• Six Bondage & BDSM Myths Debunked

    Hella
    by Hella on 13 August 2010 6 comments  |  Add a comment

    Recently a customer posted a thread in the Lovehoney Forum about female dominance. Her partner was asking her to be more dominant in bed and she wanted to know how to go about this without hurting him. It raised a little alarm in my mind. Do people really equate dominance with inflicting pain? Living in my own little bubble I presumed that the world of dominance had much more understanding.

    Negative images of bondage often begin with the idea that anyone into such stuff must be a ‘pervert’. But there is nothing shameful or wrong about having a taste for bondage, and accepting this is the first step to a kinkier sex life. The BDSM world is often misrepresented by the general media, giving us a distorted view on what it means to engage in 'alt. sex'. The myths surrounding BDSM are almost exclusively spawned from the extreme depictions that are commonly circulated and have gone some way to giving the scene its reputation as a seedy sexual underworld.


    1. Domination is about being cruel and sadistic to your partner

    It is often the opposite. A lover who willingly submits to you places you in a position of a power, entrusting you not to abuse it. A dominant lover will guide the submissive to ensure that the submissive is pleasuring them and will lavish them with attention when the submissive lover is successful. On a very base level, this is the command and reward system in all of its practical glory. The cruel/sadistic element is ascertained from the punishment side of the command and reward system. If a submissive refuses to do something or does something badly, they may be punished.

    There are two things that need to be taken into consideration when understanding the punishment element:

    • Those who frequently engage in activities involving domination and submission (also referred to as power play) will have what is called a safe word. For the purposes of this explanation, we'll use ‘banana’. If the submissive is refusing to do something for the purpose of play, they will simply refuse - knowing that they will be punished. If they do not wish to do something because it is outside of their comfort zone, they will object using the word 'banana' and play will continue around something else.
    • Punishment does NOT always mean hurting someone. I'd like to think that we aren't a nation of people who beat our children and our animals every time they do something we find objectionable. Punishment within BDSM can include lashes from a whip, but it can also include placing the submissive in chastity or denying them the right to orgasm, disallowing them from engaging in sexual activities with you, the confiscation of toys and items of pleasure, being made to sit in the corner with their hands on their heads, being shut outside in the rain for 10 minutes or being made to do all of the housework alone. Punishment is as creative as the sexual activities you engage in - violence isn't everything.

    2. You have to humiliate your partner and treat them as if they're below you

    This is where brutal Professional Dom/inatrix and Sensual Lover can clash. We've all seen or read about scenes in which the dominant is effing and blinding, calling a cowering slave every name under the sun. Not the best prelude for a sexual encounter if you ask me.

    Those who pay for the services of a Professional Dominant are often for looking for something more extreme than they can obtain from a lover. These scenes are often related to an in-depth psychological issue or the need for emotional release. They are rarely relevant to a sexual relationship. This is not to mean that the scene itself will not be arousing, but it is unlikely that the two parties will engage in any kind of sexual act.

    Some humiliation can be included in BDSM play between lovers, but it is much more eloquent in its expression. Choose your words carefully should you choose to use this type of play. Stick to words that are open to interpretation such as dirty, kinky and pervy. When picking a name to call your lover opt for words that are derogatory but not detestable. Boy/girl, puppy, slave and toy are all soft words that imply your control over them without degrading that position.

    3. You can only be dominant or submissive - not both

    An incredibly common misconception that was epitomised best in the film 'Preaching to the Perverted' in which the vanilla protagonist, Peter, arrives at his first fetish club night and encounters a very tall, blonde woman who asks if he's Dom or sub. He answers that he is a bit of both and she laughs, explaining he can only be one or the other.

    Perhaps that particular character was just yanking Peter's chain, but my money's on yet another misinterpretation being sent out into the masses. As a society, we champion the idea of equality. It therefore stands to reason that many of us would relate more to what is called a 'switch' lifestyle.

    Switch refers to people who are both submissive and dominant, who will both yield power and relent it, depending on the circumstances. This can be as simple as a couple who tie one another up in the bedroom or as complex as a constant power struggle between two lovers consisting of sexual battles which are tallied as victories or defeats.

    For me, my position is simple. Professionally, I am a dominant. I am in charge of all that I do and relinquishing any small part of that control is non-negotiable - it will not happen. Sexually, I am a switch. I have no desire to be Queen Bitch of the Universe in my own bedroom. I like to take control of sexual liaisons but I equally like to be led. Very little beats those nights of high-octane energy that end with a full-on power struggle for sexual dominance. With the right partner, you can expect to find yourself waking up with one wrist tied to your broken bed and your lover still pinned down. Incredible.

    4. You have to have a weird fetish to have anything to do with BDSM

    I love the idea of a 'weird' fetish. I only get turned on by things that other people think are 'weird' - has a good ring to it. I can't think of a fetish that I'd categorise as weird anymore, so I'm going to have to go with no on this one too. Many people who experiment with BDSM find that they have what is described as a fetish for one or more of the activities they have indulged in. Why? Because they have just had an incredibly sexually fulfilling experience that they wouldn't mind reliving again sometime soon. It really is that straightforward.

    For example, an individual who has never experienced anything outside of missionary sex may develop a penchant for using a vibrator if they find that the vibrator has transcended their sexual enjoyment. The same can be said for an individual who has been tied down for the first time and has found that the restricted movement has increased their sexual pleasure. Both the user of the vibrator and the individual who enjoyed being tied down are likely to experiment further with these forms of sexual play and may find that both become a 'fetish' as a result.

    5. The submissive has no say in what happens

    If this was the case, many BDSM practices would be classified as straightforward abuse. The submissive - in professional, lifestyle and vanilla play, should discuss what they are comfortable with before play begins. You wouldn't hand over your wallet, PIN and all, to a partner or friend without drawing firm lines. Why would you do the same with your body?

    When experimenting with BDSM, couples should talk about what appeals to them about the practice, what equipment they find interesting and what kind of things they are happy to engage in during scenes. It is not recommended that you simply tie your partner up and act out your fantasies - that approach is likely to end with at least some bad feeling.

    6. BDSM is a form of therapy

    Yes, for some it is. Professional Dom/mes are known to participate in sessions with longterm submissives in which scenes are acted out to help them cope with traumatic experiences, often of a sexual or abusive nature. It is not recommended that you try the same with your partner. The human psyche is a delicate thing and those professionals that offer these services know what they are doing - you most likely do not.

    This does not mean that those who have suffered abuse should not engage in BDSM practices, merely that they should be accepted as being a purely sexual thing, nothing more. You should always discuss any potential problems that may arise regarding past issues prior to engaging in play.

    Now that you've had a chance to consider BDSM as something that is a sensual, loving practice between two people, you may feel that you're more open to the idea of play. If you're starting to feel curious or this blog has affirmed your interest, then read our guide How to Introduce Bondage to Your Relationship to give you tips on how to share your intrigue with your partner and discuss how BDSM could fit into your sexual relationship.

    Category: Sex Tips

    Comments (6)

    • Bryan: August 13, 2010 18:54
      You have hit almost exactly on how I view a D/s relationship. I found the parallels between some of your paragraphs and my experiences are rather striking - even down to the choice of safe word (I actually use "Orange" since nothing else rhymes with it, making it's use hard to misunderstand.
    • Alicia D'amore: August 14, 2010 01:59
      Excellent blog post Hella - really well put together :)

      Just a note though - your "our forums" link at the beginning, links back to this blog post rather than the forums.

      Thanks for the detailed blog post!

      Adx

    • Hella Rouge: August 15, 2010 01:56
      Glad you've enjoyed it :) I've spent a great deal of energy on these blogs, there will be one going live per month. Next month kicks off with Bondage ^_^

      I'll fix t'link when I'm back at LoveHoney HQ on Monday :)

      Hxx

    • illumine: December 14, 2011 00:07
      just read this post and loved it- i also agree that bondage rope specifically designed for the purpose is best for beginners, soft, strong and obviously suited. besides i couldn't get OH points at hardware stores!
      this post explains what many people might not understand- in fact i get lots of people asking for humiliation, degradation, pain, and lack of choice when i mention domination. i shall be referring to this blog post quite often i feel
    • kitten: May 31, 2012 15:16
      wow i have just started buying things like handcuffs and collars as it really turns me on this was a fantastic post as i was begining to think i was a bit weird i am very submissive and this post has explained that it is very natural so truly truly grateful thankyou and if anyone has any tips for me i would be so very grateful xx
    • SS89: June 17, 2013 19:26
      Finally! A BDSM post that isn't negative or misunderstanding!

      I personally love BDSM and have a D/s relationship with my fiance, and find it a little upsetting and insulting when 'vanilla folk' judge when they dont really understand. So its nice to see someone uncover the myths for the truth, so thank you :)

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