First, I want to make two disclaimers. Yes, I have read the book. No, I am not in the BDSM lifestyle. I have researched BDSM (which stands for Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism), interviewed those who are, and I have written about it. I did my homework because I knew if I didn’t my readers would see right through that. I respected them and wanted to make sure I got it right. Let’s get right into the topic.
Why the big fuss over this book? It’s like a friend of mine says: 50 Shades is to reading what a quickie is to sex. It’s a quick piece to satisfy an itch. Quickies are not what you want to spend your life doing. This is not the kind of BDSM book you want to make a meal out of. There are countless books on the subject, and many that are far better. Go enjoy it, laugh at the parts that are silly, enjoy the parts you like, and then get other books, done better, and read those. You’ll see the difference right away.
The S&M in this book isn’t safe. The writer has characters doing things they either cannot do or should not do in a safe and sane relationship. You hear this warning all the time, but please don’t try this at home.
The bondage “play” in this book is not what the BDSM lifestyle is about. A Dom (dominant) and sub (submissive) have a trust-based relationship. Why? Because without trust, there can be no real submission. Without submission, there can be no exchange of pleasure/pain. There is only pain. Why?
Pleasure / Pain
Because the relationship of pleasure to pain is a strong one. For many, a spark of pain adds to pleasure. Being restrained can provide the freedom of not being in control of one’s own pleasure. There is nothing to worry about. Nothing to feel “guilty” about. When pleasure is given and/or taken by another, it relieves the sub from having to hold back, to “feel proper” (as some have described it), and allows them to enjoy sex in a way they never have before. It’s not for everyone, but for some, it’s as necessary as air.
Total Power Exchange
50 Shades uses the phrase “Total Power Exchange.” That last word — exchange — is defined as the act of giving something in return for something received. Total power is exchanged in these kinds of relationships. That is not what is happening in the book.
For an exchange to occur, trust must be the dominant (no pun intended) aspect of the relationship. Some writers don’t “get” that aspect. Trust is a delicate balance between control and submission.
Who’s In Control
In a Dom/sub (or D/s) relationship, it’s the sub who is in control. The subs decide when they have had enough and can stop at any time. That’s what the safeword is for. Because with pain, it’s natural to yell “No! Stop!” Instead, when the sub is at the point when it’s no longer pleasure, or they cannot handle the situation, they use their safeword. It might be “bubble” or some word not associated with sex. When the safeword is used, the Dom knows the sub has reached the limit. Everything stops.
At that point, if a situation can be corrected (perhaps something was too tight, or the position was too awkward), then the sub might wish to continue. Other words can be used to slow down the action (orange or yellow, for example). At all times, the submissive has the option to stop. That’s what a true BDSM lifestyle is all about.
When there is no way to stop or to slow down, then there can be no trust. That’s when it crosses over from pleasure/pain to abuse.
What BDSM Books to Read Next
Books I’ve written containing BDSM scenes include the Tales of the Chosen series (Wulf, Alitus, Jawk) available here: http://bit.ly/chosen_set This page includes links to buy the books, plus some giveaways you can grab. http://kayelleallen.com/exc-chosen.html Here’s a good Facebook page where you can get tons of suggestions for what to read. https://www.facebook.com/WhatToReadAfter50ShadesOfGrey
Another good post to read on this subject is on Elizabeth Safleur’s blog, in which she interviews Dr Charley Ferrer, an expert on this subject. Click here: http://www.elizabethsafleur.com/blog/fantasy-versus-reality-in-bdsm-fiction-interview-with-dr-charley-ferrer
What are your thoughts on the book, movie, or the BDSM lifestyle? Do you have something to add to the conversation? Please leave a note in the comments. Sign up for my newsletter over on the right. You’ll be first to hear when a new book or downloadable goodie is available.