Thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey

What is it about Fifty Shades of Grey?

I see 5-10 women reading it a day on the subway. My trainer says I should print out cards, either offering my personal services, my URL, or both, and simply drop them in the books/Kindles/nooks. I sorta like this idea, and may do it.

But on to my point: it does clearly resonate for a lot of women – women who find it exciting, hot, revealing, educational, informative. I can sympathize and empathize with you. As I’ve written before, Jefferson’s blog opened my eyes to a whole ‘nother world out there. I have the sense that FSoG is doing the same for many grateful women. How? Why? By presenting dominance and submission in a mild form, one that’s not scary, or threatening, and that’s so underproduced as to be completely anodyne. Add to that its ubiquity – its physical ubiquity, its media ubiquity, its cultural ubiquity – and the thing has rendered a previously taboo topic totally mainstream.

For those of us who are “sex positive,” or even kinky, there’s something… threatening… about the hoi polloi joining our party. It’s the same reason why the denizens of the upscale sex parties look down on those at the more “democratic” clubs (and part of the appeal to me, frankly, of those clubs). The velvet rope barring entry to the world of BDSM – the rope that ensures that most of us are smart, articulate, educated – is being ripped down by a poorly written novel that doesn’t even do dominance right. That’s the party line.

I’m intrigued by all this. Why are we such snobs? Why is part of our “kinkiness” so often a sort of self-satisfied “I’m/we’re better than you/them”?

To take a brief sojourn into politics… I often was puzzled by the insistence of many on the left that George W. Bush was “dumb.” From where I sat, he was a weak president – a man who clearly lost the popular vote, and arguably lost the electoral vote, with a fractious and undisciplined legislative party – and he transformed his party into a disciplined, hierarchically driven machine, and he accomplished virtually all of his goals. In his first term. And he was reelected, by a bona fide popular and electoral majority. To a second term in which he cemented the right-wing hold on the Supreme Court and achieved even more of his ideological goals.

I want to be dumb like him.

But what’s worse, every time we on the left called him “dumb,” we alienated, pissed off, and offended those on the right (and in the middle) who saw in him something compelling (and to be fair, there was much that many found compelling).  All making the appeal of the Democrats to those people that much less likely.

I wonder if we don’t make some of that same mistake with the legions of women reading that poorly written, imperfectly rendered depiction of BDSM.

I, for one, welcome the newcomers to the party.  Welcome, ladies! And if you want to read some really good smut? Dig deeper, here, and elsewhere. If E.L. James was your gateway drug, let me be your crack, your heroin….


  1. Thank you, thank you for this post! For one of my blogs, I had written a long rebuttal to all the venom BDSM bloggers like to spew about the 50 Shades series and the newbies who were intrigued by it, but I didn’t have the nerve to post it being a newbie myself. You’ve addressed one of my issues right here.

    If new people are shunned by the more experienced, they are left at the mercy of the sharks. I am fortunate to be married and have a husband who is game for all kinds of exploration. I have a safe place and safe person, but not everyone does.

    And I ask that people give the readers of the series a modicum of credit. I knew damn well it was not a treatise on the subject of BDSM, so I did my research. I still continue to do research.

    Besides, many will read the series and that will be the end of it. Others will look further into BDSM and when they understand the full scope of it, that will be the end of their search. Only a few will truly dive in. At least that’s my theory.

    Thank you again, N. By the way, I love, love, love your blog. Not enough Dom blogs out there, in my opinion. I hope your friend can heal and start her life anew.

  2. lol. Yup, I do need my N fix daily. ;D

    As far as the haters???? I don’t really get it. I wasn’t aware of the contraversy until it hit the blogs and fetlife(don’t watch the news).
    There are so many badly written smut books out there. I couldn’t understand what all the hullabaloo was about really. Is it cause her books became a financial success? And so what if women all over the world are reading it…every time I’m in barnes and noble the romance section is packed people!! Yeah, I’ve heard it doesn’t depict bdsm realistically but by now most readers have also heard about the backlash I’m sure.
    I guess I just figure it’s not worth all the energy to hate.

  3. I’ve not read them — what excerpts I HAVE seen have featured what I see as horrible writing in need of a good AP English Literature and Composition student to proofread — but I understand they are doing good things for many people’s sex lives. Mr. No Name (of ) had his already active sex life kick into overdrive once his wife read the books. If somebody else reading a book can make my sex life better, I’ll start buying copies and handing it out myself.

    Stay SINful
    Mr. AP

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