The Shades of Grey

I think this will be a multiple post.  I have been reading the ever popular “50 Shades of Grey.”  I will do my best not to present spoilers, but it gives me an opportunity to talk a bit about the difference between delightful and popular fiction, life as it presents itself to us, and some problems I have seen in BDSM relationships.

Fiction is just that, fiction.  Romantic fiction is written for many reasons, but the primary one is to entertain, to captivate your mind, to present to your imagination images and situations which excite, titillate, and arouse.  It is not written to inform or educate, though it may do so.  So in the realm of BDSM fiction, it is appropriate and valid to use it to find out what excites you, but it is not necessarily an appropriate and valid method of gaining information on how relationships actually work.

I will say again, I have not finished the book and will write more as I do.  But my first take is that it does present a modern day version of the handsome young sadistic Prince in the opulent manor on the hill.  Mr. Grey is astoundingly rich, in the billions.  He is in his 20’s or at the most barely 30.  He is described in the most extreme terms as a modern Adonis.  “Handsome” does not do him justice.  The narrator is a young girl just finishing college, a bit clumsy, mousy, and incredibly unsure of herself, both sexually and in general life terms.  She is described as never having had a boyfriend.  But Mr. Grey is totally captivated by her, enough to do rapidly do things he states he has never done before, far beyond anything that might occur between an incredibly rich, powerful, overwhelmingly handsome young man and say, any intelligent, vivacious, beautiful, sexually experimental young woman as her roommate is described.

Perhaps you are understanding a bit more what I mean by the difference between fiction and what the world might present to us.  I fear this does a disservice to the vast majority of honest, honorable, creative, caring and trustworthy Dominants in the world.  I mean how can we measure up?  I find it hard to imagine more than a 3 or 4 people in the entire world who can match that description.  What an image to try to emulate.  It makes my teeth hurt.

However, I do not wish to give the impression that this is a Bodice Ripper Pulp Fiction of little value.  What prompted me to speak was these passages.  “It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.” “In very simple terms, I want you to want to please me,…”  “It’s about gaining your trust and your respect, so you’ll let me exert my will over you.”  This rings true to me and points to some of the great problems in the BDSM community.  It is my belief that a healthy and rewarding Dominant and submissive relationship involves great trust and respect from each to the other.  Unfortunately, I have seen relationships which did not follow these simple guidelines.

I have seen submissives who accept sadistic physical treatment, sadistic emotional treatment and severe humiliation play for no other reason that I could see other than their incredibly poor opinion of themselves.  It seems they except it, because they feel it is the only attention they can get.  In my opinion, accepting sadist activity of either variety, willingly engaging in humiliation play should come from pride, joy and great self appreciation.

I have seen Dominants both male and female who gather their dominance almost exclusively from the careless degradation of their submissives.  They play the zero sum game.  They go up purely because they so actively drive their submissive down.  In my opinion, a Dominant should, to the best of their ability, concentrate on the physical, emotional, and spiritual growth of their submissives so that their submissives can, to the best of their ability, concentrate on obedience to and the joy of their Dominant.  This takes trust, admiration, and high self opinion on both their parts.  In my mind, that is the only way it can work.  The abject slavery of a wretch or the momentary submission  of Royalty; which would you want?  Which says more about you?

I am sorry when I see an emphasis on the Dominant being so rich and powerful that they can supply every need or whim of the submissive, and all she has to do is be willing to be fucked and beat by this rich and powerful man.  Again, I have not read more than a quarter of the book, and I am very much looking forward to the rest.  It has spoken some truths to me, and I hope it will continue, even if it is fiction.

The Eroticist


  1. nabterayl

    This seems like a reasonable time to ask the biggest question D/s relationships raise for me: to what extent is the sub’s contributing to the growth of the dominant critical, in your view, to a healthy D/s relationship?

    • An Excellent question. Thank you.

      If I understand, you are asking if and to what extent it is necessary for a submissive to contribute to the growth of their Dominant to make it a healthy relationship. I presume that the growth is prompted through challenging the Dominant, needing more maturity or growth, or by example, showing how a more realized person can exist in the world. I will do some more thinking on this, as my thoughts currently are rather amorphous.

      I feel that in a healthy relationship a submissive does contribute immensely to the peace, joy, and comfort of their Dominant. This obviously allows their Dominant room for growth, and I feel it prompts it, but I will have to do more thinking on the hows. I believe that when you feel respect and admiration from someone who is of value to you, it prompts a desire on your part to, in fact, be worthy of that respect and admiration? I know that dynamic works within me. This is a possibility as to how it does happen, but is it necessary? Again, more thought needed. I feel myself contemplating the relationship if the submissive doesn’t contribute. Is it then a healthy one?

      No, that doesn’t feel right to me. In contemplating a most extreme example of a slave who obeys immediately and without question at all times, never challenging their Dominant, there is still the EXAMPLE they set. I can not see how that does not contribute to the growth of the Dominant. I keep returning to my belief that the relationship at it’s core, must be based on strong mutual respect. Also, I ask myself, where do you divide between contributing to the growth of the Dominant and contributing to the growth of the relationship. That is a very hard division to make for me and I tend to feel that if the submissive does not contribute to the growth of the relationship, it may not be a healthy one.

      Within my relationships, I give room for a certain level of challenging by my submissive, within the structure of my holding the responsibility of the relationship, but I know that room is not always given. Good question, it is worthy of more thought. (Is this question not a prompt for growth?)

      Thank you again. I will add more as it comes to me.

      The Eroticist

  2. rita

    actually heard an advertisement on the radio where an obviously middle aged woman talks about a hair color that will manage her “fifty shades of gray”….bdsm has gone viral…this may be the most important feature of the phenomenal popularity of the series….less skulking and more conversation!

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