Living in a post 50 Shades world

50ShadesofGreyCoverArtIn 2011, three unassuming fan fiction books were published, and before long the world had collectively lost its mind.

 

By 2012, over 20 million copies of the books had been sold and the mainstream world was suddenly aware of kink in a brand new way.  BDSM was being discussed and debated on every morning show and in every late night monologue.  Kink had become part of the mainstream cultural vernacular in a way that couldn’t be ignored.

At that point I had been a professional dominatrix for more than 10 years, based in Boston, a city that was culturally buttoned up, yet harbored a large underground population of kinksters. Though I was mostly retired (to focus on my educational project KinkAcademy.com), I still had a strong affiliation with professional domination; it has loomed large as part of my personal identity.

In my pre-50-shades life,  when I would attend a party or BBQ, and the conversation would inevitably turn to “what do you do for a living,” I would respond with “I’m a kink educator and professional dominatrix!”  No matter how much the conversation had been humming along up until that point, no matter how tittilated the more vanilla folks at the party would be (and truth be told: the more vanilla they were, the more tittilated they would be), they would quickly find an excuse to turn away from the conversation. At least that was before the kinky books that rocked the world showed up on the scene.

But oh, how living in a post-50 Shades world has altered this exchange. As someone who’s life included “full immersion perversion” (aka my career was centered around BDSM and so were my personal relationships), I’m in a position to have to talk about kink much more than the average private player. But now when I share my career history (I’ve been retired for nearly 5 years), instead of dismay and confusion, I’m met with enthusiasm.  Inevitably someone invokes Christian and Anastasia…

“Oh! You mean like in 50 Shades of Grey?”

“Are those books.. you know.. Real?”

“You must like…. What did you think of…. Was your experience just like…”

This now universal response brings up mixed feelings for me. These books caused quite an uproar in the kinky community, with bloggers denouncing it as dangerous and the worst thing to happen to BDSM since Paddleboro. Kinksters I know would huff and puff when the books would come up at events, and the eye-rolls couldn’t get any harder. The BDSM Community as a whole were at best unimpressed with all the “lookie-loos” the books were bringing to local dungeons and kinky events.

But from the get-go, I couldn’t help but see the benefit to these books.

There are plenty of kinksters who have a distinct interest in keeping the BDSM world on the edge of society; they prefer it to retain its underground, ‘dangerous’ vibe. These kinksters are most attracted to the taboo aspect of kink, the deviance of being a “pervert” in the more traditional sense of the word. Frankly they’re pissed that mainstream culture is intruding on their private playspace.

But there are also many who, like me, see how kink being more understood in the mainstream world could create a lot of positives. For example, there are too many people deep in custody battles, where kinky activity is used to discredit one of the parents.  There are those who suffer from intense fear that accompanies the risk of being outed as a leather-lover.  The fact that a good number of people no longer have to hide their head in shame and fear, or suffer the consequences of ignorance, is a good thing for which – I have to say it – we can thank the 50-shades phenomenon.

In 2016, we live in a Post-50-Shades world. I for one am grateful we do.

Now that I’m moving more into the mainstream world, and expanding my speaking career, it’s become an especially big help for your average citizen to have some kind of a reference point for my past, even if that reference requires a bit of.. unpacking. When the book is brought up, it gives me an opportunity to share a more well-informed perspective. I point out that the books are intended as erotica, similarly to long-published Harlequin novels. That a Harlequin romance with a storyline about pirates and sailing the open seas is just as useful as a how-to guide for taking the helm of a galleon as 50 Shades is an instruction manual for kink.

In fact, my first large mainstream event presentation was at SXSW 2013 titled “The 50 Shades Phenomenon;”  it was well attended and well received. This was the largest opportunity I had to talk to an audience that wasn’t intrinsically kink-focused, and start to share what the BDSM world has taught me outside of the bedroom.

I’ve learned about setting and enforcing personal boundaries, both emotional and physical, and my communication skills in general have skyrocketed. I’ve learned to tap into confidence and inner power in order to achieve what I want in life. It’s helped me be more self-aware and more disciplined. And it’s allowed me to have incredibly creative relationships and experiences.

Since I’ve been retired from the professional world for the last five years, my ability to branch out has expanded tremendously and I can’t help but credit the Fifty Shades series with helping to make that possible.

So while the obsession with the series itself has died down temporarily, the conversation about BDSM have changed forever. And I have no doubt that as the second and third movies are released there will be even more opportunities to educate the public about how awesome kink is, which can only lead to more public understanding, which likely leads to a safer world for the kink-identified, and ultimately for all manner of sexual identity & expression.

 

*Vanilla is a term some kinksters use to describe non-kinky people. It’s used in the same context as ‘muggle’ for Harry Potter fans, or civilians for military enthusiasts.

Bringing Fifty Shades of Grey into Your Bedroom

Man and womanThere has been a lot of hype around the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. As someone who has enjoyed “kinky fuckery” for the majority of both my personal and professional lives, I found this phenomenon incredibly interesting. Some of the media coverage and article titles were as sensationalistic as would be expected “Mommy Porn Explodes!” & “Is middle America getting kinky?” and others along those lines. It was even on the cover of Time magazine.

Many of the articles written by sexuality educators and sex bloggers tore the book apart, and frankly the first review of the book that I wrote was pretty ferociously against the “horribly written and almost entirely inaccurate portrayal of Dominance and submission” that the book portrayed. I haven’t posted that review, mostly because I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the whole trend.

Although most of My colleagues were horrified by the idea, I forced myself to read all three. The writing was sophomoric and repetitive, any avid reader would comment on that. The sex scenes weren’t exactly inspired, especially for a connoisseur of erotica. But I’ve come to realize that the 50 Shades trilogy is the modern edition of the “romance novel” that has been enjoyed for decades. Women are proven to enjoy reading about the intricacies of how a sexual experience develops rather than just a visual with no story line. Erotica allows each reader to create their own version in their head, which is just plain hot.

For a part of society (aka “middle America”) that hasn’t had a sexual revolution of any kind in years, it’s not that surprising that these books have become a sensation. They are the “sex books” that society says it’s ok to read, because everyone else is doing it (and not only that but they’re talking about it!). For that I am grateful to the discussion that these books have driven and even more surprisingly are still driving. Even on the tail end of all the hype, people are still reading, still interested and still inspired.

That is by far the greatest gifts these books have given America. Inspiration to talk about, as well as enjoy a more creative sex life. A sex life with more passion, although it’s a rare couple that can keep up with Ana & Christian’s 5 times a day sex count! In my opinion anytime a woman feels freer to talk about their own desires, even though a device such as these books, their life is going to get better and so are their partners. A healthier and more connected sex life improves overall health. It’s a fact.

So today, as I was reading yet another article about 50 Shades I realized that I have something special to offer those women and couples that have been inspired to enjoy a little “kinky fuckery” in their own lives. Many of those that have found themselves at the end of the books (perhaps after the 12th time they’ve been read) there may be a bit of uncertainty about how to implement all these “kinky” things that are turning on new desires. That’s where I can help. I’ve been coaching individuals & couples to explore kink at their own level, in their own interests for more than a decade. In fact I particularly love working with new sexual adventurers. I own and run a website called KinkAcademy.com which covers a very large breadth of kinky interests, but that may be too intense for someone who’s just starting.

What’s really needed is a gentle introduction into how to incorporate the hottest part of your new fantasies into the bedroom. How to actually put them into play if you’ve never delved into Dominance & submission, or more intense sensation play (ie spanking, light bondage, tickling, etc).

The books are a great starting off place, but if you are interested in actually experiencing what you read about it 50 Shades of Grey (maybe a little less, maybe a little more…) then I can help you with that. My personal coaching sessions are designed for just such a thing. After spending $30 or more on the books, doesn’t it make sense to invest a little more to learn how to put it into play in the bedroom? Learn how to keep things hot in an already established relationship or learn how to ask for what you want in a future relationship. In fact I can even help you figure out exactly what it IS that you want.

Check out my Coaching page to read more about my philosophy, and when you’re ready to make the leap and really & truly improve your sexual experiences for the rest of your life, check out my Services page to see what package would be right for you.

I look forward to helping you enjoy all the kinky fuckery you want and to your own feelings described in the Red Room even if you don’t have a mansion of an apartment to create one in!

ps – you can also see a great tongue-in-cheek parody of the books by Saturday Night Live here!