They are everywhere. Articles and blogs debating the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. And so many start with the same sentence or a variation of it: ‘I am so tired of articles and blogs about Fifty Shades! Why won’t it go away?’ And then they proceed to write about it.
I have very few opinions about the insanely successful trilogy that has supposedly launched the ‘mommy porn’ era. For one thing, I haven’t read it. I’m a sci-fi and horror junkie, and I have little interest in contemporary erotica, even if it does include BDSM. I’m not a fan of our real world, even the fictionalized versions of it. (I am allowed to see contemporary fiction as the real world, aren’t I? Great, now I’ve confused myself.)
Another issue is the price of these books. I’m cheap. I’m not spending ten bucks on an ebook that I question I’ll even like. I won’t spend that much on an ebook from an author I adore. It makes my butt cheeks clench.
I do pay a lot of attention to what everyone is saying. After all, these books have brought BDSM into everyday conversation and sparked a boom in the genre’s sales. I’ve heard the Fifty Shades books are badly written. That they’re utterly hot. That they’re pure porn. That they do not represent the kink community in any way that is remotely accurate. That BDSM is abusive.
It’s that last bit that gets my attention. The allegation comes from, among others, authors who may or may not write erotica. They can’t refrain from weighing in on why Fifty Shades doesn’t deserve the success it has. I sense much jealousy out there. Because jealousy is unseemly, it seems that making the ‘abuse’ argument is a valid reason to them to jump all over these books and their author.
Now, I can’t comment on whether or not the relationship depicted in this trilogy is abusive since I haven’t read it. But to slam the BDSM community as a whole with such a label makes me shake my head. People who live outside the kink world really have no business saying such things, particularly if you are going to write entire articles about it. Seems to me you should be doing your research before going on a rant over something you don’t know the first thing about.
First of all, not all kink means whips and physical discipline. Some people within the community never indulge in such things. It can be mental domination. It can be bondage. It can be a dressing up and playing out a scene. Seriously. BDSM does not automatically equal bruises.
Secondly, and I’ve talked about this before, the submissive is the person in ultimate control of the play. Check out my earlier blog Control Freaks to re-visit this discussion. The Dom or Master gets to be the power figure because the sub gives him/her permission to be that. It’s like the joke, “I’m the man of the house because my wife says so.”
Third, in a healthy BDSM encounter, the Dominant is always checking on the sub, especially if physical chastisement is taking place. Even if the sub has not used their safeword to stop play, the Dom makes sure everything is okay. There are some subs out there who will not safeword out as a matter of pride, even if they need to. Responsible Doms know this and take steps accordingly. And that goes for emotional as well as physical issues. Just because spanking or whipping might not be involved doesn’t mean a sub can’t be damaged. Most Dominants take their role very seriously in keeping their subs safe.
Fourth, and this is the biggie, BDSM play involves much more trust and care than the typical vanilla relationship. After all, the sub is putting their wellbeing in the Master/Mistress’ hands. Does a victim of abuse trust her abuser? Absolutely not. Yet trust is a major factor in kink play.
Does physical and mental abuse take place in BDSM? Sure, the same way it takes place in vanilla relationships. Abuse has nothing to do with the kink life anymore than it does with the couple who only have sex on Friday nights with the lights off and in the missionary position. To assume just because it carries the label BDSM that it is automatically abusive to a woman is pure ignorance.
I know abuse, physical and emotional, from firsthand experience. What I do and have done to me in the privacy of my bedroom is not abuse. It is fun and loving and safe. I have complete trust and confidence in my partner, not fear.
So you don’t get the kink lifestyle. Fine. I don’t get your vanilla lifestyle. Sex without the intensity and excitement I get from indulging in BDSM is boring to me. That’s just the way I’m made. I’ll tell you what: I’ll respect yours if you’ll respect mine.