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6 Things Fifty Shades got wrong about BDSM

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Her short story "Don't Ball the Boss" (inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch) was nominated for the Pus...

BDSM stereotypes we would change in Fifty Shades of Grey

We all know the writing is atrocious in E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey, but I have to give the book some props because finally BDSM is not only acknowledged in popular culture but embraced.

For those of you who don't know, BDSM stands for "Bondage & Discipline / Dominance & Submission / Sadism & Masochism." Instead of going into great detail, just think ropes, blindfolds, spanking ... got a visual? Anyway, BDSM culture wasn't exactly dinner table conversation until Fifty Shades. Now, kink is everywhere, and sex toy shops are just thrilled to see so many housewives buying handcuffs.

More: If you loved Fifty Shades of Grey: Laugh at these parodies

I am, too, frankly, because a little kink never hurt anyone. In fact, after several years in a monogamous relationship, a little kink is a great thing. For that, Ms. James, we thank you.

That said, there are several members of the BDSM community who were outraged by James' approach to the culture. She got a lot of things wrong, and we're here to clear the air about these six misconceptions.

1. Dominants suffer from abusive childhoods

Christian Grey is all messed up because of something bad that happened in his childhood, which is (we're to believe) the reason he's into the kinky sex stuff. He needs to be "fixed," and women do love fixing a bad boy. Most BDSM practitioners are psychologically healthy, strong and successful people with no past traumas. They do it because they want to do it, not to heal an old wound. Christian might be a mess, but he's the exception not the rule.

2. Submissives are naive virgins with low self-esteem

Anastasia Steele is totally clueless. Before meeting Christian, she'd never had an orgasm. (Yeah, that's believable. Where was she during rope climb in gym class?) She allows Christian to mold her into his perfect little pet because she's so innocent. Are you nauseous yet? I am. Submissives are anything but lacking in the confidence department! They choose to give up control because they are strong enough to do so. Only someone confident in him or herself could be brave enough to say, "Sure, do what you want," not some sniveling know-nothing.

More: 5 Reasons Fifty Shades of Grey is going to suck

3. BDSM is for people with mental illness

Christian is a troubled, tormented soul who likes controlling others to the point of psychological abuse. Sick, right? Well, let me ask you: Have you ever been spanked? Have you ever worn a blindfold? Congratulations, you've practiced BDSM. Do you feel like a sicko? No. People who practice BDSM should probably be lumped in with some of the most intelligent, creative people on the planet. Think about it: smart, creative people have some pretty great fantasies, which turns into some colorful fun in the boudoir. People who practice BDSM have also been known to hold high-power, successful, stable jobs, which is part of why they like to submit in the bedroom. They want a break from their own awesomeness, so they let someone else take control. Sounds pretty healthy and relaxing to me.

4. The submissive is the helpless victim while the dominant is in control

Wrong So wrong. I don't even know how to explain how wrong this is. In a real life BDSM relationship, the dom is there to provide for all the sub needs; that is what brings the dom pleasure. Therefore, the dom is really the one waiting for commands. The sub is the star of the show.

5. BDSM is about PAIN

Yes, BDSM can involve pain. It usually does, but not, like, torture pain. More like a nice tight pinch. It's more of a power play than anything else. It is a power exchange. Not that there's anything wrong with pain. In fact, the slightest amount of pain can get your adrenaline pumping, which makes your pleasure receivers spike, which makes you feel pleasure more intensely, which means ... well, do I really need to explain why this is a good thing?

6. Domination is about abuse

You might not believe me, but BDSM is about dedication and love. The dom cares deeply about the physical and emotional state of his or her sub. All the dom wants to do is pleasure the sub. Post-sex, a lot of BDSM relationships are heavy into cuddling. It's about care and mutual respect, not about hearing someone scream.

More on Fifty Shades of Grey

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Why is Fifty Shades of Grey so popular?

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