With Fifty Shades Darker playing in cinemas all over the world, we are finding ourselves in conversations with customers and journalists about what it means for love lives – is the level of kink about to hike right up? Or are we over it?
In reality, a lot of people who enjoy what is commonly known as kinky activities (like spanking and wrist restraining) without considering themselves to be particularly kinky. It’s just a bit of fun – different from the usual.
BDSM clubs and parties were mostly underground, secret societies, until FSOG exploded onto the scene in 2012 and brought proudly perverted practices out into bright daylight. Many disapproved; the kinksters disliked the newbies for muscling in on their scene and non-kinksters believed that all D/s relationships are based on abuse.
Darker will no doubt highlight the very same issues and we thought it was about time the most common myths about BDSM are debunked.
1. BDSM is Abuse
This is probably the biggest and most damaging misconception of all, often spouted by those who do not understand the meticulous negotiations that goes into BDSM relationships.
BDSM, when practised between consenting adults, is not abuse.
BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism & Masochism and functions as a framework for numerous activities that are practised and enjoyed by said consenting adults.
As long as consent and safewords are strictly adhered to, BDSM is, in it’s truest sense, not abusive. However, if one or more parties steps out of the pre-agreed boundaries, activities takes a sinister turn and becomes abuse.
Confusing? A little bit. But in short – it’s all about consent.
2. Consent is Just a Word
Well, no. It is the be all, end all of all sex play, kinky or not. If consent is not given, or is withdrawn, sex play becomes abuse.
Before a scene, kinksters will usually negotiate activities they’re happy to part-take in during the upcoming play session. (If they refuse to negotiate with you, you refuse to play with them. It really is that simple.) They may enjoy a firm spank with a hand, but not with a paddle – that sort of thing. Each activity and the degree of its severeness should be discussed in detail. This ensures only consensual play takes place.
Christian Grey, in the FSOG trilogy and the subsequent films, gets this all wrong: he may be a successful business man, but his negotiating skills out of the boardroom falls painfully short. He assumes that his way is the only way when, when in reality, Ana should be allowed time to consider her options and work out what it is she feels comfortable with. She should be allowed her say about what, how and when.
3. BDSM is About Pain
Pain can be a delicious element of BDSM play, but kinky play is just as much about pleasure. Many kinksters don’t enjoy pain at all – giving or receiving.
Pain, when carefully dished out, can create immense pleasure. It’s what we call “a natural high”. The brain pumps out endorphins, and the person experience the pain/pleasure can find themselves in a never-ending circle of wanting additional pain in in order to experience heightened pleasure…
4. Safewords are for the Weak
Safewords are used to ensure everybody involved in a scene (be that two or more participants) are feeling safe and happy. Using a safeword does not mean a person is “weak” – it means they are in tune with their minds and bodies, and require attention. Maybe they are tied up and are beginning to experience pins & needles – time for re-positioning. Maybe they are unexpectedly triggered by an action or a word, and need a cuddle and reassurance, or maybe they just need to go for a pee…
Using safewords is a quick way of checking in with each other – knowing where the other person is within a scene is just as important as knowing what is going on with oneself.
Whilst we don’t like the term ‘vanilla’, we feel that non-kinky couples could do well to incorporate negotiation and safewords into their sex lives too. Example: Hands up if you’ve ever had a partner trying to sneak into your back entrance without explicit permission, or tried to coerce you into doing something you don’t feel entirely onboard with? It happens all the time.
By taking the time to sit down and talk about likes & dislikes, fears & desires, lines of communication open up and greater intimacy is acheived.
5. Kinky Folks Are Damaged
Kinky folks can be damaged. As can folks who are not into kink. More often than not, kinky folks are just as happy and healthy as anybody else who do not share their particular peccadilloes.
It would be inherently wrong to squeeze all kinksters into a box labeled ‘DAMAGED’ just because their sexual desires and appetites do not match your own. Each to their own, people!
Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is Ok.
The character of Christian Grey may be damaged by traumatic childhood events, but this doesn’t mean everybody who enjoys BDSM games are.
6. A Slave or Submissive Belongs To Anyone & Everyone
It is commonly believed that anyone wearing a collar is there for the taking – much like a help-yourself buffet on a cruise ship.
No, no, no.
Weather the person is wearing a collar or not is not relevant in this instance. You have no more right to touch a slave or submissive without consent than you are to touch a stranger walking past you on the street.
The collar may signify their sub status, or maybe it shows that they belong to a proud Daddy, Dom or Master – or maybe it is purely a fashion statement.
A submissive may be naked, tied to a cross and whipped until she screams with pleasure – still does not give you right to touch unless consent has been given.
7. Contracts Are Forever
Contracts are sometimes drawn up to ensure that each member of the kinky pairing/group/household is fully aware of responsibilities and agreements within that particular kinky relationship.
Not everyone uses contracts. Not every contract is the same. And whilst the contracts are honoured and taken as legal documents between the parties, BDSM contracts will not stand up in a court of law.
A contract can be drawn up to cover a set period of time, or it could be ongoing. The contracts may be reviewed regularly, or only when one or more parties feel they’d like an amendment.
We hope this has cleared up some of the more common misconceptions. And if you feel intrigued, why not check out our erotic classes where you can learn more about spanking and bondage?