Sex Writing

Why I’m Not On the #50Shades Bandwagon

via Google Images

via Google Images

Unless asked/forced to, this is the only amount of oxygen that I’m going to give to the whole 50 Shades thing. I’m working hard at not worrying about things that don’t matter to me – this is one of them.

I’m a kinkster. I’m a female submissive who found BDSM and specifically Dominance and submission (D/s) at around the time 50 Shades of Grey was at the height of its popularity.

Some will think I’ve read the books. I haven’t.

Others will assume that they (the books) inspired my interest in BDSM. They didn’t.

Most will think I have some opinion which will range from it’s evil and poorly written to it’s the best thing ever. Those people would be wrong.

I Don’t Care About 50 Shades

The honest-to-God truth is that I don’t give a rip about 50 Shades. I tried to read an excerpt a few years ago, and I couldn’t get through it. Her writing style isn’t my thing. Okay, in all honesty, I found it painful and thought my eyes were going to bleed.

But there’s a good possibility someone says the same thing about my own writing.

From every description, quote, and reaction from most kinksters who have read the book, Christian Grey isn’t my kind of Dominant. But Anastasia isn’t my kind of submissive either. Without having read it, I liken it to every other  BDSM erotic tale featuring a billionaire and his secretary, the lord and his serving wench, the rich guy and the hooker – sounds nice on paper, but probably won’t happen in real life.

The books, the characters, the story line – none of it affects how I see and talk about BDSM and D/s – other than to know that some hapless person who read it, took it as fact, and is now trying to figure out whether they’re a big D or a little s probably has a million questions and a few misconceptions. Those misconceptions aren’t much different than the kinkster who discovers D/s thanks to erotic imagery in Tumblr or a few stories on Literotica (where I found it, thankyouverymuch).

But It’s Eeeeeviiiiiiiiiiiiiil

Do some people walk away reading those books thinking that’s what BDSM and D/s are supposed to be like? Yeah. But how many people walked away slightly turned on, had a few nights of really great vanilla sex, and never ventured into BDSM? A lot more.

Those who discovered our lifestyle after reading the books – did they, if they were so curious, find your book, my blog, or one of the many prolific writers on the lifestyle, too? A quick Google search would have helped them. Hell, when I search “submissive” on Google, something from A Submissive’s Guide usually pops up towards the top. Fuck, apparently I show up for certain terms. If anyone cared enough to search, hopefully they care enough to read and realize there’s more to this world than what’s contained in a few hundred pages of erotica.

If it brought people into our world of BDSM, no matter how misinformed or uneducated they were, and those people stuck around, learned something, and are now having fulfilling sex lives – who cares about the rest??

Let’s put this in perspective, shall we?

I’ve watched all kinds of movies and read all kinds of books, and never once have I stolen a car, robbed a bank, killed someone, attempted to fly around on a broomstick, or cast a spell on anyone. So let’s stop and realize that for many people, quite a lot, this is a turn-on, titillating, and may result in either great masturbation or awesome sex afterwards. For many, many people, that will be as far as it goes. For the person who sees the blindfold, the gag, the red room, and whatever else, they may get curious and come looking for more information. If you want BDSM to be viewed in a certain way, start putting out good information yourself. I promise you, someone will find it and be changed by it.

But This is Our One Shot and It Makes BDSM Looks Bad

No, this isn’t our “one shot.” Secretary came out in 2002. Quick confession: I was turned on by it, but had NO clue it was BDSM or D/s related. I really was that innocent at age 22/23. Because of 50 Shades even more writers are publishing or being published who write about BDSM. Sure, the hard core stuff is typically self-published, but there’s an entire section in my local Barnes & Noble devoted to some of the heavy-hitting BDSM writers. It’s not a big section, but it’s a start.

Have your opinion about 50 Shades. Write about why the movie and the books get it wrong. Represent BDSM in the way you want it to be viewed. That’s how you make BDSM look good.

In real life, a lot of kinksters in my community aren’t concerned about 50 Shades. For them, it’s the crap that can be found on Fetlife or even Second Life. Their biggest concern has nothing to do with a movie or books, but people who are “practicing” BDSM in the online world and have no real-life experience. Those are the people who can be dangerous when they finally bring their fantasy to life – according to a few of my kinkster friends.

My opinion, seeing it from both sides, is that anyone openly engaging in the lifestyle online has a responsibility to portray a certain reality to it. I don’t mean writers who love crafting a sexy scene can’t add an element of fantasy – most readers are smart enough not to take us literally. But I do think that when we talk about our view of the lifestyle and how it affects us that we should be as open and honest as we’re comfortable with. Most newcomers are shocked that their problems don’t magically disappear simply because they submit or dominate. They think the sex will always be perfect, that mistakes made are a reflection of them as a person, and that somehow life will become perfect. It’s up to those of us who live the lifestyle and are willing to share it to show them differently.

And that, boys and girls, in my humble opinion, is how you “combat” the misconceptions that people will have after they read any BDSM erotica that brings fantasy to life – whether it’s 50 Shades or anything else.

With that, I say, go forth and read the smut that’s interesting to you.

Your book isn’t my book, but your book is okay.


About the author

Kayla Lords

I am a sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, international speaker, kink educator, and all-around kinky woman. You can find me online sharing my innermost sexual thoughts and experiences, teaching other bloggers how to make money writing about sex, and helping kinksters have happy healthy BDSM relationships. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom and business partner, John Brownstone. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!


  • Lordy, the first movie I watched about BDSM was in high school about 30 years ago. It was called 9 1/2 Weeks! Idiots in media/religious Fundies going off about the dangers of FSOG evidently are making me crazy. I read the books finally. They didn’t inspire me either, as I had already started exploring. Seriously, people? They are FICTION. If anyone thinks this is a biography, there are bigger problems there. If I read about one more dickmonkey claiming that reading this particular set of books will send people (women) to hell, I’m probably going to suggest some different ideas about salvation and out myself as a “liberal.” It might be time!

    I’m with you, Kayla. Just spread the right kind of news and let it go. It’s not the first and won’t be the last.

    • You’re the second person today who’s talked about the “going to hell” aspect of the objections. Part of me is glad I’ve removed those kinds of people, news, and organizations from my feed as to not see it, and another of me is sad, because this part needs to be addressed just as much as anything else. If it’s you that does it, I am COMPLETELY supportive. Out yo’self gurl! /giggles Ok, I won’t do that anymore.

      And I still haven’t seen 9 1/2 Weeks…gonna have to add that one to the list. 🙂

      • I’ve seen a few of these as well. I tend to be more moderate with a lot of conservative friends. It kind of made me feel like I was incredibly deviant, which got my back up a bit. Had to take a deep breath and remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’ll take my ideas up with God Himself.

        • It’s hard living in the real world sometimes. I’m surrounded by extremely conservative Christians. They think I’m sweet, charming, and all kinds of good things. But I never fool myself into believing they’d feel that way if they knew this side of me. For whatever reason, they haven’t mentioned the 50 Shades thing – I have a feeling it’s because so many of them secretly read the books, lol.

  • Well said. Initially, I was irritated that a book so horribly written got such attention. I wasn’t so focused on the BDSM element other than thinking it was a silly portrayal of the lifestyle. I just wanted someone like Selena Kitt or Remittance Girl, or writers of high quality to get recognition instead. THAT was the part that offended me.

    It does give me an opportunity to explain BDSM at times so I guess that’s a good thing. I’m not vanilla really, but my particular kink may not be all that kinky for some people.

    • Cara Sutra just wrote a blog post expressing her own annoyance at all the backlash and she said it best. Sexuality is more of a spectrum – vanilla to hardcore kinky. I promise you that there are some vanillas in the world you would be awed at your “level” of kinkiness (and probably scared by others, lol).

      The books and movie open up a door to talk about BDSM in a way that wasn’t there before. That can’t be a bad thing – whether you like the books or not.

  • FSOG was originally fan fiction for Twilight. They were terrible books/movies, I think, but to each their own. My daughter read the books, loved the movies and proceeded to grow up and not be interested any more. I liked FSOG (I hear shocked inhalations everywhere), but I like a lot of things. People, authors, need to realize it is just fiction. And, Kayla, I do LOVE your books, I own them all! But, I’m still not going to run out and practice what I’ve read. This is my fantasy life, not my reality. If things were different, maybe, but I am happy with my life as is. I don’t see why we can’t leave it at that.

    • I think that’s the best point of all. As a reader, I’d be a bit insulted that the entire world (or what seems like the whole world) seems to think that you’ll read it and run out and start practicing bad BDSM.

      For the vast majority, it was a pleasant fantasy. For some, it opened up new paths and doorways in their sexual life. And for a very small minority, they acted (incorrectly) upon what they took as fact. But that probably would have happened if they found BDSM on Tumblr or in another book, too.

  • I am so glad that I am finally able to read something from someone I respect in this area. I tried for months to understand what the big deal was with 50 Shades. I got a copy of book one from a friend and couldn’t get pass the first chapter. This was long before I had came across your work. I had read some stuff and seen a few movies, but something about 50 Shades just made me sick to my stomach. Kayla thanks for writing this for others to learn from.

    • You’re welcome. I truly wasn’t going to wade into all of this but I guess I saw one online freak-out too many.

      I admit that in the beginning I was offended by the poor writing and the lack of adherence to SSC (based on what I was being told), but somewhere along the way I gained perspective. It’s just a book, it was never meant to be the BDSM Bible, and the people who come to the lifestyle with incorrect notions get it from places other than this one freaking book. The sky isn’t falling, the world isn’t ending, and everyone just needs to calm down. 🙂

  • this is the most important line in your post -But This is Our One Shot and It Makes BDSM Looks Bad
    And that’s sad. I don’t live the lifestyle – but I respect a person’s right to choose. Such a large segment of the world believes everything they see from Hollywood – never bothering to look beyond the curtain and learn the truth.

    • Exactly. I think people are freaking out and worrying over something that the vast majority of the world doesn’t care about. The way BDSM is represented by real people in real situations is going to go a lot further than the way one movie (or book trilogy) handles it.

  • I can’t stand the books, but that has less to do w/ their treatment of BDSM, and more with the way they continue the romance genre trope of “stalkng-abuse-rape are romantic and what every woman wants”. I love reading romance, but I almost never do anymore b/c the romance section is so full of abusive/rapey “heroes” and/or “heroines”, it’s become the literary equivalent of a landmine.

    • I can see how that would. I think consent and love together are sexy…of course, that means I would be willing to let the boundaries be pushed, too. But I hope I never travel into the abuse/rape side – without a specific purpose in mind.

      I will say I don’t like how people against BDSM in general are using the books/movie as a platform against abuse. Not the kinksters who are offended at the lack of consent or whatever, but the general community who see it as a way to bash an entire community. That part sucks.

  • Hey Kayla,

    I really appreciate this post. Thanks so much! I guess what puzzles me about the 50 Shades phenomenon is that we are so hypocritical closeted and Victorian as a society that the slightest mention of BDSM in the media sends jolts of titillating giddiness through news and entertainment channels who don’t usually get to cover it.

    I yearn for the day when healthy kink relationships are out of the closet and accepted as readily as healthy gay/lesbian portrayals have become on tv. Ellen DeGeneres frequently refers to her beautiful wife, Portia. Wouldn’t that be awesome if a TV personality could could freely about her submissive just as openly? But currently, it would freak someone out. Kink seems to always have to be portrayed as clownish in the media.

    This is one reason why so much shame exists around the idea of a BDSM lifestyle.

    The best thing about 50 Shades is that it brings a non-clownish tone to the orientation of kink. (And yes, kink can be someone’s entire sexual orientation, independent of gender). So, even though 50 Shades is not my cup of tea, I applaud the exposure for kink awareness!

    • Kink awareness can be a wonderful thing, especially if it leads to meaningful discussion and discourse. 🙂

      I don’t mind keeping my kink (relatively) private, but not worrying about sending John Brownstone to jail thanks to one ill-placed bruise would be nice. Sigh.

      Well, this is the start. Who knows how long it will take, but at least it’s a start.

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