Traditionally, psychologists have researched bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism (BDSM) and its participants from an external perspective, seeing it as pathology. However, there is now a growing body of research aiming to challenge this perspective. This article examines some of the ways BDSM has been reconceptualised by researchers who reject the pathological focus, distinguishing between transgressive and coercive sexualities. We focus on the lived experience of BDSM participation to further illuminate these sexual practices. A descriptive phenomenological analysis of four interview transcripts was employed, with the purpose of producing a general structural experience of BDSM participation, which aims to further understanding of this complex phenomenon. The essential structures of the BDSM experience are discussed in terms of authentic fantasy, rejection of social norms and non-sexual positive outcomes.