We see BDSM as an erotic form of play among consenting adults, which is chosen responsibly, freely and consensually. It is about enjoying positive feelings connected to power-exchange in an erotic context (e.g. bondage, dominance, submission). These erotic feelings can but do not have to be connected to sex, pain or fetishes (such as leather, rubber etc.).
The most important characteristics of BDSM are that everyone participates voluntarily and gives informed consent (e.g. in terms of who is involved, the place, the time, the "role", the practices and so on). Consent also means, that everyone has the possibility to stop at any time if they wish to do so. And that there is a mutual sense of responsibility for the physical and mental wellbeing of the partner.
To this effect, the abbreviation "SSC" - safe, sane and consensual - has become a common BDSM mantra.
The spectrum of BDSM practices covers a wide range from verbal submission to bondage, to humiliation, to extreme pain. Affection, empathy and trust are essential ingredients for a good game. This often allows people to develop an intense mutual bond, that is rarely found in other partnerships. Reflecting on power-exchange, partnerships and one's own feelings has also proven valuable for all kinds of other interpersonal relationships.