BDSM Urban Legends Exposed

Tunnel Light

Since all of us have been hit with Urban Legends in the vanilla world, must there also be “BDSM Urban Legends”? The answer is “Yes!”

In the spirit of the tabloid mythbusters, we here at Kink Weekly will take a look at some of the “BDSM Urban Legends” and examine them to see if they hold up. As we have yet to see anybody else challenge them, it is time to check the veracity of these widely circulated “words of wisdom.”

1. “BDSM scening isn’t about sex.”

The first “BDSM Urban Legend” we ever heard was, “BDSM scening isn’t about sex.” Actually, BDSM scening can be about just about anything, including sex. To think outside the box, I would suggest that a more accurate version might be, “BDSM scening is almost always about sex.” Since Freud (the famous psychologist, not the Dom!) postulates that EVERYTHING revolves around sex. So why this myth?

The “not about sex” saying is probably based on the fact that many of the most popular scenes do not appear to have a sexual component. A flogging, caning or paddling scene usually doesn’t include penetration on the playbill. But does that mean that a flogging scene really isn’t about sex? Overtly, that might be true; but more than likely, the participants get a sexual charge from the play. Many use a BDSM scene as foreplay. Again, it’s about sex. On a less subtle level, there are many bust-out BDSM/sex scenes. Just your basic “sex slave” scene surely contradicts the myth. A Yogi Berra version of this urban myth — “BDSM scening isn’t about sex…and vice versa!” – would probably be a hell of a lot more accurate. And amusing.

2. “Never Top from the bottom.”
Another “Urban Legend” is one aimed at the submissives, stating, “Never Top from the bottom.” This one has been tying subs up in knots (no pun intended) for decades! As an all-encompassing commandment, it fails the smell test. It is most accurate when it comes to scening. Surely, “You hit like a girl/boy”…“Hit the right cheek more”…“Keep your wrists loose!” are unacceptable during most scenes. But in real life, if the submissive always keeps silent for fear of “Topping from the bottom,” he/she would be making a big mistake. A Dominant is not a mind reader; making one’s preferences and needs known is essential for any submissive. If he/she is tactful – even if a bit Toppy – any good Dom should take suggestions to heart. The “legend” would have a hell of a lot more validity if the slogan were, “Never Top from the bottom in a scene.”

3. “A slave is higher on the food chain than a submissive.”
Yet another Urban Legend is, “A slave is higher on the food chain than a submissive.” This belief is so widespread, people seem to accept it without question. But if you examine it, it really doesn’t hold water. Putting aside the impossible task of trying to define the difference between submissive and slave (I have tried to codify the difference in a previous Kink Weekly article, “Slave vs. Submissive”), where is this pecking order I keep on hearing about? The pecking order seems to be a myth, too. And until there is an official hierarchy, food chain or pecking order, file this “BDSM Urban Legend” with the infamous Vegas-kidney-theft-legend.

4. “The submissive is the one who is really in control,”
This is another ubiquitous myth that everyone hears as soon as they have their first BDSM discussion. My personal opinion is that this is said by those who believe there is really no such thing as Dominance and submission. Surely, there is no such thing as legal slavery; a Dom can never force a submissive to do anything he/she refuses to do. But being physically able to leave or having the legal right to disobey does not equate to being in control other than by way of mutiny; once the power exchange is negotiated (and it is in the negotiation stage where the submissive is the power equal of the potential Dominant) and a D/s hierarchy established, the submissive is not in control over those areas ceded. Just because something is voluntary doesn’t make it any less real. The next time you watch a submissive in subspace, you will see he/she is not in control. The Dom is in control. And it is quite real.

5. “You cannot become a Master or a Top without having been a slave or a bottom.”
Our final Urban Legend in this installment is a classic. This is generally credited to the Old Guard Leather Societies, the progenitors of our current BDSM clubs, dungeons and community. This statement, of all the ones we have examined here, has the most to recommend it. Although I personally don’t think bottoming is a necessary step in the education of a Top, there are lifestylers whom I respect who think it is. It can be argued both ways. And although I don’t feel it is a necessary step, bottoming would surely give the Top a perspective that would be enlightening – in addition to a well-rounded education!

By BaadMaster
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.

Comments

  1. I think it’s disingenuous to say BDSM is all about the sex. Definitely that is a huge part of it, but often times it’s not the end game, at least in the places I go. A lot of dungeons have rules prohibiting penetration on some nights to help protect people from predators as well. I’d like to think it’s more about emotional connection but maybe that’s just the chick in me. It also obviously varies from partner to partner.

    • D/s isn’t about sex but I think if you use the full acronym of BDSM it’s easier to argue that it’s about sex.

  2. Mary Dante says:

    Who? Never heard of him…must be from the west coast…

  3. Ms Marina says:

    I disagree with dismissing “the sub is always in control”. I think the adage is about consent, not who is running the scene. It asserts that the submissive has offered consent for all of the activities occurring AND can withdraw consent at any time – for example, using the safe word to immediately end the scene. This is the cornerstone of BDSM – “safe, sane, and consensual”. If the submissive *truly* had no control over what was happening, we’d call that rape or assault. So, I definitely think this article deserves an addendum or update. All people are ALWAYS in control of their own bodies, that can never truly be abdicated. In kink we can *choose* to allow other people access, and that is domination, but consent is NEVER absent for a single moment. So, while of course a dominant is in charge of a scene and has obtained permission to do all sorts of delightfully naughty things, the submissive IS always in charge – because *every* person is always in charge of their own body, and always has the right to say no or stop, even if something was previously “negotiated” or “ceded”.That is what that tenet means, so please let’s not dismiss it as an “urban myth”.

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