BDSM tattoo - DuckOne way to reveal your kink to the right people is to wear the BDSM symbol as a ring or in a necklace or as a BDSM tattoo. The BDSM symbol is subtle and one has to know what it is in order to understand the meaning of it – It is basically a safe way to out yourself to the proper people who are usually into the same thing as you are.

Another way is to have a tattoo done that reflects your kink and there are a lot of wonderful BDSM related tattoo designs out there.

The BDSM duck lends itself to some really interesting tattoo designs for people into BDSM and it is for people who can laugh about themselves – It’s eye-catching and a bit more obvious than the BDSM emblem itself. The colors are bright, but are also hard to get right when using them in a tattoo. You should also be aware of the fact that colors in tattoos get bleached and that will change the appearance of the tattoo.BDSM tattoo - Slave heart

The slave heart is a BDSM tattoo design that I’ve seen many variants of. It can be made as a small one on the ankle or as this one – A more eye-catching design above your genitals which makes it possible to conceal it and yet visible to the people who has earned your trust.

The keyhole represents the fact that someone owns and have locked your pounding slave heart. I personally like the design in the picture due to the wings, which is a symbol for a free spirit. It is the details in this particular design that makes it special and the placement of the tattoo is well thought out because the surrounding body lines support the composition of the tattoo by framing it and creates a symmetry around it.

BDSM tattoo - Slave rose with butterflyAnother BDSM tattoo design, which might not be reflecting BDSM itself, even though the tattoo belongs to a slave is this one. It’s a butterfly that carries two giant penises which originates from a rose that leads up to your anus and genitals. If you look closely then you’ll notice that the outline of the whole design vaguely forms the shape of a heart. If it is intentional or not I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter as it’s a nice addition to the overall concept of the design.

This one is a piece of art as the tattoo comes with a twist; when you’re having sex you push your penis into the rose. The rose symbolizes pleasure as well as pain and it is also symbol for love as it in some ways resembles a human heart or female genitals.

BDSM tattoo - BarcodeAnother BDSM tattoo design within the world of BDSM that has a more practical usage is the slave barcode. The barcode is based on a concept developed by the website The Slave Register (TSR).

TSR provides a central place for the registration of slaves and submissives. Each registration is assigned a unique Slave Registration Number (“SLRN”), and owned submissives and slaves can display an ownership certificate.

There were basically two important main reasons behind the concept driving the idea of TSR. The most immediate cause was reading S.M. Stirling’s book, “The Domination”, which collected his Draka trilogy into a single volume. Most of Stirling’s work involves alternate histories, and his Draka timeline is set in a world where slavery survived in a British colony in southern Africa, which eventually broke away and became an industrialised imperial power in its own right. This timeline has slavery still continuing in the Draka Empire in the 21st century, including domestic slavery in Draka homes throughout Africa, Asia and parts of Europe.

Giving a person a name is a very symbolic event: names are involved in the recording of births, in baptisms and when brides change their surnames after marriage. So giving a person a number provides a way of identifying them – and potentially controlling them – without having to permit them a name, and the individuality that goes with one.

This combination of domestic slavery and the objectified effects of registration is very appealing to a lot of people who are interested in BDSM and that is why the concept is used within the consensual Master/slave subculture.

The other reason for starting up TSR was the image of a barcode tattoo which became very common in the media in the 1990s. TSR’s founder saw the first one which was Jana Sterbak’s “Generic Man” in an exhibition at London’s Serpentine Art Gallery in 1996: It shows the back of a man’s shaved head, with a barcode at the top of his neck. There was a lot of debate around that time about CCTV cameras in public spaces and the “Surveillance Society”, so these kinds of themes were appearing in exhibitions.

The concept of TSR seems to be popular, I know some people who have a barcode tattooed in the back of their head and neck and total amount of registered profiles over att TSR is at the moment approximately 172.000 profiles.

BDSM tattoo - ChainsAnother version of BDSM tattoos based on the Master/slave theme is chains in different forms, some of them are more crude while others are more intricate and less obvious. Common places on the body for these tattoos are the ankles or the wrists and the design are usually based on the concept of bracelets or cuffs.

Some of the slave based tattoos are based on a symbol called the Trinity Knot, also known as the Triquetera.

BDSM tattoo - TrinityThe triquetra has been found on rune stones in Northern Europe and on early Germanic coins. It presumably had pagan religious meaning and it bears a resemblance to the Valknut, a symbol associated with Odin.

Modern Pagans use the triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures. Neopagan groups who use the triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins. Due to its presence in insular Celtic art, Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans use the triquetra either to represent one of the various triplicities in their cosmology and theology (such as the tripartite division of the world into the realms of Land, Sea and Sky),or as a symbol of one of the specific triple Goddesses, for example, The Morrígan.

The symbol is also sometimes used by Wiccans and some New Agers to symbolize either the Wiccan triple goddess, the interconnected parts of our existence (Mind, Body, and Soul).

It might be questionable whether the trinity knot should be used in a BDSM context. Personally I don’t see any problem with this as the trinity knot is closely related with the Triskele, which was used as an origin for the BDSM emblem that is widely spread among people within the BDSM community.

The triskelion symbol appears in many early cultures and it’s  a symbol that is associated with progress and competition and it served as a template when Quagmyr created, according to himself, a symbol that was uniquely made for the world of BDSM. His intentions with creating the symbol has been disputed as he, according to some people within the community, tried to claim copyright and charge people for licence fees when they were using his symbol.

According to Quagmyr, the BDSM emblem has no “obvious” symbolism because it was created to be enigmatic. To the vanilla observer who would be put off by BDSM, it is merely a symbol. Thus, it can be worn as a friendly salute, nod, and wink to other BDSMers that we might pass on the sidewalks and in the hallways when we lead our everyday lives.

To the insider, however, the Emblem is full of meaning.

BDSM tattoo - BDSM emblemThe three divisions represent the various threesomes of BDSM. First of all, the three divisions of BDSM itself: B&D, D&S, and S&M. Secondly, the three-way creed of BDSM behavior: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Thirdly, the three divisions of our community: Tops, Bottoms, and Switches.

It is this third symbolism that gives meaning to the holes in each unit. Since BDSM is at the very least a play style and at its greatest a love style, the holes represent the incompleteness of any individual within the BDSM context. However “together” and “whole” individuals may be, there remains a void within them that can only be filled by a complimentary other. BDSM cannot be done alone.

The resemblance to a three-way variation on the Yin-Yang symbol is not accidental. As the curved outline of Yin and Yang represent the hazy border between where one ends and the other begins, so do the curved borders here represent the indistinct divisions between B&D, D&S, and S&M.

The metallic color of the medallion represents the chains or irons of BDSM servitude/ownership. The three inner fields are black, representing a celebration of the controlled dark side of  BDSM sexuality.

The curved lines themselves can be seen as a stylized depiction of a lash as it swings, or even an arm in motion to deliver an erotic spanking. The all-embracing circle, of course, represents the overlying unity of it all and the oneness of a community that protects its own.

BDSM tattoo - BDSM emblem triskeleThe BDSM emblem might look a little bit different when it comes to tattoos, for symbolic or practical reasons. The practical reasons are mostly that some details and colors might not look good as a tattoo, or you might already have a tattoo to which you are adding the BDSM-emblem and then a redesign might be necessary to fit the existing style.

The symbolic reasons might be that you want to add gay rights symbols to the BDSM emblem if that is a part of your personality, values and your sexuality.

BDSM tattoo – BDSM emblem rights

In other words; there are a lot of variants of the BDSM emblem that differ themselves to various degrees from the original BDSM-emblem. My personal opinion is that it doesn’t matter if they are diverting from the original design, even if Qiuagmyr is quite strict about the keeping the design of the original emblem intact. The meaning of the BDSM emblem is still there even if you tattoo a diverting design of it on your body and it will without any doubt be recognised by your fellow members of the BDSM community.

Some people follow certain rules when it comes to the placement of the BDSM emblem tattoo. One rule, which is not widely recognised is that the BDSM-emblem should be placed higher on the body of the Dominant compared to the body of the submissive – for example on the upper arm of the Dominant and the lower back of the submissive. Personally I don’t see this as a strict rule, it’s more about personal preferences.

Some tattoos might even be used within BDSM as a part of the play itself. Branding is practiced by some people where the skin burned with a cast iron template. A brand is a recognition of ownership in Master/slave relationships. I wouldn’t go as far and write that it is a common practice, but it do exist and is usually sorted under the term mutilation play. Other brands are done as scarifications during knife play when symbols are carved into the skin.

Marking the submissive can be a part of humiliation play and one form of practice is to use a waterproof marker pen to write on various parts of the body. Different derogatory words are written onto the skin, preferably in visible spots like the forehead or lower arms. This will make the humiliation continue even if the session has ended as the waterproof ink can take up to a couples of days before it disappears.

BDSM tattoo - Humiliation tattooThere are some permanent tattoos which are a part of a humiliation, but the words are usually then tattooed in spots that can easily be covered up by clothes or hair.

As you might understand by now, there are many different varieties of BDSM tattoos out there reflecting different ideas and different usage. Which one you want to use is up to you.

BDSM tattoo - Tiger with triskeleBe sure to make your design personal, use your creativity, because the tattoo you choose will be a part of you for a long time.

This is a picture of my own tattoos which I have on my right arm, a tiger that I had since before with BDSM emblem below it. My tattoos are all in black and white so it was natural to choose a black version of the emblem itself. I’m also trying to think ahead as my original plan is to create larger design. My personal goal is to have tattoos which cover both arms as sleeves. Once you’ve started to put ink on your body, it’s actually hard to stop.

Funny BDSM tattoo quote

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