I suppose I'm rather out on my own here. I'm a dom with some experience who isn't into pain and humiliation, but rather sees BDSM as enhanced foreplay. That means you won't get much of a flogging from me, but you can expect to be restrained and stimulated to give you pleasure and get you into a state of arousal.
For me the restraints are not to cause pain but to let you know that (safeword excepted) you will have to submit, and at the same time to set you free. Free? Yes, once you can't do anything you can't do anything wrong. You have no responsibilities other than to let go and drift off into the experience.
You can be perfectly Dominant without being into giving pain. Just as you can be perfectly submissive without wanting to receive pain, or without getting pleasure out of pain. Not everyone in BDSM is a masochist or sadist.
So I don't think there is anything wrong with that, nor do I think you are alone. I might have said I felt like you once, but definitely no longer today, so these things can also evolve over time; with experience and by discovering that you have desires that were so hidden you didn't even realize you had them.
The only important part (as always) is to search for a partner who either shares your desires or who accepts them.
I totally understand your theory on restraints using to set the submissive "free". It's my favorite part of the entire D/s relationship - letting go decisions, responsibilities - all control is gone and now you just experience. Although, personally, I do also enjoy some pain and humiliation along with it.
you are not on your own, the misconception that a Dom is a saditistic flogger or induced pain is wrong. Maybe projected wrongly by mainstream porn.
Bdsm embrass a large spectrum of kinks and as such, difffent approach of dominance, from intellectual without any sexual or physical contact to Daddy care from little princess....
I'm not the least bit gentle during adult playtime, but I completely understand your view and agree that for me also, BDSM serves as an enhanced foreplay. Being a sadist, my mind views things a little differently, in that she may "get off" at the point of being placed in hopelessly vulnerable bondage, yet merely tolerate, even fear the brutality to come. I watch her responses all through the session. Noticing that the bondage alone has an effect upon her (possibly anticipation, fear, craving) whatever it is that effects her mind causes me to have more passion for her. Knowing that she likes to be spanked, I give it to her but I also beat her butt with the stinging flogger which she claims to hate, but submitted to anyway knowing that it pleases me. I get off on that.
And you are correct that once she is in bondage, she is stuck (unless she uses the safe-word). But the few girls I've been with know that I intend to push their limits, and never have they ever uttered the safe-word. If she happens to view the bondage or the suffering as "freedom" (from doing wrong) or whatever, that is fine with me. And seeing that she gets off on it is fun for me.
But if that effect it has on her was not there, it wouldn't be any fun and I wouldn't do it. It is only fun if it is fun for both of us (in whatever way we happen to view it)