Fifty Shades of Grey hit the movie-going public like a tornado last month. Even though there was some optimism that opening weekend would go well (based on the over one hundred million books sold worldwide) no one in the movie industry was prepared for the over ninety-five million in box office the movie took in over Valentine’s Day weekend.
Why am I doing a blog about this? Because as a sex therapist, I am interested in what such an interest in a story about bondage means.
BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, Masochism) are aspects of sexuality that have been around since our species figured out that two bodies together kept warmer than each one alone. There has been much debate about whether Fifty Shades is about two people role-playing and having fun with sex and with full consent, or whether there is a darker side to this, one that is perhaps troubling to people worried about women’s safety and their rights.
Emma Green, the assistant managing editor of Atlantic.com writes that fantasy is both an escape from reality and an expression of a hidden desire. She tells us that in culture, it both reflects who we are and shapes what we become.
Violence and sex walks a fine line …we need to be very careful not to let it spill over to a point where there is no control for both people. Some guys get turned on by violence during sex, probably a throwback to the days when they had to grab their woman by the hair and drag her into the cave for sex. Some women like it too, possibly enjoying letting go and feeling the strength of the man running the show.
As a therapist I believe that for people who enjoy this it is crucial to talk about it first. Make sure BOTH people are really into it, and decide what is acceptable and when to stop.
Sex is about vulnerability which means, especially for women, you need to be able to trust the man and know that you’re safe. Then you can make room for the openness that lets in intimacy and connection. So go ahead, enjoy the tie, but don’t overdo it!