Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world. Despite mixed reviews, the "mommy porn" erotica has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. At the very least, it's interesting.  I've read the whole trilogy, I readily admit that. (I read Twilight too, doesn't mean I think either series is "good"). As far as Fifty goes, the writing makes me cringe, the sex scenes were terrible, and there's a lot of questionable power dynamics.

I'll get this out of the way now. Fifty Shades is NOT a guide to BDSM. It is NOT a healthy representation of BDSM. Anna and Christian are FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. If you recognize any of the same controlling patterns in your own relationship, please call the Domestic Abuse Hotline immediately.

Alright, ready? Moving on.

I'm glad people are reading it. Frankly, I'm just glad people are talking about it. It's a stupid, easy, read, but I think it got popular because we didn't stigmatize it for being sexual. For the first time, people could talk about reading erotica. Granted, a lot of people just talked about how ridiculously dumb it was, but still, our culture began to openly acknowledge porn, erotica, and sexuality.

Before Fifty Shades, I didn't see anything about bondage on my Facebook newsfeed, but in response to the inaccurate portrayals in the book, people have been talking more, sharing more links and information, that sort of thing. And that's fantastic. I don't care what started the conversation, I care that it's happening. Instead of shaming someone who reads the book and thinks spanking might be sexy, let's just use it as a springboard to start talking about spanking healthily (because yes, there is a right and wrong way to do it). Check out 50 Shades of Curious or 50 Shades of Kink.

If you want to act out an Anastasia/Christian romp, go for it, just be sure to use a safe word, start slow, communicate, and be ready to learn. Again, let's all just say it again, Fifty Shades it not a guide to BDSM.

Obviously, some of the things that happen in the book would be rape if they happened in real life. (Again, let's acknowledge that Fifty Shades is not real life). Rape doesn't actually work the way it does in the book. I hesitate to even call it rape, because I don't want to imply that it would be remotely ok to think that a victim wanted it, or that it was hot "because that's how it was in the book". Fantasy is not real life.

If Fifty Shades isn't your thing, don't sweat it. But please, don't stigmatize or shame people who found it sexy.  It wasn't a good book, but I'm not going to boycott the movie. I hold out hope, that maybe if we support erotica and sexual expression and push for better writing, someday we'll get it. Someday, I'll get off on a better plot point than, "but I didn't order a pizza" and read better writing than "my inner goddess is doing the merengue".

Side note, does "Anastasia and Christian" sounds like "Anna and Kristof" to anyone else? Just me?

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