Let me Explain: 50 Shades of Grey and BDSM

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There is a whole lot of hoopla all over the interwebs and airwaves about 50 Shades of Grey right now.

It’s theatrical release coinciding with Valentine’s Day should only further the chatter and curiosity, to the author and production company’s delight.

I read the books. I will say that they are not very well written. No disrespect, but it is everything a romance novel is meant to be…and not be. It’s an easy read that has a lot of sex in it, however, the euphemisms used to further describe a quite undesirable experience wore on my last nerve. The storyline kept me mentally checked-in though.

It seems many people are not happy with the book due to it’s perceived “intimate partner violence” (IPV). There’s even a hashtag (#50dollarsnot50shades) which is growing in popularity and asking people to donate the $50 they might spend on the movie and concessions to a local women’s shelter. I just finished reading an article by progressive Christian, Mark Sandin, who I respect very much, in which he claimed that this (IPV) was his own problem with the novels and why he would not be supporting the movie.

Here’s the thing:

Yes, 50 Shades of Grey revolves around two people participating in a BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Sadism & Masochism) relationship, however, BDSM is not about violence. The roles of BDSM partners are, in and of themselves, while unequal, complementary to one another. The idea of informed consent of both partners becomes essential. It is less about control, isolation and pain than most people believe.

Practicing BDSM involves high amounts of trust and vulnerability. So much so that it almost becomes, dare I say—spiritual. What is spirituality without trust and vulnerability? Can you be spiritual without daring greatly to bare the most intimate knowledge of yourself? Having a spiritual connection at that level to something outside of ourselves is at the heart our desire. Desire, not lust.

While leaving yourself exposed opens you up to the greatest pains you’ve ever known, it also allows you to experience things at a whole new level. Love. Sex. If you’re going to keep pieces of it unavailable, you’re never going to know the heights you can reach. That’s the real idea behind BDSM. At least for those I know personally who practice it.

As with anything, people get involved for the wrong reasons. Just like marriage and even religion, when you add the wrong person and abuse of power, especially where vulnerabilities are concerned, the potential for things to go wrong or become abusive is high.

That’s always going to be the problem with vulnerability.

Spoiler Alert:

In the storyline beyond the BDSM in 50 Shades of Grey you find that Christian Grey (man, that’s a loaded name) was an abused child. The only way he was able to become successful was to lose his inhibitions through a BDSM arrangement. 50 Shades of Grey is actually a reference to the many levels that are not black and white that make up Mr. Grey, not bruising as many people insist. It is also through this arrangement that he is finally able to fall in love because it allows him to become vulnerable.

So, you see there is actually a lot more to the story than meets the eye. If you look for it, you’ll find a really deep lesson in vulnerability. And who doesn’t need more vulnerability in their life?

Just imagine, fantasize if you dare, the possibilities.

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