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Monday, 2 March 2015

50 Shades

Several years ago I read the first book of the Fifty Shades trilogy. A disappointing book about a fascinating topic. I was unable to motivate myself to read part two and three. The writing is like any other Bouquet book. The trilogy has been written by a female English author (Erika Mitchell) although the name (E.L. James) could well suggest a male writer. The books and the movie are quite popular amongst women despite the central BDSM theme.

Its current popularity as a movie is a surprise to me as this topic is usually more of a cult theme. A cult is a religious or social group with socially deviant or novel beliefs and practices (source: Wikipedia). This topic has been covered in movies before but with limited success: Histoire d'O / Story of O (1975) and Secretary (2002). Histoire d'O is a novel published in 1954 by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage. Secretary also has female authors, being Mary Gaitskill (short story) and Erin Cressida Wilson (screenplay). Source: IMDB.

It is hard for me to explain the female interest in this topic as I do not really know what drives women towards this subject. This blog article will thus entirely be from a male perspective.

Basically there are two different ways of expression. The book covers one of them which I shall refer to as private submissiveness. The other one is public submissiveness which is basically just a commercial show performed on a stage. Two years ago I finally had the guts to attend the popular KamaSutra Erotic Lifestyle Exhibition in Utrecht. It was an entire waste of time and money. Yet I did see a BDSM show. Remarkably, most spectators of that show were men while the Exhibition was full of female attendees. I feel that women in general do not like the public display of submissiveness.

Private submissiveness has several alternatives which basically rank in the degree of submissiveness. Yet they are all on a voluntary basis albeit some with a mutually signed agreement that explains roles and responsibilities. Private submissiveness is not only for women. The male version of private submissiveness is even available on a commercial basis. Female private submissiveness on a commercial basis may be rare when we disregard female commercial sex workers.

Submissiveness and sex are two different topics although often intertwined in the media as "sex sells". Basically, the movie Secretary is a long and boring movie, especially if you expect to see sex. My favourite scene is when Maggie Gyllenhaal, the secretary, starts making typos on purpose as that will make her boss, James Spader, give her a spanking which she clearly enjoys. In my view, the movie is about - in some ways, mutual - (mind) control and how to achieve that.

According to research especially dominant women enjoy sexually submission fantasies (source: www.psychologytoday.com). That research did not explain the leap from fantasy to reality.

In my view, it is not easy for dominant women to find a man whom they actually respect. Such respect results from increasingly intense communication. The intimacy of that communication feels similar to finding a soulmate. The communication is also similar to a kind of psychological warfare and ultimately leads to the D/s roles.

She: “So you’ll get your kicks by exerting your will over me.” He: “It’s about gaining your trust and your respect, so you’ll let me exert my will over you. I will gain a great deal of pleasure, joy, even in your submission. The more you submit, the greater my joy – it’s a very simple equation.” She: “Okay, and what do I get out of this?” He shrugs and looks almost apologetic. “Me,” he says simply. Quote from Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.