The soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm FAQ List

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Welcome to the World Wide Web version of the soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list!

The contents of this page:

Especially note the last FAQ in the FAQ list proper; it’s a big one, describing all sorts of other online and offline BDSM resources.  If this list ain’t enough, go to that list!


Soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm is a Usenet discussion group, or newsgroup, about various topics including sex and bondage. This FAQ list is my set of answers to some of the most common questions in that group. You may find it interesting whether or not you’ve encountered s.s.b-b itself.

  • What kinds of things are discussed on soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm?  And what things are not appropriate for discussion there? Read the group’s charter!  And all shall be made clear.

This FAQ contains explicit sexual information. If you do not wish to view such information, I advise you to skip this FAQ. If you believe this FAQ itself is obscene, I ask you to read my response to question 20.

Check out what’s new with the FAQ!  [Also, if you’re curious, check out my personal adults-only home page.]

Books could be and are being written about these questions; remember, this is a thumbnail FAQ list. If you learn anything from this list, hopefully it will be how many questions there are to ask, and how much there is to learn! If you’re concerned or curious about issues that you feel are breezed over here, see the very end of this FAQ for a list of wonderful books and sources of more information. And if you want more ideas or discussion about anything, well, what else is soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm for?

The FAQs Themselves

  1. What do B&D, S&M, D&S, “top”, “bottom” mean?
  2. What is a “scene”, and what is “negotiation”?
  3. What is a “safeword”?
  4. When is pain not pain?
  5. What are some basics of safe SM, emotionally and physically?
  6. Is everyone either a top or a bottom?  What’s a “switch”?
  7. How can I learn to be a good top?
  8. How can I learn to be a good bottom?
  9. Is BDSM sexual?
  10. Why is bondage fun?
  11. Why is whipping fun?
  12. What is body piercing? What is “C&B” play, or “genitorture”?
  13. What is cutting/play piercing/burning/branding/electrical play? What are “bloodsports”?
  14. What is it about breath control? Is it safe to make someone pass out?
  15. What are “golden showers”? How about “scat”?
  16. Is anal sex safe? Why do people do it?
  17. What is “fisting”?
  18. Does the way I play qualify as “real” SM? What is “real” SM, anyway?
  19. What is it about leather/latex/high heels/corsets/other fetishes?
  20. What about shaving body hair and/or crossdressing?
  21. Why am I defending SM?
  22. Is SM degrading or abusive? Were most SM people abused?
  23. Why is SM taboo, and is SM criminal, unnatural, immoral, unethical, or unhealthy?
  24. Isn’t the bottom always in control?
  25. Can someone really be someone else’s slave?
  26. What are the “codes”?
  27. My fantasies scare me. What if I get too into SM?
  28. I want to throw a play party; how do I go about it?
  29. I want to attend a play party; what is the etiquette?
  30. What’s the deal with this anonymity stuff?
  31. Are SM people being politically and socially harassed?
  32. What topics are or aren’t acceptable on s.s.b-b? (including, what’s s.s.b-b’s charter?)
  33. I’m sick of certain topics on s.s.b-b. How can I avoid them? Also, what’s with all these ads?
  34. OK, so I can’t post ads to s.s.b-b.  Where CAN I post them?
  35. I don’t have access to soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm; what can I do to get information about the scene?
  36. What are some websites/books/magazines/organizations/stores/news archives where I can get SM information or toys, or meet people in the scene?

Translations & Etc.

The FAQ has (so far) been translated into four languages!  (I’m putting this before the FAQs because, well, I’m quite proud and happy about this 🙂  If you wish to translate it into another language, or re-translate it into one of these languages, simply let me know–I have a standing policy of granting permission to do so if permission is requested–and I will link to your translation once it is available, as well as archiving it here.  Thanks VERY VERY MUCH to all those who have put in time and effort so far to translate my FAQ; it is a great honor to me, and a great help to many others.

  • A French version is archived here.  Thanks very much to Lady Blaylock, the translator.
  • A German version is archived locally here.
  • The most recent version is Czech, currently only archived locally here.

FAQs about the FAQs

Some simple questions, answered simply.

  • What about the FAQ? was the first Usenet BDSM newsgroup. It is currently overrun by advertising (as is all the hierarchy). When soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm came about, I asked if I could convert The s.s.b.b FAQ (which I wrote) to the s.s.b-b FAQ, and people said “sure!”, and I never did it. Until now. The s.s.b.b FAQ is now merely a reference to this one. I’m delighted to see how much of the “a.s.b-of-old” feeling s.s.b-b has recaptured. (Now I have much more of a life than I did then, which is basically why this FAQ has slipped… hope I haven’t let the community down too badly by doing so much realtime pervery rather than virtual….)
  • How long have you been running the FAQ? Since 1991. I’ve gotten a lot of thanks and suggestions in that time, and I hope to make more time to work on the guts of this FAQ, which is still (to my knowledge) the best free reference about SM on the entire Internet. (If I’m wrong about this, please let me know which sites are better, so I can add links to them!)

The Appendix

I’m not the only person who asks, or answers, questions about BDSM. Plenty of other SM writers are on the net, and sometimes some of them send me questions and answers of their own. I’ve collected some of that material here.

Much of the appendix material overlaps with what I discuss in my FAQ, though not all. In any case, it’s good to get other views and voices when you’re learning about SM. These writings are offered in that spirit: I’ve done very little editing. (As a partial consequence, I may not agree with all of this information, nor would I give the same slant on some of it. So take it with a grain of salt– as you hopefully did with my FAQ!)

The author of the answer is [bracketed] before the name of their question. I wrote no text on these pages except the introduction. (I did the HTML markup, though, so blame me for mistakes therein.)

  1. [Hans Meijer] Japanese bondage, finding a partner, etc.
  2. [Jonathan Peters] Self-bondage: detailed tips
  3. [Tanith Tyrr] Cheap, creative SM toys

Announcement of Plagiarism and Quitclaim on Illegal Copyright

You would think that after having been an Internet author since 1991 (when I started writing the FAQ), I would understand something about copyright.  Sadly, in 1994 and again in 1999, I demonstrated that I didn’t, by republishing some work by the incredibly wonderful author Carol Queen, without crediting her–and in one instance putting my own copyright notice on her text.  I have created a page detailing the incident and declaring a formal apology and a formal quitclaim on my illegal copyrighted republishing of her text.

This site is now part of the The Sex Education Web Circle!

Visit to learn more about web rings.

This Page Could Be Illegal Soon

If you value free speech (such as this page) on the net, get informed about and involved in groups working to keep the censors away. Learn more about what you can do to help at:

Thanks for Visiting!

Hope you learned something! Remember, your sexuality is wonderful; treasure it and nourish it!

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