Experts Say 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Sequel Book Is All Sorts of Wrong

Never let facts get in the way of selling millions of copies of fiction. EL James' latest Fifty Shades of Grey novel, which is called Grey and retells the meeting of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey from Grey's perspective, has sold more than 1.1 million copies in just one week and is even more detailed in its sexual descriptions than her previous works — but BDSM experts say Grey is not an accurate portrayal of the S&M lifestyle. 


Christian is portrayed in all of James' books as a dominant, but BDSM experts are taking issue with the fact that James is not a member of their community and has no experience with S&M — something that they say clearly shows in her writing. Many people who are involved in real-life dominant-submissive sadomasochistic relationships dislike the way they feel the novels portray Grey: as a control freak who is damaged — a reputation they say they've been forever fighting against.

A few BDSM experts read Grey and offered their thoughts on how James is lacking in the S&M department. Here's one example of a line from the novel and what Sex Therapist Gloria Brame had to say about it in an interview with Mic.

From Grey:

"Dear Mr. Grey,
You wanted to know why I felt confused after you — which euphemism should we apply — spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me.

Well, during the whole alarming process, I felt demeaned, debased, and abused. And much to my mortification, you're right, I was aroused, and that was unexpected."

Brame's response:

It is hardly unusual for a sub to have conflicted feelings. But ... the charge of abuse is (or should be) a deal-breaker. If she really felt abused, before, during, or after the experience, she needs to leave or get counseling ASAP. Sometimes a dom may push someone too far, and the sub will let them know if they broke a boundary. But feeling abused is neither normal nor desirable in a BDSM relationship. The question then becomes: Is Anastasia abused? In this book, maybe, because Grey comes across as clueless.

 More from The Stir: Is '50 Shades of Grey' Glorifying Rape?

One of the major criticisms against James is that she has been "lazy" in her approach to writing these novels. I feel she, as a novelist, has the creative license to invent characters who are flawed — they needn't be mentally healthy just because many or most people who engage in the BDSM lifestyle are, in fact, healthy, sexual human beings.

But it's important to make the distinction between real-life and fantasy: Christian Grey is not Everyman's Dominant. He is a character who is also a control freak and mentally unstable — and neither trait need be present in a person who is turned on by S&M.

Do you think EL James should have done more research into BDSM before writing Fifty Shades of Grey?


Image via fiftyshadesmovie/Instagram


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