Dec 132012
 

I’ve divided the commentary on this chapter into two because I want to dissect the scene between Ana and Christian carefully.

Christian has asked Ana for her safeword.

Stop  won’t be enough because you will probably say that, but you won’t mean it.” He runs his nose down mine—the only contact between us.
My heart starts pounding. Shit . . .  How can he do this with just words?
“This is not going to hurt. It will be intense. Very intense, because I am not going to let you move. Okay?”

For a long time, safewords were orthodoxy in kink. Each and every book on BDSM would tell you that you had to have a safeword, often in the first few pages. More recently, people have moved away from them, saying they’re only  really necessary in situations when the bottom is likely to say, “No! Stop! Don’t!”, as part of resistance play. The rest of the time, people should just use plain language to express their feelings in a scene.

I personally use safewords as much for their symbolic value as their practical utility. If a person I’m going to play with asks for my safeword, I feel reassured that the person is on the same page and respects the same values. No unpleasant surprises. (Early in my career, I played with somebody who had never even heard of a safeword, and came to regret it.)

Regardless, negotiation may begin with safewords but it certainly doesn’t end there, especially in a situation like this when you have a very experienced and aggressive dom and a rookie sub. In this case, Christian should err on the side of caution and assume that if Ana says stop, she means it. Maybe later in their relationship they can introduce resistance play, but this is still early.

I should also mention that safewords aren’t just for subs/bottoms. Christian is riddled with hangups and neuroses, such as his problem with being touched on his chest. If this is still an issue, he can and should have a safeword he can use if Ana says or does something that sets him off, and Ana is obligated to respect that.

“Okay.” My voice is barely audible.
“Choose a word, Ana.”
Oh . . .
“A safe word,” he says softly.
“Popsicle.” I say, panting.
“Popsicle?” he says, amused.
“Yes.”

So far, so good. Ana is aroused and enjoying herself, and Christian is performing as a top should.

“You were very disobedient,” he murmurs in my ear, sending delicious shivers through me.
“Yes,” I whisper.
“Hmm. What are we going to do about that?”
“Learn to live with it,” I breathe.

Again, we have this ambiguity between “punishment” and punishment. Ana hasn’t agreed to a relation of actual authority, yet.

Christian cuffs her wrists to her ankles with the handcuffs, then applies the blindfold.

He grasps both of my heels and tips me back so that I fall backward on to the bed. I have no choice but to keep my legs bent. The cuffs tighten as I pull against them. He’s right . . . they cut into me almost to the point of pain . . . This feels weird—being trussed up and helpless—on a boat.

This is why you need to be careful with handcuffs when performing a strenuous activity. Christian leads into teasing Ana, using the handcuffs to force her to keep still.

Just when things were getting acceptable, Christian has to start a conversation with Ana about why she keeps defying him… in the middle of sex. This is not a good way to work out relationship problems.

“Ana, I need to know.”
He slams into me again, thrusting so deep, and I’m building . . . the feeling is so intense—it swamps me, spiraling out from deep within my belly, to each limb, to each biting metal restraint.
“I don’t know!” I cry out. “Because I can! Because I love you! Please, Christian.”

After that non-answer, we get to the standard Ana pass-out orgasm.

He undoes the cuffs and rubs her wrists and ankles; good, aftercare. They don’t debrief or anything.

Hmm . . . a Christian Grey Fifty Shades punishment fuck.
I really must misbehave more often.

This is why confusion about the meaning of “punishment” is a problem. If Christian is going to reward Ana with great sex when she defies him, that needs to be recognized as part of the game. If, however, he really wants her to do what he says, then there’s a problem.

Compared to so many of the scenes in this book series, this is pretty good in terms of real-world interactions. Realistically, Ana and Christian should do at least a little debriefing after this, because this is all very new to her. Christian should ask, “Did you like this? How about that?” and Ana should answer honestly.

Fifty Shades isn’t a how-to book on BDSM and shouldn’t be taken as one, and I may be holding it to an unfair and inappropriate critical standard. Arguably this is a fantasy, even if set in an approximation of the real world. I still maintain that, regardless of the author’s knowledge or intent, this will be the introduction to kink for a lot of people, paralleling Ana’s path, and there should be more diligence. I criticize this book for having characters do bad things and not modelling safe BDSM behaviour, the same way I criticize every other aspect of this train-wreck.

The chapter ends with Ana looking at herself in the vanity mirror in shock.

  One Response to “The Curious Kinky Person’s Guide to Fifty Shades Freed, Chapter 2, part 2”

  1. This trilogy really is being used as a manual now, even marketed that way with 5- Shades branded sex toys. Worse, a teenager accessory store is now carrying branded products for teenagers.

    There’s already been some court cases over people being hurt by practicing out of these books, Notice the lack of anyone in James’s camp saying theses aren’t guides and telling people not to practice what they read. That might hurt sales of the sex kits with 50 Shades on them….

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