This page provides our answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the world of kinks and fetishes as a resource for new and emerging FemDom practitioners.
What is BDSM?
The BDSM initialism (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) refers to 6 aspects of sexual or parasexual play, as well as relationship dynamics that go along with those practices. “BDSM” can be used to refer to a broad category of behaviors and interactions but generally speaking they all revolve around some form of physical, psychological, or symbolic exchange of power between two or more consenting adults.
BDSM exploration can be simple or complex, serious or playful, and while it can take the form of sexual roleplaying for novices and the simply curious, it often carries deep meaning and significance for those who practice it as an aspect of their lifestyle.
What is FemDom?
FemDom (short for “female domination”), is a type of BDSM that revolves around a woman occupying the dominant role in a scene or relationship, relative to a male, female, or nonbinary submissive. Femdom in which the submissive role is fulfilled by another woman can also be called lesdom (lesbian domination). In a femdom scenario, the dominant woman receives various forms of service, worship, tribute, and pleasure from her submissive(s) and also performs various physical, psychological, or symbolic acts of dominance upon them.
The word can also refer to the female dominant herself, and in this context it can also be spelled “femdomme” (domme for short, often capitalized) or “femmedom”.
What is a dominatrix?
While historically (since the 1560s) the word “dominatrix” has been used as “femdomme” above, to describe “a dominant female entity”, in its current usage dominatrix often refers to a particular kind of dominant female persona, one which may often involve particular clothing such as latex or leather (both for the Domme and her submissive) and particular acts involving the administration of pain. Dominatrices may often be professionals who work out of a dedicated dungeon setting, and they may specialize in the indulgence of certain fetishes or kinks.
While emblematic, the dominatrix persona is often confused with femdom itself, and in reality there are many ways for a dominant woman to express herself.
What is the difference between a kink and a fetish?
A kink is something that a person likes to explore and experience that falls under the umbrella of BDSM play.
A fetish is a central feature of a person’s sexuality, which plays a frequent and significant role in their ability to attain orgasm.
Is all kink sexual?
Yes and no. There is an extent to which kink acts and fetish play take place within a semi-sexual context, but many elements of these do not necessarily involve sexual contact or even, in some cases, explicit sexual arousal. A person may engage emotionally with aspects of play in a way that they relate to sexually, but the experience can be more sensual and not directly related to the genitals or to orgasm.
Is kink safe?
It absolutely should be.
Almost by definition, kink includes practices and rituals that carry some degree of inherent risk, whether physical, mental, or emotional. With these risks comes an enormous burden of responsibility on the part of everyone involved, which includes a commitment to prioritize safety and care for themselves and everyone else involved.
There are many systems of approaching this commitment to safety, such as the use of “safewords” or “red/yellow/green” agreements, systems of ethics like SSC (Safe, Sane, & Consensual) and RACK (Risk Aware, Conscious Kink), and organic agreements between you and your partner(s).
Is FemDom specifically heterosexual?
Not at all! As long as the relationship or play dynamics include a woman in an empowered position of authority, any sexual orientation connected with that can be involved in a FemDom relationship.
Does FemDom include non-cis women?
It absolutely can! The answer to this question is entirely down to the preferences, orientations, and desires of the people involved. If you’re inspired by the precepts and values inherent in a femme-dominant approach, it’s totally valid to explore them in a way that makes sense to you, within whatever context you create with your partner(s).
I think I’m kinky! What do I do?
First of all, take a moment to be glad you’ve discovered that, and be proud!
You’re embarking on a journey to explore your desires and wishes unlike any other, with so many unique possibilities and opportunities, and if you decide to take that seriously and be true to that part of yourself there are so many people who know about the things you’re experiencing and so many resources to help you along the way.
Explore different perspectives, learn as much as you can about the things you’re interested in, and be conscious and thoughtful about what you want. Take a look at our Recommended Reading list and our essays, have a listen to The Sex Club Podcast, and look for other kink and fetish organizations and educators.