50 Shades of Grey vs. Healthy BDSM

imageThe 50 Shades of Grey movie is coming out soon. It will probably be a huge hit, same as the books have been. However, the books paint an unhealthy and unrealistic view of the BDSM community (yes, it is a community). According to 50 Shades, Christian Grey is only into kink because his first sexual experience was kink, bordering on abuse. He was young, didn’t know any better, and it changed him. Maybe he is a victim in this fantasy novel.

However, there has been some concern in the real BDSM community about this book trilogy. Many members of the community have not read the book, because it really is not worth the read. Ms. James, the author, knows nothing about BDSM. She seems to have just written a few kinky scenes after walking into the neighborhood adult store and looked around at the fuzzy handcuffs and pink heart-shaped “riding crop.” I’m not saying that fuzzy handcuffs aren’t fun, but they’re not the end-all be-all of kink.

Christian Grey is a stalker (very Edward Cullen-esque, which is not surprising). He shows up at Ana’s work a week after meeting her. He gets her drunk to discuss a BDSM contract. (Side note: contracts are pretty rare in the BDSM community. They tend to be for people who want a 24/7 lifestyle. That’s pretty hardcore. That is not something that a newbie like Ana should be involved with). He’s a broken character, two-dimensional, and a bad representation of what a healthy Dom should be like. The true danger of the 50 Shades series is that Anastasia Steele (a la Bella Swan) changes Christian Grey in the end. She “heals” him of his kinky side and squishes him into this mold of perfect man.

imageBDSM can take on many shapes. Any gender person can be a top (i.e. the one doing the dominating), not just men, and any gender can be bottoms (i.e. the one being submissive), not just women. It can be as simple as a little bit of playing around in the bedroom: light spanking, rope, wax. Or it can be something intense, 24/7, where a contract is actually needed. It can be at events, where everyone who is attending is aware that there is a dungeon, which can involve everything including needle play, violet wands (electricity), spanking, flogging, and St. Andrew’s crosses. BDSM isn’t always about sex, but it can be. Healthy BDSM scenes have safe words where the submissive can slow down or stop the scene. A common terminology is “red” means “stop,” “yellow” means “slow down” or “we need to talk about this before going on,” and “green” means “I’m good, keep going.” Some submissives lose the ability to talk when in-scene, so dominants learn their body language or will have them give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down or some other signal if something is wrong. As we can see, the submissive is really the one in control.

imageThe relationships depicted in 50 Shades are fictional and based on no knowledge what-so-ever. Please do not try anything Ms. James describes at home. Do not try to force someone into a relationship (no stalking! No forcing expensive presents on people you barely know!). Do not assume that everyone in the kink scene is damaged and you can “fix” them. Please do actual research before going to a fetish event (FetLife.com is a good place to start). You can also find your local kink-friendly adult store and learn about events and munches (munches are social events, usually at restaurants or food courts), or educational events. Not every person in the kink scene will be nice to newbies, but some people will be more than happy to go over “dos” and “don’ts” at kink events. There are authors, such as Sassafrass Lowery and Laura Antoniou, who write BDSM fiction who are actually part of the BDSM scene. Therefore, although 50 Shades is popular, and can be considered “sexy” by those who don’t know much better, please do not consider it true BDSM.

 

Written by Brenna Kali Skirata.

Her writing can be found regularly here: http://owleyeview.blogspot.com/

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