BDSM is having a pop culture moment, thanks mostly to Fifty Shades of Grey, the unavoidable book trilogy by E.L. James that will become virtually omnipresent when its film adaptation hits theaters Feb. 13. Fifty Shades has exposed millions of decidedly "vanilla" fans to the world of kink, but does it offer an accurate picture of the dominant-submissive dynamic?
HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri posed that question on Tuesday to a panel who set the record straight on how the books compare to real-world, dom-sub experience. Former dominatrix Nichi Hodgson kicked off the discussion by pointing out that depicting things like bondage play in entertainment has always been a struggle.
"It always has to do with costumes and not really to do with the relationships or the depth of emotional intensity or the experience," Hodgson said. "To some extent, that applies to all sexuality in pop culture anyway. We're always kind of reducing it to its very simple performative level."
But now that Fifty Shades has become arguably the most mainstream representation of BDSM, the franchise has "changed the game significantly," Hodgson said. But is it for better or worse?
Watch the panel separate kinky fact from E.L. Jamesian fiction in the video above. If you're looking to dive deeper into BDSM, check out the clip below for recommendations on what to watch next.