Dec 012014
 

What? Why would anyone want to do that? That’s sick!

Those are the words that strike fear and shame into the hearts of many people who might dare to share with their lovers certain fantasies that fall outside the “normal” range of sex. The problem is, there’s not really a truly “normal” range – if you ask ten people to tell you honestly how they enjoy sex, you’re going to get ten different answers, because every body and mind is unique.

Unfortunately there are a lot of myths about BDSM, and the biggest one is the idea that it’s a sickness – that if you enjoy bondage, or dominance and submission, or the extreme sensations of something like spanking, it’s because of a mental illness or some kind of past trauma. Dr. Patti Britton, a clinical sexologist, explains in the clip Are Alternative Relationship Structures Like BDSM Healthy? that it’s just not the case. Sure, there are unhealthy people who practice BSDM – but no more than any other group of people. That is why the fifth edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual used by physicians no longer lists this kind of kinky play as an illness. An excellent article by Brian Flaherty for Fearless Press explains why the change was necessary.

But those aren’t the only myths associated with BDSM. Like most myths, though, the best way to bust them is to take them apart and really look at what’s actually inside. What do those four letters mean, anyway?

soft leather cuffs for intimate bondage

leather cuffs are a common bondage toy for couples.

B is for Bondage.

The first letter is simple, and has to do with all kinds of ropes and chains and fuzzy handcuffs and such. The myth, though, is that the bondage is somehow against a person’s will. In fact it requires cooperation to get tied up, and beyond that it takes a willingness to “suspend disbelief” for a person to stay in the bondage. This kind of bondage fantasy is more about the feeling and sensation of being bound, such as when Ammre has herself bound with tissue paper. Bondage can also be used simply for stimulation, such as when Evoë Thorne demonstrates Cock & Ball Bondageon her partner Harold Henry. It’s entirely up to the two of you how, what, and when things get tied up. Have fun with it!

D is for Dominance, S for Submission.

The “D” is also sometimes referring to “discipline” but that is a form of dominance also. The myth is that it’s either some stern and mean dominatrix in a corset, or else a surly misogynistic man taking advantage of a weak woman. In reality there is a wide variety of dominant styles, as Princess Kali explains. Many of them are simply roles that lovers slip into like costumes to spice up a evening; others are profoundly loving interactions. All of them, though, rely on the consent of the people involved, and their reasons can be very different. For example, Annie explains in a clip on male dominance and female submission that she enjoys her partner’s dominance because it gives her a chance to “enjoy her slutty side” safe within the boundaries of his control.

S and M: Sadism and Masochism.

The myth about sadism and masochism within the context of kinky sex is that one person enjoys hurting someone else, or that the other person enjoys pain entirely. That’s not how it works, and Scotty, Annie, and Alex explain it quite eloquently in their video Common Misconceptions About Spanking which kicks off a long series on types of spanking. In BDSM, the sadists usually enjoy giving intense sensations to the masochists, which could technically be considered painful except that they are carefully crafted to give a specific kind of sensation. When Yonilicious demonstrates the Elements of a Well-Rounded Spanking Scene, she explains how there is a warm up, different types of spanks (especially to the “sweet spot”, an area of the ass that stimulates the clitoris), and a whole lot of communication between the spanker and the spankee. It’s not a random striking out, and it’s not just any kind of pain. If a masochist stubs his toe in the night, it’s not arousing – it just hurts!

Spanking the butt can be very arousing for couples.

Graydancer teaches spanking for couples at a sex class.

If none of this sounds appealing to you – that’s fine! There’s no reason it should, because people are attracted and aroused by different things. It’s just useful to understand more clearly that if someone you’re interested in says they’re kinky or into BDSM it should be the start of a conversation, not based on a lot of assumptions from TV and popular novels.

If it does sound interesting to you, then there are easy and clear steps to trying it out. Kitty Stryker has created a series here on PassionateU called “Practical Examples of Mixing Kinky Play with Sex” which has all kinds of ideas to get you started. If you’d like more direct instruction, though, Shay and Stefanos have a lot of good ideas for how to find a class in your area. The main thing is to keep an open mind and remember that like any sexual experience this is based on communication and consent. So talk it over with your partner first, make sure everyone is clear on what is going to happen, and then have fun! BDSM can be a constructive, fun, and most of all sexy part of just about any relationship.