The term BDSM stands for Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism. In the fetish world however S&M can stand for numerous things, not the least of which is slave and Master. A slave is there merely to do the bidding of the Master. That bidding is subject to the Master's discretion and fetishes. It can range from anything like household chores to receiving pain, bondage, humiliation or discipline utilizing unconventional means, as well as conventional means, such as spanking. The Master can demand any number of fetish services from oral, anal and vaginal sex to eating of cigarette ashes and garbage disposal or use as furniture. The submissive or slave has given full power and authority to the Dom/me or Mistress/Master. For many people S & M is a lifestyle choice and they are very comfortable living that lifestyle 24/7. They have families that are on the outside very normal and conventional while behind closed doors there can be wife discipline or husband discipline.
Hardcore S&M can often incorporate other facets of the BDSM scene, such as bondage, where the masochist is bound with ropes, manacles along with other types of device bondage while the sadist achieves sexual gratification in whatever way she/he sees fit. While the slave is the recipient of the Master's ministrations they too are able to receive some semblance of sexual gratification as much from the physical S&M sex act as from the mental simulation. Although a slave’s needs are last on the Master's mind they are there.
The acronym S&M is often used for sadomasochism, although often times the "&" is dropped and use merely SM or S/M. The "S", in this case, stands for sadism while the "M" stands for masochism. Sadism is described as a disorder in which sexual gratification is derived by causing pain or degradation to others, in short pleasure in being cruel. Masochism is defined as a disorder in which sexual gratification is derived from receiving pain or degradation, or the tendency to find pleasure and suffering. Are these truly disorders when there are so many people out there who enjoy being on one or the other side of this? That is up to the individual fetishist.
S&M can be a lifestyle or hobby. Lifestylers live it every day, while hobbyists may dabble in anything from S&M clubs to watching S&M videos and porn. S&M movies can feature extreme painful bondage scenes encompassing whips and chains, discipline, corporal punishment and heavy B&D or domination play. In both lifestyle and hobby the sadistic and masochistic tendencies can vary in mental or physical realms between soft and cruel. A good Master of Mistress can run the gamut from hardcore nasty pain to soft and sweet torment within the same session or time frame. Tastes in the S&M fetish vary as much as tastes in any other aspect of human life.