Newspaper article The Canadian Press

BDSM Educators Say 'Fifty Shades' Isn't an Accurate Portrayal of Kink Community

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

BDSM Educators Say 'Fifty Shades' Isn't an Accurate Portrayal of Kink Community

Article excerpt

BDSM educators weigh in on 'Fifty Shades'

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TORONTO - While the "Fifty Shades of Grey" book trilogy and film have brought increased mainstream attention to alternative sexual practices, BDSM educators say the racy tale isn't the most accurate depiction of the kink community.

The erotic series that centres on a dominant-submissive relationship between a student and business magnate has achieved massive fandom. But it has also faced criticism for what some see as Christian Grey's controlling behaviour over Anastasia Steele.

Author E.L. James has defended "Fifty Shades" against charges of abuse.

"People who think that are sort of demonizing women who actually enjoy these kinds of relationships. What people get up to behind closed doors, providing it is safe, sane, consensual and legal, is completely up to them and it's not for you, I or anybody to judge," she told Katie Couric in a 2012 interview.

Elwood, a Toronto workshop instructor who only uses his first name professionally, said there are a higher number of people "coming out to the scene" who are curious about BDSM (bondage, dominance, submission, masochism) since "Fifty Shades" hit the shelves.

However, what angers the kink community about the story are instances where consent violation is broken, such as when alcohol is used to sway compliance.

"In kink land, negotiation and consent is king," Elwood said.

"People need to realize that this is something that both parties want to participate in, and there's a lot of negotiation before any of this starts. So, somebody wants to be spanked, they tell someone who wants to spank them, 'I'm into this,' and that's how it starts."

Trevor Jacques, co-founder of the Safer SM Education Project of the AIDS Committee of Toronto, said the titillation factor coupled with the slick marketing of "Fifty Shades" -- like sophisticated images of a necktie on the cover -- may have helped in part propel its popularity.

"It's rather like Hitchcock in the sense that everything is implied but nothing is shown," said Jacques, principal author of "On the Safe Edge: A Manual for SM Play. …

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