50 Shades spanking

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Far and away, the most criticism I’ve read when it comes to Fifty Shades of Grey is from those who live the BDSM lifestyle. I can agree with a lot of the concerns I’ve read. The major issue that seems to be the flash point is in relation to Christian’s character.

In the novel, an unspoken connection that imply’s Christian’s Dominance stems from early childhood trauma. It gives the reader the impression that this lifestyle is the result of an underlying imperfection – be that abuse, assault, or neglect. That someone cannot simply be a Dominant without any issues or baggage that brought them to that point. While I’m in agreement for the most part, I would be whole-heartedly on this bandwagon if there were other Dominants discussed in the book in further detail that also had fucked up backgrounds. Maybe they are introduced in the subsequent novels (I’m currently just a few chapters in book two) that have not entered the ‘scene’ that aren’t from a broken background. If you were a vanilla individual reading this, you may get the impression that Dominance is a ‘bad’ thing, and to be ashamed of your imperfection. Even a few Doms may question their desires based on Christian’s character.

Another Christian issue – EL James seems to be confusing B&D with S&M. Christian is referred to as a Dom, but he isn’t a Dom in the sense that I have grown to know. To me, a Dominant is someone who is in balance with a submissive – that their control and the punishments they deliver are pleasurable to the submissive, and in turn, Doms earn their gratification from that deliverance of control and pain. It’s a symbiotic relationship – the sub needs the Dom, but the Dom also needs the sub. Christian’s relationship with Ana is far from that balance. Christian receives his pleasure from inflicting pain for the sake of pain’s infliction – not because Ana enjoys it. The last scene in Fifty Shades of Grey highlights this. Christian knows that Ana is asking to be belted because she wants to test her pain threshold, to see him at his worst – not because she wants to submit to him.

The last issue I’d like to touch upon while going into the negatives is the issue of subdrop. No where in the entire text does Ana experience any level of subdrop at all. I must admit, I am as guilty as EL James with this, as my FemDom and D/s erotica rarely ever touch on subdrop. The only reason I bring this up is that while reading the scenes, and their conclusion, I myself felt a level of subdrop when the action was done – especially the scenes where Christian takes a more “Dom” role rather than a 100% Sadist role. Surely an inexperienced ‘sub’ like Ana would have gone through some sort of catharsis following the scenes – especially as she was a virgin who never so much as touched herself, let alone take part in a full-on dungeon playroom scene.

Now – as a switch, did I actually enjoy this novel? With a bit of guilty pleasure, I can say yes. Not because Fifty Shades of Grey was a great D/s erotica novel that accurately portrayed the fetish lifestyle (as in – it wasn’t), but because it brought me back to those early days of exploring who I was as a submissive. That sarcastic and flirtatious back and forth that the two main characters engage in. Those mixed feelings and built up expectations of the unknown. What that very first spank does to you. I enjoyed every word of it. On the flip side, I wanted to be Christian Grey, but I wanted to do it ‘right’. I wanted to smarten up that naughty little mouth of Ana in my own way. I wanted to have a playroom decked out with every toy imaginable for me to choose the best way to tease my virgin sub. Fifty Shades of Grey – to me – was pure smutty escapism.

Would I suggest it to someone who can’t get past the issues I mentioned above? Of course not, and I would never say that this is a book that someone who is looking to get into BDSM should read before they are educated in the ‘right’ type of relationships. But if you can enjoy the underlying feelings and get past the complete inaccuracies of the relationship, you might just enjoy it as well.

Check out the other two parts in this three part review of Fifty Shades of Grey:

Three Shades of Ruby – A Fifty Shades of Grey Review – From a Writer’s Perspective

Three Shades of Ruby – A Fifty Shades of Grey Review – From a Vanilla Reader’s Perspective [coming soon]

 

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