I am thrilled to welcome Sophie Morgan author of The Diary of a Submissive to my blog today. She’s going to let off a little steam over that certain book everyone’s talking about! Now, over to you, Sophie!
I’ve always loved erotic fiction that I could relate to, from my very first Black Lace novel (New Woman magazine gave one away as a free gift during my formative years, and it rocked my world) through to the short stories, novellas and books that currently fill my Kindle. But while Fifty Shades of Grey has encouraged thousands of women to spice up their love lives and talk honestly about their fantasies and things they want to try – which can only be a positive thing – the book has done little to remove the misconception that submissives are doormats or throwbacks to a pre-feminist age, and as someone who self defines as ‘submissive’ that makes me grumpy.
So here’s my top six misconceptions drawn from Fifty Shades of Grey – and yes, I know it’s fantasy, just be thankful that I haven’t also thrown in my ‘why The Newsroom is nothing like journalism’ rant too (I’ve inflicted it on about eight different friends this week, although still can’t stop watching – which probably tells you all you need to know about my masochistic tendencies)…
Being into BDSM doesn’t mean you’re somehow broken
No-one looks for profound reasons for someone who finds high heels sexually alluring to be wired that way. Or someone who likes the efficient secretary look, or corsets, or any other kink you care to name. Just because power play in some form or another floats your boat doesn’t mean you are the victim of abuse, mentally ill or in any other way unhinged.
Being submissive doesn’t mean suppressing your personality
Ana spends a great huge part of the books worrying (courtesy of her, frankly quite bitchy, inner goddess) about whether she can either change herself into what Christian wants. Putting aside the whole ‘why would you indulge in sex you didn’t enjoy to land a guy, even if he DOES look like Daniel Craig meets Alexander Skarsgard?’ thing, being submissive doesn’t mean either suppressing your desires, or quietly not mentioning them. You don’t have to be a Stepford sub – you can quite happily show your feelings and thoughts and react like yourself, even within the sexual context. No eye rolling or lip biting is necessary either (although, ok, maybe I eye roll a bit – my inner goddess if I have one is a bit of a sarcastic bint)
Not all ‘punishments’ are equal
Pain and ‘punishment’ is a major part of the dominant / submissive dynamic. However, unless you’re uber hardcore (and most people aren’t) they aren’t the way real life disagreements and arguments are sorted. Christian Grey marking Anastasia’s breasts because she dares to bare while on holiday is not an act of sexual punishment, it’s the act of a horrible husband and no number of first edition books, gadgetry or helicopter flights to swanky restaurants is going to make up for it.
Micromanaging isn’t sexy
As a man who yearns for complete control, Christian Grey has an opinion on everything going on in Ana’s life – from her friends, to what she wears, what she eats (and when), even when she heads off to her GP. Suffice to say most dominants I’ve ever met are less hands on, shall we say. This isn’t just because some of my exes struggle to choose their own socks some mornings, but also because, frankly, the allure of deciding everything in someone’s life is just a bit dull after a while. Also, I’d imagine, knackering.
Orgasms: It’s not like retuning a radio…
Ana comes for the first time (ever – SHE clearly doesn’t read women’s magazines) as Christian tweaks her nipples back and forth. That’s all. It’s probably just as well more blokes don’t read the Fifty Shades trilogy, lest we end up with a generation of blokes who think the road to sexual ecstasy is nipple twiddling like a cat burglar trying to crack a safe.
No room to swing a cat-o-nine-tails
BDSM doesn’t have to be accoutrement-heavy. Most people I know who indulge in such things don’t have that much kit to do so, and lots of them also manage it in shared houses or small flats with nearby neighbours. Of course the dominants don’t play semi-naked piano in their penthouse apartment after the deed has been done, so maybe I’m being churlish…