I wasn’t planning to blog about this—my thought being that since the Shades of Grey Phenomena began a few years ago, and particularly since the movie version came out this past Valentine’s Day—everyone and her sister has already weighed in on the issue, so perhaps I should pass. But then I learned that in spite of all the murder, mayhem, and general madness going on in the world today on a minute by minute basis, there is a good reason for humankind to carry on—the next Shades of Grey film to be adapted from the second book of the E.L. James series, will go into production early next year. So it appears all is not lost after all.
Now I speak as one who has not yet seen the film and was thinking of catching it when it goes to DVD, but have read several reviews and articles with conflicting opinions about it. Certainly, one positive thing generated by both books and film is a spirited, out-in-the-light-of-day discussion about what BDSM is and isn’t.
I particularly liked Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Salon piece this past Feb titled “Christian sex activists warn against ‘dangers of mommy porn’ and ’50 Shades of Grey.’” The article mentions Julie Slattery, a Christian author and psychologist, who pans the film because she sees BDSM as degrading to women, in that it involves behaviors “normal”, mentally stable women with intact self-esteem wouldn’t consider doing—a pretty Andrea Dworkin take on it in my view, but there you are. I think Steven Elliot agrees from a different perspective by claiming he sees Christian Grey as a stalker, in the Rumpus, 2/23/15, and expressed that anyone with kinky desires should boycott the film.
I also enjoyed “50 Shades Confession” by Ti Chang and Michael Topolovac, co-founders of Cravings, at email@example.com, 2/13/15, who see the sexual conversation about both the books and the film as a good thing, but not the best possible image of BDSM. Also offered in the short piece is a link to praise from Vogue reviewer, John Powers, 2/11/15, who found the film surprisingly good — and looked favorably on what he saw as Ana’s erotic redemption of psychologically twisted Christian Grey, into some semblance of a normal lover by stories end. The piece also offered ridicule, by New Yorker reviewer, Anthony Lane, in a somewhat self-explanatory piece titled, No Pain, No Gain.
Personally, I think the key to Shades of Grey mainstream acceptability as “mommy porn,” is that Christian Grey is presented as a damaged individual who was seduced by an older woman at age fifteen, and left with a permanent neurotic need to act out his rage — sort of a modern day Heathcliff from Emily bronte’s romance classic, Wuthering Heights. But what, in my opinion, the average female reader may not realize, is that by the end of the third book—which I actually did get myself to read—Christian Grey has not been converted to near vanilla behavior, by the love of a good woman. Rather, he was topped from the bottom by a very determined and righteous young woman who wanted her erotic encounters, her way or no way—and more power to her for accomplishing her goal.
In the meantime, not only has Shades of Grey outsold J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter, but sales of soft cotton rope have shot up out of sight, handcuff sales are on the rise, and the popularity of Ben Wa Balls continues to grow —and erotica, particularly romantic erotica is in, bigtime, and I’m quite pleased about that. DorothyFreed1
My new life as a tweeter is connecting me with all sorts of interesting articles and blog postings I hadn’t known about before. I recently discovered Miss Ruby Reviews, a sex toy review site with some excellent articles about various aspect of sexual pleasure. One article in particular, posted on 2/6/15, @missrubyreviews, and titled, I Used To Fake Orgasms, But Don’t Anymore, resonated with me like you wouldn’t believe.
The reasons for all this resonation, in case you can’t guess, is because I used to fake them too. My years as a faker began in the bad old days of my first marriage in the early 60s — when as a girl of eighteen, I found myself unable to orgasm during penile penetration, although I often came close. Being an honest sort, I told my partner the truth, thinking this was an issue to be worked on together, with the mutual goal of improving our sex life. Needless to say, this information was not well received. Both this young man and I had been raised to view the male ego as a tender, fragile entity, that must at all costs be bolstered and guard from harm — and the penis as the be-all and end-all of sexual pleasure for all. Never mind that I came like a house on fire from oral sex or from manual stimulation of my clitoris; the message was clear. Women who stubbornly refused to orgasm from penis/vagina sex, were male ego wreckers for sure.
After that initial confrontation, I not only faked orgasms, I did so every bit as believably as Meg Ryan did in the iconic, faked orgasm scene in the film, When Harry Met Sally, in 1989. Unfortunately, I was so indoctrinated into lying to my husband about this issue, I continued to do so after divorcing him, in order to show my new lovers what a dynamite hunk of woman I was. “Did you come?” they’d whisper in my ear after their own orgasms subsided — and there I was, so conditioned to seeking male approval, I felt I had not other choice but to lie.
A few years later, in my early thirties, I got lucky and met a man with enough self-confidence to not be threatened by the truth. Instead, this memorable man and I entered into a mutually beneficial relationship, dedicated to the discovery of what made Dorothy come. And from that point on, I’m delighted to say I’ve never lied about orgasms again.
This particular sexual issue was so significant to me it because the basis for my book length, erotic coming-of-age story, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies, for which I am currently seeking publication
And this is why Miss Ruby’s article about how she faked orgasms, and how, like me, she no longer does, resonated so strongly with me. I have no idea what age she is now and how long ago she stopped faking. I’d love to think that younger women today have come a long way in claiming their right to full sexual pleasure and no longer agonize over orgasmic issues — although I suspect for some people, some ideas will die hard.