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Abuse refers to the use or treatment of something (a person, item, substance, concept, or vocabulary) that is seen as harmful such as behavior that results in undesirable trauma.

Examples may include (but are not limited to nor necessitated by) actions that could result in imprisonment, psychological institutionalization, emergency room medical care, or death. Exact behaviors that constitute abuse will be subjective and prone to individual interpretation, be sure to negotiate thoroughly with your partner(s).

Adults of sound mind that responsibly negotiate with informed consent to BDSM activities are not engaging in abuse. See the BDSM main article for more information.