Apr 19, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon
Entertainment

50 Shades of Grey Lesson: BDSM Perfectly Healthy for Women

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In Gone With the Wind, Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O’Hara he won’t be refused and carries her up a velvet staircase to thrust—err, drive—Ashley Wilkes out of her mind. This famous scene leaves many female readers with their hearts racing.

But at the same time, many people hear “BDSM” and recoil or become outraged. In fact, Dr. Drew recently came out against Fifty Shades of Grey, despite having never read the book. According to Dr. Drew and other opponents, BDSM is anti-feminist, it glorifies subjugation, and it encourages domestic abuse. There’s a disconnect here that’s impossible to ignore.

How many of us have had the “pirate captive” or “sheik’s harem girl” fantasy? How many of us fantasize about bondage or have Google-d “Christian Grey?” This eternal conflict plagues many confident, healthy adult women. How many of us have wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” Not. A. Thing.

Ladies, take comfort – the desire to submit isn’t anti-feminist and a true BDSM relationship has nothing to do with abuse. Consider ballroom dancing. When we give our partner the opportunity to lead, and choose to follow, we dance together. The desire isn’t to be conquered – it’s to surrender.

While Dominant/submissive inclinations are as old as human nature itself, there’s a reason the BDSM fantasy is engaging the female imagination now. We’ve come a long way, baby. We’re in positions of corporate and political power. We have a voice when we stand up and demand to be heard. Yet, at the same time, we’re still the primary emotional hub of the family, and coordinate most of the domestic chores. Getting swept away in a fantasy where our significant other takes the reins, protects and cares for us, takes away any responsibility? I’d argue it’s natural.

Has your partner ever told you to leave your hands above your head while he was… doing wonderful things to you? He didn’t tie you up; he simply gave you the command. Suddenly what he was doing was even more stimulating - simply because you were letting him take the lead. That’s part of BDSM. Whether it’s psychological or physical restraint, giving up power can be very liberating, especially when you trust your partner to take you both where you want to go.

“But that’s not what BDSM is,” you insist. “I saw the truth on an episode of Law and Order!” Perhaps you saw whips, chains, leather – all sorts of stuff that you’re sure will put you on the FBI’s deviant watch list. Certainly those trappings exist – and can be a lot of fun, especially when you decide to do “FBI interrogation” role-play – but they aren’t the true heart of BDSM.

At the end of the day, BDSM is about a power exchange and the end goal is trust. Giving someone else the gift of our emotional vulnerability can enhance our sexual confidence and strengthens our psychological core. For many women, there’s nothing more empowering. It’s that message that underlies well-written erotic romance, and is enticing women to explore it further – even if it’s only in the pages of a book. In healthy, loving BDSM practice, relinquishing control can actually set a woman free.

Joey W. Hill is the author of more than thirty erotic romance novels and the recipient of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement award. Her newest release, Hostile Takeover, is available at www.ellorascave.com.