What is branding?
Branding refers to the process of creating a permanent mark with a heated iron pressed against a person’s body, otherwise, also known as stigmatizing or stigmata. Branding is done in BDSM as a form of ritual marking of a slave. It can be done as part of Taken in Hand ceremony or as part of an extreme scene.
The word brand comes from “brandr”, an Old Norse or Ancient North German word. In the modern German language, brandzeichen means “brand character,” and its verb counterpart isbrandmarken “to brand”. Branding is done using a heated piece of metal and pressing it to the skin to intentionally create a burn wound. Most brandings have an artistic pattern or letters to help define ownership.
Branding was originally used to mark ownership of livestock including slaves, who had no legal rights. This practice was also used as a form of punishment, public humiliation, and permanent record for criminals and enslaved prostitutes.
The practice of branding lends itself well to the Master/slave roles in BDSM. Branding can be done in a more traditional manner with a hot instrument or with bruising or tattoos.
Branding is an extreme and sadistic act. It is reserved largely for extreme punishments, pain sluts, and ritual ceremonies like collaring or being taken-in-hand. It is one of the least common acts in BDSM because of its pain level and permanency.
Dos, Don’ts & Tips
- People who decide to get branded need to be physically and psychologically prepared.
- It is imperative that they have knowledge of the whole process including the risks that go along with this practice.
- Prior to performing any kind of branding, consent and communication are absolutely necessary. A safeword should be used to stop a branding.
- Knowing how to care for the burned area and observing good hygiene are of utmost importance.
- Infection is the biggest concern involved in this practice.
- Nerve damage is possible if the procedure is not done properly.
- Proper and sterile equipment must be used.
- Branding should only be performed by an artist who has studied the techniques of branding.
- Branding should never be done on the genitals, face, neck, hands, or feet.
Branding marks ownership, much like a collaring ceremony or being taken-in-hand. Other forms of ownership can be wearing a Ring-of-O or getting the mark or name of a Dom or sub tattooed on your body.