An Open Letter to People Who Are Now Engaging In BDSM-relationships and Impact Play Because They Read the “50 Shades” series.
No, stop, seriously, no, stop stop stop.
That series is not a good model for a healthy, consensual, supportive BDSM/impact play relationship.
That series disregards the feelings of Ana. That series disregards safe words. It is a very problematic series and not one to be learned from.
Look, BDSM and impact play can bring out a lot of emotions in people. Some of them are not good feelings. People can feel threatened, exhausted, unsupported, hurt, scared, angry, frustrated, defensive, disgusted, triggered, unloved, unworthy, “evil,” etc.
BDSM is not a toy. Impact Play is not a toy. These are actual things that are actual identities and you need a good, supported, experienced person explaining them to you before you decide to try them out (if you want to do it right, that is).
This silly book does not and will not supply this for you.
Look, I can’t tell you what to do, but safe words are important, and do not trust anything that tells you otherwise. Safe words are called safe words because they are safe. It doesn’t matter what they are. They can range from the forward, easy-to-understand phrases of “red,” “stop,” “no,” to the more complicated and personal phrases that some people hold special connection to, whether it be emotional or intellectual.
Safe words can stop people from being triggered. Triggering someone is an awful experience, and being triggered is an even worse experience, and sometimes people do not come out intact from them. A safe word is important in a relationship because you can grow together as partners. What turns you on? What turns your partner(s) on? What turns them off? What scares them? What makes them feel good? What makes them uncomfortable? What is good and healthy and enjoyable for all involved?
The “50 Shades” series is a terrible, terrible model for a healthy, happy, loving relationship, BDSM or not.
Sex-positivity is important. Please, please, please respect that.
Sometimes what we are told feels good and what is right is not and never will be the case. You are allowed to experiment. You are allowed to be fluid. But you need to know what you are doing. You need to know how to do it right. Sometimes what you see is a mockery of the truth, and that is not okay.
Here are some places to start:
Always remember that when trying out something new, you need to know about it first. Sex and sexuality and sexual identity is no different.
Addendum: picking “stop” or “no” as a safeword isn’t such a good idea because your partner might interpret that as a sign of feigned resistance and to keep going. Pick something idiosyncratic to you and your parter’s lives so it’s easy to associate with sexual activity, but not something too hard to remember during the session. Also, if you’re using a ballgag, make sure the person wearing it can pronounce it somewhat clearly (“banana” is a good one for this) or at least enough to be understood.
yo okay y’all might not realize this but BDSM CAN BE DONE WRONG and is often WRITTEN VERY WRONG wherein people go about their BDSM sex in incredibly unsafe ways, and fictional depictions like this teach people that that kind of BDSM is okay, and encourages them to do it the wrong way when they’re with other people in real life.
BDSM done wrong can hurt people. Forget just physical, it can leave lasting psychological and emotional damage. Not using safewords or talking to your partner about how to use them properly? WRONG. Not talking to your partner about how to signal properly if gagged? WRONG. Just letting your partner fall into things like subspace or endorphin-high without knowing what to expect? WRONG. Especially if you then take advantage when their brain is fucked-up and they can’t give proper consent and they don’t even know it? SO MANY KINDS OF WRONG. And assuming your partner is okay with anything they haven’t expressed is a soft/hard limit, at any given time? Or pushing soft limits without asking? Or while asking when they’re out of it? Or assuming you know their limits better than they do? ALL THE WRONG.
My gripe with 50 Shades isn’t that it’s badly written, or that it’s a romance novel, or that it’s Twilight fic, it’s that this is not safe and consensual and informed BDSM. And at some point, someone who follows it thinking it’s okay is going to fucking hurt their partner, and that’s not okay.
“My gripe with 50 Shades isn’t that it’s badly written, or that it’s a romance novel, or that it’s Twilight fic, it’s that this is not safe and consensual and informed BDSM.”
Call Me Maybe: Fifty Shades Of Grey Edition
- Christian Grey: Hey,
- Christian Grey: I just met you
- Christian Grey: And this is crazy
- Christian Grey: But,please be my sex slave for i am a psycho with a BDSM fetish
- Anastasia Steele: Ok....