Fifty Shades of Grey has everyone in America talking about bondage and sadomasochistic relationships. But how well do Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele reflect the realities of the BDSM lifestyle? To find out, we turned to Em and Lo, a.k.a. Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, the sex experts behind the advice website EmandLo.com and the book 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. Here’s what they had to say about Jamie Dornan’s whipping technique, Christian and Anastasia’s heated contract negotiations, and whether practicing BDSM means being (in Christian’s infamous words) “fifty shades of f---ed up.”
Christian’s sex toys check out (except for the cable ties).
Whips, restraints, suspension rigs, spanking benches: These are all actual tools of the trade, and Christian Grey has the best custom-made BDSM equipment that money can buy. “If you have the money to spend, you could absolutely get a room outfitted that looked as gorgeous and high end as that,” says Em. Most practitioners of BDSM don’t own a dozen different high-end canes and floggers, but then again, “most people don’t have their own helicopter,” Em notes. The one unrealistic piece of equipment in Christian’s arsenal is the cable ties that he buys at the hardware store. “Never use cable ties to restrain someone’s wrists or appendages — it’s super dangerous in terms of potential physical damage,” Lo warns.
Discussing limits is important.
The contract negotiation scene is a Hollywood reflection of a reality in BDSM: It’s important to talk about comfort zones and safe words beforehand. “The whole thing with kink is that the more you discuss in advance, the more you can let yourself go in the moment — like, you don’t want to be in the middle of a scene and be like, ‘Oh I forgot to ask, are you cool with bullwhips?’” says Em. The columnists also point out that a submissive contract like Christian’s would not be legally binding, even though Anastasia takes it quite seriously. “Contracts are for fun — it’s role playing,” says Lo. “You’re using it as part of the foreplay.”
Christian’s riding crop technique is pretty advanced, but his bondage skills need some work.
When Christian whips Anastasia with the riding crop, he’s very gentle on her stomach and rougher on her butt, which Em and Lo say is good form. However, they were critical of the loose ropes that tied Anastasia to the bed. “There should be a finger’s width in there, but it’s actually safer to be more securely restrained, because if you wiggle around too much, you can fall off the bed or get into a more dangerous position,” says Em. As for that ceiling-suspension rig, Em and Lo say it’s perfectly safe as long as it’s used for limited amounts of time and the cuffs are easy to remove.
The movie skips over aftercare.
In BDSM, “aftercare” refers to a dominant comforting and caring for a submissive (or vice versa) after an intense sexual experience. “It’s the time when you remind your partner that even though you just tied them up and called them names and hit them, you love them and you care for them and you think of them as an equal person,” says Em. “It’s a way to bring the other person down emotionally, mentally, physically.” Fifty Shades offers a quick glimpse of aftercare when Christian gives Anastasia a bath and carries her to her bed, but for the most part, he neglects this crucial step. ...
Law enforcement investigating fetish business in residential area
WKMG Local News
by Mike DeForest
On her website, self-proclaimed dominatrix Judith DeLucenay promises customers they will reach their "pain threshold" while being subjected to activities such as flogging, torture, electrical stimulation and corporal punishment.
Those fetish activities are conducted in DeLucenay's "dungeon" in Orlando, according to the online advertisement, which reportedly includes a cage in the backyard.
The website shows a photograph of a home on Grant Street, a residential area in the city's SoDo neighborhood located a few blocks west of Boone High School.
Now, as a result of neighbor complaints and a Local 6 investigation, Orlando's code enforcement division and Central Florida's vice squad have launched their own investigations into the business, which does not have a home occupational license.
"It's scary," said Emma Scott, who lives across the street from the house where the dominatrix claims she invites clients to participate in bondage and sadomasochistic activities. "I have a daughter. And God knows what guys are going in there, and who they are, and what they're looking for."
There are no laws in Florida that prohibit consenting adults from hiring a dominatrix for services as long as there is no sexual contact that might constitute prostitution, according to law enforcement officials.
DeLucenay's website warns potential customers "DO NOT ASK FOR SEX," explaining that she will "never perform illegal sexual acts."
The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, which focuses on vice-related offenses such as prostitution and illegal adult entertainment, announced that it was investigating DeLucenay's business after Local 6 inquired about the Orlando woman's website. A representative for the multi-agency task force did not elaborate on what concerns it may have.
DeLucenay's home on Grant Street sits less than a half-mile from Boone High School. An MBI representative was not immediately able to say whether a dominatrix business would fit the legal definition of an "adult entertainment establishment," which is prohibited by Florida law from being within 2,500 feet of a public or private school. ...
About 60 students say they will attend the initial BDSM club meeting at Mount Holyoke College, an all-women college in Massachusetts.
Sophomore Caedyn Busche founded the organization, which will educate those who want a safe place to talk about BDSM. BDSM is a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, roleplaying, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics.
Other colleges in the area have a BDSM club but Busche wanted one on campus. “It’s a huge topic of passion for me,” Busche told the Mount Holyoke News.
Busche hopes to become a sex therapist after college. “I was thinking that this is exactly what I want to do with my life, so why not start it off here at school?” she told the student newspaper.
She said that part of the club’s plan is to hold workshops on topics such as “Bondage 101” and “talking about negotiated relations and polyamory.”
Busche says the club will help educate others about BDSM and kink.
“Especially with ’50 Shades of Grey’ coming out, it’s important for a group like this to meet,” senior Jessica Avery told the Mount Holyoke News. “There needs to be positive dialogues around consent, safety with a partner, proper usage of toys, and basic knowledge of what BDSM/king is outside of the false Hollywood fantasy.” ...
The 19-year-old bio-nuclear engineering student allegedly tied his victim to his dorm-room bed with belts.
By Dennis Robaugh
A 19-year-old Chicago college student raped a freshman classmate after he was inspired to re-enact scenes he saw in the movie “50 Shades of Grey,” according to police and prosecutors.
Mohammad Hossain, 19, a bio-nuclear engineering student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, under questioning by campus police, apparently admitted he’d done “something wrong.”
He brought the woman back to his dorm room Saturday at about 5:30 p.m., according to Cook County prosecutors, and persuaded her to strip to her undergarments for him. Hossain told police the two had been intimate in the past.
Hossain then used belts to bind her arms and legs to his bed, assistant state’s attorney Sarah Karr told a Cook County judge on Monday, and pushed a necktie into her mouth. He blindfolded her with a cap, removed her bra and panties and whipped her with another belt, Karr said. The young woman cried, told Hossain “you’re hurting me,” pleaded for him to stop and repeatedly told him “no,” according to police.
Hossain, however, pressed on with his “50 Shades of Grey” fantasy, prosecutors allege, punching her with closed fists and holding her arms behind her back as he forced himself on her.
Hossain’s roommate returned to the dorm room, but the young man initially wouldn’t let him enter, according to police. His accuser then left the dorm and called police, who tracked Hossain down in another campus building that night.
An hour after the attack, Hossain posted this status to his Facebook page: “I’m finally satisfied — feeling accomplished,” with an eyebrow-raised smiley face. ...
A woman lost her job after her employer—a social services org run by the Catholic Church—found out that she was polyamorous. She sued, claiming that poly is a sexual orientation and that her firing amounted to illegal discrimination, but the court found against her. Sydney Morning Herald:
Justice Salvatore Vasta dismissed the co-ordinator's appeal on the basis it had no reasonable prospects of success. He found being polyamorous was "sexual behaviour" and not sexual orientation, which involved something far more than how one behaved sexually. "Sexual orientation is how one is, rather than how one manifests that state of being. The manifestation of that state of being can take many forms," Justice Vasta said. He rejected the woman's argument that "sexual behaviour" was a subset of sexually orientation saying it could lead to absurd results. "If the contention of the applicant were correct, many people whose sexual activity might label them as sado-masochists, coprophiliacs or urophiliacs could claim that such is more than mere behaviour; it is in fact their very sexual orientation," Justice Vasta said. "If the contention were correct, then the illegal activities of paedophilia and necrophilia may have the protection of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984."
I kicked off a shitstorm when I wrote this in "Savage Love" back in 2012:
Poly is not a sexual identity, PP, it's not a sexual orientation. It's not something you are, it's something you do. There's no such thing as a person who is "a poly," just as there's no such thing as a person who is "a monogamous."
I devoted an entire followup column to poly folks who feel that polyamory is their sexual orientation. Later I offered this clarification:
If all people are naturally nonmonogamous—a point I've made about 10 million times—then from my perspective, polyamory and monogamy are relationship models, not sexual orientations. (And if poly and monogamy are sexual orientations, Lily, wouldn't going solo have to be considered one, too?) That was my point. Poly can be central to someone's sexual self-conception, and it can be hugely important, but I don't think it's an orientation in the same way that gay, straight, or bisexual are orientations.
Some poly writers were mollified, others were not—but I learned that many, many poly folks (but not all) strongly feel that polyamory is a sexual orientation. The writer and kinkster Jillian Keenan, for her part, has argued that BDSM—sadomasochism—is a sexual orientation. ...
" 'Fifty Shades of Grey' came out and we just exploded," said Jay, a founder of local BDSM group Central Iowa Power Exchange (CIPEX) who requested to be referred to by his first name. "We are growing left and right."
A pop phenomenon, "Fifty Shades" centers on college student Anastasia Steele and her complicated relationship with Christian Grey, a 27-year-old CEO and kink enthusiast with dominant tendencies. The movie is Fandango's fastest selling R-rated title, according to the company, and the YouTube trailer has been viewed more than 50 million times.
"I am expecting to have another big spike (in members) after the movie," Jay said. "When the book came out we were nervous we were going to get men saying 'I'm dominant, bow to my needs,' but we didn't get that. Instead, we got a lot of people who were curious and wanted to learn." ...
BDSM is short for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. But tying down what exactly that means is like herding cats. Simply, to those in the BDSM community, it means what you want it to mean.
"It's about stimulating other parts of the body and the mind and the heart," said Susan Wright, founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, an advocacy group for the kink community. "... For some people, it's not a sexual thing at all. It's a spiritual response, a cathartic response. For other people, it's an endorphin rush, like a runner's high. For other people, though, it's sex and it's how they have sex."
For Ms. Robin, domination is about the skill, not the sex. "I, myself, am always clothed," she said of her client sessions.
Unlike the popular image of the leather bustier-wearing, stiletto-healed, foul-mouthed dominatrix, Ms. Robin is merely a free-spirited craftswoman. She spent five years apprenticing with dominatrixes across the country before turning pro. Now she speaks at conferences and colleges nationwide.
"I'm the most monogamous person, (and) I'm pretty straight-laced in some ways," said Ms. Robin, who lives with a partner. "But I'm very open and accepting of people and their kinks."
She was 40 when she entered the BDSM lifestyle. After a divorce, she dated a man who pointed out that her natural sexual penchants were dominatrix-like. She didn't know what the word was, but a quick Internet search introduced her to the culture.
Many people come into the kink community in a similar way: Someone tries something, they like it, they seek out people with similar interests.
As a lifestyle kinkster, educator and founder of Touch of Flavor, I understandably have mixed feelings about Fifty Shades of Grey. But with all the kinksters bashing the books, including here on the Huffington Post, (and here), it would probably surprise you that I think the Fifty Shades franchise has been beneficial, both for the BDSM community and the general population. Why the difference in opinion? Because as an educator, I work with the general public, an entirely different segment of the population than the one most of the professional dominants and submissives providing opinions for these articles deal with.
Shortly after Fifty Shades came out, I was having a discussion with Susan Wright from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. Susan is a household name in the BDSM community, and has dedicated an enormous amount of her to life fighting for acceptance and freedom for people involved in the BDSM lifestyle. When our discussion turned to the book, she told me: "This is the BDSM communities' Stonewall, and no one even got hurt."
That quote has stuck with me because it's true. Like any minority community, the BDSM community has a history of being misunderstood and persecuted. Not so long ago, the only place to meet like-minded people was in back rooms at seedy bars with a referral and a secret knock. Admitting to, or worse yet, indulging in, the kinky fantasies that so many of us have would have resulted in you being ostracized and could have resulted in you losing your job, your children or even being institutionalized or arrested.
Nowadays? There's a thriving BDSM community in almost every large metro area. People meet for munches and discussions at restaurants, kink events are booked in upscale hotels and venues catering to kink are operating -- legally -- out in the open. I've been in the community long enough to see much of that change, and while most kinksters will agree that the rise of Internet social networking is largely responsible for our community's growth, surprisingly few are willing to admit that Fifty Shades of Grey has done more for our acceptance in the mainstream than any other single factor.
And it's not hard to figure out why. Research has shown that lots of people harbor some fantasies that could be considered kinky. The Fifty Shades franchise gave people who would never have otherwise been exposed to BDSM a framework for those fantasies, and made them realize kink was something they might be interested in. When you have books that have sold over 100 million copies (we're talking Twilight and Harry Potter territory here) and a movie breaking February box office records, it becomes clear that those of us interested in kink aren't a minority at all.
And the general public has realized it as well. Kink has become an everyday topic of conversation. Women's Health is giving tips on how to tie up and spank your partner, floggers are popping up at sex stores and on Amazon, we're seeing Dom shirts at our local mall and celebrities being suspended in music videos. Fifty Shades has probably set us ahead ten years in terms of acceptance.
The hatred for the franchise from the kink community doesn't surprise me; I understand it. Even though Fifty Shades has given us a huge boost in terms of acceptance, the relationship between the two main characters isn't healthy or an accurate depiction of BDSM. It is fraught with consent and abuse issues; and the impression that you have to have some kind of traumatic background to want to dominate someone isn't true. Like many other kinksters, I'm afraid that those readers with a new found interest in kink will be headed down a dangerous path without further education. ...