Does 50 Shades of Grey Accurately Reflect BDSM?

October 22, 2020 5:02 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard about 50 Shades of Grey. The Twilight fanfiction-turned-cultural juggernaut has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the world.

While some readers were totally titillated, others in the Salinas, CA BDSM community were disturbed. If you’ve been turning to 50 Shades for sex ideas, read on. There’s one key component missing from the depiction.

What 50 Shades is missing

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, chances are, you’re interested in exploring BDSM. Depending on how experienced you are (or how far along in your research you’ve gotten), pop culture makes it seem like blindfolds, handcuffs, collars and whips are the key components of a BDSM experience. 50 Shades is no exception.

Anastasia Steele enters into an unconventional relationship with Christian Grey after she finds out he has a “dark secret”: he likes kinky sex. There are certainly parts of the movie that are accurate to the BDSM experience, from the impact play to the restraints shown. Ana is submissive; Christian is dominant. However, the books and movie omit the most important part of BDSM: communication.

In the first book, much of the tension revolves around whether Ana will sign a contract to be Christian’s submissive. She is attracted to him—maybe even in love with him—but she also doesn’t enjoy the violent sex. When Christian threatens to “punish” her for acts like rolling her eyes, she doesn’t submit to it because it’s erotic for both of them. She does it because she’s afraid of their relationship ending.

Throughout the series, Ana’s wishes are subsumed into Christian’s. Despite clearly not enjoying that aspect of the relationship (at least initially), she puts up with it to prevent a breakup. Her wishes are not taken into account. That’s not BDSM. That’s emotional manipulation and abuse, which have no place in the community.

How to communicate with your partner

BDSM aficionados will all tell you that it is vitally important to communicate with your partner(s) before you begin the “scene.” You need to sit down and talk about what you want to do, where your hard limits are and what you’re open to trying. A safe word is also a must. This is often awkward for beginners, and they fear it will take the “sexiness” out of the scene. On the contrary, because there is a power imbalance during the scene, this helps all parties relax and enjoy the moment. Once everyone knows what the parameters and boundaries are, it’s easier for someone to stop when they’re uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, as fun as the 50 Shades series may be, Ana didn’t really get that communication opportunity. If she’d gotten the chance to express her needs and boundaries, perhaps those initial BDSM experiences would have been a lot more pleasurable.

Are you interested in trying out your own 50 Shades “red room” in Salinas, CA? Book a visit at the Monterey Stay & Play today. We’ll make sure you get the fun side of a 50 Shades experience, in a setting that promotes positive communication and support.

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