Jun 212012
 

Before we go any further, I want to go on record about a few things.

First, I don’t like the term “mommyporn” that is being applied to the Fifty Shades trilogy. Mommies have as much right to sexual pleasure as anybody else, and they don’t need snobs looking down at them for their interests.

Second, I don’t like the judgment that, because this series was originally Twilight fanfiction, it is automatically and obviously subliterate trash. I’ve enjoyed reading fanfiction, and written and posted it too. Lots of fanfiction writers have graduated to writing professional fiction.

The relationship between original fiction and derivative fiction is a complex one, and worthy of at least a few posts, but isn’t really in the purview of this blog. Suffice to say, if a writer alters his or her fan work enough to not be blatant plagiarism, I say go ahead and publish  it (or at least try). If by some fluke the work becomes a bestseller, well, ride that train.

If I could say anything to the millions of people who have bought millions of copies of these books, it is that there are BDSM erotica/romance books out there that are so much better in every way than this, and please give the authors and publishers of those books some of the financial support you’ve given to EL James.

I’ve reached the point where I’ve lost count of how many things in this book bug me.

Do I need to say that, if Ana is fearful of telling Christian that she had erotic dreams about him, it’s a bad sign?

Do I need to say that, if a man admits to deliberately getting a woman tipsy with wine before discussing their sexual relationship, it’s a bad sign?

Do I need to say that, if a submissive talks about delaying the signing a contract so she can doesn’t have to do any actual BDSM play, it’s a bad sign?

Ana obviously feels overwhelmed by this new, intense situation and frequently fearful of Christian. Instead of calling time-out and renegotiating their relationship, she has to use sneaky, underhanded tactics to protect herself and get what she wants.

This is what’s known as “topping from the bottom”. This is a phrase that gets used in a few different ways. It is sometimes used incorrectly by overly controlling dominants to describe a submissive who is, in their opinion, insufficiently submissive. It also means a submissive who resorts to indirect and manipulative tactics in order to take some degree of control in the interaction with a dominant, instead of clear communication and honesty. It’s symptomatic of a bad relationship dynamic, of a dom and sub who aren’t on the same page.

Ana rolls her eyes at Christian again, and this prompts him to spank her as punishment, contract or no contract. Again, Christian always follows the rules, except when he doesn’t feel like it.

Holy fuck it hurts.  I make no sound, my face screwed up against the pain. I try and wriggle away from the blows – spurred on by adrenaline spiking and coursing through my body.

[…]

And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. He continues the unrelenting rhythm. I cry out six more times. Eighteen slaps in total. My body is singing, singing from his merciless assault.

Remember that this is Ana’s first experience with any kind of impact play, except for a single spank earlier in the heat of the moment. If a newbie sub says or thinks this, this is a sign to stop.

He caresses my behind gently, and it burns as he strokes me round and round and down. Suddenly, he inserts two fingers inside me, taking me completely by surprise. I gasp, this new assault breaking through the numbness around my brain.
“Feel this. See how much your body likes this, Anastasia. You’re soaking just for me.”
There is awe in his voice. He moves his fingers, in and out in quick succession.
I groan, no surely not, and then his fingers are gone… and I’m left wanting.

Something else to realize: arousal does not equal consent. It doesn’t matter if Ana’s vulva is wet, if in her head she’s hating every minute of this.

It’s a fact of human physiology that our arousal states are closely linked, with fear slipping into anger and both slipping into desire. Part of the reason spanking can be arousing is that in the human nervous system the buttocks are cross-wired with the genitals. This is only the physical part of a much more complicated process with psychological and cultural aspects.

Several laboratory experiments have shown that women when fitted with devices that measure blood flow in the genitals and given porn to watch and read, do show signs of arousal from all kinds of material, even when they say they were turned off by this. Does this mean that these women are lying? No, it means that womens’ blood flow changed when they were agitated by stimulus.

It doesn’t matter what Ana’s vulva is saying. What matters is what her mouth is saying, or rather should be saying, which is “Yellow” or “Red!” or “Get away from me, you obsessive-compulsive stalking no-boundaires asshole!”

My senses are ravaged, disconnected, solely concentrating on what he’s doing to me. How he’s making me feel, that familiar pull deep in my belly, tightening, quickening. NO… and my traitorous body explodes in an intense, body-shattering orgasm.

[…]

“Oh, baby,” he breathes. “Welcome to my world.”
We lie there, panting together, waiting for our breathing to slow. He gently strokes my hair. I’m on his chest again. But this time, I don’t have the strength to lift my hand and feel him. Boy… I survived.  That wasn’t so bad. I’m more stoic than I thought. My inner goddess is prostrate… well at least she’s quiet.

If a submissive’s first impact play ends with her thinking, “That wasn’t so bad”, there’s something seriously wrong. Her use of the word “stoic” is yet another problem. Stoicism is a Greek philosophy with the goal of avoiding suffering by cultivating detachment from the world. A stoic would view physical pain as a test of their detachment, but would not seek out pain or any other intense experience. A masochist, on the other hand, wants to suffer, or rather to feel sensations (in a controlled, safe way) as intensely as possible. A stoic endures, a masochist embraces.

Ana views her submission to Christian as a quid pro quo arrangement: she will endure X number of spankings so she can enjoy Y number of coffee dates and flower bouquets. The more she endures, the more she will be rewarded. This may be completely different from what Christian is thinking. He may genuinely believe she is enjoying this, because she hasn’t said otherwise, and because he believes she is a masochist.

I’m so confused by my reaction. I remember him saying – I can’t remember when – that I would feel so much better after a good hiding. How can that be so?  I really don’t get it. But strangely, I do. I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience, in fact, I would still go a long way to avoid it, but now… I have this safe, weird, bathed in afterglow, sated feeling. I put my head in my hands. I just don’t understand.

It’s called endorphins, honey, natural opiates. A big part of BDSM is tricking the body into thinking that it is more hurt than it actually is, and therefore triggers their release.

This is when a good top would sit down and have a good debrief with their novice submissive. Christian gives her a little physical aftercare by rubbing her ass with babyoil, but there’s a huge amount of emotional aftercare that he didn’t do. Aftercare is the vital component of a scene when the top gives the bottom what they need to get back to normal. Depending on the person, this could include cuddling for comfort and reassurance, water for dehydration, candy for low blood sugar, a blanket for body warmth, talking for emotional support, or other things. Later in this chapter we’ll see what happens when the bottom doesn’t get the necessary aftercare.

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