||Myth: Once you start playing BDSM games you will want more and more and engage in increasingly risky and dangerous play
Fact: It is true that newcomers are often like kids in candy shops. After all, they are discovering new things and the feelings associated with them. But most people find who they are in the scene, and enjoy staying there. They might experiment and even find out new things about themselves, but stay centered.
Myth: Everybody plays heavy, there's no room for people who consider a feather heavy.
Fact: There is room for everyone. One persons heavy is another persons light and vice-versa. In fact, being in the "scene" doesn't have to involve BDSM at all. If you encounter the people who keep "score", find other people.
Myth: All I see in the magazines and on the "net" are beautiful people in million dollar outfits, I'll never fit in.
Fact: You are looking at magazines and the "net". It says more about societies concept of body image and beauty then it does about the scene community. Bear in mind that not all sites are created by people who belong to the scene community. The pay sites in particular tend to sell what they believe to be societies fantasy BDSM community, not real people and scenes. Often, they take vanilla fantasy and sex, and add a small amount of bondage or discipline to make the sale. Things are changing, if you look you will see more and more "real" people in BDSM media. Our community is very diverse and real and that is to be celebrated.
Myth: "Leather" is only for Gay men who meet in bars.
Fact: It is true that "Leather" has its roots in Gay history. The Leather Scene evolved out of the post WW2 "veterans" organizations (for an in depth look at this subject see "The Old Guard" by Guy Baldwin). Many of the trappings involved with what we now refer to as the "scene" come from these organizations, such as referring to yourself as "old guard". Some of these Leather organizations have almost nothing to do with BDSM while others are almost totally about BDSM. The myth is that Leather is a "Gay only thing". When Tony DeBlase created the Leather Pride Flag he created it for everyone and it has been slowly adopted by the pansexual community. You can be into BDSM without wearing leather. In many ways "Leather" is an euphemism for many aspects of the scene, not just BDSM, or even wearing leather, but by everyone using the term Leather we all become part of a larger community.
Myth: The "scene" is all about pain. I don't see how pain can be enjoyable to anyone.
Fact: It should be said that the scene doesn't have to involve pain. Aside from that, people are wired differently. Most of us would agree that oral sex is a lot of fun and yet there are those who will say it is over rated. The same thing can be said for pain (perhaps a better word is sensation). There have been studies that show sexual arousal stimulates endorphin production. That production can also be stimulated by BDSM. This gives rise to the concept of pleasure/pain that you may have heard about. Some submissives get enjoyment in the thought that they are accepting pain for their dominant. Others simply enjoy the sensations of heavy "stimulation". It isn't unusual that some people who enjoy heavy pain DON'T enjoy it right after sexual release. Prior to that release though, they can go quite a long time and can achieve an endorphin high that is remarkably similar to orgasm. Finally it should be said that the concept of pain as a bad thing is a western one. Other cultures except pain as a natural thing and even use it to achieve higher states of consciousness, Hindu fakirs for example.
Myth: All Dominate women are man hating bitches and Dominate men are woman hating bastards.
Fact: You've been reading magazines again. Seriously, the man/woman hating concept is more a product of BDSM media, and certain political agendas, than reality. There are many web sites that cater specifically to the woman or man as bitch/bastard and the slaves as helpless, and "forced against their will although they really want it", servants. While that may be a fantasy for some, it can be perceived as an all encompassing scene reality to many since the distinction between the two isn't made. The flip side of this myth is that submissives are weak willed doormats who allow themselves to be coerced into anything the dominates wants. This is another product of media, both BDSM and vanilla, where the sub is seen as victim, not consensual partner. Does all this mean that no one in the scene has ever been a man/women hater? No, but those people are quickly recognized as such and have very few, if any, play partners.
Myth: I'm Master or Mistress so and so. Everybody will respect me.
Fact: Says who? Anybody can give themselves a title. It's what we do that defines us. This is not about giving yourself a scene name, it's about the attitude behind the name. Which means more to you, that someone calls you Master or Mistress or even Grand Poobaa because you ordered them to, or they call you Master or Mistress because they respect and recognize you for your love, honor, caring, compassion and integrity and not just your ability with a flogger?
Myth: I'm a submissive. I'll be expected to act a certain way.
Fact: Probably the best way to act is to be yourself. Submissives/bottoms/slaves don't come prepackaged from the BDSM factory. If you are new and unattached, politeness and courtesy will go a long way towards getting that play date. You might end up in a very formal club, where submissives are expected to act a certain way, but you should know that going in. Some Dom/sub relationships can be very formal, the sub only speaking when spoken to, always kneeling, never making eye contact etc. By extension some clubs/organizations can be the same way. Most are more laid back though and everyone does their thing, some people being very formal and others more relaxed. Neither is necessarily right, just different. If you are new, it might be best to seek out a less formal organization at first and figure out for yourself what the best role is for you.
Myth: This is what BDSM is about and if you are not doing it this way you're wrong.
Fact: This is sort of a my kink is OK, yours isn't variant. Aside from formal clubs where certain things are expected, BDSM relationships, play, and roles can be very fluid. The right standard is what is right for you and your personal comfort level. Always remember though, that others may very well have different standards and comfort levels and those too should be respected. Also, it's not right to expect others to have the same relationship you may have (in the scene sense or any sense) or to hold yourself to some else's standard, unless of course, that's a standard you admire.
Myth: All that Master, Mistress, subservient stuff is just play acting
Fact: No it isn't. While people can assume roles for the duration of a scene and then come out of those roles afterward, remember that while they are in that scene the role is real, others stay in their role all the time and their relationship is very real and should be respected. One more thing on this, if someone is in a more formal role, scene etiquette says you must respect that. If you want to talk to the sub, you should speak to the dom first. If someone is wearing a collar (no, not the kid at the mall) they are NOT community property, someone put that collar on them and that is who you seek out. To assume that it's all play acting will most likely get you a ticket to the door.
Myth: I'm a submissive, therefore I can be brat and the center of attention.
Fact: This is a touchy subject. There is a very fine line between being playful and being a obnoxious. Where that line is will depend on a lot of things. If you have to be the one who always has the best scenes, the best play partners (or the reverse "doesn't everyone want to play with me") be the loudest, and let everyone know how wonderful you are, you will probably find yourself on the obnoxious side of the line. The thing is, scene people are a pretty polite bunch and won't tell you that you're obnoxious, they just won't play with you. Once again though, this is touchy, one persons role is another persons brat.
Myth: BDSM = Sex
Fact: BDSM can be intensely sensual, but it doesn't have to be intensely sexual. To say that sex never occurs in BDSM is a lie. It's just that it doesn't have to. Many people have wonderful, leave you limp, experiences without any sexual contact at all. Also, being in the scene doesn't mean you are going to get laid. Finally, if you use your position in the scene to coerce sex, non consensually, see What BDSM isn't.
Myth: This is all too complicated, I'll never get it.
Fact: The real scene community can be a complicated world but part of the "I'll never get it" feeling is because you have found something and you want it very quickly. If you were starting a new job where you didn't know the routine, how would you go about learning the routine? If you went to a party and knew very few people, how would you get to know new people? Patience, courtesy, and consistantly showing up will go a long way toward starting your scene life. The reward is well worth it.
Myth: My kink is OK, yours isn't.
Fact: Sadly, this isn't always a myth. When you first come into the scene community it's virtually guaranteed that you will see things that you never dreamed of and don't understand. That's normal. But if you start saying that "thing" is bad or wrong simply because it's something you don't what to do or something you might be afraid of, YOU are wrong. If you don't understand something it is perfectly permissible to ask questions. Knowledge IS power. Taking this one step further, the scene is not bisexual, gay, heterosexual, lesbian, or transsexual. It's also not Master, Mistress, Top, bottom, submissive or slave. IT BELONGS TO EVERYONE!!! Stepping off soapbox now.