In all of its BDSM-flavored glory, Fifty Shades of Grey has managed to captivate the imaginations and spice up the sex lives of the masses. Although most aren't ready to sign up for what they would consider a full-on submissive or dominant experience, they're more curious than ever about women and men whose sex lives resemble Christian Grey's. In other words, real-life submissives and dominants.
Pamela Madsen, author of "real-life Fifty Shades of Grey" memoir, Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure...and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner, says she has been on a "fabulously funny, sexy, wonky and totally amazing journey through a world that so many people just whisper about." She is a real woman -- a wife and a mother -- who is also a submissive to a man -- not her husband -- who she calls "The Blue Flame." And she recently welcomed us into her world ...
How were you introduced to the world of BDSM?
Somewhere after turning 40, my girlfriends started to have affairs. If they weren't having an affair, they were planning one. I didn't want to cheat on my man ... but I also wanted to experience what it was to feel like a sex goddess. My friends were vibrating HOT, and I was vibrating lasagna! So, at 43, I [began working with] a hands-on sex therapist, who started to challenge me about my fantasies. My practitioner started to say, "Come on, what do you think about? Where do you go? What's your secret fantasy? What do you think about when you self-pleasure?" I finally admitted I like spanking. The feeling of surrendering, being taken. It's still edgy for me, but I've been practicing it for over a few years now.
How does that work within your marriage?
My husband and I have been playing with the boundaries of our marriage and monogamy and BDSM, and [a submissive] has always been the thing I've been allowed to be outside of the marriage. He's always known who my Top [aka Dom] is. In fact, I was having a scheduled phone call with my Top, and we were having a little disagreement. My husband said I must need a spanking. Soon, I was over his knee, and it lead to lovemaking, and we had a great time. While it's not something that happens all the time in my marriage, it is something that comes out, and it is surprising and fun for us. We get to play a power game and then we go about our lives.
What do you think people misunderstand most about BDSM?
I don't love calling it BDSM. People in the know, we like to call it power surrender and intimacy. Really, BDSM is power exchange. [Most] women want to be taken. They may not want to be spanked, but most women want to feel a man come into their space and take them and want them. And feminists have to get off of other feminists' backs about what turns us on! If I like getting my panties taken down and getting spanked -- who is getting hurt? All of womankind? No one is saying that is because Anastasia did this you should. When they say they are degrading themselves, or it's sending a bad message to other women -- who says? What were really saying is that every woman is entitled to live her sexual desire and not be shamed for it or judged for it.
How do you feel about the way this kind of sex is portrayed in Fifty Shades of Grey?
[The story] is really a mind game, a shame set-up for women. It lets us to be titillated by the idea of BDSM, but we know Ana doesn't really want it. She's practicing, but she's not owning her own desire. I think some of the sex scenes are hot, but I don't think it's realistic. Still, if this is how we break through, to get people to talk about this, god bless Fifty Shades of Grey!
What do you suggest to women who want to surrender in the bedroom?
Be with someone you trust. Establish ground rules -- safe words, which are words to stop play. Red means stop, game over, what you're doing you stop it this second, no negotiation. Yellow means slow down, caution, this is too sensitive, let's take a breath. Green means go, but I don't know if anyone uses it. The fab thing is that the bottom has the ability to say anything she wants. There's freedom of expression. And [ask yourself] if you can allow yourself to receive? Or do you feel like you always have to give back? If you're tied up, all that worry is gone. If women are able to give away their power, they can stop that goddamn monkey mind! "I should be, how should I ...?" Well, honey, you're blindfolded -- surrender! That's better than Disneyland if you ask me. That's one ride I can go on!
This is the first part of a two post series about real women and men in the BDSM community. Check back tomorrow for our interview with a real-life dominant.
Images via Pamela Madsen