Just from reading the title of that now renowned book and trilogy, the majority of you will have experienced a strong reaction. Fifty Shades of Grey. Love it or hate it, sick of the media frenzy and mass public reviews or not, you have to admit one thing – this work of fiction by EL James has caused some changes in society attitudes towards kink.
No matter your personal opinion of Fifty Shades of Grey, this trilogy has achieved what no other kink themed book has done before. It has been accepted into the mainstream. I believe it has helped the majority of 50 Shades lovers who had been living their sex life through vanilla fulfilment only, to draw closer to kink and help them experiment with power exchange, if not the full range of BDSM potential. As is their choice, of course.
The main problem with Fifty Shades of Grey was that being a kink themed book, there was a crowd of those within the BDSM scene ready to descend upon it with all of the expectations of fans of such lascivious and alternative fetish literary works such as Story of O by Pauline Reage and the Sleeping Beauty trilogy by AN Rocquelaure (Anne Rice). Fifty Shades of Grey is by no means in the leagues of Anais Nin, Sacher-Masoch or the Marquis de Sade.
Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey
Being a psychological stimulus first and foremost, BDSM has a large erotica fan base, as words and imagination unite to create those first addictive and seductive feelings of either Dominance or submission. Many within the ‘scene’ were perhaps waiting for a new Venus in Furs and instead, read a more than mild love story with the addition of jiggle balls, a well bitten lip and some furry cuffs. Understandably, many were disappointed.
I didn’t mind reading Fifty Shades of Grey too much. I read it with an open mind (if not quite open thighs) and, repetitive adjectives, overly meek protagonist and inferior writing skills aside, I found it to be a nice love story. That’s it really. A love story with some designer shopping, a box of sex toys and enough house space for a sex room. Forget ‘red room of pain’, it’s a room for marital style sex with the addition of some light bondage and apparently, some rather nice jeans.
Ok, so the writing wasn’t that good, I will admit. The story could have been a lot better. There was no really mind blowing and raunchy alternative love embracing every nuance of Dominant and submissive possibility. But look at the effects that Fifty Shades of Grey has had.
Fifty Shades of Grey seems to be the first kink-friendly fiction to be truly accepted by the mainstream. That can only be a good thing, progress, no matter your opinion of the books. Something that makes the nation, the world as a whole, acknowledge that not only does kink/Fetish/BDSM exist but that it can be enjoyable, sexy and even healthy for consenting adults, is a huge step in the right direction, in my personal opinion. No longer is punishment spankings and bondage something that is seen to be done in the darkest realms of unhealthy relationships or in freak show clubs by perverts of the highest order. It can be enjoyed by a loving couple with things you already have in your own wardrobe. A tie or other binds, the addition of some sex lubricant you can pick up in Boots or Tesco as well as an open imagination.
Because Fifty Shades of Grey does not touch upon the advanced levels of power exchange and personal control which the more extreme layers of BDSM enjoys, it was light enough to be accepted and not immediately and outright rejected by the masses. This fact is why, in my opinion, many felt able to not only accept some kink may be healthy and enjoyable, but also wanted to replicate the sensations and scenes from the book too.
Just look at the new sex toy ranges that Fifty Shades of Grey has inspired, not only the official sex toys collection but also the US version by Pipedream’s Fetish Fantasy. An instant sell out across the sex toys industry board of jiggle balls (aka love balls or Ben Wa Balls) as well as a demand for soft, tie like bondage restraints for couples hoping to get a better sex life. More than just missionary in the dark on Friday nights, they want to experience the first tingles of kinky control and submission, just like Christian Grey and Ana Steele.
If Fifty Shades of Grey has encouraged the masses to get involved with any kind of control play and power exchange, Dominance and submission, then I can only see it as a good thing.
Throughout the years, vanilla has enjoyed being the precedent, seen as good and right, while BDSM and alternative forms of both stimulation and even love was forced underground, viewed as wrong, not talked about, an unnatural perversion. Vanilla and kink now at last can be seen on the same spectrum of adult consensual enjoyment, with many admitting to be located somewhere along the line.
Sexual Fetish Spectrum
I see the spectrum as something like this.
Utterly vanilla – bedroom bondage – kinky – fetishes – scening & roleplay – Lifestyle – Dungeon masters and extreme BDSM
Where are you?
Yes, you might hate Fifty Shades of Grey. I will admit you have every reason to, if you were hoping for a new Gorean line of Fetish, or bloodplay lusts and contractual ownership themes. What cannot be denied however, regardless of your personal opinion, is how much Fifty Shades of Grey has bridged the gap between vanilla and kink for the masses in the mainstream.
Fifty Shades of Grey is read in public, joked about on TV and now a part of pop culture with references in every area of media. I can only hope that this is the first step in what I believe to be the right direction, to a time when BDSM is fully accepted as a beautiful, if alternative style of adult relationship – and sometimes, even love.