This week, Erika Moen put forth a comic on Oh Joy Sex Toy about her thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey. And honestly, it gave me pause.
I have written about my thoughts on this book with the bend being why it isn’t a good representation of a healthy BDSM D/s relationship. And I truly believe in all of those things.
God, I usually hate ‘buts’, but I have to acknowledge one very VERY important point that Erika makes –
We shouldn’t be telling anyone that what turns them on is wrong.
And she is right.
I would be a hypocrite if I said that all of my fantasies I have had or erotica I have found arousing have met all of my usual liberal, politically correct, feminist values. But I can’t, but damn does some of that shit get me off – pretty fucking easily sometimes, while I’m admitting things. And when I was younger, I found great shame when my ideals did not match my erotic fantasies. I felt broken and screwed up and wondered how I could even let myself go there when I masturbated when I don’t believe it is healthy and good in reality?? What was wrong with me? It took me a while to get to a point where I understood that fantasy can be just that fantasy – it did not have to match any actual action – and it didn’t change who I am or how I act in society. It took me a long time to uninstall that shame I felt and be okay with it.
So why am I criticizing those who are in the same boat – those who like the fantasy of the story? Why am I shaming them for liking something that doesn’t match societal values when not all fantasies match them? Just because they have read it, does not at all imply that same person wants to go down that path – just like reading an erotic story that has elements of non-consensual sex doesn’t mean I want that to happen in reality the way the story played out. It also doesn’t mean that those people can’t, post-orgasm – look at the situation that got them off and go “wow, that was hot but damn is that dysfunctional!”
While I have every right to have concern, as a woman who is in the BDSM community, about how that book paints those in the community, I should not shame those who get off on that book – on that fantasy world, because it IS a fantasy world.
Fantasy is and should be a safe place for people to go to get off or find escape – where things in reality may not apply the same way. There should be no shame in exploring those things in the boundaries of fiction.
That all being said – if people truly want to explore the fantasy in their real life – like Erika, I strongly believe that 50 Shades is NOT a guide book – it is 100% pure fantasy only!
Tristan’s 50 Shades of Kink – great educator and great book.
Mollena and Lee Harrington have written a great book – Playing Well With Others.
Or Jay Wiseman’s book SM 101: A Realistic Introduction.
If that doesn’t satisfy your urges, check out the local kink scene. Portland, for example, has the Portland Leather Alliance with great classes at a fairly cheap cost. There are even some private dungeons that hold classes just for those getting started in kink. We are not unique – many communities have the same offering if you go searching.
Also, some of the locally own sex shops have classes on kink too – like locally She-Bop has resources on BDSM and all too.
Or, go onto Fetlife and search local events to find resources local to you. Most kink communities have classes and all that educate people on kink – good kink, safe kink.
Years ago, a professional fetish model told me a story about how she and her partner entered kink. They went to a local sex shop that had a wide range of kink implements, they selected a rubber slapper, and went home filled with erotic thoughts and plans to try it. This fetish model is also known as quite the masochist – yet when she stripped bare and let her partner strike her with that slapper, she screamed from the bad kind of pain. They didn’t know how it all worked – they didn’t realize she needed to be warmed up or started out with other items before the slapper was used. They had no clue that a toy made of rubber is NOT a beginner’s toy. She and her partner had no idea how endorphins in a BDSM scene worked. All they did know is that the fantasy they had discussed in bed and in the dark, did not play out as they thought it would. The reaction resulted in her not wanting to continue (for good reason) and her partner to be wary of trying again. Thankfully, they found resources, and discovered how badly things could have gone had they kept trying with the toy they bought. Instead, they learned and discovered how masochistic she could be – and still is.
So, while I won’t shame you for being aroused by the fantasy aspect, I encourage you (as a BDSM member) to be smart if you want to take the fantasy into reality. I don’t want anyone to be hurt – emotionally or physically. Don’t do what the main character does, and jump into the deep end of the BDSM relationship without knowledge and her own resource to answer her questions. Instead, test the waters, wade, and be careful. Don’t drowned – too many, even educated newbies to kink, drown in how overwhelming it can be.
That’s all I want and what I truly worry about.
Because no matter how “elite” and “different” the kink scene can make themselves sound like, there are still predators. Same rules apply.
Use that book to get off.
But use real resources if you want to bring kink in your own bedroom.
And run fast away from anyone in real life who acts like Christian Grey.
That’s all I ask.