BDSM is an acronym for consensual sexual practices that involve:
Bondage: physically restraining a partner during sex, such as with handcuffs, cords, or some type of ties
Dominance: exerting power or control over a partner during a sexual experience
Submission: being dominated during sex, or willingly submitting to the power or control of a sexual partner
Sadomasochism: deriving sexual gratification from either inflicting or receiving physical pain or humiliation
BDSM usually involves partners taking on specific roles in which one is dominant and the other is submissive. The person who is dominant is sometimes referred to as the Dominant, Master, or Top. The person who is submissive is referred to as the Submissive, Slave, or Bottom.
It’s important to note that both partners must consent to this dominant-submissive roleplay, making it different than a sexual assault. In fact, a common phrase used in the BDSM community is “safe, sane, and consensual” or SSC, reinforcing that any type of play must be all three.