BDSM Symbols

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These symbols are commonly associated with BDSM practices.

BDSM Symbol

BDSM Symbol

One of the most commonly-used symbols of the BDSM community is a derivation of a triskelion shape within a circle. Various forms of triskele (a shape with three-fold rotational symmetry) have had many uses and many meanings in many cultures; its BDSM usage derives from the "Ring of O" in the classic book Story of O. The BDSM Emblem Project claims copyright over one particular specified form of the triskelion symbol; other variants of the triskelion are free from such copyright claims.

BDSM Rights Flag

BDSM Rights Flag

The BDSM Rights Flag is intended to represent the belief that people whose sexuality or relationship preferences include Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, or Sadism and Masochism ("BDSM") deserve the same human rights as everyone else, and should not be discriminated against for pursuing BDSM with consenting adults. The flag is inspired by the Leather Pride Flag and BDSM Emblem, but is specifically intended to represent the concept of BDSM Rights and to be without the other symbols' restrictions against commercial use. It's designed to be recognisable by people familiar with either the Leather Pride Flag or BDSM Triskelion (or Triskele) as "something to do with BDSM"; and to be distinctive whether reproduced in full colour, or in black and white (or another pair of colours).

Leather Pride Flag

Leather Pride

The Leather Pride Flag (with a heart) was created in 1989 as a symbol of those into leather and other related fetishes; it is not an exclusively gay symbol. Some say the flag signifies “black and blue with love,” but the flag’s creator declines to assign symbolism to the colors and design, insisting that each person could do that for themselves. This flag represents the entire leather community, but is commonly identified with the gay leather and BDSM communities.

Master/slave Flag

Master/slave Flag

On July 29, 2005, The Master/slave and Dom/sub Flag was officially unveiled at the Master/slave Conference in Washington, DC.


Rainbow Pride Flag

The rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in San Francisco in the late 70s to celebrate the diversity of the rainbow community. It is now recognized by the international Congress of Flag Makers as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride. One variation on the traditional sex-color design includes a back stripe on the bottom, commemorating those who have died of AIDS.

Purple Hand

Purple Hand

A symbol of gay power rooted in San Francisco’s struggle for civil rights. A 1969 protest of the newspaper provoked some newspaper employees to pour ink from the building into the crowd. The crowd used the ink to stamp purple hand prints, slogans, and pro-gay graffiti throughout the city. The symbol is sometimes recreated as a symbol of modern struggles against oppression for sex positive culture.

Bear Brotherhood Flag

Bear Brotherhood

The flag represents the International Bear Brotherhood, with colors symbolizing the various colors of male hair.

Staff and Fronds

Kef Symbol

The "kef" symbol (Kef being the initial letter of kajira in the Gorean language), is a symbol often branded onto Gorean slaves to mark them as such.