Fifty Shades of Grey, Consent and the Media’s Representation of Kink

We all knew that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie would bring about a conversation regarding BDSM, non-vanilla relationships, and the nature of consent between adult sexual partners.  I read an article discussing the “impact” of the film, and it got me thinking.

In the interests of full disclosure, I will tell you that I have read the books.  I read them before I learned about my submissive side.  Anastasia Steele’s character bothered me back then, and it bothers me now.  I don’t have as much of a problem with Christian Grey, but that’s because I have a very different perspective on him than most people.  That’s just me.  I thought the books were great escapism fiction, but they weren’t written well.  They’re fluff, pure and simple, and unfortunately, they’re the litmus test that the mainstream media will now use to judge what those of us in the community consider to be a huge part of who we are.

The Nature of Consent in BDSM

The article makes a solid point about consent.  In fact, this is one of the things I love most about D/s: Everything is discussed in advance.  I know exactly what to expect, and the rules are as clear as day.  Break the rules, and suffer the consequences.  If only the Vanilla World had these kinds of discussions.

What Christian Grey is into is what he’s into, and according to the book, he had 15 women who enjoyed his brand of kink.  They were consenting adults who came back for more.  His contract with those women allowed them to leave at any point they chose, and it also stated that they could leave if he ever violated the rules himself.  Consent is everything.

Imagine having an exclusivity clause in a Vanilla relationship.  You sign a contract in the beginning of the relationship that sets the consequences for a dalliance with another person.  That’s right—a contract that covers cheating.  That’s unheard of in the Vanilla World (with the exception of prenuptial agreements that cover it), and it would create many interesting challenges if it was a widespread phenomenon.  The BDSM world thinks about these things, in detail, and in advance, so that issues are avoided in the first place.