BDSM is nothing but abuse. Have you heard that one before? No one would really subject themselves to pain if they weren't brainwashed, right? Female submissives set feminism back 40 years. Oh, and they're man-haters. BDSM is just about kinky sex.

Do any of these so-called truisms ring a bell? Guess what? They're all BDSM myths based on misinformation, bad stereotypes, and sometimes, fear.

Yeah, I could get angry about all the misinformation out there. Instead, I'm going to show you just how wrong all these beliefs are. (Wanna do some background reading first? Check out Why BDSM Might the Sanest Sex Out There.)

Myth: Only Women Are Submissives

Wrong! Anyone, regardless of their gender, can be submissive. I have met many male submissives over the years, as well as a few switches. Submission is not determined by gender, but by personality and a desire to serve a dominant partner. As someone who spends time in BDSM dungeons watching other people play – and it's quite interesting – I have seen more naked men getting flogged and thanking their Dominant partner than I have women. Sure, that may have to do with men feeling more comfortable being naked in a group of people, but my point is this: submission has nothing to do with gender.

Myth: All D/s Pairings Are White Dominant Male/Submissive Female

Wrong again! I know one couple (male and female) who identify as both. She's a little, and he's a Daddy – until they switch, and then she's a kick-ass, petite Domme who brings a man well over six feet tall to his knees with a look or word. A very good friend of mine is a female Dominant who works with male submissives (yes, they hire her), and she becomes romantically involved with female submissives and slaves. My favorite couple to watch in the dungeon is a black transwoman and her white gay submissive – who, by the way, is the Dominant for at least two other people – one male, one female. Are you getting the point? There is no gender or racial requirement for Dominance or submission. None.

Myth: BDSM Is Abuse

What separates abuse from rough play, violent fetishes, and other forms of inflicted pain is one concept. Consent. Consent should be clear. Consent should be granted multiple times – meaning that both parties should talk before, during, and after a scene or moment to make sure everyone is on the same page. BDSM in a healthy, consensual environment is not abuse. It is a physical manifestation of desires and urges, no matter how dark or dangerous.

Myth: There Is No Abuse in BDSM

Ironically, if you don't believe the myth that all BDSM is abusive (yay!), you might be under the mistaken impression that abuse can't happen in BDSM. Unfortunately, regardless of the fetish, kink, sexual preference, or lifestyle, abuse can and does exist. As someone who lives the lifestyle, any Dominant who abuses their submissive is no longer a Dominant in my view; the same is true for submissives who abuse their Dominant (and not all abuse is physical). However, it would be disingenuous to say that abuse doesn't happen.

Myth: Female Dominants Hate Men

I wish you could see me rolling my eyes right now. Submission by men is no less gratifying and beautiful for them than it is for women. Women who prefer the dominant role enjoy those men to the fullest extent of their negotiated agreements. OK, sure, some of the more sadistic women enjoy inflicting pain on their male submissives (cock and ball torture makes me cringe and I have neither cock, nor balls), but as long as it's consensual, you can rest assured that those men love taking whatever their Dominant dishes out.

Myth: You Must Enjoy Pain to Be Submissive

Nope and double nope. While some submissives (myself included) have a masochistic side, and we do enjoy our fair share of pain, not every submissive does. Conversely, not every masochist is a submissive. Sadism and masochism are separate from Dominance and submission. Sure, they can overlap, but it's certainly no requirement.

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Myth: Only Sadists Can Be Dominants

This is me heaving a big sigh. This goes hand-in-hand with the all-submissives-are-masochists thing. If you don't have to be a masochist to be submissive, you certainly don't have to be a sadist in order to be Dominant. Some D/s couples abhor the idea of inflicting physical pain. Some relationships have no sexual component to them so the sexual pleasure of pain inflicted may not even exist.

Myth: People Use BDSM to Deal With Their “Issues”

Pick an issue, any issue. Some people would believe I call my Dominant “Daddy” thanks to Daddy issues. Nope, I came from a loving home, and had a great relationship with my father, thanks. Other people assume kinky people were abused as children, have anger management issues, are brainwashed by a misogynistic culture, or (and this one blows my mind) that we're child abusers ourselves.

What, may I ask, does getting kinky and freaky with consenting adults have to do with child abuse? Not a damn thing. Everyone has been through something in their life. Are therepeople who turn to BDSM to help them deal with a tough past? Probably so, but it's arrogant (and completely wrong) to think all of us have.

Those who enjoy BDSM come from every walk of life imaginable. There is no standard to belong to the BDSM “club.” You don't have to be a specific color, gender, or religion. You don't have to have sex with your partners. You don't have to enjoy all of the elements of BDSM to call yourself kinky. People in the BDSM lifestyle are as varied as the world's population. No two kinksters are exactly alike.

Don't let yourself fall for the myths and lump all of us into categories that are wrong. And if you're interested in kink, don't think there's any one right way to enjoy BDSM. The only real rule is to play safe and gain consent – every single time. After that, the sky's the limit.

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