We all knew that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie would bring about a conversation regarding BDSM, non-vanilla relationships, and the nature of consent between adult sexual partners.  I read an article discussing the “impact” of the film, and it got me thinking.

In the interests of full disclosure, I will tell you that I have read the books.  I read them before I learned about my submissive side.  Anastasia Steele’s character bothered me back then, and it bothers me now.  I don’t have as much of a problem with Christian Grey, but that’s because I have a very different perspective on him than most people.  That’s just me.  I thought the books were great escapism fiction, but they weren’t written well.  They’re fluff, pure and simple, and unfortunately, they’re the litmus test that the mainstream media will now use to judge what those of us in the community consider to be a huge part of who we are.

The Nature of Consent in BDSM

The article makes a solid point about consent.  In fact, this is one of the things I love most about D/s: Everything is discussed in advance.  I know exactly what to expect, and the rules are as clear as day.  Break the rules, and suffer the consequences.  If only the Vanilla World had these kinds of discussions.

What Christian Grey is into is what he’s into, and according to the book, he had 15 women who enjoyed his brand of kink.  They were consenting adults who came back for more.  His contract with those women allowed them to leave at any point they chose, and it also stated that they could leave if he ever violated the rules himself.  Consent is everything.

Imagine having an exclusivity clause in a Vanilla relationship.  You sign a contract in the beginning of the relationship that sets the consequences for a dalliance with another person.  That’s right—a contract that covers cheating.  That’s unheard of in the Vanilla World (with the exception of prenuptial agreements that cover it), and it would create many interesting challenges if it was a widespread phenomenon.  The BDSM world thinks about these things, in detail, and in advance, so that issues are avoided in the first place.

Your Kink Isn’t My Kink

All kink is not equal.  Kinky people pick and choose what they are into.  Very few people do everything.  (I’d wager, in fact, that you could say that no one does everything)  The same can be said of Vanilla relationships.  Oral sex is a very vanilla thing, right?  Well, as a heterosexual woman, I love giving oral sex to my partner, but that is a hard limit for me in reverse.  I can’t stand it being done to me.  I’d rather be worked over with a riding crop.  So the media is going to have to stop pigeon-holing everyone in the kink community.  We don’t all love everything, and there are gradations in levels of kink.  For some, it’s hair-pulling and a few swats on the ass.  For others, it’s being tied up and subjected to a single tail whip.  Just because Christian Grey has a drawer full of nipple clamps doesn’t mean we all have them.  (I don’t…yet)

This is Why You Don’t Dive In Head-First Without Doing Your Homework

I’m always baffled by submissives who jump into D/s relationships without doing any kind of homework.  Christian Grey told Anastasia Steele to do her homework, and she did.  She was still interested in him.  You have to do your homework!  That’s like going home with someone you just met at a bar.  Not ok, in my book.  Not knowing what you’re diving into is a recipe for disaster in any area of your life, but especially in BDSM.  With a D/s relationship, there is a power play involved.  A submissive gives up control to the Dominant.  If the submissive doesn’t do her research or finds that the Dominant is absolutely clueless, she can be in a world of trouble.

A Dominant who knows what he’s doing is a wonderful thing.  Under that guidance, the submissive can blossom.  But if a submissive finds herself with an inexperienced Dominant—or worse yet, an imposter Dominant—the submissive could be subjected to physical and emotional abuse that will leave her damaged for life.  If you’re looking to enter a D/s relationship or dip your toes into the pool before diving in, do your homework.  Talk to people in the community.  Ask for references if you meet a Dominant that you want to play with.  Just because someone claims to be a Dominant doesn’t mean it’s true.

Conduct Your Own Research

Most of this information is old hat for seasoned kinksters, but with so many newbies flocking to the lifestyle, I wanted to throw in my two cents.  Fifty Shades of Grey is a great escapist movie, and it does give you a glimpse into some aspects of the kinky lifestyle--but only some aspects.  There’s a whole world of kink out there.  If you’re curious, great!  Go out and see what grabs your interest.  Just make sure you do it on your own terms, and don’t let the media tell you what to think or how to feel about it.