My Thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey and how we should really be looking at its impact on Rape Culture

** TRIGGER WARNING **

fifty shades of grey is coming to the big screen in 4 days. as i expected, the social media outlets are running rampant with opinions on not only the movie, but even which form of sexuality is acceptable for people to participate in.

i believe the latter will remain a heated debate until Jesus comes back and clears things up for us.

i enjoy reading articles and participating in discussions about these types of things. i find it fascinating to see how many people actually think about their thoughts and ideas before making conclusions. most of the time i find that people don’t think about why they think something. they just think it, therefore they want everyone else to think it.

humans are simple minded, yet incredibly complicated. as a result, i think it’s even more important that we find the time and recognize the need to think about our thoughts before saying them. (this is going to be one of those posts my family will tell me to read when I disagree with them.)

as an erotic book turned movie about bdsm is about to rake in billions, this has been a hot topic on most of the social networking sites, magazines, and blog sties.

now, i admit i’ve read the series. i avoided it for a long time, but decided to pick it up at the library. i read this book with a different lense then most people. i’m not into erotic novels. i read it because of the hype. i walked away with a different perspective than many whom i’ve talked to about the book.

i’d like to take an opportunity to join the discussion by providing my thoughts on the book and on its impact to rape culture, both positive and negative.

this will be another series. i’ll post 1 opinion about this movie each day until it comes out. enjoy!

but first, some definitions, just for fun;

bdsm stands for bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism and is essentially a variety of erotic practices that range from non-violent to violent between consenting adults. most people are introduced to this by way of hearing about sadomasochism, which is an individual who enjoys receiving painful stimuli for pleasure or giving painful stimuli to another individual for pleasure (both theirs and the individual receiving the painful stimuli), often sexual.

rape is penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body party or object, or oral penetrations by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. (RAINN.ORG definition) this definition is broad and is changed from state to state according to their legal definition of rape, which is usually split up by levels of sexual assault in the judicial system. typically, an assault on a minor is considered sexual assault on a minor, or child sexual abuse.

sex is lingo for sexual intercourse, which includes a variety of sexual acts between consenting adults.

*notice anything about these definitions? on to my thoughts.

Opinion 1:  bdsm is NOT role-playing rape or rape play

if you take nothing else away from any of the posts i do on this topic, please make sure this is the one you take away. if you’ve followed me for a while now, you’ve learned details of my story. in my “lies rape culture tells you” series, i addressed this as the 2nd lie. {read here}

for as long as i can remember, i’ve equated sex to rape or visa versa. i mean, how could i not? my earliest memory is of “sex”. it wasn’t until i was well on my road to recovering and walking down the aisle that i felt the Lord start to shift definitions for me.

as i hyperventilated about the honeymoon. cried on my friend’s shoulder about my inability to be a good wife, and yelled at God for creating such a terrible act, which left me feeling violated, dirty and shamed, i began to see things differently.

the Lord whispered in my ear, “you have a choice.”

i have a choice? i mumbled back.  ‘i have a choice’ i repeated. fuller. louder.

when i began training as sexual assault services advocate, i had a training on bdsm. this training shook me to my core. i felt wheezy during the training.

in my process, i picked up a book called, “Yes means Yes” written by several feminists and their experiences with rape culture. the premise of the book is on teaching how to say “yes” and what saying “yes” really means. a woman wrote of her experience with bdsm and my entire thought process about bdsm shifted.

again, i am not advertising for bdsm. i’m not suggesting we all try it out. i don’t believe some of the things that happen in bdsm relationships are how God intended sex to be. that being said, God gives us choice and God is with us. therefore, we must trust Him to show us the right way. but there is one aspect of the bdsm community that i desire wholeheartedly in my own sex life, and every one else. you should too.

CONSENT.

just for kicks, here’s the definition of consent: as a verb it means to commit, approve or agree. as a noun is means to to give permission, approval or agreement. it also means to give way to harmony.

* and we know harmony means to agree or give away to pleasing arrangements.

(disclosure: my understanding of bdsm stems from trainings and readings on the subject (not fsog). if you feel i’ve gotten something wrong, please let me know in the comments section or via e-mail.)

before a bdsm relationship can start, the people involved in the relationship sit down and hash everything out. they talk about what they like, what they don’t like. they talk about what they want and what they don’t want. this doesn’t just include sex, it can include other aspects of the relationship such as who prepares meals, who works, when they hang out, etc.

they sign a contract that describes everything they’ve talked about. each person has the right change the rules at ANY point.

a scene is typically where some sort of sexual pleasure occurs. before a scene occurs the two discuss their limits. they decide on a start time, how long the scene will go, which activities will happen during the scene and which safe words will be used to end the scene.

a ‘safe’ word is a word chosen that will end or slow down the scene should a participant become uncomfortable.

now, how often do you sit down and talk this freely with your spouse? how often do you consent, not only out loud to your partner, but inside your body, to something that is happening?

all the above information doesn’t sound like rape to me. still not convinced? here’s some other helpful information.

  • rape is not consented to.
  • rape cannot be stopped with a safe word.
  • rape has no set beginning and end time, agreed upon by both participants.
  • rape isn’t always physically violent.
  • while both sex and rape can result in an orgasm happening for either person, in rape an orgasm is not desired.
  • rape is never asked for.
  • rape causes harm to another person for the sole purpose of the rapist feeling pleasure with no regard to the victim.

Rape is NOT sex.

Rape is not “non-consensual” sex.

Rape is Rape

7 Comments

  1. I am incredibly proud to be a spectator to your “process’. Forever follower. Love this piece of art.

  2. Honestly these books are just straight up garbage. It makes me sad to see our culture reading this junk…it’s not even literature, it’s pornography in a different form essentially. This “book” has tainted the true meaning of sex and really, despite the fact that there is consent going on in bdsm, it doesn’t change the fact that it is emotionally damaging and degrading. Love is something that should be selfless, according to the Bible, and pure. To me, bdsm is none of those things. 1 Cor. 13:5 “…It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking….6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects…” (paraphrased). Bdsm violates everything in this verse and the way the Bible defines love. I get what you mean about the whole consent thing but even if two consenting adults who are Christians are trying/doing bdsm in the marriage bed, they need to seriously reevaluate what God had in mind when He created sex in Marriage. Another reason i think its not okay—it is currently contributing to the porn industry. If it was really something that was redeeming, the ripple affect wouldn’t be rape, sex trafficking, more $ for the porn industry (not to mention child porn), etc etc.

    • I agree whole heartedly that this book is basically pornography. It has always been listed as an erotic novel. The reason why it took off so well wasn’t because it was erotic but because of what the book is about. Contrary to popular belief, there IS a storyline, one that contains an actual rape and follows the tragedy that can happen to a person who is raped.

      As far as BDSM and the bible, I wholeheartedly agree that BDSM isn’t want God intended for sex.

      I disagree that THIS book has tainted sex as millions of people read, watch and surround themselves with pornography on a daily basis. Sex has been tainted ever since the fall. We need to get back to a place of Godly sex which starts with consent.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I hope you read the rest of my posts because I will be addressing more about how this book, if we’re not keen to it, will alter our relationships in the negative!

  3. You are so brave and strong to bring this to light and change the way our culture perpetuates the evil cycle. Thank you for your powerful words. You know when we read this together I lost it. That’s how powerful your words are. Imagine if your words could touch and change the lives of 50, 100, 1000 lives! Bravo to you! Love you!

  4. You are so brave and strong to bring this to light and change the way our culture perpetuates the evil cycle. Thank you for your powerful words. You know when we read this together I lost it. That’s how powerful your words are. Imagine if your words could touch and change the lives of 50, 100, 1000 lives!

  5. Thank you for sharing, Jessica! I completely agree with you: we need to THINK about What we’re THINKING about…and WHY we’re THINKING what we’re THINKING. I’m looking forward to your future posts.

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