at right angles through the rim (corona) of the glans penis -- see the Piercing Glossary.
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