50 Shades of Caution

Today is the release of “50 Shades Darker,” the second installment of the 50 Shades series.  As fans across the nation gear up for a weekend of girls’ nights out and couples make plans for a slightly naughty Valentine’s Day, I feel it’s important to throw a few reminders out there.

At any given time, at least 50% of my client population identify as “kinky.” Some have identified this way for decades and some a shorter period of time.  Say, about six years, or right about the time 50 Shades first became popular.  The trilogy did something wonderful – it gave people permission to explore different aspects of their sexuality.  Perhaps BDSM had been a fantasy viewed as forbidden or maybe the books served as a cure for bedroom boredom.  Either way, feeling able to explore and express sexuality in healthy ways is something I encourage.

The devil is in the details, however.

  1. CONSENT. When I talk to patients about consent, I don’t just leave it at that. I use the new buzz term “enthusiastic consent.” What this means is that everybody knows what is currently happening, what’s going to happen, and they verbalize agreement to all activities. Never assume consent. Ever.
  2. EDUCATION. If you’ve never engaged in BDSM, you have some homework to do. If you stop by Adam & Eve on your way home from the movie, buy a flogger or riding crop, and use it with your partner that night, somebody’s going to get hurt. It’s irresponsible for either party (Dominant or submissive) to engage in kink without doing a little reading first.  I always recommend “Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns.”  It’s a good beginner book written by experienced kinksters.
  3. REALITY vs FICTION. 50 Shades are books and movies.  They are not an accurate portrayal of how BDSM does or should work. The other thing is that fantasy is almost always better than reality. In your fantasy, you don’t have to consider your pain tolerance. In reality? Probably a little different. Nobody ever uses a safeword, gets a leg cramp, or has gas in the midst of a scene in your fantasies.  But things happen differently in reality.

Enjoy.  Explore.  But be SAFE and SMART!