And I've come to the conclusion: what I'm talking about when I say "BDSM" is not the same thing that a lot of people over there are talking about when they say BDSM. Witness this comment from becstar, quoted in part:
I think society does teach people that BDSM with sub women is the *only* way to go about sex. [...] Things like spanking and cumming on women's faces have been taken out of BDSM territory and been normalised which I think is where the danger starts.
I'm left with a strange void between what I've understood as BDSM and what other people are pointing at. Especially since, as a female submissive, it has been very clear to me that the sort of sex that I want is not acceptable, not normal, not what I should be doing; especially since I have heard other kinksters of various orientations and preferences express the same feelings.
Spanking and BDSM? I know from a couple of spankos I've seen talk about this that a lot of people with that particular kink prefer to distance themselves from BDSM, being Not Like Those People. I have also seen quite a few of them talk about getting sexual responses to corporal punishment as children from the physical sensation. Far from being a gateway drug - to steal a silly concept - it seems to be one of those things that may or may not fall into the BDSM category depending on who's counting.
Ejaculation on the face? Well, maybe I'm totally isolated from BDSM norms, but I never heard about this practice at all until I encountered the Porn Wars. And because porn is totally outside the scope of my sexual interest and experience, it just never much occurred to me. (I have an ex who had a hard time orgasming from coitus, which tended to mean he got himself in the eye occasionally, though.) I mean, it's not even on any version of the Purity Test I've played with, and since the long Purity Test versions frequently include scat and incest I'd expect if this were so mainstream it might have gotten a mention on one or two versions.
The closest thing to mainstream-culture BDSM I can think of from my childhood is an episode of Cheers. Seriously. For those who aren't familiar with Cheers, its basic plot orbits around a misogynistic horndog trying to pursue a woman who isn't having any of that. In a bar, in which Wacky Sitcom People come to get drunk. In any case, Sam (the horndog) and Rebecca (one instance of the woman) were, at one point, in an elevator, and the subject of risk-taking sex comes up. Sam is, of course, all for, and thrilled that Rebecca is showing some kind of interest; she takes a scarf, ties his hands to the handrail, and he's panting with excitement that not only might he get the woman, but he's getting the woman kinkily; she pulls down his pants, and he's thrilled; the elevator stops, she gets off and leaves him there, because she still can't stand his entitled ass.
I'm not so sure that it's a good display of the ubiquity of female submission, though. Maybe a "he'll settle for sex, but exciting sex will be more thrilling for him" cultural datapoint. But she was dominant, she was in control, and she said no - leaving him nonconsensually exposed and quite vulnerable. Which was, I am pretty sure, not his kink.
And so I turn it around, and look for things that I'd file as clearly BDSM in the mainstream. And I don't see them. At least, not outside the Signs That Someone Is A Dangerously Depraved Serial Killer or something on Cop Show Glurge: Dead Whore Version. Bondage more serious than tee-hee a silk scarf or cheap fuzzy handcuffs? Culturally marked 'creepy'. Impact play? Culturally marked 'abusive'. Slave contracts? Mocked publically when they come up in the news, otherwise unheard of.
"Naughty schoolkid" roleplaying situations and similar stuff get played for laughs on sitcoms - in that 'Who could believe someone would really do that?' overdone kind of way. It's something like the kinky equivalent of flaming queer comic relief. Lacy lingerie is normal stuff (and one's occasionally considered a little pervy if one doesn't fancy it), but black or red lacy lingerie is a sign of dangerous dominatrix tendencies which are, again, played for mockery.
And I have never, not in any mainstream medium, seen any treatment of kinky submission. Bottoming maybe (and mostly as a joke); coercive, abusive situations, including those treated as normal by some people, those show up on the news. But to talk about anything remotely approaching the stuff I do in pop culture requires the sort of language used to talk about drug use -- and gets spun in the same pejorative way.
So I'm left wondering where the hell the BDSM is that some people are finding so prevalent. Because I'm so not wherever they are.