BDSM is an acronym which stands for Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission and Sadism/Masochism, referring to four distinct paraphilias.
Types of BDSM
Bondage and discipline
Bondage is a paraphilia revolving around restricting movement through the use of devices such as handcuffs or harnesses, or with materials such as rope or chains. Discipline involves giving or receiving orders from a dominant partner (also known as Dom, Top, Dominant, or just Owner. Titles: Master or Mistress), and incurring punishment when an order is disobeyed or unfulfilled.
Domination and submission
Domination and submission, also called D/s, centers on a power play between a dominant party who gains control, and a submissive party (also know as Sub, Bottom, Submissive, or just Slave), which relinquishes control. Dominance is usually shown by giving orders and taking the initiative in sexual encounters, while submission is shown by taking orders and following the lead of the dominant partner. One subset of dominance is female dominance, or femdom, where a female takes control as the dominant partner.
Sadism and masochism
Sexual Sadism and Sexual Masochism are two related paraphilias primarily focused on pain. Sadism is the receiving of pleasure from inflicting pain on another, while masochism is the similar pleasure from having pain inflicted on them. Pain is usually administered through the use of whips, canes, paddles, teeth, electricity, and other instruments.
BDSM refers to the aggregation of all six behaviors at once. Typically, a dominant partner and submissive partner come together to engage in play in which the submissive partner are bound, dominated, and subjected to pain by the dominant partner through spankings or whippings, tight restraints, and rough sexual contact. However, though this is the typical situation, the dominant partner is not always the one inflicting the pain, and not all partners are set in their roles. Some situations employ individuals known as "switches" who can play the role of either dominant or submissive, depending on the circumstances.
Though BDSM can, from the outside, appear non-consensual and violent, it is completely consensual in most cases. Usually, partners choose a "safe word" (or even a non-verbal signal) beforehand, which would normally not be said during sexual activities to indicate an immediate stop of all BDSM and ensure the safety of the participants. This is done because those receiving pain will often scream or groan during play as a normal part of the experience, even if they wish to continue.
BDSM and furry
BDSM may be practiced in online TinySex, or in real life. BDSM is a paraphilia nonspecific to the Furry Fandom, but some furries practice BDSM in a furry roleplaying context. Tapestries MUCK was founded specifically as a safe place for such roleplay. BDSM is also a common theme among furry art and fiction. BondoFox's website has a large collection of mostly female furry bondage art. Trouble's Tales and The Journal Entries of Kennet R'yal Shardik are only two of the better known story series that rely heavily on BDSM scenes.