Well, a client walked into my consulting room this week with a copy under her arm. “Another one” I thought and decided that I needed to get a copy for myself. The erotic novel fifty shades of grey at the time of writing this blog has become the fastest adult paperback novel to sell one million print copies. The first time novel by E.L James dubbed “mummy porn” is currently the 32nd best selling book since records began in 1998.
Fifty Shades of Grey traces the erotic relationship between a recent college graduate and a billionaire businessman. Women I hear are reading it in hours and in some cases have read all three books in three days, amazing.
The hype has been on for weeks it is the wonder of the moment I know that I just have to join in and discover it all for my self. I consider buying a hard copy and realise that the time constraint will mean that it will take forever to read it so I opt for the audio book and download it to my iPhone and iPad.
If you have read any of my own work on Tantra, Sex, Orgasm and Meditation you will know that my work is about creating equality and mutual fulfilment between two people enjoying meaningful sex and love. The deal for me is that your body is the temple of your soul that needs to, and should, be treated with respect and love.
In Fifty Shades I got as far as the point where he was hitting her clitoris with a riding crop and decided it was time for a break. And have a think…………
It is not that long ago that women were the property of their husbands, I can remember my mother getting letters addressed to ‘Mrs George Orford’, sexist or what? Domestic violence was a civil offence and was not dealt with by criminal law. Many of the woman in my childhood had a rough time at the hands of their partners and husbands.
I watched women discover their sexual emancipation with the birth control pill and I supported many as the renegotiated their relationship with society through the ‘Women’s Liberation Movement’. Over many years I have watched women continue to take their rightful place in the workplace and in the home – then I read Fifty Shades.
The bit that I find most surprising is that the people that are raving about the book are the women. I have heard phrases like ‘it is good to read about a real man’ and I shudder. I am now aware of men buying the book for their wives and partners with an expectation of future sexual gymnastics.
I am not a prude or in anyway inhibited about sex, I think it is great and that we should all do it more, but I do have a concern about the type of sex described in the book and our apparent fascination in sadistic sex indicated by the level of sales. The thing about sex is always that what I do is normal. We all see our own behaviour as how it should be. In the consulting room I think I have become unshockable as people tell of their exploits that for them are normal and as it should be. The thing that is disturbing me about this book is women’s apparent acceptance of being sexually submissive to a dominant man through sadomasochism.
People reading this blog may be thinking ‘hey Sean, come on, it’s a bit of fun, it’s only a story’ but take away the young rich billionaire and it’s an abusive controlling man. There is an unspoken assumption in the way the book is written that because the man is successful with money he also has the right to have power over other people.
In my professional life I have dealt with enough pedophiles, rapists and people beaters to know the dark and dangerous side of dominance and submission. The line between eroticism and abuse is fine and easily stepped over. In that sense the sexual story that is played out in the book is one that, if taken up by many men would create hell for many women. The male character in the book is in need of therapy to resolve his own abused childhood.
I guess that anything that people want to do together by mutual consent is fair enough. The problems with sexual dysfunction begin when one person, in this case male, finding the pain and fear of their sexual partner erotic. And although some people, in this case a woman, may find being submissive to a dominant erotic, for many this is not the case. The need to sexually dominate a submissive person is the basis of abuse.
So, at the risk of sounding like a party pooper I am not sure that this book or the ideas that it suggests are really that helpful and may put the cause of women back a generation. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the book should be banned, as being suggested in America but for me making love will always be better than sex and tantra will always be better than S&M. The saving grace of the book is that in the end she leaves him but then the next book is ‘Fifty shades Darker” hey ho.
As I am about to embark on my second tantric sex book I would be really interested in your feedback, what is the attraction to fifty shades of grey? Add yours via my comment section below.
Make love not war, make peace not fear.