The Dangerous Blurring of BDSM Fantasy Lives and Fifty Shades of Grey

We have seen how American culture has descended to the worship of Honey Boo Boo, discussed how violent video games  can sensitize us to the consequences of violence and shuddered at the thought of some of the classics of literature being re-written to include sex scenes that never were  which nicely brings me to 50 shades of YUK.

Yes, THAT book — so called “mommy porn” — is already being linked to the deaths of real people. There have been several cases in the USA which have been called the “50 shades of grey killing” — or tales of the “real life 50 shades of grey killer/stalker” — but I am not able to establish the provenance for those stories and suspect it is a label applied by the press.

There is, however, one case in Sweden where the 50 Shades of Grey link is little more established.
There have always been accidents in the BDSM world – I have witnessed a few, they have been quickly spotted and appropriately dealt with.  There have always been rotten apples in the BDSM world, where the cunning have used the dominant /submissive dynamic to hide their domineering and abusive behaviour.

Then there is another high risk group – the downright stupid who cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality and who think because they have read something in a book or seen something on a film or on television – that they too can do this without consequence.

The real BDSM community collectively cringed – and still are at the number of people who are now exploring BDSM with their entire base point being this book.  This is the new wave of BDSM – one without mentoring, one without classes, one without much base in reality, one with no responsibility and one which will bring more accidents and deaths.

I hope I am wrong – I hope that the BDSM community comes together and steps up their classes, their mentoring, and their responsibility to themselves and the community before too much damage is done to their cause.

As a footnote,  I used to teach safe, sound BDSM and provide BDSM counselling – there were already enough problems with the fantasy/reality gap before THAT book was launched on us.

12 comments

  • Thank you for writing this keen, new article for us, Nicola! I think you might want to help some readers understand the definition of “BDSM” in case they’re new to the topic or haven’t fully dropped into the 50 Shades world yet. SMILE!

    • BDSM in its most basic form is an acronym for Bondage & Discipline/ Dominance & Submission/ Sado-Masochism . In reality it encompasses a whole range of fetishes and sexual explorations from fluffy handcuffs on Valentines Day to the more hard core leather sado-masochism.

      • Excellent! Just looking up “BDSM” on the internet gives a whole bunch of fuzzy and vague definitions.

        Is there a good BDSM book out there one could use to safely explore the lifestyle, or is that done best with a real live person teaching you?

  • Fantasy Made Flesh by Deborah Addington is probably the best place to start – It overs everything from the first thoughts to finding like minded people, negotiations – ie how to be safe and stay safe.

    If you find you and your partner like the idea you could follow it up with a book that explores your specific area of interest or one that overs they dynamics of your choice.

    Two of the best in this group are New Bottoming Book & New Topping Book both by Dossie Easton and Janet W Hardy.

    All three are published by Greenery Press.and available from Amazon.com for around 10$ each.

  • Thank you for sharing your expertise, Nicola. Why do you think people are attracted to soft porn novels like 50 Shades of grey? Do they feel they are breaking a boundary and being naughty? Or is it just the next step in discovery from the romance novel?

    • That is a really tough question to answer. Porn per se has never attrated me in any of its forms. I suspect this may be because my mind is always going – yeah yeah – ever tried that in real life – or get real – or OMG they are not that stupid are they ……………..

      Having said that when I was researhing for my submission on Extreme Pornography in the UK over five years ago there was a huge difference between pornography usage between men and women. Men preferred visual , women preferred written.

      There has been a genre of soft porn for women – think they were called Black Lace – around for a while but whilst they sold they were nothing like the
      Shades of Grey phenomenon. In between the two has been a greater acceptance of alternative lifestyles, Gays and Lesbians are very much more out of their closet and so is their literature – especially Lesbian soft porn.

      Shades of Grey badly written as it is has bought soft pornography into the mainstream – it can be bought in any bookstore – it does not have to be wrapped in a brown paper package – it does not carry the stigma previously attached to pornography.

      I think its popularity is a mixture of curiousity, being saucy and that as the sexual revoloution has progressed people have given themselves permission to be saucy and to explore. I also think there is an element of being “with it” to use a phrase from the 1960s !

  • Just recently, my roommates and I have stumbled upon a television series on Netflix called Kink and the series goes through the lives of those interested in S and M and BDSM. It is truly an interesting series and this article made me think of it. It’s definitely worth checking out some time because it certainly opens your eyes to social cultures that are not based around ethnicity.

    • Thank you for the recommendation – I will have to see about the availability of Netflix here and look out for it. I hope it shows a balanced view – unlike a lot of the programs that were aired in the UK where most of the participants were of the more eccentric variety and in some cases ” seriously damaged” . I have to say some of the best people in my life I found in that community – also some of the nastiest people ever.

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