I am really happy that a woman writer wrote a sexy book -- and that throngs of women are raucously declaring their libido at the movies. I am happy, and yet, I have to say it: As a sex-positive feminist, I feel let down by this failed attempt at great erotica. This is the Marquis de Sade meets a Walt Disney fairy tale -- neither of which really do it for me in the bedroom. Walt Disney makes sexist goo, and Marquis de Sade is a bit of a misogynist grumpus. But don't get me wrong; kink with someone with whom you have great communication, consensual agreement and maybe even deep love can be fantastic.
If any of my friends were dating Christian from 50 Shades of Grey, I'd tell them he's a loser. A rich loser, yes, but nonetheless an emotional cripple. He stalks Anastasia, and he introduces her to BDSM not in a straightforward, friendly kind of way, but in a coercive, ghoulish way.
He's creepy. He's that guy who needs a personality overhaul, the dude who's too controlling, too domineering -- out of bed. You want to dominate me in bed? Be my guest. You want to drive? Here are the keys to my clitoris. But don't pull that controlling crap out of bed.
Sure, he buys Anastasia a new car and a bunch of other goods. But if you are in your twenties -- and here's where my feminist nag raises her ugly head -- get a great job and buy yourself the car! Then drive your sparkly car to your boyfriend's house, have a conversation of two equals, make clear consensual agreements about what you are willing to explore and what your limits are, pick a safe word, and then step over the threshold into the bedroom and have at it! Let yourself be the horny animals you are -- with your safe word in place and the understanding that you will stop and help each other if either of one of you gets triggered or upset. Be aware that this is a game -- you are play-acting. There must be a mutual understanding that you are both equals, and, as equals out of the bedroom, you can confidently explore taboo power roles behind closed doors.
Let's review this dichotomy, because this is a crucial distinction that can be confusing to some people. Sex is how adults play. It can involve acting out roles that, mind you, if you asked me to act out at work, would result in me slapping you with a sexual harassment suit. My husband can act like a big ole sexist piggy in the bedroom -- a real throwback to the pork of "Mad Men" days. Sometimes, when we're acting out some absurdly sexy and sexist scene, we break out laughing -- it's fun to explore these taboos. But, it's called acting. At any time I can stop the action. And the scene stays confined to our boudoir. Because if my husband tried to reenact the same scenario in our kitchen or at the bank -- for instance, "Me Tarzan, you Jane" -- it would not fly. In fact, it'd go something like this: "You Tarzan? Me dialing divorce lawyer."
What is hot in the bedroom is usually really boorish in the kitchen. I want a sophisticated man, one who can master both worlds. Be a masculine man -- if that's what you're striving for- - at the bank and in the boardroom, but don't be a sexist jerk. If you behave like Mr. Grey around me, I'm gonna swat your arrogant behind and tell you to get lost.
So, I know this requires finesse, but it really isn't that hard to grasp. Kink can bring up a lot of feelings, and that's also precisely why it can be so hot, because you are playing with forbidden fantasies. But do it with someone you trust. And have fun together -- on on a level playing field.