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The dominatrix verdict: Is 50 Shades of Grey what bondage is really like?

“A healthy kink relationship would likely make for a fairly boring story.”

Even a professional dominatrix doesn’t approve of the dynamic between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey. Mistress Jadis gives her scathing verdict on a film that’s made $81 million so far.

“I have to give Christian a little bit of credit for having a well appointed play space.”

This is how our interview starts with Sydney-based dominatrix Mistress Jadis.

She’s speaking, of course, about the infamous Christian Grey – the suit-by-day, whips-and-fetish-by-night main character in the book/film Fifty Shades of Grey. But complimenting his pent-house of BDSM equipment is the one and only moment Mistress Jadis is positive about the character.

Read more: Lisa Wilkinson on Fifty Shades of Grey.

Jadis refuses to endorse the 50 Shades of Grey film in any way. Coming from someone who works in BDSM professionally, that’s quite a damning statement. The whole 50 Shades phenomenon is based on the erotic appeal of BDSM – but not even an expert in the field can bring herself to support it.

Here’s what else Mistress Jadis had to say about Christian, Anna, and BDSM…

Do the sex scenes accurately depict what BDSM is like? 

The sex scenes depict some very common light to medium BDSM activity performed by a male dominant heterosexual couple. BDSM involves a much wider range of activities than 50 shades shows and is practised by female dominant couples, same sex and queer couples. BDSM is an erotic activity but not all BDSM encounters include or are foreplay for penetration or other sexual contact.

Read more: Ten times ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ glorified an abusive relationship.

What else would you have liked to see depicted?

BDSM play taking place in a healthy relationship with good boundaries and clear consent, which would be an entirely different storyline! 50 Shades also focuses on a male dominant/female submissive relationship. Female led and same sex BDSM relationships are also common.

Read more: Rosie Waterland’s review of Fifty Shades.

Do you think the relationship between Christian Grey and Anna Steele is a healthy dominant-submissive relationship? 

No. I do not feel this is a healthy dynamic. A healthy kink relationship would likely make for a fairly boring story. The factors that create interesting dramatic tension in fiction don’t necessarily translate to healthy relationships in real life. We consume a lot of media that depicts problematic relationship dynamics.

Given that abusive relationships are all too common in real life it’s worth examining abuse dynamics when they appear in popular culture. Why are we surprised that people stay in abusive relationships when abuse dynamics are marketed to us as romantic?

Read more: The honest-girls guide to Fifty Shades of Grey. No spin. All truth.

The troubling aspect is that Christian very quickly sets himself up to control aspects of Anna’s life that go way beyond what she negotiates or is comfortable with. Major red flags include:

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*Stalking. Christian finds out where Anna works and lives. He tracks and monitors via her devices. He keeps files on his former submissives.

*Basic consent principals and safeword use are not respected. Safewords and consent are addressed in the book and then dismissed and even joked about.

*Anna is very inexperienced both with sex and BDSM and yet is drawn into a very intense D/s relationship incredibly quickly.

*Christian attempts to control Anna’s interactions outside the relationship and she is discouraged from discussing the relationship with others.

*Christian sets himself up as Anna’s major source of information about kink and does not encourage her to seek information elsewhere.

*Christian dictates Anna’s contraceptive choices.

*Christian pursues Anna after she tells him she wants to end the relationship.

Read more: Mia Freedman reviews Fifty Shades. 

How would you describe a healthy relationship of that kind; how does it work?

Similar to a healthy vanilla relationship a healthy D/s relationship is based on consent, openness trust and respect. Boundaries and limits are discussed in advance, ahered to and checked in upon on a regular basis. Power dynamics exist in all relationships. In D/s relationships they are clearly defined and consensual.

Do you think there’s a difference in how men and women approach BDSM? 

Every individual is different. While BDSM scenes are boundaried they don’t occur in a vacuum. We bring our privileges and conditioning with us when we play. Abuse is certainly not limited to male Doms nor to dominant partners in general. I’d really like to see ethical hetro male Doms step up and talk about 50 Shades. After all it’s their relationship dynamic that is being depicted here.


 

Where do you think the desire to be dominated comes from? And is it possible to do in a loving relationship? 

It can be very freeing to willingly surrender. Giving up control in a safe environment can be a wonderful, trust building, mind expanding experience. Many D/s relationships are rewarding and positive for the participants.

Read more: Mia Freedman on Fifty Shades of Grey: “IT IS FICTION”.

How do you feel about the way the story implies Christian Grey is into BDSM because he’s had a troubled childhood?

Equating an interest in kink with pathology or damage contributes heavily to the shame that so many people feel around their kinky desires. People explore BDSM for a variety of reasons. Many have had healthy happy childhoods. BDSM also can be used as a way to work through issues in a boundaried, consensual environment. That’s not to say that all people into the BDSM lifestyle are there for healthy reasons. Like any other “scene” there are abusers and predators who will use BDSM in toxic ways.

Tags: bdsm , fifty-shades-of-grey , movies , sex
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