I just want to: play!

Author: Kitteh
A to Z | Basics

What does “play” mean?

When we talk about “play” in the BDSM context, we mean practicing BDSM together with one or more other people. The term does not only cover classic role-playing games. Rather, it is an umbrella term for the practical performance of all conceivable kinks. Both sexual and non-sexual. It can also be played alone, separated in time and space or online.

Why is the term “play” used for BDSM?

We associate play with pleasure, exuberance, but also with imitating a certain situation. All of this fits with BDSM. Because it is often about embodying a certain role. This can be part of the personality that finds space within a BDSM context. But it can also be staged, as is the case with role-playing games, for example.

“Playing” also sounds much more harmless than “doing BDSM”. The term also allows us to talk about BDSM in public when other people are listening. Because a vanilla will certainly think of a poker round or children in the sandbox when this word is mentioned. Kinksters know that we are talking about power exchange and sadomasochism.

Admittedly, we also use the term for lack of an alternative expression. Because “practising BDSM” sounds very highbrow and uncomfortable in everyday language among kinksters. That’s why it has become common in the scene to speak of “playing with each other” or “play partners”.

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