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Is 50 Shades of Grey abuse?

Every now and then I get cc:d into a discussion with a Twitter account called @50shadesabuse, a campaign to “raise awareness that the 50 Shades of Grey series romanticises domestic abuse.” I wouldn’t write about it if it weren’t for the fact that they’re now planning to picket the film premiere, and I keep getting asked what I think. So here goes…

I’ve read book 1 of the 50 Shades trilogy. At the time my conclusion was: meh – it’s kinda hot in some places, but it’s not really for me. As a general rule, if there isn’t a sweaty, desperate fuck in which someone gets bent over and shagged up against a workbench in a garage, then it’s probably not something I can crack one off to.

Here’s the thing, though: it’s porn. It’s a book written for the very specific purposes of entertainment and tittilation, and so for whatever my feedback is worth, I think it’s done a pretty good job, as evidenced by all the people who have been tittilated and entertained by it.

Is Christian Grey an abusive fuckwad?

Yes. I mean, really obviously yes. He ignores Ana’s wishes, rides roughshod over her ‘no’s, and generally acts as if he is some kind of sexual deity, with controlling power over this fragile minion because she’s too weak to resist his dubious demands. He’s an arsehole. I probably would have found it easier to knock one out over the book if he’d focused on being smouldering, and kept his mouth shut for five minutes about his gold-plated helicopter and what Ana has for breakfast.

Is 50 Shades of Grey THE WORST?

I don’t think so. While books certainly can be abusive in certain contexts – a fictional story about two people engaged in a relationship, designed purely to tittilate an audience, is going to struggle to be anything more than that.

The issue I have with the frequent pronouncements about how the relationship in 50 Shades of Grey is abusive is less about whether they’re right (I think they are, and I’ve only read the first – apparently Christian gets even more restraining-order-worthy in the others) and more about the way this argument is presented: I often find it deeply patronising.

Sure, if you met Christian Grey in real life, you’d have a lot to worry about. He’s a stalker, he refuses to respect a ‘no’, he has a weird sex contract that is less horny than a kick in the crotch: he’s awful.

But much of the discussion around the nature of the relationship between Christian and Ana (NOT ALL OF IT OBVIOUSLY) seems to make the weird assumption that women aren’t capable of discerning the difference between fantasy and reality. Perhaps ‘women’ here is the wrong term. I think the way I’ve seen the argument presented a lot of the time is that there is a sub-category of women – other women – who might be damaged by 50 Shades. So, while I agree that Christian Grey is a colossal arsehole, I can’t help but ask who exactly are these other women? And why are they so much less perceptive than you, the one who is saving them?

Should we use 50 Shades of Grey as a model for relationships?

No. But then nor should we use Jane Eyre as a model for relationships, or Wuthering Heights, or a whole bunch of other fictional stuff. As Andrew Ellard pointed out on Twitter, there are plenty of other fictional stories with less-than-ideal characters.

Sure, feel free to tell people that the relationship is an abusive one. Feel free to use it as a learning experience if you like, or as a means to teach people the difference between fictional BDSM and real-life BDSM (as long as you remember that ‘real-life’ BDSM comes in more flavours than a food fight at a Baskin Robbins parlour – check out this ace thread by Jillian Keenan for more on this).

But while fictional relationships might be a great way to learn and teach people about new stuff, it’s worth remembering that fans of the book are in all likelihood adults who are capable of telling the difference between fact and fiction. The problem I have isn’t with the assertion that the relationship is abusive, but the implication that those who enjoy the books are wrong and bad and awful. That their fantasies are illegitimate, and they’re doing a kind of terrible, twisted, desperate harm to themselves as they turn each page, the poor poor things.

Do we do this with men? I mean, sure, we repeatedly point out that real life sex isn’t always like the sex people see in porn and on TV, and that’s an important message to get across. But do we tell submissive guys that they shouldn’t fancy Supernanny, because any real-life girlfriend who made them sit on a ‘naughty step’ would likely be a bad choice of life partner? Do we tell them not to set up shop as a plumber and have vigorous sex with their clients in the genuine and heartfelt belief that they don’t realise porn is fiction? 

Is 50 Shades of Grey worse than other erotic fiction?

Hell no: it’s just a fuck of a lot more popular.

I hate to say it, but there are plenty of erotic fiction books that include stories of unusual relationships and – yes – sometimes abusive ones. They’re fictional, they can do that. They can sexualise the dark, the taboo, the things you absolutely would never want to happen in real life. And they can mix it with the stuff that you might want to happen in real life. Fantasy and pornography is often a way of exploring those things that happen in your head in a way that is consensual, safe, and arousing.

I don’t think it’s a massive stretch to claim that 50 Shades readers understand this. 50 Shades readers are not a homogenous group with a blind spot about their own fantasies. Do we tell the woman who fantasises about being rescued from a burning building by a burly fireman that in reality that would be an abuse of his power and most likely a traumatic encounter as he takes advantage of someone in shock? Do we tell the person who roleplays naughty student/sexy teacher than in real life that would be fucked up? No – we assume that they know these things, because they’re grown adults. So what makes 50 Shades of Grey readers different?

Should we criticise 50 Shades of Grey?

Of course. It’s a book, and thoughtful critique is always useful.

I take massive and significant issue with mainstream media that writes about 50 Shades as if it’s the template for a happy sex life. Similarly, I’m not keen on commenters who explain that to do BDSM right you have to throw away the 50 Shades rule book and replace it with a rule book that they’ve written instead. How about you let people write their own rule books? Sure, give advice on safe play, but don’t dictate what other people’s boundaries should be. That’s a bit… well… a bit Christian Grey right?

But here’s the thing: I think these faults are mainly ones of interpretation and presentation. I don’t think they’re faults of the book itself. I don’t think the book presents Christian and Ana as a model for how to do relationships: it’s a work of erotic fiction. Ask any erotic fiction writer if they believe everyone should conduct their relationships the way their characters do, and I suspect he or she will laugh heartily at that nightmare scenario. If all imaginary characters were aspirational ideals for the perfect relationship, then erotic fiction would be terribly dull.

So sure, use it as a teaching point, as there may well be some useful things about relationship dynamics that you can highlight. But assuming that everyone who reads this work of erotic fiction needs you to hold their hand and tell them it’s not real? Taking one of the biggest breakthrough successes in female fantasy of the last ten years and telling all the women who’ve enjoyed it that they’re romanticising abuse?That makes me a bit uncomfortable.

I won’t come and stage a counter protest. I just won’t be standing beside you.


  • Serocco says:

    Basically this.

    It actually started off as twilight fanfiction. ;p

  • Vida says:

    I like these points a lot.

  • egale says:

    every time I see the 50 shades of grey I have a raging desire to open the store cupboard and move all of the “caution wet floor signs” to that section

  • Quelth says:

    The difference between Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights is that if Christian Grey does indeed “ride roughshod over her ‘no’s” (bear in mind I’ve probably read even less than you), then that makes him a straight-up glorified rapist doesn’t it? Rather than an “abusive fuckwad”, “arsehole” or any of the more vague and lighthearted terminology you could use to describe him.

    Of course there are a lot of unusual, dark relationships in fiction (erotic or otherwise), but the big problem here that this article completely avoids for the sake of abating some theoretical post-wank guilt, is that a supposedly abusive relationship is being presented as the complete opposite. As ever, it is the context that matters. It’s not a case of the opponents of this book saying that the silly, horny women enjoying the book are just too darn stupefied by their mastubatory fervour to realise what is fiction and what is not, which it must be said, is an incredibly patronising suggestion in of itself. It’s that the book has (maybe indadvertedly) disguised abusive behaviour as aspirational behaviour. In the same way that a racist/sexist subtext could be snuck into a movie’s narrative – which happens all the time. It’s still a disgusting thing and would be reductive and simplistic to just say ‘it’s fiction, people enjoyed it, chill out’. These things have a much more subtle and insidious effect than that; and you know this. The fact that you have felt the need to point out that it’s “one of the biggest breakthrough successes in female fantasy of the last ten years” smacks of defensive repudiation. Any positive impact you think these books may or may not have had is completely and utterly irrelevant to this particular argument. It doesn’t a free pass.

    Also I’m not submissive and I fancy Supernanny.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “The difference between Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights is that if Christian Grey does indeed “ride roughshod over her ‘no’s” (bear in mind I’ve probably read even less than you), then that makes him a straight-up glorified rapist doesn’t it?”

      In Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester pretty much threatens to rape Jane. He certainly treats her in ways that are violent and abusive and – iirc – at one point actually threatens her with violence. He also had a wife who he kept *locked in the attic*. I don’t think the comparison is a particularly imbalanced one, to be honest. I didn’t think my terminology was ‘lighthearted’ either, but fair enough if you thought so.

      “would be reductive and simplistic to just say ‘it’s fiction, people enjoyed it, chill out’.”

      I agree. Which is why that’s not what I’m saying, and why I deliberately said that using books as e.g. teaching points etc on relationships is a totally valid thing to do. I’m not saying ‘it’s fiction: chill out’ I’m saying – why pick on this fiction specifically? Why 50 Shades and nothing else? What is it about the readers of 50 Shades that you feel makes them need protecting as opposed to readers of other erotic books (or even non-erotic books)?

      “These things have a much more subtle and insidious effect than that; and you know this.”

      I do. But I find it surprising, and frustrating, that the ‘insidious effect’ of this book is being talked about way over and above the ‘insidious effect’ in a hell of a lot of our other media. I’m not saying ‘don’t talk about it’ – I’m saying ‘I’d rather not, because the way this particular debate is often presented feels uncomfortable to me.’ And it definitely feels more uncomfortable to protest a film like this than to kick off when, for instance, people publish articles which explain how to ‘make your love life more 50 Shades.’ I find the latter much harder to deal with.

      “Any positive impact … is completely irrelevant.”

      Hmm. I see what you mean, but I don’t think I agree. I think the impact of the book goes hand in hand with a lot of the arguments being made, which often seem to assume that while a small group of people might be able to discern these differences, and understand the book in context, because it’s had mass-market success there are whole bunches of people who couldn’t possibly understand the ways in which the book might affect them.

      And you don’t have to be submissive to fancy Supernanny – she’s ace.

  • Hel M. says:

    My issues with the abuse the books depict actually comes from worry that the readers will *not* be “adults who are capable of telling the difference between fact and fiction.” I think your idea there is that of *course* adults will be able to tell the difference between the abuse called kink in the books, and responsible kink.

    But why would we think that? Newbies to kink, regardless of age and other life experience, are notorious for thinking the extremes depicted in some lit or other (Gor, Sleeping Beauty, etc) are how things are ‘supposed’ to be done. And of course, there’re always those who’re happy to tell newbies that yes, that *is* how they should act.

    In light of that, I think it’s *crucial* that there be this very visible, vocal expression that no, this *isn’t* responsible kink, this *isn’t* how bottoms or submissives are ‘supposed’ to act. The books are perfectly good porn, you’re right. The problem is the people who may be thinking the books are a how to guide wrapped in a plot. They *need* to hear that it’s not so.

    • Azkyroth says:

      Yeah, this.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Yep, I totally get this, and that’s why I’d never want to say that topics like this should be verboten. It’s also partly why I’m more frustrated with e.g. articles that purport to tell you ‘how to sex your partner up the 50 shades way’ and then go on to give really crappy advice on play, or advice that’s based on a cursory google and a vague idea of ‘safewords’.

      Thing is though, a lot of the discussion atm feels like a hell of a lot more than that. I probably wouldn’t have written something like this a few months ago, because most people objecting to 50 Shades were saying much of what you say above – that it’s not a great representation of kink, that it’s important people know the difference, etc. However, one of the things that prompted me to write this was the fact that people are now protesting the film, telling people not to watch it *at all*, with a strong insinuation that it will damage them because they couldn’t possibly know the difference.

      So yeah, maybe a bit clearer than I wrote above: telling people it’s not a safe/consensual way to do kink? Bloody good idea. Telling people not to watch/read it because it’s insidious? That’s what makes me uncomfortable.

  • Andie says:

    I think the problem that a lot of people have with it is that because it is so popular they worry that people, perhaps particularly younger girls/women, will normalise the abusive behaviour / think that it is ok / think that it is desirable. While obviously people SHOULD be able to distinguish fiction from reality, I’m not sure that can be relied on when something is as absolutely massive as 50SoG. Especially when for a lot of people who read the book(s) it would be one of their first insights into the BDSM world. I don’t believe that people who like it are terrible people or that people who enjoy these things aren’t entitled to do so, but I think it is important to try and make people aware that ultimately a lot of the content in 50SoG is borderline abusive, if not outright abusive. I think it’s good that erotica is becoming a part of popular culture and that women are becoming more comfortable being more overtly sexual (should they desire to be so) and if we are just taking the series as porn then it definitely isn’t the worst out there, but at the end of the day I’m not sure I buy that people ARE just reading/watching it as porn, they are reading/watching it as romance and something to aspire towards, and that makes it very different. We already live in such a misogynistic culture, and I think 50SoG being so famous and being held so high by so many people is a really pertinent example of that, and I do think it’s a good thing that there are people who are trying to battle that.

  • I started this conversation on my Twitter, so I thought it best to bring it here.

    A lot of the worry I see around what readers will see/think/do after reading the Fifty Shades novels is quite similar to the worry about what viewers will see/thing/do after watching consensual non-consent pornography. Except for some reason, a section of the BDSM community have determined that the average viewer for CNC porn has the where-with-all to determine that it’s not how things should go outside of that piece of fiction, but the average reader of FSOG can’t.

    The argument could be that that a lot of CNC has a pre-shoot and post-shoot interview to reiterate the fact it’s fiction, where a paperback book does not. So if FSOG came out with an edition with a warning page, would this calm a lot of the ‘they’ll think this is how BDSM really is’ worries?

    Both seem to be a form of ‘Won’t someone think of the children’, but with fully functioning adults who are seemingly unable to make the decision that what is going on in this piece of fiction should not happen outside that world.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “‘Won’t someone think of the children’, but with fully functioning adults”

      Yep, I think that’s a v clear way of putting it! Obviously it’s great that we are actually discussing consent, BDSM, kink etc, but I think there’s a difference between critiquing the relationship and protesting/openly challenging anyone who enjoys the books/films etc.

  • Azkyroth says:

    I think there’s a legitimate fear that the kind of relationship presented in 50 Shades is, due to our cultural repression and pre-existing sex negativities, going to be mistakenly presented and interpreted as representative of how BDSM is, or how it should be done “to do it right.”

    The rest, meh.

  • This is the best post I’ve read on this whole 50 Shades furore. Thanks Rx

  • MariaSibylla says:

    The first erotica books I got off to as a kid were Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s romance novels. Invariably, the young heroine was “accidentally” raped by the hero (during the act she always realized she liked it) but it was “OK” because they always ultimately were true love matches and lived happily ever after. I remember trying to explain this to my best male friend at 16. He had attempted to read one of his mom’s books by Woodiwiss and was appalled. That trope was not unusual in mainstream romance novels from the 80s and early 90s (though I’m pretty sure it’s fallen out of favor now – as society has gotten more progressive about sex maybe?). Romance is and has been a best selling genre. While no specific romance novel of that time was as ubiquitous as 50 Shades, the style was still reaching a ton of women and I don’t think they all went away assuming rape was OK.

    I also think it’s somewhat important that people are talking about bdsm in mainstream media. Of course there will be misinformation but isn’t the larger platform a good opportunity for education?

  • Artemis says:

    As far as erotica goes, I grew up on slash sites in the heady days of the big internet boom in the late 90s, which certainly had its share of non-consensual stuff. But it was porn. Quite obviously and explicitly so. It was there for the sole purpose of wanking.

    AFAIK, 50SoG started off that way, and I don’t think porn necessarily needs caveats and addendums (addenda?) beyond the implicit one contained in the word porn, that it’s a fantasy. But it’s not sold as porn. It’s sold as romance, and the tropes and implicit assumptions in romance are different, and as MariaSibylla pointed out, subject to changing fashions and social stuff. That makes a difference for me. I’m not sure I can work out why when I’m writing on my phone though, this is hella irritating.

    I do want to add something else though. I recently had an argument with a friend about Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight, which I contend has implicit rape in it which I am not happy with. Not the stuff where the dragons are on heat and that makes the riders horny and ultimately F’lar and Lessa shag, I’m fine with that, but because of one line later where F’lar thinks something along the lines of “they’d had sex since then, but she didn’t enjoy it; she’d come round eventually”. That to me says rape. Not to my friend though. And it didn’t to me for a long time and several re-reads.

    I think the thing for me is that that throwaway line normalises marital rape, in a way that dragon shags doesn’t. And 50SoG does a similar thing. We know these are works of fiction, but they still mirror reality, and they are part of a wider culture which treats consent as optional. That’s problematic. I don’t have any solutions other than publicising it though. I’m too lazy to protest, and I don’t think it’d be hugely helpful, but I can at least talk about this stuff.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Mmm, yeah I can see why that made you uncomfortable. To be honest I think there’s a hell of a lot of stuff like that in media, and it’s often strongest in partnered scenarios (i.e. with married couples etc). But it’s a tricky one, because I think there often can be consensual sex without enjoyment (although bear with me here as I’m basing just on what you’ve written and I haven’t read Dragonflight). There are certain scenes which I’ve found hot in really particular ways which involve either a lack of enjoyment or a kind of bored indifference to sex. The one that leaps to mind is the Black Mirror episode in which people have the ‘grains’ implanted in their brains which allow them to replay old memories. The husband and wife have a kind of lacklustre shag while each of them is playing a hot memory from the past. They’re dead eyed and blank and clearly not in the moment, and yet I wouldn’t say that’s non-consensual – it’s just indifferent.

      Onto the 50SoG thing, and romance, which a few people have mentioned. I think that’s an interesting point, and to be honest I tend not to draw quite such a strong line between romance and porn. One or two people picked me up on this on Twitter – whether 50 Shades is romance as opposed to porn, and I’ve been pondering it. It’s definitely at the romantic end of porn, and the romantic relationship is stronger in something like 50 Shades than in a straight up fuck story. But I don’t want to separate the two quite so heavily, mainly because I think what counts as porn is very personal. Basically, I have no issue with defining 50 Shades as romance, but I think what does make me uncomfortable is in holding romantic fantasy to significantly different standards to erotic fantasy. Yes, they’re different, and that’s why I say that using them as e.g. teaching points on relationship dynamics can be totally useful etc. But what seems to be going on in a lot of the 50 Shades argument is much more than that – it’s a kind of ‘your fantasy is harmful to you *even if you don’t know it*’ and that’s something that I have rarely seen attributed to any other romantic or erotic writing. Basically I’m personally uncomfortable going ‘hey your fantasy is wrong.’ It’s not that I think the relationship in 50 Shades is necessarily anything to aspire to, it’s that I think romantic relationships (whether in erotic fiction or straight-up romance) are very rarely things to actually aspire to in real life.

      I think what I’m getting at is that, whether you’d see 50 Shades as porn or romance, the fact is that it is a legitimate outlet for sexual fantasy, and romantic fantasy, and so I wouldn’t want to hold it to different standards to any other fantasy.

      • Artemis says:

        See, I’ve seen a lot of judging of romance as a genre (and done a lot myself, I was not always the tolerant and open-minded feminist I am today), and there is a lot of judgement about the genre not being good for people. So in that respect, erotica is no different. There’s also a lot of line-blurring between the two genres – most modern romance has a bunch of sex scenes of varying degrees of quality in it. In fact, most genre fiction I’ve read does, I usually go for SF/F and at least one sex scene is pretty much obligatory now.

        There’s a fucktonne of sexism that goes along with the judging of genre romance, it’s not hard to spot, but I suspect that some of the judging that SF/F gets is connected to sex scenes being an accepted part of the genres – it was part of the transgressive nature of it back in the 50s/60s I think, and is now seen as being adolescent porn and blah blah prurient blah. If erotica and romance should be judged equally, and I think there’s certainly a good argument for them being so, should all novels with elements of erotica be judged the same way? Which is kind of my problem – they’re not being. There’s a lot of terrible, terrible sex in genre fiction, with terrible and awful messages behind it, above and beyond McCaffrey’s marital rape fantasies.

        I suppose what I mean is, everything that I’ve seen tells me that romance and erotica are judged differently and have different rules, which is not great but fair enough, but that application causes a lot of problems and means that I am far more likely to apply more stringent criteria to one genre over the other. If I am to take that away and judge them under the same criteria, I have to apply that to a much wider range of genres than Regency romances and Dean/Castiel shipping (mmmmmm I spy crossover wanks in my future), and that requires a lot more effort than your OP suggested.

        TL;DR: stuff is hard, but I’m pretty sure I have just got an amazing fanfic idea so whevs.

  • shannon says:

    My problem with 50 Shades of Grey is that it gives a lot of people the wrong idea of BDSM. It allows people to think I like abuse in a non-playing way. And that bugs me, because I shouldn’t have to defend my sex life.

    But the bigger problem is that it’s been a lot of women’s first exposure to BDSM. So when they go to explore it, and they meet an abuser, it’s easy for them to get sucked in. It makes it easier for abusive Doms — and there are A LOT — to tell them that that’s just how the game is played. That boundaries don’t have to be respected. That safewords don’t have to be honored. It legitimizes the abuse that happens in BDSM with crappy people.

    • Captain Smith says:

      This is my feeling too. I recognise that the book’s a fantasy, and that the vast majority of readers recognise it as a fantasy themselves. That’s fine as far as it goes, and the more abusive aspects are justifiable in that context. But I do worry about the ideas it gives people about BDSM, and that some readers might think ‘this is how BDSM is supposed to work’. I think there is something slightly irresponsible about how the book misrepresents BDSM (in part due to the author’s lack of knowledge), and I do think there’s a value in people with actual experience of BDSM standing up and saying, “No, this *isn’t* how it’s supposed to work. Or at least it doesn’t have to be.”

      Having said all that, part of me is still happy that a book about BDSM has become such a huge success, and that it’s helping some people discover their kinky side. I just wish it had been (a) more accurate, and (b) better written…

  • Rapunzel says:

    50 shades is just Disney Princess isn’t it? Sad girl rescued by prince. Her only role to wait and obey and hope he happens along. No decision, no agency, no desire but passive longing. Sure, it might be passive longing for something kinky, but still passive longing. Its awful. Bloody awful…wait….

    Anyone remember American Psyco? How horrible was that film? I read the book first. Was anyone else pissed off they didnt get to see Christian Bale stick his thick long cock through the the severed skull of some slut bitch he just cut up? Yeh. Me too. Talk about bastardisation of fantasy. I’d like to protest the patronising motherfuckers who messed that one up. Are you still with me?…

    Excellent. 50 shades gave me a stiffy. The characters and the message it gives might have been fucking awful, but the rest was just awful fucking. Fucking is hot. Hot is good. American psycho…yeh ok , not so much. The point is that one’s erection might be the best barometer of quality erotica. But its not a good barometer of how to behave. For that one needs to use their brain aswell. Likewise, if you are just going to use your brains and not listen to your inner horniness (i’m looking at you eager protesters) you are also going to run into trouble about how to behave.

    Telling other people that they SHOULDN’T watch or enjoy the fifty shades fantasy is as stupidly patronising as the hollywood media mogul mouthpieces shouting they SHOULD enjoy it.

    Of course the effect the film will have on viewers will vary. Sadly, there are plenty of men and women who confuse fact with fiction. Nigel Farage for example. And voters. Lots of them. They go to the cinema. And they like sex. So it follows there will be dumb arseholes that will confuse abusive erotic fantasy with a blueprint for normal behavior (hell, the commercials at the beginning of the movie have been taking advantage if this for decades). But here’s my question: whats the alternative? That the rest of us should be affraid to explore those fantasies in our heads? That we don’t experiment with consenting partners? That we tone it down? That we ban it? No way. You can fuck right off with any of that. I want people to watch it and think ‘ooh, i wonder if there is anything better than this sexist Disney movie?’ You see it applies to nearly all hollywood movies. Not just erotic romance. The ones who don’t use their brains we can’t do much about. With any luck the fsog viewers that do will end up here, reading gotn. And that’s gotta be a good thing. I’ll probably still go watch the film.

  • Captain Smith says:

    As an afterthought to my comment above: I think a lot of the controversy over 50 Shades has arisen out of collisions between communities that aren’t familiar with each other’s stuff.

    That is:
    – People who like romance novels/erotic fiction, but aren’t familiar with BDSM and consent issues;
    – People who like BDSM, but aren’t familiar with the tropes of romantic/erotic fiction;
    – Journalists and bloggers who aren’t familiar with either of the above, but want to write about it anyway.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Who understands what BDSM is? I mean just attempting to read fosg seems pretty masochistic to me. I dont particularly like leather or chains. Actually they seem tedious to me. But i think i do like BDSM. Is that allowed? What exactly is romance for that matter? I wouldn’t say fsog is particularly romantic either. Not compared to say Shrek. So theres plenty of disagreement there too. Trying to categorize every thought and action as one or the other is time wasting. Life is full of nuance. Try searcing for films by genre on rotten tomatoes and you’ll see what I mean. I think the only issue of concern throughout this whole thread is, can we trust people to understand consent? Dunno. But sex bloggers, bdsm lovers and movie producers shouldn’t be the ones who have to explain it or defend themselves every time they want to portray fucking. Virgin nuns, kids and low lebedo couples need to understand it too. Also fsog has Christian Grey use condoms quite a bit in the book. Thats a good message isnt it? But should we expect everyone to write that into their erotic fiction? I hope not. Should we assume safe sex is a good thing. Absolutely. Should we assume people always practice safe sex. No. But I am not sure why erotic romance should get the blame for any of this. Likewise for sexual abuse and non consent. After all nearly everyone who hasn’t watched or read any kind of erotic fiction has or will have sex with someone else.

  • Stephanie says:

    I still want to see the movie, just to get my curiosity out of the way.

  • Peneth says:

    Real BDSM is about mutual trust and enjoyment. He does things to her she does not consent to and when she gets upset buys her expensive things to get back on her good side. That’s abuse, mental and physical. Disgusting. What more is there to be said?

    • Rapunzel says:

      Real BDSM? All sex, even just kissing, should be about mutual trust and enjoyment. Plutonic friendships too. Christian Grey is disgusting. Fortunately, like James bond and that bastard Darth Vader, he doesn’t exist.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “What more is there to be said?”

      Well, everything else I said in the post, and that other people have thoughtfully contributed in the comments.

  • Jasmine says:

    I was listening to LBC the other night, home of the crazies, and had some of the same thoughts as you: this debate about it being an inaccurate and potentially damaging take on BDSM seems to be slightly out of context, as it’s only a book. The vast majority of people reading it are most likely aware of it being fictional and not expecting a rich, young, handsome egotistical weirdo to come and save them. It’s a modern day Prince Charming, with less of the charming.

    I wonder if it could be a feminist issue? After all, no one’s telling men not to expect scantily clad women to fall at your feet as you adjust your cufflinks a la James Bond. I wonder if it’s a reaction to women’s sexuality becoming more of a discussion point in the mainstream? We must protect the ladies from themselves?

  • Anyway I’ll still be watching and dreaaaaaming about 50 Shades!!
    But no man dares acting abusively towards me, otherwise he will my fist closer to his eyes!!!!

    Your blog is amazing!!

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