BDSM has found a foothold in today’s mainstream thanks to the popularity of films such as “50 Shades of Grey” and “Eyes Wide Shut.” While I’m glad more people are starting to embrace their deviant side, these films fail to accurately depict healthy, functioning kinky relationships, leaving an uninformed viewer with a misguided understanding of BDSM.

So, what is it exactly? In short, BDSM is a compound acronym that encompasses a wide array of fetishes and the intersections between them. It stands for bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. On paper, BDSM can seem dangerous and cruel, but its actual practice is one of careful communication, risk awareness and enthusiastic, ongoing consent.

I hope to demystify this complex subject, so you’ll see that BDSM is more than just a list of fetishes, but rather a thrilling, deeply intimate way to connect with your partner.

You’re bound to love bondage

Bondage takes on many different forms, from ropes, silk ties and fuzzy handcuffs to locking leather straps,