Dr. Harmony’s Glossary of Kinky Terms


All skills or play styles described below involve interactions between consenting adults unless otherwise noted.

* denotes activity which are commonly considered Edgeplay though other play may fall into this category for some participants


24/7: A power exchange relationship in which the rituals, protocols, and expectations from a negotiated contract are in place 24 hours a day 7 days a week in both public and private life


Abrasion: 1) using something rough, such as sandpaper, in BDSM play; 2) broken skin wound as a result of play

AB/DL: acronym for Adult Baby/Diaper Lover, is a form of age play that is centered around the enjoyment of being dressed and treated like a baby as well the love of being diapered as well; See also: Age play

Adult Buffet: primarily used in the swing community to describe a group sex party or orgy where consenting adults choose have sex with any or all other attendees

After care: physical and emotional care following a BDSM scene or a Kinky play session which is negotiated prior to the scene and may include anything from medical care, cuddling, and verbal processing

Agamy: a form of relationship anarchy, the practice of mindfully not engaging in marriage or reproduction

Age Play: play which allows for participants to take on characteristics and traits of a specific age/age range outside their own; tend to be nurturing in nature and may, but do not necessarily involve, fantasies of incest; Common dynamics include Daddy/girl, Mommy/baby, Teacher/student; Age players are consenting adults only; See also: AB/DL

Anal Torture: practice of inflicting consensual pain on the anus

Androgyny: a person whose physical presentation includes traits of both typically male

and female characteristics

Animal Play: Power Exchange dynamic, similar to Primal Play, however, in this role play, the participants are expected to dress and behave like their totem animal; Does not include or support bestiality

Asexual: a person who has minimal to no desire for sexual activity. Also known as Gray- sexual; See also: demisexuals

Auctioned off: a BDSM activity where a D-type auctions off their consenting s-type for temporary play with another D-types


BDSM: acronym which combines the various types of activates engaged in by Kinky individuals

a) Bondage/discipline: the act of restricting movement and play which involves aspects of punishment

b) Dominance/submission: dynamics which focus on the exchange of power but may not involve S/m or bondage aspects

c) Sadism/masochism: the giving and receiving of pain between consenting partners

Bear: a gay or bisexual man who has extensive facial/body hair and a soft large body

Bicurious: a person who identifies as gay or straight while showing some curiosity for a relationship or sexual activity with a person of a gender they do not usually engage with; See also heteroflexible and homoflexible

Bigamy: legal term that referring to someone who marries more than one spouse Bisexual: an individual who identifies as being sexually attracted to both ends of the gender spectrum; See also: Pansexual

Black Sheet Party: an orgy for people interested in BDSM sex.

*Blood Play: play that incorporates the letting of blood through puncture or cutting of the s-types skin

Boi: a person who was assigned female at birth but who expresses or presents themselves in a masculine particularly boyish way; See also boy/boi

*Bondage: the act involving the physical restraint of a partner; May refer to total restraint or be limited to a particular body part, such as Breast Bondage

Bootblack: an individual who care for leather and other related materials

Bottom: 1) s-type in a power exchange 2) receiver of physical sensation in a BDSM scene 3) the receiving partner during intercourse; most often used in gay relationships; See also submissive

Bottom Surgery: Surgery on the genitals designed to create a body in harmony with a person’s gender identity

boy/boi: a masculine presenting s-type; See also Boi

Breast Bondage: the act of binding breasts for sensation or decoration

*Breath Control: the act of controlling the s-types ability to breathe by a D-type; May include smothering or choking; also called Breath Play.

Butt Plug: a sex toy designed to be inserted into the anus; while shaft shape and size may vary base will be wider and flat for safety by reducing the chance of complete insertion


Chastity: 1) the non-participation in sexual activity; does not refer to Asexuality 2) power exchange activity which may incorporate the use of chastity devices such as cock cage or chastity belt

Cheating: any activity that violates the negotiated boundaries or agreements of that relationship

*Cigar Play: the eroticization of cigar smoking which may involve the use of the s-type as an ashtray, inserting the cigar into the vagina or anus, and using the lit end or ash to create heat near or burns on the skin

Cigar Service: a service provided by an s-type, which includes the cutting and lighting of a D-types cigar; may be incorporated into larger Cigar play scenes

Cisgender: an individual who feels comfortable with the gender identity assigned to them at birth

Closed Relationship: a relationship where there is no emotional or sexual intimacy outside of the relationship; also called a Monogamous Relationship or Exclusive Relationship

Cock and Ball Torture (CBT): torture of the male genitals for sexual gratification Collared: referring to the ownership of an s-type by a D-type; may be equated to marriage in this community

Collaring: formal ritual and commitment ceremony between a D-type and s-type; may be equated to marriage.

Compersion: experiencing feeling of happiness when a partner is happy and fulfilled; commonly used in polyamory when partners feel happy for their mates who are involved other romantic or sexual relationships

*Consensual Non-Consent (CNC): a mutual agreement that within defined limits where consent will be given without foreknowledge of the exact actions planned; See also: rape fantasies

Consent: the mutual agreement to the terms of a scene, sex, or other ongoing relationship

Contract: a verbal or written negotiated agreement between a D-type and an s-type which outlines the boundaries, expectations, rules, rituals, and protocols for the relationship

Cross-dressing: referring to the activity of wearing clothing that conflicts with the traditional gender expression of your sex and gender identity

Cuckold/Cuckqueen: a form of humiliation play within a Power Exchange where the D- type has sex with others outside of the relationship; See also: Humiliation

Cuddle Party: a social gathering of adults which encourages consensual physical affection, such as cuddling, massage, and other forms of physical expression, but which forbids overt sexual activity or sexual stimulation; See also: Friction Party

Cupping: 1) an ancient medical procedure often used in holistic or alternative medicine in which an intense suction is created on the skin in order to promote bruising and increase blood flow to the area 2) a type of sensation play using cups of various sizes to create suction on various parts of the body; commonly combined with Fire Play

*Cutting: the intentional cutting of the s-types skin; See also: Knife Play


D/s: acronym for Dominance and submission; a type of consensual Power Exchange

Demisexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone; See also: Asexual

Dungeon Monitor (DM): an individual who is charged with monitoring during Dungeon or Party Play; as per Dungeon Etiquette, this is the only person who is allowed to interrupt a scene and only when he or she feels there is eminent danger involved. Note: training can include everything from CPR and self-defense to simple dungeon etiquette. They are often also participants in the BDSM lifestyle. A play participant should never assume there is advanced training among the DMs at their event.

Dominant (D-type): an individual who exercises consensual power and control over an s-type in a Power Exchange relationship; Also known as the D-type, Dom, or Domme

Examples of Dominant types:

Loving Dominant: a nurturing D-type whose primary focus is mentoring and guiding his s-type with use if structure and discipline; often seen in 1950’s and Big/little dynamics; s-types that belong to this particular D-type are often service oriented and the dominant gets his thrill from the growth and service of his s-types who tend to have a more collaborative dynamic; words of affirmation and acts of service tend to be the love languages of both the D and s-types in this dynamic.

Sadistic Dom: an individual who primarily enjoys inflicting pain; This pain can be both emotional and physical and primarily pairs with masochistic s- types

Master or Owner: an individual who consensually takes complete control of their s-type; s-types in this dynamic generally identify as a slave or property and the dynamic is significantly less collaborative in nature. . . See also: TPE or Total Power Exchange

Pro-Dom/Pro-Domme: a D-type who engages in BDSM activity in a professional which involves the exchange of money

Handler: D-type in Pony or Puppy Play power exchange dynamics

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT): a relationship in which there is permission for a partner to explore outside of the relationship, however, it is understood that the primary partner does not want any knowledge of the exploration and the other partners are not allowed to participate in the life of the primary relationship

Drag Queen: a person who consciously performs “femininity;” usually in a show or theatre setting, presenting an exaggerated form of feminine expression

Drag King: a person who consciously performs “masculinity;” usually in a show or theatre setting, presenting an exaggerated form of masculine expression

Drop: 1) the emotional and/or physical aftereffects of the Dopamine high resulting from BDSM play; can lead to depression and flu like symptoms; can occur with either the D-type (Topdrop) or s-type (subdrop) 2) the emotional and/or physical aftereffects of the Dopamine high resulting from attendance at a conference is called condrop

Dungeon: a play space with equipment used in BDSM Play

Dungeon Etiquette: the rules and regulations that are expected, and often conspicuously posted, when participating in public play; See Appendix F for further details.


Edge Play: Play that involves a higher element of potential harm either physically or emotionally; due to the subjective nature of what is considered potential harm, very clear and concise negation is vital; there is no currently accepted or complete list of what is considered to be edge play, however clinically the following items are considered to be in this category:

• Cutting

• Fire Play

• Gun Play

• Rough play such as take downs and consensual non-consent fantasy play

• Electro-Play

• Suspension

• Breath Play

• Blood Play

• Needle Play or Knife Play

• Interrogation play

• Play involving the insertion of dangerous objects into body cavities

• Play that involves permanent body modification

• Medical Play

*Electro-Play: use of various types of electrical stimulation during BDSM play; TENS units, Violet Wands and Cattle Prods are examples of common devices used

Erotic Sexual Denial: See Chastity

Ethical Non-Monogamy: refers to an individual who chooses to responsibly have more than one sexual and/or romantic relationship at a time based upon openness and honesty with all partners and respect of negotiated boundaries; See also: Polyamory (Poly) and Swinging


Fetish/ism: an object or experience that provides a sexual stimulation.

Figging: insertion of a piece of ginger root or other similar food items into body cavities; often applied anally

*Fire Play: the use of fire to elicit stimulation; may be used in conjunction with other skills such as cupping

Fisting: insertion of the entire hand into the vagina or anus.

Fluid Bonding: the agreement of to refrain from the use of barriers, such as condoms or dental damns, during sexual relations where bodily fluids may be exchanged; this is a common practice in polyfidelous relationships and often is akin to a marriage.

Friends With Benefits (FWB): a relationship in which two people whose friendship includes sex or sexual activity without a romantic relationship component or the expectations of commitment; also known as a Fuck Buddy

FTM/MTF: Acronyms for “Female To Male” or “Male To Female;” refers to an individual who has transitioned, possibly through medical treatments, to align their physical body with their gender identity

Fursona: the anthropomorphic identity that a furry adopts


Gender Confirming Surgery: a medical procedure(s) used to modify one’s body to be more congruent with one’s gender identity; also called Gender Reassignment Surgery or Gender Corrective Surgery

Gender Dysphoria (GD): Clinical term used to describe the phenomenon of significant discomfort or distress caused by one’s assigned sex and the desire to change the characteristics that are the source

Gender Expression: gender in which a person expresses themselves

Gender Identity: gender in which one identifies as; may or may not match sex/gender

assigned at birth

Gender Normative: conforming to gender based expectations of their culture or society

Gender Queer: an individual whose gender identity is neither male nor female; also known as Gender Neutral or Gender Fluid

Genital Torture: torture of the vagina or penis and testicles in BDSM play Golden Showers: the act of urinating on a partner

Good Pain/ Bad Pain: used to describe uncomfortable sensations in BDSM Play.

Good Pain: positive, consensual, and is encouraged in the negotiated scene

Bad pain: non-consensual, possibly harmful and/or destructive both mentally

and physically

*Gun Play: the use of guns in BDSM Play


Handfasting: a commitment ceremony based on Pagan or Wiccan traditions which is similar to marriage; traditionally a commitment that lasts one year and a day

Hanky Code: the use of a piece of fabric, bandana or handkerchief to identify signal BDSM interests; displayed on left indicates D-type and right indicates s-type; also known as Handkerchief Code

Hard Limits: an individual’s non-negotiable limits
Harem: a gender-neutral term that refers to a group of s-types who share a common D-type

Heteroflexible/ Homoflexible: See Bicurious

Hogtie: the act of restraining a partner’s wrists and ankles together behind their back

Hot Bi Babe (HBB): condescending term used to describe and an attractive bisexual available female; See also: Unicorn

*Humiliation: play which involves the physical and/or verbal degradation of an s-type including, but not limited, to cuckolding, mockery, shaming/insults, or forced cross-dressing


Impact play: the act of hitting part of the body in BDSM play with either another body part or various tools/toys; considered part of sensation play and can range in intensity

Intentional Family: a family made up of people who have deliberately chosen to consider one another family regardless of blood or marriage ties; also known as Cellular Family, Chosen or Choice Family, Poly Family, Domestic Group, Polycule

*Interrogation: a Power Exchange scene which involves the formal, systematic questioning of the s-type which may involve elements of humiliation and torture


K-9 Role Play: See Puppy Play

Key Party: a swing party where all males participants place their keys into a bowl, then the female participants chooses a set from the bowl at random resulting in the pairing of attendees for sex

*Kinbaku/Shibari: Japanese art of tying rope on the body in visually intricate patterns *Knife Play: the slow, methodical, use of the edges and/or points of knives to create varied sensation on the bottom; may include the intentional cutting of the skin


Langdon Chart: a chart that indicates a person’s current and past sexual partners

Leather Community: originally referred to the community which developed post WWII, masculine, gay, BDSM community but now encompasses those who are into leather, sadomasochism, bondage and domination, uniform, cowboys, rubber, and other fetishes regardless of gender or sexuality

Leather House: a group of individuals who identify as both leather and a chosen family

Life Partner: a lifelong committed relationship; often used in the gay and poly communities en lieu of traditional terms such as husband or wife; also known as a Domestic Partner

Limits: boundaries, which an individual identifies of activities that they will not participate in.

• Soft Limits: activities that an individual is interested in but has reservations about the participation; these boundaries may be pushed if all parties agree during negotiations

• Hard Limits: boundaries that are firm and are not up for exploration or negotiation

Long Distance Relationship (LDR): A relationship in which the people are geographically far apart


Masochism: the enjoyment of receiving pain

Masochist: an individual who receives pleasure, sexual or not, in the receiving of emotional or physical pain

Ménage á Trios: a sexual event involving three people

Metamour: the partner of one’s partner; also known as Lover-In-Law, Other Significant Other (OSO), Co-Husband, Co-Wife, Co-Partner or Co-Spouse, Secondary Significant Other (SSO)

Monogamy: practice of having only a single romantic and sexual relationship at a time.

Munch: a social gathering of Kinky or Kink interested individuals that occurs in non- Kinky public locations such as a restaurant; meetings may be social and/or educational in nature and do not involve play


*Needle Play: use of sterile needles in to create sensation and puncture the skin

New Relationship Energy (NRE): 1) natural dopamine high an individual feels when they are first engaging in a new and exciting relationship 2) referring the behavior and mood of individuals who are engaging in new relationships or dynamics; may or may not be irrational or dramatic in nature

Nipple Torture: infliction of sensation and pain specifically on the nipple and areola Nose Torture: use of hooks in the nose for humiliation, torture, or bondage; Japanese in origin

NRE Junkie: an individual who identifies as polyamorous but whose relationship patterns include multiple short-term romantic relationships that end after the NRE wears off

Nyotaimori: a person, generally s-type, acting as a human sushi platter


Open Relationship: a romantic relationship where both partners are able to explore sexual and/or romantic interests outside of the primary relationship

Orgasm Control/Denial: the act of controlling a partners orgasm by verbal or physical means; also known as Erotic Sexual Denial or Tease and Denial Over-the-knee (OTK): a position, commonly used for spanking and other forms of corporal punishment, where the s-type is placed over the D-types knee


Pain Slut: a masochist who enjoys receiving a heavy degree of pain but may or may not necessarily enjoy submitting

Pansexual: a sexual identity where the individual is attracted to others regardless of their gender or expression

Paramour: an romantic partner or lover; also known as Significant Other/ SO Paraphilia: the pathological, recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors which are atypical or extreme in nature

Pegging: the sexual practice in which a person penetrates a man’s anus with a strap-on dildo

Pivot: the connecting partner in a polyamorous relationship dynamic who is involved with two partners who are not involved with each other; See also: V Relationship

Platonic Relationship: a non-romantic or sexual friendship or partnership

Play Party: a party that involves BDSM scenes.

Polyamory (Poly): the practice of maintaining multiple sexual and/or romantic relationships simultaneously, with the full knowledge and consent of all the people involved; See also: Ethical Non-Monogamy

Polyfidelity: an agreement between polyamorous partners to not engage in sexual or romantic relationships outside of their polyamorous family

Polyfuckery: a derogatory term to describe a person who identifies as polyamorous while engaging in a large number of short lived non-emotionally intimate sexual relationships which may or may not be ethical

Polysaturated: someone who has reached their maximum capacity for romantic and/or sexual relationships

Polywog: a child in a polyamorous family

Ponygirl or Ponyboy: an s-type that identifies, dresses, and behaves like a pony; often partnered with a Handler

Personal Responsibility Informed Consensual Kink (PRICK): ethical view, used by some BDSM practitioners, that emphasizes the concept of personal responsibility, being informed, and consent; alternative to SSC

Primal Play: Power Exchange that allow individual or all participants to engage in an altered mind space of their totem animal; also known as Animal Transformation Fantasy

Primary/Secondary: levels in a hierarchical polyamorous relationship where multiple partners are not equal to one another in terms of interconnection or priority

Protocol: a negotiated and enforced behavior or ritual in a Power Exchange relationship; may be high, medium, or low based upon the rigidity of the boundaries, company, and/or environment in which the D/s is in

Puppy Play: s-type that identifies, dresses, and behaves like a puppy; often partnered with a Handler


Quad: a polyamorous relationship involving four people, each of whom may or may not be sexually and emotionally involved with all the other members

Queer: 1) an umbrella term which includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender, intersex persons, radical sex communities, and many other alternative communities 2) a person who neither identifies as male or female


Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK): ethical viewpoint, used by some BDSM practitioners, to determine the appropriateness of play which requires the informed consent of all participants regarding the risk profile of the activity; alternative to SSC

*Rape Fantasy: power exchange activity that involves the fantasy of non-consensual sex; See also: Consent Non-Consent


Sadism: experiencing pleasure by inflicting emotional or physical pain on another Sadist: a person who receives pleasure by inflicting emotional or physical pain on another

Safe Word: a word or phrase that is used to end an activity immediately

Safe, Sane and Consensual (SSC): ethical view, used by some BDSM practitioners, to determine the appropriateness of BDSM play; alternatives include RACK and PRICK

Sapiosexual: someone who is sexually attracted by intelligence; may be used in conjunction with other sexual identities such as Sapio-Pansexual

Scat Play: the use of feces in BDSM play

Scene: the window in time and parameters in which negotiated BDSM Play occurs Sensation Play: play which focuses on engaging or deprivation of senses

Serial Monogamy: a relationship pattern in which a person has only one sexual or romantic partner at a time but has multiple sexual or romantic partners over their lifetime; also known as Cyclic Monogamy

Sexual Identity: how a person identifies physically including female, male, both, or neither.

Sir: title used for a respected D-type and does not indicate gender; capitalization “SIR” indicates the individual has been honored by being covered by members of their community; Ma’am may refer to a female identified Sir

Squishy: an intense feeling of platonic attraction towards and appreciation of a particular person

Sub Space/ Top Space: the biochemically induced, altered state an individual experiences during participation in a BDSM

submissive (s-type): a person who engages in power exchange relationships by giving some or all control over to a D-type and provides service which may or may not be sexual in nature

Examples of submissive types:

slave or property: an s-type who consensually gives up complete power over themselves to a D-type; generally paired with Master or Owner D-types in Total Power Exchange

little: an s-type who embraces childlike activities and behaviors such as bubble baths, coloring, and stuffies; most often paired with Loving D-types

brat: an s-type characterized by their challenging behaviors such as talking back, misbehaving, and pushing their D-type to “put them in their place;” commonly paired with Loving D-types and associated with some age players

puppy, pony, kitten, ect: an s-type who identifies with and engages in activities associated with their chosen animal; often matched with Handler D-types

masochist: an s-type who engages receiving pain but may not otherwise be service inclined; typically partners with Sadistic D-types

*Suspension: bondage play which involves lifting an individual off of the ground completely often by hooks or rope

  • Swinger: a person who participates in swinging activities

soft swinger: someone who has strict boundaries on the types of acceptable sexual activity that they will participate in and does not generally include penial penetration of the vagina or anus

hard swinger: someone who does not have strict boundaries prohibiting sexual activity with others outside of their primary relationship sometimes including having sex without a partners’ presence

Swinging: a form of ethical non-monogamy in which individuals can openly engage in sexual activity, with or without their romantic partners presence or involvement; also called Sport Sex or Sport Fucking

Switch: an individual who can act in either the D-type or s-type roles during a scene depending on the particular partner(s) and actives involved with play


Tantra: method of sexual expression and/or activity, which developed in India, that emphasizes spiritual connection, and holds that sex is a sacred act that can bring those who engage in it to a higher spiritual plane; emphasis is placed upon mindfulness and being in the moment verses the goal of orgasm; also known as Tantric sex

The Next Generation (TNG): organizations that cater to members of the BDSM community under 35 years of age which may hold events such as munchs and educational workshops to increase community and awareness

Tit Torture: causing deliberate physical pain to the breasts and nipples

Top: 1) D-type in a power exchange 2) an individual who directs, controls, and gives sensations to an s-type during a scene 3) the penetrating partner during intercourse; most often used in gay relationships

Top Surgery: a gender correcting medical procedure which involves augmentation of the breast to either enhance or reduce size; used by transgender or intersex individuals to align their physical bodies and gender identities

Topping from the Bottom: a derogatory term which describes when an s-type attempting to control a D-type, non-consensually, during a scene; often looks like criticism or violation of expectations set in previously negotiated behaviors

Total Power Exchange (TPE): a power exchange relationship where the D-type has complete authority and influence over the s-type’s life, making all or the majority of decisions; See also: 24/7

Training: the education and training that a D-type gives an s-type

Transgender: an individual who identifies with a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth; previously known as Transsexual though this term can be controversial

Triad: a polyamorous dynamic where three people are all romantically and/or sexually involved with one another; also known as a Delta or Trouble


Unicorn: a single, bisexual, often times female, individual who a couple can engage in romantic and/or sexual activities in together equally; extremely rare and the term is often used derogatorily


Vanilla: someone who does not participate in BDSM or otherwise Kinky activities; sometimes used in a derogatory sense

Veto: a negotiated agreement between partners in an open relationship where each has the ability to ask or prevent the other from exploring a relationship or sexual for which they do not approve

V Relationship: a polyamorous relationship where one individual has two partners who do not have a relationship we each other; See also: Pivot


What It Is That We Do (WIITWD): umbrella term for all forms of alternative sexuality Wax Play: the use of wax applied to the skin to create warm and sensation


Zie: proposed gender-neutral pronoun meaning “he” or “she.”

Zir: proposed gender-neutral pronoun meaning “him” or “her.”