Tabuu Wrap-up: If you want to understand BDSM, check your misconceptions at the door!

Even though we live in the age of information, a lot of useful information about many different things tend to fall through the cracks. This leads to misinformation and that’s how misconceptions are created. Especially about kink, and particularly about BDSM. That’s why today we want to set the record straight.

There are many people like us working to debunk many of the myths and misconceptions that surround BDSM, and it’s necessary to have a realistic view of kink. We hope this article can help you understand what kink is, and isn’t, so you can accept it or bring it into your life if that’s what you want to do.

Attempting to Define BDSM

Before I get into the most common misconceptions, I want to define what BDSM is as best as possible. After all, it’s a very important concept to keep in mind throughout the article, and it’s where most misconceptions begin.

BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. In other words, it’s an umbrella term that encompasses many different things. However, these initials are not enough to capture the scope of what BDSM means for so many people.

Because we’re all different and we all experience sexuality differently, BDSM can be very sexual or not at all. It’s really up to the people practicing it and the desires or needs they want to fulfill.

When we talk about BDSM, it’s very difficult to speak in absolutes. It’s a term that’s used by people who are in the hardcore leather community, but also by people who enjoy other activities, such as age play, and everything in between. Even if we speak about the most common definition, which is sexual control/power, we’re only speaking about one form of kink.

What we can say to define BDSM is that it’s a variety of erotic activities that often involve role-playing. That’s a very general definition, but keep in mind BDSM fights being pigeonholed and it’s very difficult to boil it down to just one thing.

Now that we have a baseline, we can start going through the 10 most common misconceptions about BDSM and find out why they’re not true. I encourage you to go beyond this article and learn more about the part of BDSM that interests you the most.

Even though we are debunking important misconceptions, you still need to do your research so you can have a greater understanding of what you want to try. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up to fail and to have an experience you won’t enjoy. If you want to engage in BDSM, the more you know, the better. So, dive deep into your research, read as much as possible, reach out to people in the lifestyle, and do your best to have a clear understanding.

1. Fifty Shades of Grey Is True BDSM

I really can’t stress it enough: NO. A million times no. No, no, no, no, no, no. That book is by no means a faithful example of what BDSM truly is. Fifty Shades of Grey is just wrong and it shouldn’t be associated with BDSM in any way, but it is.

Let me just get this out of the way: if someone says they are interested in the form of play presented by Fifty Shades of Grey, run. Run and don’t turn back. There are 3 core principles in BDSM: consensuality, safety, and sanity. NONE of those core principles are presented in Fifty Shades of Grey.

What the book condones is romanticized emotional and physical abuse, and we should speak against that at any chance we get. In practicing BDSM, everyone involved makes sure no harm will be done to anyone, everything is done with a level head, and everyone has agreed to do it. No one is forced or coerced into it. Period. Say it with me: Fifty Shades of Grey is not BDSM.

2. When You Get Into BDSM You No Longer Want Vanilla Sex

This is one is not entirely true. It can be difficult to go back to vanilla sex once you’ve given kink a try and you’ve enjoyed it. However, kink is not a replacement for other kinds of sexual pleasure. It’s just one more option on the list. There’s still a place for vanilla sex and it can be very pleasurable indeed.

I can’t say for certain because the BDSM community is extremely diverse, so it’s difficult to be definitive. But what I will say is that the percentage of people who no longer find pleasure in vanilla sex after they try BDSM is very small. It doesn’t happen to everyone.

3. BDSM Is Always Sexual and/or Leads to Hardcore Sex

Contrary to what many people believe BDSM doesn’t have to lead to sex or orgasms, but it can if that’s what you want. Once again, I remind you BDSM depends on the individuals who are experimenting with it. In other words, it can take any form you’d like.

For people in dominant/submissive dynamics, most of the time there’s not even physical contact involved. That’s because pleasure is derived from surrendering control (for the submissive) and having control over someone (for the Master or Mistress). And this is consensual, of course.

As for BDSM leading to hardcore sex, that’s not necessarily the case for everyone. If you want it to, it can lead to other experiences. But if that’s not what you want, then it’s not what you’ll get out of it. It’s that simple.

In the BDSM community, there’s a profound sense of respect for the desires of the people involved. As long as what you want is consensual, safe, and sane, everyone will respect your wishes. No matter how strange or odd they may seem to people outside the scene.

4. BDSM Practitioners Have Suffered Abuse or Trauma

As in every community, there are people in the BDSM community that have suffered from trauma or abuse, emotional and/or physical, in their life. This is a sad fact of life, but there are emotionally scarred people in all communities. It’s not mutually exclusive in any case.

BDSM has actually been proven to help improve mental health, so it can be used and it is used by many people as a kind of therapy. It’s not a replacement for therapy, though, it’s a therapeutic tool. There are even therapists who support kink and help people use it to cope with some issues in healthily and safely.

However, it’s a misconception and a complete myth to believe that everyone in the BDSM community has been abused or is emotionally scarred. There’s no correlation between BDSM and abuse, so it’s something to set straight.

5. BDSM Is About Feeling Pain

Nope, that’s a myth. Just as BDSM doesn’t always involve intercourse or even physical contact, it doesn’t always lead to extreme sensations or pain. That’s not to say there aren’t people in the lifestyle who don’t enjoy pain as a form of extreme sensation. But to say that BDSM is only always about that is just wrong.

There are people in the community that experience more pleasure at the lower end of the BDSM spectrum where you don’t even touch each other. So, you don’t have to be a masochist to enjoy kink. Some people get more pleasure from the psychological aspect of it rather than the physical aspect of it.

6. Submissives Think Little of Themselves and Dominants Enjoy Controlling and Hurting Others

This one is extremely common and many of us are just tired of it. Once again I have to bring up the fact that one of the core principles of BDSM is consent. If someone doesn’t like being dominated, they won’t be. Neither in the scene nor off of it. For dominants to treat others as submissive, they need to have clear permission.

Submissives don’t think little of themselves by any means. In fact, they obtain a lot of self-confidence and self-esteem from the dominant/submissive dynamic. Why? Because that’s what they want to do.

On the other hand, dominants are not all rough. And a submissive who doesn’t enjoy extreme dominants won’t be with them. Many dominants are actually loving and caring. They cherish the trust that submissives place in them and they respect them very much. They see themselves more as mentors than bullies.

7. Black Leather Is a Must for BDSM

Many people in the BDSM community indeed love their black leather and they wear it to stand out all the time. It’s often used as a symbol of pride in their lifestyle or to honor the history of BDSM. However, it’s not a requirement.

Kink-friendly events are full of many different people. You will see people in black leather, but you’ll also see people in suits, pastel latex, and even regular clothes. It’s important to note that there is a leather community within the BDSM community, but that doesn’t mean black leather is a uniform you must wear or you can’t seat with us. Although there’s no denying that black leather is pretty hot and it has its moments.

8. Age play Is Related to Pedophilia

Sadly, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about BDSM and it’s not discussed enough. Just to be clear: age play doesn’t relate in any way to pedophilia. Age play consists of pretending to be a younger person or a child and interacting with other adults as such. That can mean playing with dolls, speaking in a certain way, dressing up, etc. Whatever you decide to do, adult behavior is checked at the door.

However, that doesn’t mean people are engaging in pedophilia when they engage in age play. Once again: everyone’s an adult and it’s just a fantasy. There’s potential for emotional or physical abuse in this scene just like in any other. This is why it’s so important to do your research, know what age play entails, and do it consensually, safely, and sanely.

9. The BDSM Community Is Very Small

This one is a bit difficult to debunk because there is no worldwide survey that can give us an idea of just how big the BDSM community is. However, a 2014 Smithsonian article stated that people who wear masks, use blindfolds, and engage in bondage during sex make up 36% of the US population. That’s not “very small” if you ask me.

The Smithsonian survey was extremely specific and it leaves out people who engage in spanking, nipple play, domination, edging, sex toys, etc., so that percentage could be even higher. BDSM interest or kink interest is not rare at all, what’s rare is not being the tiniest bit kinky.

10. BDSM Is Dangerous for Your Emotional and Physical Health

I’m not going to deny BDSM can be dangerous. But there are risks to everything in life. Driving a car is dangerous, smoking is dangerous, lifting weights is dangerous. That’s why it’s important we learn as much as possible about BDSM. That’s the only way we can engage safely and sanely with it.

Read as much as you can about BDSM, go to events, find your local BDSM community, and reach out to people who live the lifestyle. This is the only way you can get as much education as possible. You need to immerse yourself in it before you decide what kind of activities you want to engage in and what’s the safest way to do it.

The BDSM community is open to new people and they are very welcoming. You will easily find people who will be happy to show you the ropes and introduce you to the wondrous world of BDSM.

Even if you’re just curious, they will show you around. All you need to do is be respectful and check everything you thought you knew about BDSM at the door. You will most likely make mistakes, but that’s okay. Accept them, learn from them, and continue exploring this lifestyle in any way you see fit.

Final Words About BDSM

If you take anything away from today’s article, I hope it’s a desire to learn more about BDSM and realize it’s not what many people think it is. There’s a lot of negative connotations attached to BDSM and they’re just not true.

Misconceptions cause so much confusion. They make people who may be interested in it feel like there’s something wrong with them. There’s not! BDSM can be healthy, fun, and safe, as long as you do it right.

Leave your biases behind and if you’re interested in BDSM, go for it! Do your research and find a way into your local community. If it truly is for you, it can change your life for the better. It can be erotically powerful and beautiful for many who dare.

 

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