Fifty Shades of Grey: 5 BDSM Myths Debunked

Fifty Shades of Grey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, I’m sure you’ve heard all about the “super hot and incredibly kinky” (suppresses an eye roll) Fifty Shades of Grey.

Maybe it says something about the company I keep, but I surely cannot be the only person whose social media feeds have been full of the Fifty Shades of Grey film trailer this week.

I have read the books. I have read all three of the books. When I read them I came to one verdict. As badly written fiction not to be taken seriously, they’re ok. Just about. Literature is full of poor ideas of relationships. How many times as a child did we hear about a prince and princess meeting, falling in love, getting married and living happily ever after? I’m sorry, but in the real world you don’t marry the first person you ever get a boner for within a few weeks of said boner. And when people do this, it doesn’t tend to work out happily ever after. However, most of us are aware that isn’t what a healthy normal relationship looks like so we know not to take it too seriously.

With BDSM however, most of us don’t get a lot of exposure apart from the odd seedy bar in a film or when some sexually frustrated middle aged lady pens fiction like this. Which is obscenely dangerous because it suggests that certain negative traits throughout Christian and Ana’s relationship are normal and commonplace in BDSM relationships. So here at Cultured Vultures HQ (a network of bedrooms and desks connected by the power of the internet) I decided to tackle some of Fifty Shades of Grey’s mistakes head on, delve into the mysterious world of Kink and debunk some of those popular BDSM Myths.

Unsure of some of the terms used? I’ve included a handy glossary at the bottom.

 

 5 BDSM Myths Debunked

Fifty Shades of Grey

1. Submitting means you lose all power to say “No”

In Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian gets Ana to sign a contract with all the expectations from their BDSM relationship on it. Consequently, she receives a spanking from him and ends up in bits.

No dominant in the lifestyle would ever, ever seek to put their sub through genuine misery like that. It is the Dom’s responsibility to ensure that the submissive is safe. However, the submissive always has responsibility to let the dominant know if they’re in trouble, generally through a pre-arranged safe word. A common and effective system, as described in the books, is the traffic light system. Green for good, Yellow for please stop what you’e doing but I’m ok to continue and Red for stop immediately; I need after care. This is a really great and effective way of communicating quickly in a dynamic but the important thing is that a submissive always has the ability to stop what is happening. They are always safe.

Simply put, how often have you tried food only to discover you didn’t like it? Did anyone make you keep eating? No. Sex/Play should be the same, try it but you have a right to say no if you don’t like it.

In the books, Christian actually gets annoyed with her for safe wording.

Anyone who is angry with you for looking out for your own safety and well-being is not worth having in your life. That is not to be expected within a BDSM dynamic and if it is happening to you, get the fuck out of there.

 

2. BDSM is all about pain

There seems to be this idea that BDSM is all about hitting each other as hard as you can. Largely because on TV that is what you see of it. However, I might remind you that is just the SM initials of BDSM. What about Bondage, Dominance and Submission? BDSM can take on many formats, what makes it BDSM is the exchange of power. This can involve mind play, general roughness, age play.. all sorts. And yes, it can be about whipping the shit out of each other, but it is just one part of it. A person can be into BDSM and be neither a Sadist or a Masochist.

In the book, it is quite clear to me that Ana is no Masochist and yet she frequently subjects herself to pain to please him. The idea of servitude, of doing things to please your Dominant is perfectly kinky and fine but she should always be able to talk to him about what is and isn’t ok for her. When she subjects herself to at his hands that leaves her distraught…that is not fine.

Although some couples may be “lifestylers” whereby a partner has control 24/7, the level of non-consensual control Christian imposes over Ana is abusive. For example, when he takes over the company she works at to keep her safe. If one person in the partnership is not happy then this isn’t ok.

 

3. BDSM is all about sex

I guess this is because most peoples exposure to BDSM is through porn. However, for many practising kinksters BDSM can be about many things. In fact, a lot of people play together without any sexual contact at all. This is because the exchange of pain and pleasure and power does not need to be sexual and can be seen as very intimate and sensual as an experience. So, if you’re looking at Fifty Shades of Grey and thinking “Wow, that sounds like a great way to pick up chicks” Sorry. You’re wrong.

If you want to score, I recommend being a nice person and going out there and meeting people properly. It’s not a 100% success rate, but it’s how most non-douches do it.

 

4. Only people with fucked up childhoods are kinky

In the books it is slowly revealed that Christian was abused as a child. So of course this explains why he’s into BDSM and generally being an utter douchebag and suddenly we can magically forgive him for all the horrible controlling things he does.

Of course. That is totally how life works.

First of all, there is no excuse for controlling your girlfriend and tapping their phone and taking over their social life etc etc. More importantly, however, is that people can be interested in BDSM without being abused as a child. Sure, people who are into BDSM tend to come from alternative backgrounds which means they may have experienced more conflict, but generally speaking the key difference is open mindedness to new things.

 

5.  BDSM works based on a contract

In Fifty Shades,Christian gives Ana a contract outlining the perimeters of their play and relationship and boom she signs away her consent and boom, it’s all done and dusted.

Communication should never, ever work like that. Yes, it is very important to talk before getting involved in play and have a thorough understanding of what your play partner is ok with or not ok with and it is always important setting up a fail safe if things do go wrong. So, for example, a safe word system and a discussion about what after care might be needed.

However, this communication should not ever just stop once you’ve done it once. People grow and develop and it is important to keep that communication up. Scenes can be very very intense but they can be very dangerous if the two people do not know how to communicate properly.

 

“I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey and I still really want some kinky fuckery”

Hey, that’s great for you and I really hope you do get a chance to explore your sexual deviance. Just make sure you’re well read and well informed ok? I promise you, it will be much more enjoyable if you do your homework first.

 

 

BDSM Glossary

Play: The different actions and activities that take place within scenes. Play partners may engage in BDSM play with each other and not have a romantic or sexual connection.

Scene: A scene is when two people are playing with each other. Before a scene negotiations take place. During a scene BDSM activity is engaged in. After a scene, partners receive appropriate after care.

Top: The “giver” in a BDSM scenario. May be giving pain or other sensations.

Bottom: The “taker”. Will be on the receiving end.

Dominant: The Dominant has the power and will lead the direction of the scene. Not synonymous for a top. Although both may well be related, a Dominant can be on the receiving end having instructed and lead the scene that way.

Submissive: Submits and serves to the Dominant who sets the structure of the scene.

Switch: Somebody who may take on both roles depending on each relationship dynamic.

 

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