Hands tied up with chains.
Photo: Kosalan Kathiramalanathan

Love, Sex & Play glossary

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Listed here are some terms and phrases we use in this issue that might need some extra context.

BDSM (each word within it): letters within BDSM are disputed, but can include “Bondage and Discipline,” “Dominance and Submission,” “Sadomasochism,” “Sadism and Masochism,” and “Slave/Master.”

Bottom: a role where a partner receives action or sensation. Top: a role where a partner gives action or sensation. Switch: someone who switches between and enjoys both sub and dom(me) roles.

Sub: the submissive partner, one who surrenders power or control during sex. Other views of sub include one who makes the demands which are fulfilled by the dom(me). Dom/domme: the dominant partner, one who exerts control. Other views of dom(me) include the dominant partner who fulfills the desires of the sub.

Femme: gender identity or presentation that leans towards what is societally associated with femininity but can be used by those of all or no gender identities and expressions.

Femme passing: one who is perceived as having a feminine identity/gender regardless of how the individual in question identifies.

Fetish: sexual arousal from objects, practices or situations not typically affiliated with sexual arousal.

Flesh hook suspension: involves suspending the body in the air through hooks in freshly pierced body piercings. May or may not be sexual.

Futomomo: part of Japanese rope bondage, a leg tie used for sex play.

Gender expression: the way in which one expresses their chosen gender identity (or lack thereof).

Gender identity: usually affiliated with one’s internal gender identity (or lack thereof).

Hentai: a Japanese subgenre of manga and anime, usually featuring overly sexualized characters and plots.

Heteronormative: the assumption that heterosexuality is the societal or cultural norm.

Intersectionality: the interconnectedness of an individual or group’s race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression and how they relate to disadvantage/discrimination or oppression.

Non-monogamy: having multiple romantic or sexual partners, or those that do not identify or adhere to monogamy (having one sexual and romantic partner).

Paraphilia: recurring abnormal sexual desires, expressed either in mental images or behaviours. Some affiliate paraphilia with extreme, dangerous or deviant activities, but not exclusively.

Vanilla: conventional sex that conforms to basic cultural/societal expectations of sex.

LGBTQ+: an umbrella term that is includes but is not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, the plus representing sexualities such as intersex, asexual, aromantic, pansexual, polysexual and two-spirit.

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