Facts & Info

6 Myths About BDSM and Kink

Woman in Studded Bra Hold Whip

Even though most people have kinky fantasies or fetishes, they don’t always go there, ever. And sometimes that’s because of the myths and misunderstandings around BDSM and kink.

Here are a couple of letters from our PT readers, before we break down some myths about BDSM.

My wife Mary started dating a beautiful woman, and we all got along nicely until Mary asked her if she has any submissive fantasies. Mary is flexible and was happy to continue their vanilla affair, but Helene said she didn’t feel safe anymore and didn’t want to be around those kind of power games. What’s going on? – Aiden

I thought I was open minded and even considered myself fairly kinky—I like imaginative sex and a number of fetishes and role plays excite me. But when my date was in the shower and I opened a closet, looking for a robe to throw on, I saw shelves and rows of hardcore outfits, paraphernalia, restraints, sex toys, and other props. Maybe one or two of these things would have been hot, but the obvious obsessiveness of her interest sort of turned me off. I don’t think I can compete with all those whips and chains! – David

Myths about BDSM and Kink

1. Polyamorous people are all kinky.

Well, maybe. It depends who is defining kinky.

Sexual puritanism is so ingrained in our society that just the idea of people having more than one lover at a time or having sex with someone other than their husband or girlfriend is considered kinky. But most poly people reject the idea that their dating style is in and of itself “kinky.”

Lots of poly people enjoy sex most with the old-fashioned basics, and lots of other poly people enjoy S and M or a variety of kinks and fetishes.

Because polyamorous people are, on average, open-minded about sexuality, they may be more likely to experiment or to accommodate someone else’s preferences.

Read: 10 Surprising Benefits of Kinky Sex

2. Kinky people aren’t flexible sexually.

“I don’t find it exciting at all to be with a lover who requires a certain act or fetish to get off,” writes Don. “What could be a bigger turn off than finding out your lover isn’t even playing with you, that you are just there to deliver whatever kink thing they need.”

It may be true that some kinky people can’t really get there without their “thing” whether it is feet, submission, or leather. But some vanilla people also need a particular act or stroke or rhythm to enjoy sex.

More often than not, kinky people are extremely flexible, open to new experiences, interested in exploring different ways to play, trying things your way or a new way. Kink in and of itself is imaginative and draws on variety and creativity. Instead of sex meaning “the old in and out,” it means a million things!

Read: Can BDSM Save Your Relationship?

3. People into hardcore BDSM have unresolved psychological issues.

“When my new lover told me he liked to be blindfolded and then have me piss on his face, I knew there was something wrong with him,” Cassie says.

It’s common response—when someone finds something exciting that we don’t, we often think of it as wrong or even as “sick.”

“My girlfriend always wants me to tackle her, role play rape, and to be a bit rough,” Wes says. “I think she needs to work out some abuse issues from the past.”

Here’s the thing: there is a lot of our past, our psyche, and soul, in sex. Some of that is damaged because we have all had damage. But we’re just as likely to fuel our hobbies or parenting patterns after our unresolved dramas—reckless driving, drinking too much, yelling at our kids. In other words, our imperfect selves and life experiences play out in the bedroom, and out of it. Vanilla sex is also full of our best and worst personality traits.

Read: She’s Kinky and You’re Vanilla: How to Make it Work

All that said, study after study shows that people who are into BDSM are better adjusted psychologically than those who don’t. Maybe they’re onto something?

Or maybe it just takes all kinds.

4. You need experience to enjoy BDSM and kinky play.

You can start experimenting with erotic power games, role playing, or bondage and discipline any time, even if you never have. Everyone starts somewhere. Following a new partner into their world is the most natural way to experience a new way to play. Or maybe you have dreamed about a certain act or experience for a long time and decide one day to seek out someone willing to try it with you. Go for it!

Explore the wide world of BDSM Play and Activities at Kink Lovers.

Use common sense. If your thing is complicated or dangerous, do some research or take a workshop with someone who is experienced. Otherwise, just enjoy experimenting until you get it right!

5. BDSM is rare.

No! It’s very common! The majority of people in survey after survey express interest in dominating or being dominated sexually. The majority of people enjoy or would enjoy some kind of spanking. Most respondents fantasize about being restrained during sex. For starters!

In my opinion, seduction, power games, and getting a bit rough are all natural, normal aspects of sex. They are in a sense “vanilla” because they are what sex IS. There’s a bit of chase, a bit of persuasion, a bit of hunting, a bit of bossing around, a bit of pinning down, a bit of biting and swatting.

Humans are creative, and we take what is normal and commonplace and find new or more intense ways to play around with it—to create story and drama from it. And that’s what BDSM is—props and ritual and drama for what is already there, even in the most basic hookup.

Read: Kinky Sex Ideas for Poly Lovers

6. BDSM is trendy now, but it was invented, like, yesterday.

It’s true that BDSM has exploded into the mainstream, with articles on how to shop for a new pegging harness making the morning subway newspapers. Fetish clothing occasionally made couture or the underground but now influences mainstream fashions. TV shows and movies featuring BDSM or other kinks are no longer relegated to artsy films and porn—sitcoms and romcoms often feature kinky characters.

But what we see in visible cultures is just the props, really. BDSM is as old as sex itself, and it will continue to evolve. Today’s props might look different than the caveman’s or medieval Europe’s or nomads of the Sahara, but pleasure and pain is the oldest mix in the book, and it will always play itself out with whatever props and outfits it can find.

Read: 4 Places to Meet Kinky Women

What is your relationship to BDSM? What BDSM myths have you busted?

Tell us what you think!

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