My Own Rant about 50 Shades of Grey

Posted: August 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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This probably will not turn out as you expect it to. In school, I think most people thought I was the “quiet, reserved, smart” one. I didn’t date, didn’t go to dances (oh, except for that one Halloween dance, where I earned the unfortunate nickname of “Legs”), never attended prom, spent all of my free time deeply involved in academic, civic, church, and volunteer activities, and the only real physical activity I was involved in was dance – which I dearly loved and spent untold hours cultivating, in the studio and at home in my room.

Sex was not in my vocabulary. We never discussed it at home, I didn’t hang around friends who discussed it, and I never snuck out at night or enjoyed weekends in the back of a boy’s car or playing strip poker at a friends’ (oops, in the interest of full disclosure, there was one time, but that was a weird error in judgment and, to be honest, I thought we were playing some bizarre version of Ring Around the Rosy). At any rate, I was pretty sure, as was everybody else, I imagine, that I would never have a boyfriend and never get married. And sex? That was just not even something I ever thought about.

There are reasons for all that, much too complicated to get into here. I did like boys, though; my first real crush was in elementary school, and I had several after that. That was all they were though, silly schoolgirl crushes, and nothing more ever came of them.

Hm…I was going to talk about 50 Shades of Grey, wasn’t I? Ok, ok. Keep your panties on. I’m getting there. A few years back, after many mostly unfulfilled years of travel and work and major illness and surgeries and more work and lots of education, I met this amazing guy. Kind. Gentle. Considerate. Loving. Caring. The only thing that was a little different about him was that he was a Dominant. Someone who liked to be in control in the relationship. And he was looking for someone who liked to be in service to compliment him.

I could go into lots of lurid details here, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that we had a beautiful, completely consensual, fully negotiated, exciting, safe, loving, caring relationship for 5 years. That relationship is currently in flux due to schedules and the general nature of life, but there has never been an issue with the nature of the relationship itself.

I’ve read lots of negative articles and blogs about 50 Shades. Some bring up valid points with the book. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it (so please pardon if I miss a point), but my primary issue with the story was that many folks were calling it a “classic D/s” or “classic BDSM” book and there were several parts and activities that came across as clearly nonconsensual and/or manipulated. In D/s, consent is the foundation in most relationships. There are some relationships where there exists this concept called consensual nonconsent, during which consent is implied for all activities chosen by the Dominant. That generally happens only with long-term partners who have developed a strong bond of trust and understanding between them, and it’s not widely used or recommended in the community. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m referring to clear evidence of manipulation by the male character, Christian Grey, of the female character.

I’m sure there are other negative points about the book/film from a D/s and BDSM standpoint, which I’ll address in a later blog, after the film is released. What a lot of bloggers and reviewers have focused on, though, is the alternative nature of the “play” that the characters engage in, some actually calling it sinful and perverted, and the idea that sex should only be within the confines of marriage. Others focus on the seemingly lack of inequality that exists between the partners, with him in a controlling position and her in a more submissive one.

D/s relationships are as different and varied as vanilla (or traditional) ones. But just because I choose to allow my partner to make the final decisions on matters (sexual and otherwise) while we’re together doesn’t mean that he does not listen to me and take everything I say into serious consideration when making his decision. He values my opinion and cares for me and does everything with my best interest at heart. In the bedroom, we negotiate everything before we do it – way ahead of time – so he knows what I’m comfortable with and what absolutely squicks me. And if I don’t like it, we don’t go there. We’re not married, but I would much rather be with someone like him than in a marriage with someone that never talked to me, or that verbally abused me, or that refused to honor my needs or desires. We honor each other in ways that some married couples never could, because they never should have been married in the first place.

And, in many ways, I’m delighted that this book and film have put the “sinful and perverted” stuff out there. Because it gets people talking. And it reminds people – the thinking ones, anyway – that “sin” is really a man-made concept. Written in a book, written by men, selectively chosen by a panel of more men to control society. “Sin” also, interestingly, seems to be on a spectrum. It is sinful and perverted for a character in a book to, outside of marriage, tie his lover up and whip her with a crop in a purely consensual display of delightful foreplay, but apparently totally ok for the guy next door to beat the shit out of and rape his wife on a nightly basis because they’re “married.” Yep. That makes perfect sense to me.

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