As polarizing as Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey is back in cinemas again with 50 Shades Freed. The final part of the trilogy meets the big screen this month in time for Valentine’s day, love it or hate it. While the book itself has a lot to be desired as a piece of literature – the fact that this risque book has made it to the bestseller list and into a major movie is a huge deal. The subculture of kink has always lived in the shadows. Whispered voices bought books on dominatrixes from shady bookstores or pored over content online that would make their partner blush. All while secretly their partner was doing the same.
Mention kink or BDSM and many people instantly jump to the idea of abuse. While it’s true there is a connection for many people between their love of BDSM and previous abusive situations it’s not a requirement. Many are discovering that it’s possible to love BDSM as a normal and healthy person. Sexuality is healthy, and being able to explore what turns you on sexually within a consenting adult relationship is something that this franchise is highlighting. It’s making all those deep, dark fantasies mainstream and acceptable. For those people who were once ashamed to say they enjoyed sex, enjoyed S&M play their prudish housewife friends are now playing the same games because it’s fun and acceptable. After all, it’s at the same theater that plays your kids movies and not some seedy back room. Exploring the things that make you tingle, that peak your interest, even if they’re more extreme than the 50 shades level is seen as less taboo which has many people reaching out to explore their desires.
The Consent Question
Another reason that 50 Shades is important is that it’s adding to the narrative of consent. The question of consent is huge right now, with so many cases of sexual assault in the media it’s something that many people are learning about. It’s sad to think that there are people who still don’t understand the term that no means no, but often sexual situations have implied consent. By not saying anything, consent is assumed. 50 shades also adds to this in a way, as many BDSM situations imply consent until the safe word is used. No matter what else is said, until that statement is made it’s all okay. By exploring the limits of consent you’re more likely to figure out what it is you do and don’t like in the bedroom. It’s freeing to give up your consent in a safe environment, something many people struggle with. We’re so amped and hyped to be in constant control that the moment we have to give it up we panic. It’s relaxing and liberating for some people to submit. So much so they reach something called “sub space” where they’re almost in a catatonic trance. If anything, we could all use more relaxation.
While the book itself is terrible, it’s also making the erotica genre more popular as a whole. People with great minds are exploring their ability to write smut, and some of them are even good at it. Even if you’re not ready to really try 50 shades in the bedroom you can try them on paper. By this genre of literature becoming so wider known many people are discovering their inner author. Writing can be liberating in itself, and it can also be a very safe way to explore what you enjoy on your own since there’s no partner to say no or to influence you. The action of writing out your fantasies can also help you clarify them so that when it does become time to try them with a partner you know exactly what it is you want.