Aimed squarely at the vanilla,female demographic it is little surprise that the publicity for Fifty Shades of Grey appears to follow the US military’s shock and awe strategy.”Hit them hard,” they cried. “That will bring them out of their rabbit holes.” But you and I know that’s not how it works. Let’s first leave aside the silliness of this knicker teaser for the M&S 3-in-a-pack woman, where an improbably young billionaire fixates on a plain, also improbable, non-computer-owning journalism student who also happens to be a virgin. That’s an unlikely Venn Diagram.
Sexual encounters that reduce you to tiny grains of sand, are rarely broadcast. Anticipation comes from knowing it will happen but not knowing what comes after that moment you abruptly stop talking, because your mouth is dry while the rest of you is flowing like warm honey. BDSM is a hundred times more intense. There is no ‘sex begins here’ as Fifty Shades seems to suggest. You are already there, having given yourself over to the moment, floating in a sea of sensual pleasure long before he touches you.You have no idea what will happen and if you are truly in this, you don’t care. This is not a technical or functional act to be discussed because if you both are inherently intuitive, each knows exactly what the other needs and is prepared to go there, purely on instinct and, of course, desire. Persuasion is not part of it: a true submissive knows what he or she needs and wants to give it, whatever it happens to be. The ideal is to be with someone where you can drop your boundaries and it just feels perfectly natural.
Higher consciousness and profound sexual pleasure do not come from endless discussions of what you will and will not do or from lists of demands and consents or rules. When a Dom makes rules, they are all the more arousing because there is no reason for them. This is not a transaction, nor is it a democracy: if I decide to give myself to something I do it because I don’t want the decisions. I am free. That is the rare joy of true submission.
Fifty Shades of Grey takes the fluffy ephemera of high street BDSM and tacks it onto a fairytale. But what really distresses me about it, aside from the blandness, the bad writing and a billionaire who buys twine from a hardware store is the administration. Because this film is going to create a fuckload of administration before anyone can actually fuck. Applying for loans from the bank so they can add a Room of Pain to their house. Property porn will take on a literal meaning. Supervising the bemused Polish and Albanian builders during the fitout, finding the right shade of red in Farrow and Ball, watching a flurry of property programmes in which couples search for a home that will provide the dimensions they need.
“How about this one,” says helpful Kirsty Allsop.”It’s right in the centre of the village and there’s already planning permission for a double sized room of pain.”
“Well I like it but we’re going to need to put in quite a lot of storage for all the equipment.”
Practical Kirsty is on to it. “Yes, but it won’t cost much to put in wall of shelves from IKEA and you can have all your slutty clothes, masks and whips neatly organised.That’s what I do.”
Beds with posts will be at a premium and Ebay will be chockablock with those that don’t fit the criteria. Contracts of demand will be drawn up, signed, witnessed and countersigned, bucket lists of things to try will appear on the kitchen noticeboard next to the kids’ extra curricular timetable. These will have to be ticked off on a weekly basis “Darling, Sebastian has Mandarin after school and tonight we’re having salmon. Oh and I’m wearing the nurse’s outfit and you’re going to put a leash on me and pull it while you fuck me. Just half an hour.” There will be spreadsheets before bedsheets. This is sex for the City Break generation, couples who carry document wallets when they travel and know what they are going to see.
Personally I can’t abide administration. In the rarity that is the right hands, I prefer to abandon myself to my primal, lustful instincts. That way lies true freedom.