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After Using Her And Wearing Her Out, Grey Carries A Blissful Ana To Bed To Tuck Her In

“This is what I am.” Christian Grey to Anastasia Steele, Fifty Shades of Grey by Erika Mitchell writing as E.L. James.

 

(First, let me say I did not read the books.  I love literature.  But I did see the movie.  All commentary  is based ONLY on the movie.)

I’ve been BDSM a long time.  My first husband was kinky.  He was in the army and stationed in Germany and he introduced me to BDSM practices.  Which wasn’t called BDSM way back then.  It was still called S&M, even the power exchange bits.  Power exchange wasnt a term thrown around then either.  I was 18.  We frequented the red-light districts because that’s where you went to engage.

BDSM oriented people often describe how they always wanted to be tying up the neighbor girl.  Me…it hit me watching the Batman original tv series..all the women being tied up and needing to be rescued.  I was a KID and I KNEW with absolute certainty that when I grew up, I was going to get tied up.  And Peter Pan…Tiger Lily was tied up.  A Disney movie and I don’t identify with Wendy and want to fly…I want to be tied-Tiger-Lily.  Though Wendy eventually got tied up too, she was always scared to be tied.  Just as Tiger Lily wasn’t scared, I wouldn’t be, because I wanted it.  Hook couldn’t get her to break.  I knew that was me. This was an orientation from an early age.   

That’s a lot of years.  I went through a forgettable vanilla second marriage.  I contented myself with the extremely popular bodice ripper novels of the 1980s.  I made mistakes in all my relationships, both BDSM and vanilla.  It happens.  People are human.  Then around 1997 when I was single and hunting…I found Usenet, where John Warren and Molly Devon and Janet Hardy and Gloria Brame were all starting on changing the face of BDSM.  They had begun on alt.sex.bondage till it got overrun with advertising, and I found them at the new soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm where everyone was now hanging out. This was the first time people were using the term BDSM, (till then it was known just as S&M) as they had narrowed down the acronym during the alt.sex.bondage days.  Imagine those early days..kinky people FINALLY finding each other over the internet, sharing experiences and thoughts and ideas, laying groundwork and coming to agreements that we all use and know now.  It’s where the concepts of contracts and collars generated.  Slave David Stein came up with ‘Safe, Sane Consensual’.  I think of ithat era as a ‘corset tightening’ of the loosely associated kink ideas as they brought them together….they gave kink a ‘shape’ and a lot of support.  They set the proverbial groundrules.

Contracts were not always around.  Collars were not always around.  When I got back to the US after my stint in Europe, nobody knew from contracts or collars.  Probably some people used them somewhere, but they weren’t common concepts.   And safewords, while people heard of them, weren’t mandatory since they can’t do as well as direct communication.

So this miffs me a bit from kinky folks saying ‘but Ana didn’t sign the submissive contract!’  So?  Before 1995-1997, before the giants of BDSM made the concept popular by writing their books, NOBODY DID as a matter of generality.  You talked.  Nobody heard of SSC before Slave David Stein invented the term to give voice to the ideas that were being discussed on usenet.  Ana still agreed, she still stayed, she still consented.  Even to the belt flogging, which she insisted upon. 

The old usenet groups are archived by Google.  During the migration, they dropped a lot of the old content, but its still there.  Go back far enough and you’ll see the -beginning- developments of these 1990-era concepts that are now taken for granted. 

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/alt.sex.bondage

I hit up soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm now and then, because believe it or not, some old friends are STILL posting there. 

Alright..here it comes. 

I liked this movie.  

decent bdsm between christian and anastasia

 

 

It’s decent BDSM.

 

 

 

 

  • He does a completely believable Dom’s dance. I know some BDSM folks call it tame, gripe about his slip knots, but seriously..we don’t want to scare off the public by thinking we jump right into violet wand fireplay.  (let them learn floggers and crops before violet wands!) Give vanillas what they can handle. They can’t handle the whole truth.  This is a decent representation.
  • He’s a decent dominant.  He’s honest.  He’s up front.  He tells her ‘This is what I am’ and ‘We have to be honest with each other for this to work’ and that he doesn’t ‘do romance’.  He tries to engage diligently, and follow (the currently used concepts) of contract and safewords.  He has mastered himself before trying to master someone else. 
  • It’s 100% consensual. Constantly telling her she can leave and use safewords.  SHE insists on the belt.
  • Its responsible.  From condoms to a limits list, it portrays BDSM responsibly.
  • …”but she didn’t sign the contract!”  Some people use them.  Some people don’t.  They aren’t mandatory, they aren’t cast in stone, though they are a good guide and a great foundation, and they are a starting point for what’s more important: open and direct dialogue.  It’s whatever you decide is right for you. 
  • …”but he’s domineering!”  yeah, and?  2 things.  It’s CONSENT that transmogrifies domineering into dominance.  and the car? ..people make mistakes.  You want to try to tell me your relationship is so perfect you have not stepped on each other’s toes?  Do you really mean to say you know only perfect people?

chemistry between anastasia and christian

 

 

It’s a decent movie.

 

 

 

 

 

  • It’s a great chick-flick.  Oh there’s chemistry.  She wants him.  He wants her.  It’s obvious.  Not as hot as some on-screen couples, but completely believable.
  • Cinematography isn’t bad.  Direction is good. 
  • The story is compelling.  He is a dominant but wants her.  She’s not a submissive but wants him.  She tries, This creates the conflict necessary for a good story. Can they change each other?  Compromise?  Find common ground?  She enjoys some of it as being hot, but she doesn’t ‘grasp’ it.  How far will they go for each other? You don’t have a story if you don’t have conflict.  An immediate ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t make a story.
  • The filming isn’t bad.  Some of the scenes are beautiful, juxtaposing rigidity and softness.  (symbolizing his and her roles, perhaps?)

anastasia in conflict over christian

 

 

 

Women can relate.

 

 

 

  • Every sex study ever done shows that the #1 or #2 most common sexual fantasy for heterosexual women is overpowerment. No one WANTS to really be raped, but its such a pervasive female fantasy that it sells millions and millions of bodice ripping rape novels of pirates and kilt-wearing scotsmen having their way with the heroines, until they eventually fall in love with each other.  LET women HAVE their fantasies without recrimination…its part of female sexual empowerment.  Don’t tell them its wrong.  This movie is every one of those bodice-ripper novels put on film, so no wonder.
  • If this movie encourages women to explore their sexuality and those types of fantasies safely, Im all for it. 
  • I know those feels.  The jump when you hear the cuffs.  The listening behind you.  The trepidation + desire.  The drop..the long, deep, deep drop when he braids your hair, carries you, bathes you. The wondering how far you can go.  Thumbs up.
  • Most women don’t indulge in porn to see naked men.  Most women indulge in porn (and bodice rippers) to vicariously feel like the women in them.

 men need more confidence

 

 

 It’s good for men.

 

 

 

 

 

  • In these days when some quarters are trying to change and re-define masculinity for men, it is good to remind men that there is not only nothing wrong with being masculine and confident, but that statistically, women do prefer it.  Confidence gets you more dates than money.  Masculinity appeals to heterosexual women, who are oriented to it.  Grow facial hair.  Swing an axe.  Go get what you want.  Manspread on the subway to give your genital package some comfortable breathing room.  Stop apologizing for being male.  BE who and what you are.  A man. YOU define yourself and what being a man means to YOURSELF.  And then be proud of who you are.  Gay men, straight men, furry men, trans men.  Don’t let anyone else (especially women) define what it means to be a man for you.  YOU define for yourself what it means to be a man, and YOU set your level of masculinity WITHOUT APOLOGY.
  • Women need reminded sometimes why we love men in the first place.  There are just a few too many of the not-nice not-really-feminists trying to redefine masculinity as ‘toxic’ and sometimes we pay attention to those types of restrictive ideas when we shouldn’t. 
  • ..’*but he’s a billionaire.”  Unforunately.  I don’t like that either. It’s not ideal that men are financially objectified in our society, but they are.  It’s unrealistic to live up to that kind of idealization. But if you carry yourself with the confidence of being who you are, you’re golden.

50 shades is good for bdsm

 

 

 

It’s good for BDSM.

 

 

 

  • BDSM is still marginalized and largely seen as a perversion engaged in by non-normal people.  Even if 50 Shades isn’t ‘perfect’ BDSM, its still good for us as a kink community, by raising awareness and helping bring some understanding to society at large.  With contracts, consent, honesty as stated as being important in the film, it reflects on how we try to reach *benefit* to each other while exploring the deepest reaches of our sexualities. 
  • It shows that BDSM is not just as set of practices, and not just ‘regular sex gone kinky’ … but a sexuality.  “This is what I am” says Christian.  Not ‘this is *what I do*’.  This is WHAT I AM. 
  • Many BDSM people require their kink to have sexual arousal and/or fulfillment, the intensity or the fetish, and may not even be able to feel arousal without it.  Some BDSM-ers are oriented to the fetish or the kink rather than to the sex of the person they are participating in the kink with.  Generally, vanilla people don’t know that, so it helps understanding.  But it also helps the people who may feel ashamed of their kink or feel abnormal because they can’t experience enjoyment or fulfillment through regular sex or relationships.  
  • There are too many people who don’t understand that for many of us, this iS ‘what I am’.  We self-identify.  For some of us, this is what we do. But for some others, this is what we ARE.  And everything in between.  And its all ok.  There are no ‘labels’ but what we self-identify with.  And even BDSM-ers get into the bad habit of insisting on ‘one trew way’ of practicing BDSM.  When there aren’t.  You work out what works for you and then you work it out with another person to get what you both want and need.  And it IS a ‘working it out’.  There are no restrictions to our explorations but what we place upon ourselves consensually with someone else.  (and the law of course).  BDSM encompasses entire realms of self-discovery and sexual fulfillment and its a lifetime journey.  We never reach the end.  Our coming out is not the end of our self-discovery.  For BDSM people, coming out is only the beginning.  
  • ‘…but Christian is only bdsm because he was molested at 15’ and that looks bad.  People aren’t perfect. Lives aren’t perfect.  BDSM people run the gamut too, with our own sets of individual baggages.  It’s more real than pretending that no one in the BDSM community has any internal issues at all.  Real people aren’t the castles-and-thorns-and-roses internet versions of BDSM, with ideal dominants and perfect submissives.  In real life, you’re in a scene when your dominant’s ex-wife calls to bitch about the kids, and he has to take it because a lot of life still comes first.  We’re just like anyone else, and the reality is that men get raped and men get molested too.  It HAPPENS.  And its made him emotionally unavailable, which also happens.  Real.

 

women and sexual empowerment

 

 

 

 

It’s good for women.

 

 

 

 

 

  • When we talk female sexual empowerment, it’s not always obvious that for women on the heterosexual end of the orientation spectrum, sexual empowerment is going to involve heterosexual men.  It’s too easy to call female sexual empowerment ‘objectification’ whenever straight men also benefit from it, but that’s how heterosexuality necessarily plays out. The power is that women are free to choose to be submissive if they desire to do so, or choose to be sex objects, or choose to be sex workers.  Sexuality isn’t about just yourself. 
  • Anastasia has the real power, though she may only faintly realize that during the boardroom negotiation.  Without her consent, nothing happens.  They negotiate.  She has a voice.  She USES it.  She chooses not to use her safewords when Christian uses the belt.  She chooses not to tell him to stop, but instead, counts out the strikes.   And after its over, she tells him she’s had enough, and that will never happen again. She..standing naked and angry, and having just been consensually spanked with a belt, is one powerful woman.  She’s consented, explored it, she’s done it, she’s chosen, but it becomes too much for her, and she imperatively says ‘No More’.
  • She knows she holds the power to stop the scene but chooses not to.  I think women as a whole can benefit from seeing that play out.  To see what consent, -both active and passive-, looks like when it is practiced, to see that power lies in both in our words and our actions…and that power also is present in the absence of our words and in our inactions. 
  • It may help women broaden their sexual exploration, to feel less trepidatious of getting what they want from sex.  Sex studies tell us that 1 in 4 adults have engaged in some form of bondage at some point, whether it be some light tying up or blindfolds.   That shows a pretty high level of beginning interest, and a movie that opens doors to ice and peacock feathers might help more women reach for fulfillment they couldn’t previously give voice to, either by seeing it portrayed before this, as too abnormal or creepy to try for more.

 

and finally…………..

  • …but he makes mistakes. …but she makes mistakes!  Real relationships, even BDSM ones, experience ups and downs.  PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES.  Real life relationships can be convoluted and messy.  You work them out and move on.  You compromise, you clean up, you reach common ground.  That’s how you continue your relationship.
  • but he follows her.  he almost stalks her.  oh please, that.  You never tried to get someone back after a fight or misunderstanding?  you never pursued a crush?  everyone does.  and its in every movie ever because that’s what people do.  This movie doesn’t get a pass from normal human behavior of falling for someone.  He just happens to have the money to fly across the country instead of drive across town to show up at the club you know he’s going to be at.
  • but they didn’t show his penis!  Society still has its limits.  We’re getting there. 
  • …but it will bring all these newbies into BDSM!.  And why is that somehow bad?  We all were newbs once.  Just be around to answer questions. 
  • but they are going to think BDSM is like that and do it that way.  Have more trust in people, they figure out what they like and don’t like and what works and doesn’t work, just fine by themselves without you to help.
  • but it will give people the wrong ideas about BDSM!  They already have the wrong ideas about BDSM.  There’s no direction to go in but a positive one.

What I wasn’t happy with: 

  • the ending.  Too much of a ‘cliff-hanger, even for a serial movie.  A single movie does need to stand on its own, even if part of a trilogy.  Since I didn’t read the books it was too abrupt.

You know, plain old regular sex and nudity is still somehow shamed by a great portion of our society.  And BDSM even more so.  Besides being a relatively enjoyable two hours, Im happy it shakes up the comfort zone status quo for BOTH BDSM and vanillas.  Im perverse like that!  Shake it up some more!

7/10 would watch again.

 


Other BDSM movies, some watchable, some not. 

 

8mm

Secretary

Swept Away

9/12 weeks

The Piano Teacher

The Story of O

Sin City

Maitresse

Crash

 

 

 

 

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