50 Shades misrepresents BDSM lifestyle, says sex columnist

BDSM (bondage, discipline and sadomasochism) is a lifestyle that has burst into the mainstream thanks to 50 Shades of Grey, a book (and now also a blockbuster movie) that many people feel is glamorising an abusive relationship and promoting violence against women.

Many members of the BDSM community are voicing outrage at what they claim is a gross misrepresentation of what their way of life is about.

We asked sex columnist Dorothy Black, a regular on the women24.com, to demystify BDSM. She talks about what a consensual, healthy BDSM relationship actually looks like and questions whether the lifestyle portrayed in 50 Shades is actually an accurate reflection.

Listen to the audio for Black’s answers to these questions:

  • What did you think of 50 Shades of Grey? [1:35]

  • Why do you think it has taken off so wildly? [2:07]

  • Many people have argued that it is portraying an abusive relationship – do you agree? Is it an accurate representation of the BDSM lifestyle? [3:01]

  • Can you talk us through what the term BDSM actually means? What does a good BDSM relationship entail? [4:22]

  • Does it necessarily include sex? [5:56]

  • Why would anyone willingly seek to be humiliated? What is the psychology behind such a relationship? [6:40]

  • Some of our listeners might feel that such behaviour has no part in what they would consider a “normal” or “healthy” relationship. Do you agree? [7:48]

  • What about the argument that this is taking feminism 50 steps back – putting women back under the heel of men? Is it really about free will and choice? [9.08]

  • You regularly receive letters from your readers; what are they saying to you about the BDSM lifestyle? Is there a lot of curiosity about it and are a lot of people telling you they practice it? [10:47]

  • Are there safe places to explore this lifestyle if you are curious? [12:28]

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